Wedding! (part 1)

Whew! What a holiday season! It’s been a little hectic in these parts over the last six weeks or so…as I’m sure it is for most people this time of year. However, I chose to make it even more interesting for myself for agreeing to make a wedding cake/cupcakes for our friends’ wedding the week of Thanksgiving. I know, I know, Thanksgiving was totally over a month ago, but between work and Christmas, I haven’t had a chance to find pictures and post about the wedding craziness. And quite frankly, since my friends were posting pictures on Facebook (in almost real time), I didn’t feel super motivated to post on this blog. Oh well.

My mission: Create a 3 tier wedding cake and cupcakes for 250 guests. The wedding was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Sacramento. I basically had two days (Wednesday and Thursday before the wedding) to complete everything.

On Wednesday, I focused on the actual wedding cake – a vanilla buttermilk cake with mocha buttercream filling. In the interest of full disclosure, I really only had to bake one tier of the three tier cake. Since the bride and groom were only interested in having a cake for pictures, they opted to have the top two tiers made of foam and only have the bottom tier be real cake. So as far as baking cake, I only had to make one 14-inch square tier. But when I say “only” one 14-inch tier, that single tier needed to be four inches high, which meant three individual layers of cake…and since I only have one 14 inch square pan that meant I had to do each layer one at a time.  And actually, despite all the months of very very careful calculations, I somehow miscalculated the volume of cake batter I would need for each layer of cake and they ended up too short…which meant that I needed to bake an additional layer of cake to reach the required four-inch height requirement. While I baked and cooled each layer of cake, I worked on the mocha buttercream. After filling and constructing the cake, I needed to cover the darn thing in white fondant. That nearly made me cry. I felt like I needed at least 4 additional hands to help me lift the fondant over the cake. Unfortunately, it was just me and the two hands God gave me, so we did our best. That’s why some of the sides are less than perfect.

Thursday (actually Thanksgiving day), I got to work on the cupcakes for the wedding. The bride and groom had decided on 4 different flavors of cupcake: red velvet with cream cheese frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, and vanilla buttermilk cake with mocha buttercream. For 250 guests, I had calculated that I would need about 70 of each type of cupcake, for a total of 280 cupcakes. Somehow, despite, all my careful math, I ended up with 360 cupcakes. Oh well. Math was really never one of my strengths, and better to have too many than not enough, right?

Thankfully, my lovely sister pitched in that morning and helped me with the cupcakes. She deserves a huge prize.

By early afternoon, nearly every surface in our apartment was covered in cupcakes. It was either beautiful or terrifying, depending on how you looked at it.

After all the cake was baked, I started on the rest of the frosting. I ended up making 6 batches of swiss meringue buttercream, and each of them nearly gave me a heart attack. No matter how many times I make that stuff (and I’d done it dozens of times of prior to this), I always freak out that it’s not going to come together. Thankfully, there were no problems with the buttercream, but I was a little worried that my poor mixer was going to give up on me after the third batch.

When all the buttercream was done, and after I stopped in at work for about an hour, I was finally done with the baking portion of this project and went off to Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house.

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