Disclaimer: Before I write this post, let me reiterate the name of this site. It’s called The Boastful Baker. Please keep the word “boastful” in mind as you read this particular post. If you don’t want to listen to me brag, stop reading now.
As you might be able to tell from these photos, I made another wedding cake. My second one. The cake for my sister’s wedding in July was for about 75 people. This one was for about 170 people! 170 people! That’s almost 100 more people than the first cake! That’s a lot more cake.
Shortly after I agreed to bake my sister’s wedding cake, I was asked to bake this one. The now married couple worked with me at my old job. The bride read about my plans to bake my sister’s cake on Facebook and decided to offer me the opportunity to make her cake. She knew a little bit about my baking skills and aspirations and figured that it was a good way to get a slightly cheaper cake. She also thought it would be nice to give me, the fledgling cake baker, a chance to show off.
I hesitantly agreed. It may have taken a little arm twisting on the boyfriend’s part to get me to agree to it. It was one thing to agree to make my sister’s wedding cake. She’s my sister. If I screwed her cake up, she’s still my sister and life would go on. Making someone else’s wedding cake was a little more daunting.
Planning this cake was a breeze. The bride (and groom) were very flexible about the cake. We met just once to go over ideas and costs and agreed upon most things immediately. Everything else was easily taken care of with a handful of emails. I am sure that most wedding cake planning experiences are not this fantastic. I got lucky.
On to the cake…
I know this cake looks good. Getting it to look this good was not easy. It took many nights and a couple of days of work. It was stressful knowing that if something didn’t turn out right, I could ruin someone’s wedding. There may have been some yelling. Some cursing. Some name calling. Even some tears.
Baking the actual cakes was fairly simple. I baked over the course of 2 1/2 evenings and everything turned out well. I was a little scared about the largest cake layers not baking evenly…but they turned out just fine in the end.
Making the first few batches of frosting was also pretty easy.
Then the going got tough on the fourth night. I got cocky and thought I had plenty of time to finish the cake. The wedding was still almost 2 days away. All 5 of the cakes were baked. Two of them were already layered and crumb coated with icing. A lot of the frosting was made. So I took a nap. I’d been working hard and I deserved it.
I woke up about 2 hours later and got back to work. Very shortly after that, I sliced my thumb wide open. I may have been slicing the caps off of one of the cake layers in an irresponsible manner with my very sharp serrated bread knife. I’ll take full responsibility for my stupidity and the fact that my stupidity cost me a lot of valuable cake preparation time. I spent the rest of the night fretting about my finger and whether or not it would ever stop bleeding and whether or not I needed to go to the emergency room for stitches and whether or not I would be able to finish the cake in time!
In the end, my thumb ended up okay. It stopped bleeding, I got no stitches and the show went on. Slowly. With barely a day until the wedding, you would think I would be trying to get everything done as quickly as possible. No, I took it slow and lazy. I finished layering and crumb coating the other cakes. And then I took another long nap. And then I went shopping. It was now fairly late at night and the wedding was the following afternoon.
That’s when we realized that there was still a mess of work to be done. Five cake layers needed to be covered in fondant. But first the fondant needed to be colored. I also needed to cover 5 cake boards with satin and ribbon. The first fondant layer got screwed up. Screwed up enough that it was removed and thrown away. Which also meant I needed more frosting. Tensions were high and we were tired. We went to sleep knowing that we had to get up early the next day (the day of the wedding) and that there was a LOT of work left.
We did wake up early. And we raced the clock all day. More frosting was made, lots of fondant was rolled and carefully put on the cakes, cakes were chilled, a million little royal icing beads were dotted on the cake, last minute just-in-case flowers for decoration were procured, more little dots were applied, cake boxes were assembled, pearl colored dust was brushed on the dots, more anxiety set in, supplies for finishing the cakes on site were packed, hasty showers were taken and finally…the cakes were loaded into the car. With literally no time to spare. So little time to spare that I left both the iron and the hot glue gun plugged in.
We got to the reception site with all the cakes intact and started the sprint to the finish. If we wanted to catch the wedding ceremony, we only had about 45 minutes to assemble the cake. We missed the ceremony but at least the cake looked great and I could finally breath. Then I started repeating “I made that?” over and over again to both myself and the boyfriend. Even now, I can’t believe I made it. When the cake was in progress and I was stressed out, I thought there was no way in the world that it could possibly come together. But it did and it was phenomenal.
I then got to take compliments about the cake for the rest of the night. Amazingly, I don’t like being complimented in person. Lots of people came up to me to say “Wow!” and to tell me how good a particular flavor was. The best compliment of all was when the bride saw us for the first time that night and turned to give us a huge, approving grin and a thumbs up.
Another post will follow soon with cake details as I think some of you might be interested in knowing what actually went into baking this thing. You might even want to know what kind of cakes I baked.