I’m sorry that I’ve been neglecting the blog. Several planned posts flew out the window when my brother recently announced that he will marry this fall, wants us to help commemorate his new life with a wonderful woman with whom he’ll have children and grow old, yadda yadda. The point is that the couple has asked me to bake the wedding cake. In my recently formed opinion, the wedding cake is the single most important part of the big day. In fact, Webster’s (probably) defines a wedding as “n. A grand celebration involving a beautiful cake and at least one fork.” Sometimes I hold weddings late at night after a long day of baking. You may be having a wedding right now.
Despite ownership of a cake decorating kit, five decorating spatulas, and Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, I am not a cake decorator. I know the difference between royal icing, gum paste, and fondant, but I have never worked with any of them. I and most of my eaters prefer our cakes unadorned. We’re a simple people. Actually we’re an impatient people. Waiting for a cake to cool just to put stuff on it seems like a waste of perfectly good cake-eating time. [Pictured: Chambord French buttercream]
Here’s a list of what I know how to do:
Bake a delicious cake
Here’s a list of what I don’t know how to do:
Bake a delicious big cake
Ice a cake to a perfectly smooth finish
Store a big cake
Transport a big cake
Make a cake pretty. Really pretty.
Six books and 50 web sites later I have my bearings now. Those bearing are What the heck was I thinking? and What’s the best way to fake a car accident if the cake goes in the pooper? Did you know that sites on how to make your own wedding cake outnumber the sites on how to fake your own car accident? Shocking. I’ve already baked four practice cakes for tasting, honing recipes, and mastering techniques. Two of those cakes went to my mother. The strain is starting to show.
Me: Are you out of cake yet?
Me: What kind do you want this time?
Mom: I don’t want any more cake.
Mom: I can’t eat cake all the time.
Me: How about chocolate? I haven’t made chocolate yet.
Mom: Sometimes you need a break from cake.
I’m honored that the couple have confidence, faked or otherwise, in my ability to create the wedding cake of their dreams. Considering that the crowning achievement of my artistic ability to date is a brain I drew on a transparency for a freshman high school biology class presentation on autism, that means I’ll be relying solely on practice and determination (and imitation). I apologize in advance for the disproportionate number of cake posts and cake pics that I may be posting. Not only do I have to practice, I have to start eating everything we have in our refrigerator and freezers in order to make room for wedding cake component storage. This cake will be the most important thing I have made in my kitchen to date. I hope you don’t mind coming along for the buttery ride.