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Created by: Alex Narramore
Project

Chinese Sugar Flower Wedding Cake

Scott and Angie’s sugar flower wedding cake. This cake is a perfect example of how sugar flowers can allow a designer to create a mood and color palette that fresh flowers cannot. With sugar flowers, the freedom to use floral varieties that may not be readily available at that particular time of year/ or in your area of the world. Cake tiers provide the perfect ground for sugar flowers to both grow and prosper. Scott and Angie wanted the cake to be a textural display. We played with various ideas of how to integrate different textures into the cake design, but the way we chose to go about it in the end was to infuse texture through the various shapes, movements, and feel of the flowers. Much like Scott and Angie’s family, the cake melds two separate cultures into one cohesive whole. To achieve this cohesion, we worked traditionally Chinese flowers, such as the lotus and peonies, into an arrangement with more commonly used western oriented flowers and style. While culture and heritage are present in the cake design, they do not dominate, and leave room for personal style choices and preferences. With this cake, we wanted to show that the not oft-used lotus, while the star of any arrangement, can seamlessly be worked into everyday arrangements. It’s unusual form and unique center scares designers into using it on its own, or not at all. Since lotus flowers can live for centuries, if not millennia, they are sacred in many cultures as a symbol of resurrection and endurance, which makes them perfect for any wedding. In addition to the lotus, this arrangement houses elaborate interchanges of shapes and textures, including the concentric circles of the ranunculus and the fluffiness of the sugar tree peonies. No one could even begin to imagine the amount of hours and workload that it takes to execute something of this magnitude, with this many sugar flowers and this many details. You are at a point working beyond your means for the love of the concept and the outcome, pushing yourself far beyond that of a normal designer, employee, or someone that you simply hire to execute a job. It is not a 9-5 job, but it also isn’t a 9-5 result. I could say this for all of our cakes. When it comes down to the weeks prior to the cake and working these sorts of hours, it comes down to dedication. Not just myself, but my mother too. 18 plus hour days. Then you factor in two more people working to get the cake to the point that it can arrive at the venue. To execute large scale projects of this nature, it is the dedication to the work and complete willingness to give up any personal life/ be completely selfless in order to complete it. This is something that not every couple is able to understand. I am pleased that this cake turned out exactly as promised to the clients, and that we were able to see the execution of the design come to life. That’s what matters, and that’s what it’s about. I was once asked, “What does sugar artistry mean to you?”. In this question, I break down the workload of one cake, as I am often asked, “How long does it take to make one of your cakes?” “ How long do the sugar flowers take to make?”. This was my answer: What does sugar artistry mean to you? Everything. Achieving a high quality of craft in the flavors, details, and overall end aesthetic of my cakes are one of the main reasons for which I live and breathe. They have robbed me of sleep, but have rewarded me otherwise in every way possible. My mother and I work on all of the sugar flowers for my cakes together. If it didn’t mean a lot to me, I wouldn’t strive so hard on every cake I do, sacrifice sleep and outings, and have systems in place to ensure that I keep the high standard that is expected on each project. I take on one wedding cake per week, at most, but, generally, I prefer only two per month. I maintain the high level of detail on my cakes by keeping the calendar small and exclusive. For one wedding cake, sugar flowers may take a full week of two people working full on, nonstop 12-18 hour days of work. 18 hour days are very common during wedding season. This is often how we prefer to work, as opposed to spacing out the sugar flower making in advance. The flowers seem to look fresher, when they are made or refreshed directly before the event. Commonly, there are last minute changes to the bride’s bouquet, as fresh flowers aren’t ordered for weddings until two weeks before. By waiting to complete the sugar flowers until closer to the event, they look their best, and we can accommodate small tweaks and last minute design alterations that make the cakes blend with the event perfectly. Your average working person may work 40 hours a week. So, in comparison, we will complete 90 hours of work in a typical five day, 18 hour a day work week, and that’s only for one of us. When both my time and my mother’s time are factored in, we easily spend 180 hours in five days, making sugar flowers for one wedding cake, and we often work 6 to 7 days on sugar flowers for one order; so, our workload is usually closer to 168-252 hours on the sugar flowers alone for a cake. Then, there is a week dedicated almost solely to finishing up last minute sugar flower details, macaron making, preparing to bake the cake, assembly, other design elements etc. This, again, doesn’t include the hours of pre-planning, consulting, concept development, design work, and sketching. In order to maintain the freshest cake possible, the cakes are baked on a 2-day to 3-day timeline before the event, while still arriving on time at the venue for sugar flower assembly. Yes, I adorn the cake with all sugar flowers once I reach the venue. Lurking bridal parties, family members, venue staff, or not, the cakes arrive completely blank to the venue and the sugar flower arrangements are done on the spot. So, I will go to all lengths and often forego sleep for 48 hours or more in attempt to ensure a completely original and delicious end result. www.mischiefmakercakes.com 📸/Post Production: Natasha Raichel Photography.

