Let me start this post by saying - I may be completely wrong in the way I've titled this cake : Orange & Silver Mehndi Henna Cake . When I first saw the design that the client wanted, I called it Henna. But then after further digging, I saw similar designs called Mehndi or Mehndi Henna. So I'm not sure what's correct. Forgive me.
But the name aside, this was one of the most intimidating designs I've ever been asked to do. Initially I planned to pipe the design. But with my chronic hand pain these days, I was not sure I could pull it off.
Then I came across some cake lace designs that were so similar - I decided to go that route instead. And my confession below might surprise you...
But first, let me back up and give you a little background story on this cake. I was not in direct contact with the clients - I was actually hired by Abagail from á deux events in Natchez Mississippi and all of details of the cake were handled through her.
I've worked with Abagail before and she's just a joy - I was thrilled to be doing the cake for her (or rather, her client)! Also, everything she touches is beautiful, so I knew I had to be on my game to provide a cake for this event!
Anyway, Abagail told me that this cake was for an Indian couple celebrating both of their 50th birthdays along with their 25th wedding anniversary! It was a huge party with all the details of an exquisite wedding.
Now, let's get down to the details of the cake (and one tidbit that might surprise you)...
Orange & Silver Mehndi Henna Cake
First, the cake was 6", 9" and 12" tiers - for a total of 100 servings. I baked the tiers in my favorite Magic Line pans and the cake was displayed on an 18" round silver cake stand. The flavors of the cake were lemon cake for the top tier, strawberry for the middle tier and mandarin orange cake for the bottom tier.
I also added strings of pearls around each tier of cake using these First Impressions pearl molds.
Now let's talk about the cake lace. And this may surprise you.
I didn't make or pipe the lace.
I bought it. Let me explain.
A couple of years ago I bought some lace mats and the mix to make cake lace. And I actually had some success with it when I made the lace for these Valentine's cookies (my first attempt at lace)- and this Shabby Chic baby shower cake.
But it was hard ya'll. Like really hard. For every piece of lace I successfully made, I had 2 or 3 pieces I had to throw away. Maybe I didn't practice enough or maybe I need to try another brand of lace mix, but whatever I was doing, it was wrong.
It stressed me out beyond reason. So when I landed the order for this cake, my first thought was to pipe the lace. Now you may or may not know, but piping is not my forte. Not only is it not a strength of mine - it also leads to me being in excruitiating pain for days following any piping work.
So then I started researching cake lace mats. And I strangely enough, I stumbled across the exact cake that the client had sent me for inspiration... on an Amazon page where a cake lace product was being sold. The lace they were advertising didn't appear to exactly match the cake they were using in the picture. But it did convince me that cake lace would work for the design.
And when I looked closer at the product on Amazon, I realized that they weren't selling the lace mat/mold - they were actually selling the premade pieces of edible lace. It took me all of 2 seconds to decide that I would buy the premade lace vs. buying all the mats to make it myself.
Now I know for some of you, that may be a cop-out. I know there are cake decorators who would never buy pre-made cake lace. Or pre-made sugar flowers (which I've also done). Or pre-made anything.
But I'm not that girl. Pre-made is my friend.
Why I bought the pre-made lace.
Here's why. First, there's the fact that I'd have spent a lot more money on buying all the lace mats and the mix to make the lace. Plus I'd have also spent a lot more time making the lace. And quite possibly failing at it and throwing it away multiple times. It just wasn't worth it to me. And if the pre-made lace didn't work out, I knew I could fall back on my original plan to pipe the design.
So I bought lace pieces made from 3 different mats. Then I puzzled them together to get a design that I loved! If you want to buy the mats and make the lace yourself, the lace I used was made from this mat, this mat, and this mat. If you want to buy the lace already made, I got it from Food Deco Art (no longer in business, sadly).
Now let's talk about applying the lace. After I had the tiers covered in marshmallow fondant (3 shades of orange with a little pink), and stacked up (see how I stack cakes here), it was time to put the lace on.
A thin layer of shortening rubbed over the fondant made it sticky enough to just lay on the lace pieces. I used bigger pieces of lace first - cutting the original pieces to make them fit the tiers. Then I started cutting out individual curls and paisleys and flowers to add to either side and broaden the pattern on the cake.
I used scalpels to cut the fragile lace and then I'd play with it in different positions until I found a full pattern that I liked. This is how it looked with just the white lace, no borders yet and no silver:
I individually removed each piece with tweezers, sprayed them with PME Silver Spray, then a little Pearl spray over that, let it dry for a couple of minutes and put it back on the cake. Then I took off the next piece (or two or three - depending on how big they were). I didn't want to remove it all at once and have to reconfigure it. Instead, I worked in small sections until I got it all done - like a puzzle!
I was thrilled with the outcome!! And once it was set up in the venue - the whole look was just breathtaking! After I left, Abagail sent me a picture of the cake with succulents added by the florist!
Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment!