Let it snow, let it snow, let’s go Cubs….?

Operation Wedding has come to a close (at least for now)… The original wedding cake that I had known about since the creation of this blog is now complete. It was one crazy, jam-packed, freezing weekend in Chicago, but amazing and completely worth it, and an experience I’ll never forget!

Being entirely too ambitious and optimistic, I had thought we’d finish baking and decorating on Thursday. However….

Here was the actual oh-so-meticulous cake schedule:

  • Thursday: Bake Cakes at Bride’s House
  • Friday: Decorate
  • Saturday: Finishing touches (before the ceremony!)

Of course, I hadn’t taken into account transporting, actual appliances available, and the Hyatt kitchen staff hours, more to come on that in a bit.

So, Thursday morning, we woke up to a fresh layer of snow and treacherous roads. Our champion and groom, Chris, drove out to the Hyatt where we were staying (and also where the reception was planned for) to pick us up and bring us to Karen’s Mum’s house to bake. Once there, we set to work. “We” being myself, Amy and Caroline, two amazing cake ladies who know how to gitt’er done!

Anyways, the plan was for the bottom tier of a three tier wedding cake (14″ diameter and two layers plus buttercream filling), and a Cubs baseball and some sort of base. Amy was a mastermind at this, because she brought this nifty sphere pan for the baseball, and we were literally improvising with whatever we could find at Karen’s. The original plan for the giant Cubs cupcake didn’t come to fruition.

Here goes!

The two hemispheres (chocolate) and the 14″ layer with baking core.

Blurb on the “baking core”- the hole in the middle of the 14″ circle: When a pan is 10″ or larger in diameter, a baking core is recommended to help even baking, so you don’t have burnt edges and an undercooked middle. It’s basically a piece of cone shaped metal that sits in the middle of the pan, drawing heat towards the middle so it radiates evenly along the pan. You fill it with some batter, so whatever hole it leaves, you just pop out the piece and fill it in! No one can tell in a frosted cake.

Back to the kitchen… I tripled my normal buttercream recipe below: 9 egg whites, 1.5 c. sugar, 0.75 c. corn syrup, and… dun dun dunnnn… 7.5 sticks of butter :), unsalted. I think I gave Caroline a heart attack when she saw me cuttin’ those puppies up. But realistically, it feeds 75+ people. Do the math, it’s not that bad for you!

Next… a packing job my dad would be proud of! To transport these guys back to the hotel where we’d be doing the decorating, we used tons of saran wrap, just like on Food Network :). And also how my dad packs his products to be shipped. We had an elaborate discussion on packaging before I left home for Chicago. . . so here’s my tribute to it!

2 Square cakes for the groom’s cake base:

The 14″ tier (only one layer):

Now, the coolest experience ever- being in a commercial sized kitchen with enough decorating space for everything! Loved it, it was awesome, thank you Hyatt at McDonald’s campus!

Next: Prepping the cake- buttercream frosting, etc.

Two new things learned: how to cover squares and spheres with fondant. I’m excited as this will greatly expand the cake possibility spectrum! All parts covered:

The green square in the back was by far my favorite 🙂

I’m now skipping to the final product… I lacked some in-between detail photos. . .These were the two cake toppers I had made before arriving… I originally made the one on the right first, but revised to match the winter snowman theme preferred. So the one on the left was the winner!

Finally, the Cakes! Grooms on the left, Bride’s on the right.

Details:

Chris wanted a Cubs logo, that was pretty much his only criteria. So, we tweaked it and piped “Chris” to personalize it. The girls did a wonderful job coloring the fondant to reach “Cubs” blue. My contribution was the red “C” and the letter piping. We made a great team with all of our skill sets!

Amy’s meticulous piping on the top of the cake made for a great baseball diamond 🙂 And Caroline’s arms contributed to coloring the fondant that bright and cheery “Wicked” green.It took all 3 of us to cover that sphere in fondant though.

The Bride’s cake was definitely a bit easier. I used white royal icing to pipe the triple dot pattern on the top layer and the single dot pattern on the bottom layer. The middle was just the quilted pattern with silver dragees.

Lastly, the hotel cut and plated it, so it looked like a real dessert!

Phew. I’m so happy how it turned out, and Chris and Karen were just absolutely the most gracious couple ever. What I love about them is that the entire time they were so thankful , encouraging, and supportive as if this was more about me and my cake endeavor than about their wedding. They are just so sweet, and I know they’ll have a wonderful life together! Congratulations to Chris and Karen, I love you both! 🙂

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Bengay and Phonebooks

Merry Christmas!!

It’s an understatement to say it’s wedding season.  I was recently asked to do a ceremonial wedding cake for a wedding that happened last Saturday, Dec. 19th. You know, one that can be cut into but doesn’t have to feed a bagillion people. Anyway, with all the excitement of the holiday season, the closing out of one of my rotations at work, and housing changes, I’ve been a crazed mess! But here’s my detailed account of my first ever wedding cake made for Aletheia and Josiah, happily married now- Congratulations!

What I love about making special cakes is that each cake is different depending on the person and occasion.  My prompt this time was: a small-ish wedding cake that is simple and elegant, preferably with odd-sized tiers and a blueish-grey color to match the wedding theme.

I got so many questions during the wedding about how the cake was made that I think it’d be good to post up some “in the process” photos.

Here are the two top layers: Real cake, covered in buttercream. Layer 1: 5″diam x 4″ high. Layer 2: 6″ diam x 2″ high.

I had to figure out how to color the fondant. I was matching it to the wedding invitations…

So, my friend Bri and I played with the gel colors and regular white fondant. We made the main color “core” by mixing equal amounts of violet and blue, with a pinch of grey, and then took that and added it to tons of white to get that light color. Only problem is that it takes tons of kneading to get an even color… and after… ohh… 2 and a half hours or so of kneading/making/rolling fondant… while standing on a phonebook (because I’m a little shorter than my countertops and needed leverage)… well. My arms felt like jello. And I ended up slathering up with Bengay before I went to sleep. 🙂

Anyways, I detract. Here’s how the color core was mixed in, along with fondant photos:

So below is the first layer covered in fondant:

So, the bottom layer (7″diam x 3″ height) was a fake styrofoam layer. I attached that with royal icing to the ceramic stand that they provided me (for transport) then attached the top two together with royal icing. Getting those to Bri’s house in my car was quite the feat. Since she lives closer to the venue, I could assemble the entire cake at hers and then she could drive me while I held the cake in the car.

Those were the two layers packed for travel 🙂

Final product: (no I didn’t make the topper, it was special ordered off Etsy.com, and is super cute and made out of clay).

At the wedding….

Cut open and eaten 🙂

Woo.! And Done. 🙂 Next project- Jan.9th, 2010. !