Recently Cake Central set a cupcake challenge via their website to create a collection of cupcakes inspired by a select theme and colour palette; ‘Old Hollywood Glamour’ in particular. The palette consisted of beautiful soft creams, golds and champagnes, rose pinks and a rich plum hue which we loved the idea of working with. Alongside this colour scheme was the imagery of old Hollywood elegance; glimmering Elizabeth Taylor-like jewels, shimmering fabrics, florals and textile pleats and ruffles.
As we set to work creating our small 1930s Hollywood inspired cupcakes we thought this would be a great chance for us to show how we work on our more bespoke designs. The first thing we do is brew a lovely hot cup of tea and sit down to discuss any imagery, inspiration boards, colour ideas or even swatches we’ve been given. In this case, Cake Central created a lovely Pinterest board full of the key images to follow (see below) with a brief that called for ‘subtle glamour’. From this board/brief we settled upon taking elements of texture, look and design rather than interpreting the inspirational images literally. The elements we chose to work with incorporated not just the colours or champagne, vanilla cream, rose and plum, but the flavours also; glimmering golds and subtle pearlescent sheens, textile pleats and ruffles, rose elements and the grandeur of edible gold!
After establishing out key design and colour elements we quickly sketch out a number of ideas with notes and thoughts about what may or may not work. On paper a design is easy to imagine and create, but these need work and need to be reconsidered with your cake decorator ‘hat’ on as some ideas would not prove practical in buttercream, fondant, jam or cake layers! At this stage we eliminate and swap ideas over, however, these aren’t set in stone. Sometimes you need to think on your feet when it comes to the actual cake decorating stage.
One of the next stages is to develop our rough sketches into more inspired designs by sketching the final ideas out and adding colour using watercolours. This helps us see a more end result so we’re less dazzled and more prepared when it comes to decorating. It also helps us see how our colours are going to work together.
Once we’ve got all out preparation ideas, sketches and paintings done we gather together our materials and tools, bake our cakes (or in this case, cupcakes), whip up (literally) our buttercream, do a final test of flavours and we are ready to decorate! Any fondant, flowerpaste or buttercreams need to be coloured first and kept close to the final colour palette. Then we begin on the more time consuming tasks such as creating our flowerpaste ombré rose which needs to be worked fabric thin and is incredibly delicate and can take up to an hour to create!
When it comes to cupcakes once all are piped things begin to come together a lot more. It’s an exciting thing to see all of your hard work of prep begin to form into your end design. The wonderful thing about baking and decorating is that you see everything develop in stages from just a collection of ingredients. It’s the perfect career or hobby for anyone who is patient, loves piecing things together, and is both creative and practical.