I'm not in the business of making wedding cakes, nor do I want to be, but I make exceptions for family and close friends. Clearly, there's a lot of pressure involved, and my hat goes off to anyone who chooses this as an occupation. Any cake that is served to a large group of people should always be the perfect trifecta of beauty, flavor and texture, and I still feel like I'm learning to master all of those elements. That's why I'm amazed that anyone would trust me with their most memorable cake, but alas, earlier this year I was asked, and I said yes because I love my family. I reasoned that even if it was an epic failure, everything would be okay because my family is still obligated to love me.
When I learned of this new project, I turned to my friends at Wilton. They gave me some great products to work with, and I'm not sure how this cake would have turned out without them. The cake's design is very simple, but that means the few embellishments on the cake needed to be well executed.
The black ribbon around the bottom of the cake is cut from Wilton Sugar Sheets. I tried using fondant for this at first, but I could never make it look as uniform as it needed to be. The Sugar Sheets turned out to be a life saver! They are as easy to cut as regular paper (with kitchen-dedicated scissors, of course) and gave the cake a crisp black edge. Plus, it had none of the metallic taste that is associated with black food color. I am a fan!
Another tool Wilton sent was the Lace Fondant and Gum Paste Mold. The bride picked out a specific floral design that I hand painted on the cake, but when I finished painting the first flower, I felt it needed a little something extra. I made the flower centers with black fondant and the gum paste mold. I know it looks subtle, but it really made the finished cake look polished.
The black crossed lines on the bottom tier are made with black fondant, and boy, were those ever difficult to get right! Maybe someday I'll dedicate an entire post and video tutorial on how to create the effect. It sure is pretty but I spent several hours measuring, moving, straightening, fixing - repeat, repeat, repeat!
Speaking of tutorials. I decided to make a video on how to achieve smooth buttercream frosting on a cake, specifically for cakes that will be covered in fondant. Once upon a time I applied a measly thin coat of buttercream, but have since seen the err of my ways. A thick coat hides imperfections better, and in my opinion it makes the cake taste better too.
You'll need a couple of special tools, a $5 bench scraper (that is worth many times that, if you ask me) and a cake turntable (or a homemade turntable, as suggested in the video). Email subscribers, click here to watch the video.
Did I mention the top tier was made of cheesecake? Friends. There's a very good reason why wedding cakes are not made of cheesecake. I'd only suggest doing this if you are able to remove the cake from the refrigerator, snap a couple of formal pictures, and then commence the cutting all within 15 minutes. We did not have this luxury, so the cheesecake was very soft. Luckily, the bride got her requested piece, and the remaining cake was whisked off to the refrigerator.
After agreeing to do cupcake favors and also the groom's cake, I realized I'd need some help. My sister-in-law Megan was a real life saver. I think she's recently taken to wearing flip-flops to avoid tying one more bow. But oh, the favors were pretty!
Major props to Megan again for figuring out how to enlarge the Jeep logo. I've never seen it look so elegant (and trust me, I know because we have two!). I used the same smoothing technique on the groom's cake as I did on the buttercream base for the wedding cake. You can see a few spots where I stopped and started with the bench scraper, but overall the effect is nice. Plus, cake should look like cake - right?!
I mention in the video to use a frosting with high butter content. You can find two very suitable frostings here with my cupcake frosting tutorial.
I ended up being the cake-cutter again, but thankfully I had help. The support dowels were removed before the first slice was served (a valuable lesson I learned from making this cake). In the end everyone was served and love was celebrated. I even got a few cake recipe requests, which I'll most likely fill by adding them to this blog.
Biggest love and hugs to the bride and groom. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your big day!