Baking has taken over my life! I’m not complaining. I enjoy baking and even getting up at 6am to say, make croissants
, but baking a wedding cake is exhausting on a whole other level. As I said before I am making a friend’s wedding cake. I am absolutely thrilled and slightly terrified at the same time to be doing this. That’s where planning and practice comes in hand. I’ve been baking a bunch of cakes to get a feel for the right recipes and also to practice my frosting and decorating skills. A couple weeks ago, I held a tasting in my teeny apartment for Michelle and Adam, and our two other friends, Chris and Lorie.
Research (and commonsense) told me that cake tasting should come with food. Otherwise, we would all be on a crazy sugar high and probably get diabetes. For dinner I made a light pasta with shredded zucchini, tomatoes, ricotta, lemon zest and chives – no sauce necessary! The lemon zest and chives were bold and fragrant enough to flavor the dish. I also served some baked polenta fries (recipe coming soon). We also had some cheese, salami and salad. I wish I had a picture of dinner but we ate it too fast.
After filling our stomachs with some calories, I cleared the table, got out new plates and shiny forks to begin the real festivities. I was adamant about everyone not filling up too much during dinner. Though there is always room for cake, let’s be real.
I made four different (mini) cakes: a vanilla cake with mango-lime curd and blueberries and vanilla buttercream, a spice cake with strawberry filling and buttercream, a chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream, and a pineapple carrot cake with cinnamon (American) buttercream.
They were all super fun to make. Though it was a lot of work. I think I have purchased more butter and eggs in the past month than in my entire life combined. The biggest cake I have made before all of this was Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake which is a 2 9-inch layer cake. And I probably have made that cake a handful of times but it’s always been for my family, an easy crowd to please. Much to my relief, everyone liked all the cakes. Even when we went around and ranked the cakes from our most favorite to least, each cake was number on someone’s list.
The winner of the night for Michelle and Adam was the first cake, the vanilla with mango-lime curd and blueberries:
|(Photo taken the next morning.)
I tried out three different vanilla cake recipes and although I liked the one we had that night I will ultimately use this Martha Stewart recipe. I like the texture and color better of that cake (it’s the one I used for my birthday corgi cake). The mango-lime curd here got a little soggy. For my birthday cake, I whipped in some buttercream to the curd and that helped hold it better. It’s been a lot of trial and error so far. I also have found a favorite Swiss meringue buttercream recipe which I will share in a later post.
Chris’ favorite cake was this pineapple carrot cake:
I kind of made up this recipe by combining two different ones. And the cake is vegan! Though unfortunately the buttercream is not. I pulled a MacGyver in the kitchen that night since we ran out of eggs (catastrophe) and I had to improvise on the original pineapple cake I intended to make (yay, day saved). There was an episode where MacGyver made up a cake out of thin air…and baked it with two paperclips, I think.
And my favorite was the chocolate cake:
|Some pineapple carrot cake got on this somehow…opps!
Coincidentally this cake is also vegan. There were two vegan cakes that night and this cake was intended to be vegan. I used Joanne Chang’s recipe and it was so easy to make. I loved the flavor of espresso in here and it paired really well with the caramel buttercream.
The last cake was a spice cake:
It was kind of like a gingerbread cake without molasses. If I make this cake again I would amp up the spices. The taste of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice were too faint for me. For this cake I paired it with a strawberry buttercream. Michelle and Adam can their own strawberry jam so I wanted to play around with that and incorporate it somehow in one of the cakes. The sweet strawberry buttercream went really well here to balance the spice of the cake.
And that was the night of the cake tasting. Of course there was lots of cake left over. Fortunately I seem to always have willing volunteers to take them off my hand. The wedding is about two weeks away! More cake to come!