Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wedding cake tiers, not wedding cake tears

Wedding cakes are stressful! My worrisome nature has left me ill equipped to handle the pressure of all of the potential disasters of making a wedding cake. And believe me, my brain has gone over every conceivable cake tragedy that could happen in a one-week time span.

What if I get sick or somehow end up physically unable to bake that week? What if I trip while carrying the cake? What if a stupid driver hits my car while I’m trying to deliver the cake? What if I somehow deliver to the wrong location? What if cake burglars try to steal it? Just kidding, but you get an idea of how my brain has been (mal)functioning all week. I dream cake, I speak cake, I AM cake.

Under Pressure
The upside to such a worrisome nature is that I am extremely careful during every step of the process and I’m prepared to avoid a wide range of ridiculous cake disasters. You might think I’m a bit silly, but it’s hard not to worry when it comes to wedding cakes. Wedding cakes come with higher expectations than most other event cakes. They are more than just dessert, they are symbolic of the wedding couple, a centerpiece for the celebration and immortalized in wedding albums for years to come. If you can’t rise to the occasion, you can ruin the once-in-a-lifetime special event that people spend months (sometimes years) and thousands of dollars planning to perfection. If something happens to their cake mid-delivery, there is no plan B. You can’t just whip up a three-tiered wedding cake in an hour or swing by the store to pick-up a mediocre substitute. It is a scenario that I am happy to have avoided but have feared all week. No pressure!

It's a Nice Day for a Blue Wedding
Phew! The cake is done and delivered safely, so now my nerves can finally unwind and I can now reflect on how happy I am with the results of my very first wedding cake. The cake was done in the style of Wedgwood china and pottery. Wedgwood products are known for their trademark shade of light gray-blue with ornate white detailing, often with a Greek- or Roman-inspired design. It’s a very elegant and luxurious style that has bold visual impact using muted colors.

The cake consisted of three-tiers — a 10-inch white cake on the bottom and 8- and 6-inch chocolate cakes on top. They were filled and iced with vanilla buttercream and decorated with fondant leaves and pearl dragĂ©es. As for the trademark Wedgwood blue color, I used Wilton gel paste coloring in Cornflower Blue and it’s almost a perfect match for the shade without having to worry about mixing colors. That’s important when you want to be consistent in color, but have to make more than one batch of buttercream. It can be difficult to duplicate an exact shade when you are blending two different colors on separate occasions.

I’m also finally starting to get better at achieving a smoother buttercream icing. It’s still not quite to the point where it’s so flawless that you can’t tell if it’s fondant or buttercream, but it’s certainly better than when I first started out. It’s harder than it looks and I tend to be a bit obsessive-compulsive about it, so I probably spend way more time on it than I should. I’m determined to get it as smooth as I possibly can, but I’m never quite satisfied with it, so I have to accept my limits at some point or I’ll never finish the cake!

I just hope that I met the expectations of the bride and groom and helped make their wedding day a sweet and memorable occasion. Congratulations to the newlyweds and I look forward to making their first anniversary cake.

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