Sunday, January 16, 2011

A best friend's wedding

My good friend Jenny is *not* a cake person. So, I was none too surprised when she told me she would be doing an ice cream bar at her wedding at the Carolina Inn in December. What did surprise me, though, was the exorbitant cost of an ice cream bar! This came as a surprise to Jen, too. So, when she asked for my advice, I suggested a number of bakeries in the area - and of course plugged my own name! It was such an honor when Jenny and Brett decided to work with me to design the cake of their dreams.

The theme was black & white, so we decided on a very classic design. A 4-tier square cake, with each tier adorned with a very thin black ribbon along the bottom. We also agreed on using gumpaste anenomes for some extra flair and visual appeal. I had never worked with gumpaste before, so to cover our bases, we first made sure that you can buy them - there are a number of etsy shops that do sell anenomes, so I felt better selecting the cake design knowing that if worst came to worst, we would be covered. But then, it was time to try my hand at the flowers:

I was thrilled with how my first attempts with gumpaste had turned out, and thankfully, so were Jenny and Brett.

Next, it was time to decide on the flavors. At our tasting, we tried vanilla bean (no plain vanilla for them!), chocolate, hummingbird, and spice cake. We decided on the vanilla bean and chocolate, but how to personalize them? And what about a third flavor?

The chocolate was easy. Knowing Jenny's love for Oreo cookies, I recommended an oreo buttercream filling in between the tiers. Sold!

The third flavor was a little trickier. We wanted something a little unique (to balance out the plainer vanilla bean and chocolate), as well as something seasonal for a December wedding. Not knowing Brett as well as I know Jen, I made the *lucky* suggestion of white chocolate peppermint - two flavors that just happen to be Brett's favorites. Perfect! Now, I didn't have a recipe for white chocolate peppermint cake, but creating one was easy as pie (or as cake?), and it turned out to be AMAZING. It was definitely my favorite of the 3 flavors. And, I mixed crushed candy canes with buttercream to put in between the layers, which just added something extra, in addition to being seasonally appropriate!

All in all, this was an amazing experience. The wedding was amazing, and the cake process offered many wonderful learning opportunities:
  • I learned all about gumpaste
  • I spent a Friday night and Saturday morning (truly through the night on Friday!) with an L-square ruler, bubble level, and huge knife leveling cakes (my dad was very proud)
  • I learned that my 2-door VW Cabrio CAN fit cake for 230 (in separate boxes, of course)
  • I hammered my first dowel through a cake
And, here's the final product:

But, the best part of all of this was that even the non-cake eating bride said, "It was more than amazing!!!!! Loved every inch (and bite) of it! :) Thank you!!!!"