Cheese Cake, Pt. 2: Embellishments

I had looked online for decorating ideas while brainstorming the cheese cake. Most of them used grape bunches, which makes sense. I didn’t know how well a bunch of grapes would sit on the marzipan covered in icing sugar, it seemed a bit risky. I saw several, though, with frosted grapes. I thought that might be a better option. I also thought the candied appearance of the grapes would make it more obvious that it was a cake as opposed to real cheese. I looked up the instructions and made a test batch. Each grape had to be brushed with egg white, but for food safety purposes I opted to mix up some meringue powder instead, then sprinkled with superfine sugar and left to dry. They came out very nice, a juicy grape with a crisp sweet coating on it. They couldn’t be refrigerated, because when you take them out of the fridge the condensation would dissolve the meringue and sugar and leave the grapes soggy. For the final cake I made them the night before the wedding, and had each grape on a toothpick. This made it easier for them to dry without touching each other, and then I could just stick the toothpicks into the cake to keep them in place.

I had some marzipan leftover from various test cakes, so I used the odds and ends to make some ‘crackers.’ I rolled out the marzipan and used a rectangle cookie cutter to cut some of them. In order to get the rounded sides of the crackers I placed a piece of plastic bag over the marzipan and cut them through the plastic. This rounds down the edges. Then I used a toothpick to poke little holes, again through the plastic, and finally used a fork to go around the outside edges. For the round crackers I just used a fluted round cookie cutter, and again used plastic to cut it and poke the holes. As they dried I sprinkled some sugar on to look like they had salted tops. I made the crackers about a week in advance so they would have time to harden and hopefully not bend over each other in the final presentation.

I wanted a cake topper and thought that a couple wine glasses with wine would be appropriate. Full sized wine glasses would be too big, so I looked for a couple mini wine glasses, which were easily found at Value Village. I didn’t want to put actual wine in, just in case anything spilled, but I wanted something in the glasses. My friend, Ms. Adventures in Baking, suggested colouring some clear piping gel, so that’s what I did. It was tricky to keep small bubbles from getting in as I mixed, but it came out fairly well.

And lastly, instead of using a regular cake board I asked my Father-in-law if he could make a large round cutting board at his pattern making business on which the cake could sit. It was absolutely beautiful, the perfect base for the cheese. The final embellishment was a cheese knife that could be used to cut the cake; decorative and functional, just the right touch.

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