Our contributor, Erica OBrien, is back with a new fall cake technique.
Fall in New England, where I live, is a special time of year. The changing colors of the leaves is a sight to behold. The air gets a wonderful crispness to it, and we light our fireplace for the first time in months, bringing a coziness to the house that is unparalleled. It’s time for sweaters and boots, apple picking, pumpkins and Thanksgiving.
I love fall-inspired cakes, and wanted to create a cake to celebrate the season, with leaves that look weightless and actually appear to be falling. I have some pretty good leaf-shaped cutters, but I wanted my leaves to be somewhat translucent, and I knew that gumpaste not give me the look I was after. I also knew that to make them look as realistic as possible they needed to have stems (something my cutters don’t have). So, I turned to real leaves and wafer paper.
To create the leaves, I collected real leaves of various sizes and colors. I carefully removed the stems and saved them for later. I then laid the leaves on a sheet of paper and photocopied them onto wafer paper with an edible ink printer. After cutting the leaves out with an xacto, I then attached the stems to the back with a bit of fondant and piping gel.
I wanted the cake to look chic and modern rather than heavy and traditional, so I handpainted the quote “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” in gold on wafer paper. I then cut the paper to the height of the cake and attached it with piping gel.
I usually take a more-is-more approach to design, but here I needed to apply the leaves sparingly. By loosely framing the quote, it gives the cake a focal point. The leaves lent themselves perfectly to a color gradient arrangement, so I placed them from light to dark, so the eye sweeps down the entire cake. In the end, the wafer paper leaves looked lightweight and realistic, and really worked for the cake.
Find more cake recipes, cupcake recipes and tutorials in our Fall Baking Gallery!