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!