Monday, April 19, 2010

Wedding Cake For Two

This past weekend was the wedding I've been stressing about. The bride was my daughter's maid of honor, a lovely young woman who is so sweet that everyone loves her. After she got engaged, she asked me if I'd make a cake for her. Not a big, tiered wedding cake. To that I would have sensibly said no - I know my limits and that's waaaaay beyond my limits. For the guests they were going to have a milk and cookie bar, but she wanted a small cake for the bride and groom to cut into.

A small cake I could handle. So we talked cake. What did she like? Chocolate. What did he like? Vanilla. I gave her some choices to discuss with her sweetie - chocolate cake with white frosting, white cake with chocolate frosting, white cake with chocolate filling and white frosting, one layer white, one layer chocolate. What they ultimately settled on as the best representation of the joining of their lives was a checkerboard cake. Each taste and personality distinct, but put together in a fun way to make something totally new.

In the ensuing months I made 3 different trial runs of the cake. Each time I learned something new and the happy recipients of the cake overflow didn't complain. But I knew the actual cake would bring on the stress. I wanted it to be perfect.

I had to keep reminding myself that the cake was a tiny part of the day for the bride. She wouldn't really care if it was less than stellar; she'd know it was made with love. Plus, she's such a sweetie, she'd never say a word if it was sup-par. But for her, I wanted it to be just right.

Two days before the wedding, I ran out of vanilla. What a stupid thing for a baker to run out of! So I went to a specialty store that usually has my favorite brand. They didn't, but I was rewarded for the trek with a lovely cake stand. Perfect!



The day before the wedding, I prayed and set to baking. My husband thoughtfully took the kids out for a few hours. I prefer peace and quiet when I'm trying to get everything right. The cake turned out fine. The frosting came together beautifully. I put together the layers with the ganache, covered it with frosting, piped on little decorative bits, and put it in the refrigerator with a sigh of relief.

The day of the wedding I took along a tote bag with the extra frosting in a bag, an offset spatula, and the crystallized violets I'd made. The cake was delicately draped with plastic wrap and I carried it in my lap for the 40 minute drive. Zero mishaps. Yeah!



At the wedding, with shaking hands, I applied the crystallized violets. Whew! My part was done. Then I just got to enjoy the beautiful ceremony, the teary toasts, and the dancing. The cake was cut, the bride said it was wonderful, and I was pleased. It was just a tiny part of the day for her, but I was happy that it was just right.



Note to self: never be a professional cake decorator!

30 comments:

Bruce said...

The cake was wonderful, everyone who tasted it loved it. Even though some "helpers" almost dumped it on the floor, everything went smoothly. The cake was a wonderful gift, you did a great job!

Roving Lemon said...

Congratulations! That cake looks beautiful and delicious and REAL.

Bellini Valli said...

I think the compromise of a checkerboard cake was the perfect solution. What a lovely cake Lynn.

Beth said...

The cake looks fabulous! You did a great job! Enjoyed this post and the earlier one on making the candied violets.
Beth

Melinda said...

I think the cake turned out perfect!
And i love the marriage of chocolate and vanilla cake together and made with love! You are a sweetie to make their wedding cake for them.
The crystallised violets are charming.

Barbara said...

Brilliant, Lynn! It's a lovely cake and I understand how stressed you were about it turning out perfectly!
It did. You must be so proud!
So glad you taught us how to crystallize violets!

Julie said...

What a beautiful cake!! I can only imagine the stress. I just started taking cake decorating classes. Such an art it is. Plus covering chocolate cake with white frosting is so challenging!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Beautiful thoughts to put two together cake and couple!
Yes, I understand how much you wanted it perfect ... and it was!

Aimée said...

Oh, I understand the stress, Lynn, but look, you did an exceptional job. It's beautiful and quite the geometric masterpiece too.

Great job!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Gorgeous!! I have a checkboard cake pan that has been sitting in the closet for the past 10 yrs. Did you use one to make this? I've never attempeted to use mine yet, lol.

jeannette said...

wow, i think it looks beautiful! what an amazing job...and checkerboard too! lovely.

Happy Homebaker said...

What a gorgeous cake! I looks so pretty and delicious too!

elizabeth said...

Lynn, it really looks lovely. Congratulations on getting it done. A wedding cake (large or small) is a feat, in deed. I've also always wanted to make crystallized violets, I think they're so lovely, so what a beautiful addition, and homemade too!

Mermaid Sweets said...

congratulations! what a beautiful cake, you did a wonderful job.

Baking Soda said...

Amazing job Lynn! I do understand the trembling hands for that last finish, it turned out wonderful. That cakestand is great with the ribbon!

grace said...

kudos to you, lynn! i'm sure the bride appreciated your time and effort and care, and i'm sure the guests enjoyed the yumminess! it's really lovely. :)

vickys said...

Congratulations on making such a gorgeously classy and simple cake! :) I am a big fan of the crystallised violets and the checkerboard cake! you should be very proud of yourself.

Abby said...

I love the story behind the checkerboard! What a lovely gift that she'll never forget. (And I covet that cake stand!)

Bethany Park said...

Congratulations! I remember one of the test runs that you posted -- how great to see the big finish to your project. Congrats to your friends, as well :-) The wedding is just the beginning!

Bethany Park said...

Congratulations! I remember one of the test runs that you posted -- how great to see the big finish to your project. Congrats to your friends, as well :-) The wedding is just the beginning!

vanillabeanbaker said...

You simply cannot get the love and caring from a store bought cake. With homemade, they are always the main ingredients. Your gift to the bride and groom is priceless and beautiful and the added crystallized flowers adds a powerfully thoughtful and delicate touch. Congratulations!

Dolce said...

This is a lovely cake, congratulations... I hope the bride was happy :)

Maria said...

Lovely cake with a fun inside!

RecipeGirl said...

Hey, you did an amazing job! It looks beautiful outside and in. I did a very small one once for a friend & I was nervous as heck. I guess it turned out ok.

Peabody said...

It turned out fabulous!!!

You are braver than me, I turn down and and all cake decorating requests.

Elle said...

With a cake that beautiful...AND a checkerboard that looks perfect...you could be a pro if you wanted to. Glad it all went so well. You should pat yourself on the back...a few times.

eatme_delicious said...

The cake looks beautiful! Your crystallized violets are the perfect added touch to it. Lucky bride. =) I can just imagine how stressful that 40 minute drive was!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Aww your cake is fabulous! You could so become a decorator!!

Neniell said...

The cake is beautiful! I love how you didn't make the sides perfectly smooth. That added a lovely touch.

Ally said...

This was seriously the best cake I've ever tasted! Thank you again, Lynn, for all your hard work! We still talk about how delicious it was (when we left the wedding, we were kicking ourselves for not bringing it with us!).

I think you've given it to me before, but is there anyway I could get the recipe? I want to (attempt!) make it for Chris for our 1 year anniversary :)