I've gotten many questions concerning "how do you make a cake like that?" after I post pictures of what I've done. So here are some answers to some of the questions.
1. How do you make wedding cakes with three boys? It does require some juggling. All three of my boys nap take naps in the afternoon spanning from 1:30 - 4:30. Allan and Daniel go down at 1:30 and while they're working on going to sleep Stephen gets a bottle and goes down at 2:00. Allan is allowed out of bed at 3:30 (He usually doesn't sleep but has a quiet rest time), Daniel sleeps until 3:30 or 4:00 and Stephen wakes up at 4:30. As soon as Stephen goes down I get to work. Mondays are spent gathering the last of the supplies if needed and I get all of the pans, mixes, decorating paraphernalia moved into the kitchen. Tuesday I make the icing. Wednesday and Thursday I bake (I usually start the cakes that require over an hour of baking time in the morning that way they can be in the oven while we're in school). Thursday I also start the initial icing. Friday is the final icing and decorating and (usually) Saturday is set up. So...I work while they sleep. If the time ever comes where cake decorating encroaches on my ability to be a wife and mother then my cake decorating days will end. The second thing that is probably the most important is that I have a husband who supports me. The week a wedding cake is due means that the house will not be in pristine condition and shirts may not be ironed but there are no complaints from him. In fact last week I ran into some time crunches and so Friday evening he took all three boys out to his mom's for 5 hours while I worked. If he didn't help, I wouldn't be able to do this. He's also responsible for keeping the boys while I do setups on Saturdays.
2. How do you keep your boys out of your cakes? I sometimes don't and pretty much every cake has their "mark" on it somewhere. The first thing we ever trained our boys to learn was what "no touch" meant and that applies to cakes. So as far as them deliberately messing with them - they don't (usually) but sometimes accidents happen. For example: This last wedding cake was sitting (unassembled) on my kitchen counter and Daniel was "helping" me by sweeping the kitchen. The problem was as he lifted the broom to move the dustpan the handle smacked into the side of the cake effectively de-icing the one side. That's no big deal...just slap some new icing on it. I use the leftover batter to make cupcakes and they know that those belong to them.
3. How did you make the snowflakes? Not difficult at all...the week before the wedding I took three afternoons and made them. I use a royal icing made of 10x sugar, meringue powder and water. This is made thick enough to pipe out of a decorating bag and then dries hard. This time I googled "snowflake clip art" and found some patterns that I thought would work. Then I place a piece of waxed paper over the pattern and trace it onto the waxed paper. After they dry I peel them off and prepare to use them. By peeling them off the waxed paper you break about 50% of them but even broken ones can be used. This time there was one pattern that I lost all of the ones that I'd made. Every time I do snowflakes I promise myself I'll never do another one!
Other pictures of this particular cake are posted at David and Sarah Fry's blog and on Regina Ekert's Facebook page .
4. What is the hardest part of decorating a cake? 1. getting it perfectly level 2. getting the icing smooth. Once those two are accomplished it takes very little time to decorate. Once I ice a cake it sits for just a few moments until the icing starts to crust. I then use a paint roller with a dense foam brush and actually "roll" the icing smooth. I used to use hot water but this left the surface tacky and if too much water is used it can cause the icing to get too thin and causes all kinds of problems. It takes several hours to get everything iced and smoothed. Usually only an hour or two is spent actually decorating. But if you don't have a smooth icing then the entire cake looks messy.
Hope this helps for those of you who are interested.