Chevron Cake + Chevron & Stache Party!
image: Ted SheppardWe celebrated this past Sunday at the lake, where the sun was shining and the house a buzz with Mary's closest friends and family giddy with love and first-time-mom-to-be excitement. If ever there has been a woman meant to be a mom, it's her, and we can't wait to greet this cherished little man in May (and by greet I mean spoil beyond belief). And what better way to celebrate than with countless pounds of butter and sugar disguised as an array of little man mustaches and chevron cake? Mary loves blue of all shades, particularly turquoise, and she loves chevron. And her man loves all-things mustache, so it seemed like an obvious choice to embrace the recent trend of chevron and staches with a slight rustic twist, since the party was being held in cottage country. I did find some incredible inspiration (check out this unbelievable party) peppered all over Pinterest, so it wasn't long before I found myself scribbling all sorts of dessert table details and sketches on paper. I knew that a crisp graphic two-tier chevron cake was going to be part of the plan, so I spent a few weeks planning how I was going to execute that. I've never done a chevron cake, and I really wanted it to be super-clean and almost paper-like. Before we chat about chevron cake, I'd love to share a few photos from the rest of the dessert table: I started with a big batch of mustache cookies using my favourite dark chocolate cookie recipe and my Fred and Friends Munchstaches Cookie Cutter/Stamps -- I've been dying to use these! I also made a huge batch of salted chocolate chip cookies and saved a few scoops of the cookie dough to add to the cake filling. One of my new favourite buttercream variations, for certain. I made some lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon frosting, along with some funfetti cupcakes and fondant-covered little man cookies. I couldn't resist making some chocolate mustache lollies (my favourite ones are the "blonde" staches, for some unknown reason). I used candy melts this time, just for pure convenience really. They do yield a super-glossy and resilient stache! Cousin Leah made these adorable mustache cake pops, which were a big hit -- especially with cakelet Neve who said these were her "most favourite thing on the party table."
image: Ted Sheppard
I made a batch of cheesecake pops and topped them with some little mustache flags (I'm in love with these little flags!). I love cheesecake pops for a dessert table because you can make and freeze them ahead of time, I discovered. Since I couldn't possibly make all of these treats at the last minute, it was important that I could do as much as possible in the weeks leading up to the party. I froze them in large plastic freezer bags, opened just a bit. I took them from freezer to fridge the day before the party and they held up so well during the travel and, most importantly, tasted fabulous.
image: Ted Sheppard
So, now let's talk Chevron Cake! The cake was a 5-inch round atop an 8-inch round dark chocolate cake filled with cookie dough Italian Meringue buttercream and covered in vanilla buttercream, marshmallow fondant and finally chevron "panels" made from white and turquoise candy clay. A week or so before I started making the cake, I started looking for a chevron pattern I liked online, to use as a template -- who knew there were so many, but the size of the chevron really does change the whole look of the cake. I knew I wanted it to be on the larger size because I liked the visual, but also because I wanted to apply the chevron pattern in panels, and I knew that if the pattern itself was too small there'd be more chance for misalignment -- eek!
First I should say that the Candy Clay recipe is from the Wilton website, and I highly recommend it. Candy clay is essentially like a yummy playdough that boasts an amazing sheen, softens with the warmth of your hand, doesn't dry out when exposed to air and cuts into shapes beautifully. It's so easy to make (like scary easy) -- it's literally just melted candy melts and corn syrup stirred together -- the corn syrup seizes the candy melts and, once it's dried out a bit, you simply knead it into a modeling clay of sorts. And while you can't cover a cake in it (it has no real stretch component), it's amazing for decorating fondant-covered cakes. It doesn't bend or distort like fondant does when you try to pick up small pieces or strips, making it ideal for this kind of a graphic design.
So I went with this pattern template, printed it out at 100% and then cut a section from it that would become my panel template (you could use any printable chevron pattern online or even chevron scrapbook paper). My cakes were 4.5" high, so I cut the template piece at that height, one chevron wide. I decided to cut the chevron straight down the middle, resulting in two pieces, so essentially each panel was half of a chevron wide (1.75-inches). The circumference of my 8-inch cake was 26-inches, so I knew I needed 14 panels (26 divided by 1.75 = 14).
Using an awesome technique created by Jessica Harris, I simply placed waxed paper squares over the template paper (just a bit bigger than the template), applied a thin layer of shortening to the wax paper and lined up the bottom edges. I then placed strips of the candy clay (turquoise and white) along the lines of the template until it was covered, then trimmed the edges with a small sharp knife. I gently rubbed some shortening to the area of the cake where each panel would be applied, using a paper towel, and then carefully pressed each panel onto the cake, making sure each one was straight. Technically you could just do the turquoise (or colour of your choice) portion of the template, leaving the white as negative space, but I really wanted to fill in the white areas with white candy clay.
To ensure your pieces are all the same thickness (and to save you a lot of time and rolling), use a Pasta Machine at a nice thin setting to feed your rolled candy clay pieces through (it also works well for fondant and gumpaste too). I cut one "stripe" from a leftover piece of the template paper and used it to cut all of my chevron stripes with before placing on the wax paper.
In a perfect world, if your math is right, your panels should all line up, but remember that if each one is off even a tiny bit, then in the end you might end up with too much space or not enough for that last panel. (Trust me.) But, you can always have a "back" to the cake if you end up with an oopy with the final panel.
I made the cake topper by simply cutting five 1-inch patterned paper circles and threading them together and securing them to two skewers. I was inspired by this amazing cake, and it's one of my favourite details!
And just in case you're feeling the need to nestle your chevron cake among an array of other desserts, here's a recap of the Chevron & Stache treats that were part of the party:Chevron & Stache Dessert Table Menu:
- Chevron Cake -- dark chocolate cake filled with cookie dough Italian meringue buttercream
- Cheesecake Pops (blue)
- Lemon Surprise Cupcakes (in parchment liners) -- lemon cake filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon frosting
- Funfetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
- Chocolate Stache Cake Pops
- Salted Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Mustache Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Little Man Fondant Cookies
- Chocolate Mustache Lollies
- Yellow Swirl Meringues