Project Description

Scott and Angie’s sugar flower wedding cake. This cake is a perfect example of how sugar flowers can allow a designer to create a mood and color palette that fresh flowers cannot. With sugar flowers, the freedom to use floral varieties that may not be readily available at that particular time of year/ or in your area of the world. Cake tiers provide the perfect ground for sugar flowers to both grow and prosper. Scott and Angie wanted the cake to be a textural display. We played with various ideas of how to integrate different textures into the cake design, but the way we chose to go about it in the end was to infuse texture through the various shapes, movements, and feel of the flowers. Much like Scott and Angie’s family, the cake melds two separate cultures into one cohesive whole. To achieve this cohesion, we worked traditionally Chinese flowers, such as the lotus and peonies, into an arrangement with more commonly used western oriented flowers and style. While culture and heritage are present in the cake design, they do not dominate, and leave room for personal style choices and preferences. With this cake, we wanted to show that the not oft-used lotus, while the star of any arrangement, can seamlessly be worked into everyday arrangements. It’s unusual form and unique center scares designers into using it on its own, or not at all. Since lotus flowers can live for centuries, if not millennia, they are sacred in many cultures as a symbol of resurrection and endurance, which makes them perfect for any wedding. In addition to the lotus, this arrangement houses elaborate interchanges of shapes and textures, including the concentric circles of the ranunculus and the fluffiness of the sugar tree peonies. No one could even begin to imagine the amount of hours and workload that it takes to execute something of this magnitude, with this many sugar flowers and this many details. You are at a point working beyond your means for the love of the concept and the outcome, pushing yourself far beyond that of a normal designer, employee, or someone that you simply hire to execute a job. It is not a 9-5 job, but it also isn’t a 9-5 result. I could say this for all of our cakes. When it comes down to the weeks prior to the cake and working these sorts of hours, it comes down to dedication. Not just myself, but my mother too. 18 plus hour days. Then you factor in two more people working to get the cake to the point that it can arrive at the venue. To execute large scale projects of this nature, it is the dedication to the work and complete willingness to give up any personal life/ be completely selfless in order to complete it. This is something that not every couple is able to understand. I am pleased that this cake turned out exactly as promised to the clients, and that we were able to see the execution of the design come to life. That’s what matters, and that’s what it’s about. I was once asked, “What does sugar artistry mean to you?”. In this question, I break down the workload of one cake, as I am often asked, “How long does it take to make one of your cakes?” “ How long do the sugar flowers take to make?”. This was my answer: What does sugar artistry mean to you? Everything. Achieving a high quality of craft in the flavors, details, and overall end aesthetic of my cakes are one of the main reasons for which I live and breathe. They have robbed me of sleep, but have rewarded me otherwise in every way possible. My mother and I work on all of the sugar flowers for my cakes together. If it didn’t mean a lot to me, I wouldn’t strive so hard on every cake I do, sacrifice sleep and outings, and have systems in place to ensure that I keep the high standard that is expected on each project. I take on one wedding cake per week, at most, but, generally, I prefer only two per month. I maintain the high level of detail on my cakes by keeping the calendar small and exclusive. For one wedding cake, sugar flowers may take a full week of two people working full on, nonstop 12-18 hour days of work. 18 hour days are very common during wedding season. This is often how we prefer to work, as opposed to spacing out the sugar flower making in advance. The flowers seem to look fresher, when they are made or refreshed directly before the event. Commonly, there are last minute changes to the bride’s bouquet, as fresh flowers aren’t ordered for weddings until two weeks before. By waiting to complete the sugar flowers until closer to the event, they look their best, and we can accommodate small tweaks and last minute design alterations that make the cakes blend with the event perfectly. Your average working person may work 40 hours a week. So, in comparison, we will complete 90 hours of work in a typical five day, 18 hour a day work week, and that’s only for one of us. When both my time and my mother’s time are factored in, we easily spend 180 hours in five days, making sugar flowers for one wedding cake, and we often work 6 to 7 days on sugar flowers for one order; so, our workload is usually closer to 168-252 hours on the sugar flowers alone for a cake. Then, there is a week dedicated almost solely to finishing up last minute sugar flower details, macaron making, preparing to bake the cake, assembly, other design elements etc. This, again, doesn’t include the hours of pre-planning, consulting, concept development, design work, and sketching. In order to maintain the freshest cake possible, the cakes are baked on a 2-day to 3-day timeline before the event, while still arriving on time at the venue for sugar flower assembly. Yes, I adorn the cake with all sugar flowers once I reach the venue. Lurking bridal parties, family members, venue staff, or not, the cakes arrive completely blank to the venue and the sugar flower arrangements are done on the spot. So, I will go to all lengths and often forego sleep for 48 hours or more in attempt to ensure a completely original and delicious end result. www.mischiefmakercakes.com 📸/Post Production: Natasha Raichel Photography.

Q&A with Alex Narramore

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