Monday, June 11, 2012

That time where I baked a wedding cake

You probably have come to the conclusion that I like to bake. Just look at the plethora of baked goods recipes compared to savory recipes up on my Recipage.

This past weekend, one of my friends got married. She asked me several months ago if I would bake her wedding cake

You see... I have never wanted to bake a wedding cake. They always seemed so intimidating and scary. What if it collapses on itself? What if I can't get it to look good? What if it's too hot and the icing turns all droopy? There are just too many variables with a wedding cake, and too much pressure.

I asked my friend, "Are you sure you don't want cupcakes?! Those are so easy!" She and her fiance really wanted a cake.  Since it was only for 85 people, I accepted, and considered it to be a challenge.

I got some Wilton 3-inch deep cake pans in three sizes - 6", 10", and 14" so I could do a 3-tiered cake. The first task was to bake the cakes. (The easy part.)

The 14" tier was chocolate, the 10" tier was red velvet, and the 6" tier was carrot cake. I also made a half-sheet pan of white almond sour cream cake. I lined each of the bottom of the pans with parchment so that the cakes would flip out easily and not fall apart.

White almond sour cream sheet cake in the back, carrot cake in the front.

Then, I had to frost and fill them. The 6" carrot cake was by far the easiest. Because it was so small, I cut it into two layers very quickly, frosted between, and frosted all around the outside.

Ran out of frosting halfway through the red velvet...

The red velvet cake and chocolate cake proved to be a bit more challenging to cut into two layers. But I had quite the set-up with lots of cardboard cake circles that helped all the cakes stay in one piece.

I think I made 4 double batches of vanilla buttercream total over the course of the day. Wowza!

The hardest part was getting the frosting on the outside to be smooth. I found that dipping my icing spatula in hot water and going over the rough spots helped a lot.

Thank goodness for TV trays! I don't know where I would have set all these cakes otherwise.

Assembling the cake wasn't too bad. I took a piece of white foam board and cut it to a 16-inch square to act as my cake board.

I also cut a small bit of kitchen cabinet liner so that my cake wouldn't slide around on the cake board.

Since wedding cakes often have multiple tall tiers, you can't just stack them on top of each other and hope for the best. You have to put some sort of support inside the cakes to keep them from collapsing - the most common is wooden dowels. 

Well... I do not have wooden dowels just lying around, plus they would be super hard to cut to the right height. So I googled the heck out of "substitutes for wooden dowels in wedding cakes" and discovered a pretty genius alternative. Plastic drinking straws.

No, those aren't birthday candles, they're straws!

Because they fill up with cake when you insert them, they actually are almost as sturdy as dowels. (Would I use straws for a 6-tier cake? Probably not. But for a 3-tier, they worked just fine!) For the bottom layer, I inserted 5 straws into the cake, and then cut them to the same height as the cake.

Then I was ready for the second tier! The tiers were pretty easy to stack, since they were each on their own cardboard round.

Almost there!

After inserting 3 support straws for the second tier, I added the top tier.

All decorated!

Then I spent quite a bit of time trying to smooth out the icing, and did some very simple decorating. My friend gave me free reign as for decorating, and I figured that simple was good. (Especially for my first wedding cake.)

My next dilemma was "How do I store the darned thing?" I don't think tupperwares exist that would be large enough to hold a wedding cake.

Tucked away in its nice little box for the evening.
So I rigged up a special box by cutting two boxes and binding them together with packing tape. That way, once I got to the reception site, I could just cut away the sides of the boxes and not have to reach down into the box to try to pull the cake out.

Here's the fun part - the 70 minute drive to the reception site. I told my Business Man that the cake would be sitting on my lap the entire time, and he would need to be an incredibly cautious driver. (Have I mentioned the time we were transporting 150 cupcakes and almost got in a car accident?! Cupcakes all over the car. Ay ay ay...) Besides turning into a popsicle from having the A/C on full blast, the drive went smoothly.

My attempt at a car picture with the cake.

Once I got to the site, I finished up the cake by attaching the purple ribbon, per the bride's request. I think it turned out really well!

The wedding was beautiful, and I was happy to help a friend out on her big day. 

I also managed to snag the last piece of red velvet cake... and if I do say so myself, it was moist & delicious. No dry wedding cake here!

So, thank you Susan, for getting me out of my comfort zone and getting me to make my first wedding cake!

My Business Man & I at the reception
Now the question is... would I do it again? Yes, but probably not anytime soon. Heh. It was definitely a labor of love. :)


Have Your Way said...

WHOO!!! MAD props to you girl!!!!!! It looked BEAUTIFUL :)

Also, I LOVE YOUR dress!!! Great picture of you and your business man :)

Alissa said...

Random: I think this is the dress you wore to our wedding. I only noticed this because Ian and I watched our wedding video this weekend...and all the lovely advice as well. Loved you and the CC girls singing GC Alma Mater song :) Miss you friend!

Michael said...
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