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Five years ago, I earned my first brother-in-law. It was a muddy day by the lake where I grew up cleaning cabins and scrubbing dishes for cash in the summer. We had a tent to keep out the rain and gave up on our fancy shoes pretty quickly. My sisters and I, with mud between our toes, wearing our matching sage dresses, stood by our sister. The guitarist played questionably but with passion. Melissa glided in with grace and beauty. John avoided impaling his foot on a wine glass by stepping on it correctly. And he was family now.

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Five years later, there are no regrets, only more love, more cherished memories and much happiness. To celebrate, Melissa and John threw a party to renew their vows and the theme was Forties & Peacocks! Their party guests did not disappoint with their costumes and the food was excellent. In fact, Melissa took a bold approach as she asked party goers to bring a dish to share. Fortunately, all of our friends and family seem to be wonderful chefs and we feasted!

For my part, I had been asked months ago to provide the cake for the evening and I readily agreed. I was advised the flavor should be Chocolate Mint and the theme Peacocks. I played around with many ideas, Melissa and I bouncing Pinterest links back and forth. I knew she wanted cupcakes and possibly a small cake. I thought of making gum paste peacock feathers for each cupcake. I even went so far as to make a mold. Then my mother suggested making a stencil and using it to apply colored sugars in the design of a feather. In the end, we did neither.

I decided to replicate an idea we’d seen and loved but with our own twists. The design made the small cake for the ceremonial cutting the focus of the eye and the cupcakes around it were supporting elements and kept fairly simple. We used a bronze peacock pendant from Michael’s for the ribbon decoration. 

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My husband is also a chef, as many of you know, and he was excited by this project so he actually did a lot of the work. He covered the cake in fondant and painted the feathers on. For paint, he used luster dust mixed with gin (you can use any alcohol or flavor extract). We tried to use deeper tones for the ribbons, paint and icing where possible. However, tinting icing a deep tone is tricky without the exact right gels, so we did our best. As a touch of pride in our work, I chose a flower for my hair and one for Noah’s lapel to match the purple ribbon on the cake.

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That is not to say the cake is without flaw. We had covered and finished the cake on Friday night, the night before the party, and we awoke the next morning to discover that the fondant had bulged out on one side. Try as we might, gently and with soothing coaxing words, we were not able to fix it. However, I am still quite pleased with the way the cake and display came out.

Congratulations, Melissa and John, on five years of wonderful marriage and a million more! 

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