Project M + A Wedding Cake: The Final Days

We are in full cake lock down mode people! There are two days left until Michelle and Adam’s wedding.

To recap, I am making a three-tiered vanilla cake that is 6-, 9-, and 12-inches in diameter with a mango-lime curd and blueberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting.

This has been my timeline:

Two weeks ago

I started to bake the cake layers a couple weeks ago. I used Martha Stewart’s Yellow Cake recipe and made this 3 times.  I feel like I could recite the recipe in my sleep and probably make it while blindfolded (emphasis on probably). I was a bit nervous in the beginning since it was my first time baking a 12″ round cake. I was worried that the outside was going to bake faster than the inside. I found out that you can stick a flower nail in the middle to help evenly distribute the heat. A flower nail is a super big nail that is used to pipe flowers on.  It’s also a great heat conductor. I love when things can serve double duty!

I would recommend this cake to anyone looking for a good vanilla cake recipe. I have made this recipe with whole milk, sour cream and full fat yogurt. In the end I decided to use full fat yogurt because I liked the texture it produce but feel free to use what you prefer. The recipe also calls to separate the eggs. I have found that separating the eggs at room temperature was easier for me but bad when it came to time to whip up the egg whites. Egg whites whip much easier if they are cold. So after I separated the eggs, the egg whites went back into the refrigerator. I also ran into a problem with how to whip the egg whites since I only own a KitchenAid stand mixer and not a hand mixer. I also only have one KitchenAid mixing bowl so I would have had to transfer the batter to a new bowl, wash it, replace the paddle attachment with a whip attachment, and then whip the eggs. #firstworldproblems Well I found I could use my immersion blender (thanks cousin!) to whip the egg whites into soft peaks. So I also placed the mixing cylinder into the refrigerator with the bowl of egg whites. Once you get the egg whites into soft peaks, gently fold them into the batter. Be mindful not to over mix!

I’ve also found the cakes are easier to get out of the pan when I used baking spray versus butter and flouring the pans. I always use parchment paper with this. It’s tedious to cut out parchment paper but it will make your life SO much easier. So just do it.

After I baked the cakes, I either placed them on a wire rack which went straight into the freezer or I placed the cake still in the pan straight into the freezer. For me personally, having the cakes be frozen made it that much easier to triple wrap in plastic wrap. They only need to be in the freezer for 20 or 30 minutes.

Once they’re wrapped in the freezer you can forget about them until it’s time to fill, frost and decorate!

One week ago

I made the frosting last weekend. I know you can freeze buttercream up to a month but let’s face it, my freezer is overwhelmed with cake right now and it doesn’t want me stuffing more things in it. I really like the Crumb Boss’ Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I think it’s because she uses a combination of shortening and butter which seems to hold up better. It is so easy to make! I made this recipe 3 times and it’s probably another one I could make in my sleep blindfolded. That doesn’t make any sense I know. 

I have three five-pound tubs of buttercream!

If you’re going to do this properly I would suggest getting a digital scale. You will find owning one is really handy especially if you want to get more serious with baking. Weighing your ingredients is a gazillion times more accurate than measuring them. Though if you don’t have a scale, you will see someone converted the ingredients into cups if you scroll down to the comments. The only downside is that you are left with 18 egg yolks. I mean it’s hard enough to use up a few here and there but 18 – egads. Luckily I have found ways to use them up. I’ll share recipes in following posts.

Five days ago

Mango-lime curd time! Make sure you have a good strainer for this is all I can say. And yes I think it’s an important step to strain the curd otherwise you get stringy pieces of mango and lime flesh in your curd. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Bon Appetit. I made this twice and I don’t think I’ll end up using all of it.

Today

I took out all the cake layers from the freezer this morning before leaving for work and left them in the refrigerator to defrost. This evening with Chris’ help (thanks Chris!) I measured and split all the cakes, filled them with alternating layers of mango-lime curd and blueberries, and applied the crumb coat. They look glorious! I am so happy.

Tomorrow

All I have left is to decorate! This won’t be a small task for sure but it’s the most fun. I can’t wait! I’ll be sure to have more pictures of the final cake. Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. It’s hard to take pictures as I’m making stuff since I only have two hands and all. Stay tuned.

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