Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gumpaste and Fondant with Nicholas Lodge

For the last two weeks my class has been creating cakes with one of the world's top sugar artists, Nicholas Lodge. Chef Lodge is originally from England, but now primarily resides near his two schools in Atlanta and Tokyo. By the age of 20 he was the head designer at Woodnutts, one of England's best sugar schools, and creating cakes for luxury hotels like the Ritz and the Savoy in London. One of his many claims to fame was creating one of the official wedding cakes for Lady Diana and Prince Charles.

We created three cakes over the two weeks, fitting as many techniques into each as we could. The first cake we decorated was the Amour Cake. At the beginning of the semester we baked a traditional English fruit cake with almonds, walnuts, apricots, glace cherries, citrus peal, currants and sultanas. We then let it mature, brushing it with French brandy and glycerine for several weeks. After, we covered it in marzipan and royal icing, which helps preserve the cake, and decorated it for Valentine's Day. The cake will continue to mature ideally for a total of three months, although chef Lodge reports he once redecorated a 17 year old cake that was in perfect condition. I'm planning to stick a Santa's hat on the cherub and to serve it at Christmas.

The Winter Wonderland Cake uses common British decorating techniques to create vignettes, which I think are really nice for a children's cake. Many of the images are flat, but some sit forward to create a scene like a pop-up book. My favorite is the garden tools that have been left over the winter to collect snow.

We also created a wedding cake with gumpaste bows, sugar pearls and broach, and a gumpaste flower topper. The arrangement included a gardenia, miniature orchids and calla lilies and sat in a pressed sugar vase decorated with Cornelli Lace.