Henna Inspired Cake

So my brother-in-law calls me on Thursday to ask if I can make a cake to feed 40 people for Saturday afternoon.  I immediately say yes, hang up the phone, and realize I have no idea how I’m going to do this.

Thankfully, the Wilton Tent Sale is going in full swing, so I grab my mom and head out at 9 am Friday morning to buy a few cake pans, some icing coloring and a few other odds and ends.  I get  home and get cracking.  I decided I would bake and torte two 12″ square cakes, one yellow and one chocolate, then put them together to make one enormous sheet cake.

After rigging together a few cake boards with a plastic cutting board for support, I get to work on assembly.  Torting was, uh, interesting.  no matter what kind of tools or tricks that are supposed to make it easier, it is always a challenge to make the layers level and even.  Still, it was better than I expected.  I filled the layers, crumb coated the cake and went to my daughter’s skating lesson.  Upon our return I finished icing the cake and using the Viva paper towel method, did my best to make a smooth, even surface for my line decorations.

I had spent most of Thursday evening researching and sketching out different henna patterns.  After figuring out which ones I wanted to use I sketched out a basic plan in my notebook.  I went over it with marker to get an idea of what it would look like in color.

Cake Sketch

Now I was ready to decorate, but I hadn’t yet settled on a color.  I wanted to stay away from colors that were too dark considering it’s nearly summertime, so burgundy and dark green were out.  It was a cake for two guys and a girl, so colors like pink and purple were out.  I wanted it appetizing so I voted out brown (even though real henna is more brown than anything).  I settled on some sort of orange.  I started coloring the piping icing and at first it was too pink so I added some yellow.  Ugh, now it was too….fleshy.  So I slowly added some orange and copper until I settled on the color shown.  I started with the pattern on top.

Turns out I’m nearly as shaky as a Parkinson’s patient while trying to do intricate linework, so I tried to modulate my breathing and just look at it as sketching.  Without being able to erase.

Gulp!

After about 1.5 hours I was done with the line work and completed the lettering.

Henna-look Cake

It was starting to get late (about 8 pm) when I started the border.  I didn’t think it would take too long but it turns out that to do intricate work on 72 linear inches takes quite a bit of time.

Border Detail

Everyone was thrilled with the cake and I was happy I had an opportunity to play creatively.

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