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Making it work at the Kona Kai
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Making it work at the Kona Kai

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This past weekend Twiggs did a wedding cake for Jeannie and Forrest who got married at the Kona Kai, a pleasant resort hotel at the end of Shelter Island.  While I was delivering another cake, I got a call from the bakery that one of Jeannie’s bridesmaids had called and needed to speak to me right away.  When I called, she said that the florist had not brought flowers for the cake.  Was there anything I could do?  I told her not to worry that I’d figure something out.  I’ve delivered several wedding cakes which did not have the flowers that were suppose to be there, so I’ve learned to improvise.  Honestly, I think a valid response would be to say “not my problem, sorry,” but I do want to do something if I can.

In 20 years of delivering cakes, this is the first time anyone called me ahead of time to let me know there were no flowers.  Usually I just show up at the reception site and find out then there aren’t flowers.  We had some gumpaste orchids that were white and lavender, so I took these with me on the delivery.   Once I got the Kona Kai, however, I realized the cake would stick out like a sore thumb if I put these on it.  The whole reception was fall colors.  To make matters worse, the cake was in the center of the room with every angle of the cake visible.  If the cake’s against a wall, you really just have to decorate the front of the cake and can leave the back blank.  I couldn’t do that here.

The first option for a cake where the flowers are a no-show is to see if there are floral centerpieces on each table that can be discreetly pruned.  By definition, the cake will tie into the rest of the reception if you do this.  Sometimes this isn’t an option if there’s a single protea in the center of the table.  But Jeannie’s wedding was a best case scenario.  The centerpieces were very full.  There were big stargazer lilies and spider mums which really couldn’t be harvested without a noticeable difference in the look of the centerpiece.  Those are too big to put on a cake anyway.  But there were a lot of tea roses and eucalpytus leaves filling out the centerpiece which could easily be discreetly picked out without anyone being the wiser.   So I went around to each table taking 2 or so flowers and some leaves from each centerpiece until I had enough to make the cake look pretty from all angles.  Jeannie had wanted a cascade of flowers going down the cake.  There’s no way I could take enough flowers to do that without really denuding some of the centerpieces.  So I took just enough to accent the cake and not make it look too bare.  I know it wasn’t what Jeannie wanted, but given the circumstances, I think the cake looked great.

Below are pictures of one of the centerpieces post harvest and the cake itself.   Click on the image to see larger versions.

      

 
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