Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mother of the Bride Cake

Haven't heard about wedding cake for a little while, have we? Just to get up to date, since we last canvassed the subject, I did a cupcake tasting for Becky, flubbed two batches of Rose Levy Berenbaum's Silk Meringue Buttercream because my candy thermometer was broken (I overcooked the sugar and they wound up with little burned caramel pieces in them--not the worst fate), visited New York Cake and Baking Supply, and waffled back and forth about cake shapes, tiering, flavors and all the rest some more.

Sophie and I found beautiful cupcake wrappers that look a little like white tulips. They may, in fact, just be circles of parchment nicely folded up, and in that case are far too expensive, but they are pretty. (Turns out that they are not so much overpriced in general as overpriced at NY Cake and Baking, here they are for much less, and in bulk) They would hide the icing a bit, but imagine them all lined up on tiered stands, or arranged on one of those weird candelabra stands they make now. I think we may have hit on a way to make a beautiful wedding display that doesn't involve concentric circles of different colored cupcakes.
For Stacey and Avi, once I'd tested a bunch of cakes, I decided to emulate Deb at Smitten Kitchen and make a buttermilk cake, using a filling of lemon curd, lemon buttercream from Sugar Sweet Sunshine (that sweet, crunchy, old-fashioned kind), and Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Cream (kind of a tarter, lighter lemon curd), and fresh sliced strawberries. I couldn't go forward, though, until they'd had some tasting and testing to work out the kinks.

For one reason or another, our grand tasting has kept being postponed. The main problem is that we never seem to be able to all gather in the same place at the same time, so this week, with Stacey's mom coming to town for a flying dress fitting and visit, we circumvented that issue with a well-timed delivery. I made a sample cake at my house, chilled it, and dropped it off with Stacey at work, where she put it in the freezer, took it to a play, and then took it home for a tasting.

Here is the sample cake (6 inch-diameter, two layers cut into four), assembled but unfrosted. Looking at it now, I see that I really need to improve my layer cutting skills, these are seriously cattywampus. The filling between the first and second layers is lemon cream, in the middle is a layer of rhubarb jam (yes homemade!) and buttercream, and the top is lemon cream again. Once it was iced, I practiced my piping skills and made vines and leaves all over it. In slightly more thought out and practiced form, I think this is an excellent decorating motif for the real cake--maybe I'll draw a prototype. And I'm getting better at making leaves and vines.
I probably won't write 'Hi Anne' on the finished product, but you never know. I am pretty good at writing on cake.Initial response, in form of text message, was encouraging:
"Success! Amazing! We are taking photos. Yummy! The cream froze and defrosted beautifully. More tmw."
I'll update soon with more detailed comment and possibly some more photos. It's good to know that the initial efforts are at least moving in the right direction. I do worry, but why worry? It's cake! Everyone loves it no matter what it's like, and I always forget that in my perfectionist haze.

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