Wine-Themed Cake

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My brother is getting married in October, so on Sunday the bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower for his fiancee, Marie. The atmosphere was designed to be pretty elegant, and we loosely planned the event around a theme of "wine and cheese."

Because the attendance was going to be quite large, I knew early on that I wanted to make my first two-tier cake. I considered a few different designs, but all incorporated grapes. Some involved piping grape shapes out of buttercream, but the ones I loved the most used real grapes to garnish the cake.

Even with the two-tier cake (I used a 9" double layer and 6" double layer cakes for mine), I was worried we wouldn't have quite enough cake, so I also made two dozen cupcakes to supplement. Both tiers of the cake were chocolate, and the cupcakes were vanilla. I positioned everything on my trusty dusty 2'x2' board, covered in a plum-colored fabric.

You're not seeing things--the grapes have a little bit of a sparkle to them. I made "frosted" grapes to give them a little extra something. It was my first time using such a method, so it required a little trial and error. Most of the directions I found for frosted grapes involved dipping the grapes in egg whites and then dipping them in sanding sugar. I didn't want to feed raw egg whites to strangers, so I found an alternative--I was able to make an "egg white solution" using meringue powder and water. And it's salmonella-free! :)

Anyway, the trial and error part came into play when it came time to figure out how much solution to leave on the grapes to dip them. At first, I was leaving too much, so the sugar was clumping up. I eventually figured out that dipping the grapes, then dabbing them with paper towels worked to get a lot of excess moisture off, then I'd dip them. If you're interested in frosted grapes, just Google--there are tons of recipes/directions out there.

The night before the shower, I frosted the cakes, assembled them (again, if you want to know how to securely assemble two tiers, Google is a great resource), then added the shell borders. I also piped frosting onto the cupcakes, and, of course, prepared the sugared grapes.

The morning of the shower, I transported the cake, cupcakes, and grapes to the shower location separately. Once there, I got to work on garnishing everything. I topped each cupcake with a single frosted grape. For the cake, I used a large bunch of grapes for the top, then used smaller bunches on other areas of the cake. To help secure the grapes to the cake, I piped dollops of frosting in the spots where I wanted to stick them, using the frosting as "glue." As a finishing touch, I added little beads of frosting all over the sides of the layers.



Jen August 4, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

Wow Heather that looks awesome! Great job.

Vanessa August 5, 2010 at 2:10 AM  

This is beautiful! My first multi-tiered cake experience was for my wedding - I made a three tier cake in Guernsey and transported it to Israel! It was one of my crazier ideas but it worked! More layers = more satisfaction! Anyhoo, my reason for commenting: your cake looks amazing!

PS: there are a few wedding photos on my blog if you'd like a peek! ;)

americamowry August 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

So talented! I love a wine-themes wedding/shower and this cake just looks scrumptious! I've never heard of frosted grapes either. Yum!!

Moya August 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

That looks great Heather:-)

Anne @ the doctor takes a wife August 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

This looks great!! I wish I could make a two tier cake look that great!!

Krystie August 5, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

I think after baby is born you need to open up a bakery. Seriously, you're deserts are killing me smalls ;)

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