Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Wedding Cake Endeavor

A couple months ago, Roger told me that his coworker Debbie's daughter had decided not to have a wedding cake at her wedding, even though she would have liked to have one. And I agreed that as long as everyone involved understood that I am an amateur cake maker, and hadn't even held an icing bag in my hand for years (because Sarah was usually the one of the three of us who wanted to decorate cookies with that kind of detail), I would be happy to try my hand at a small wedding cake so that the bride and groom could have that moment of feeding each other--or smashing it into each other's faces, whichever they decided to do.

The bride's grandmother volunteered her top tier (which had been in the freezer for 63 years) to use as the top tier for this cake. The original buttercream had to be removed and I would redecorate it to go on top of the cake. Debbie came up with a mirrored cake plate--a huge relief to me, because it couldn't hold a very big cake--and there was a 6" high Eiffel Tower as the topper. (The groom proposed at the Eiffel Tower.)

At first the plan was that I would use fondant. I would make or get some almond paste to seal up the top tier for a few reasons. First, it was fruitcake and the color would bleed through fondant. Second, almond paste could be used to even out the holes left by fruit that had fallen out. And most importantly, the cake had been spending 63 years next to fish, as one whiff would prove.

Debbie hooked me up with some fondant a baker friend of hers made so that I could play with it.
My first trial run was a chocolate pound cake that I was thrilled with; it wasn't very chocolatey. But I tried out the fondant on it anyway. It was easier to handle than I'd expected, even though I did end up with a couple of rips to deal with. The fondant trial, though, made me realize how smooth the underneath has to be; that cake (which I'd tried to level off with a knife) had some serious bumpiness going on underneath the fondant.

Still, I was pretty confident that I could make a good-looking cake with fondant as long as I could get some almond paste to wrap the top tier. April and Marlene, the lovely ladies at The Huckleberry Hutch (one of my favorite stores here in town and possibly my favorite kitchen store ever), suggested I go to a bakery to buy some, but all the bakeries I called didn't have any (because it wasn't Christmas, when they usually have an abundance on hand)--and there aren't a lot of bakeries in town anyway. But when I explained my project to Maxine at Black Tie Pastries, she suggested I just use buttercream, and told me how to get a smooth look similar to fondant (but she also gave me a recipe for my own fondant in case I needed it).

I never did locate any almond paste, but another trial run with a cake I really liked (and so did Debbie and the bride), showed me that crumbs were going to be an issue with buttercream. A little internet research advised me to apply a crumb coat, so I called my mom for a refresher on making her frosting (because I knew that would work well as a seal layer if I made it a little more glaze-like), and voila!

63-year-old fruitcake

Cake with the crumb coating (thanks, Mom!)

The Wedding Cake
(after suffering several moving bumps and subsequent repairs)
I put the top tier on its own board for easy removal, lest
someone tipsy should decide to see what 63-year-old fruitcake tastes like.

And here are a couple pictures from the wedding, which was just the kind of wedding you'd expect at the end of a fairytale. (I queued the music for the ceremony, too, so I had a unique perspective, even though the window filtered some of the color.)

1 comment:

candace said...

wow it's great! I would have never had the guts to go for's great that you do ;)