For the coming week, this blog’s posts may seem a bit out of the ordinary. The tales of building, gardening, and wild-haired children are going to have to wait a week while I recount my adventures in cake baking. Not just any cake, but a three tiered wedding cake for 200 guests.
When a local friend asked us to bake her wedding cake, I’m sure our first response was utter surprise. Brian is a maker of sourdough bread and rustic pies, while I am much more of a muffin and granola kind of gal. But the seasoned community wedding cake bakers were otherwise engaged in wedding participation, and really, how could we say no? Besides, wedding cakes are just big cakes plopped on top of one another, right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you know there are entire online forums dedicated to wedding cake perfection? I do. Until last night, I felt pretty confident about our ability to whip up a yummy batter, bake it the night before, ice it the day of the wedding and call it done. Oh, how utterly naive of me! A few trips down the blog rabbit hole and I’m now planning Excel spreadsheets with proper ingredient proportions, and have a four-day cake baking schedule, and pages of notes.
Fortunately, the bride is kind, generous, and relaxed. Her request was to have neither a plain Jane vanilla white cake, nor chocolate. So we are going with lemon. Lemon cake filled with lemon curd, and layers of jam (made last summer by the bride), I think it will be a nice blend of sweet and tangy.
Here’s what we have planned so far:
- A “naked” cake, topped with seasonal, edible herbs and flowers (violets and lemonbalm are a few thoughts). Naked cakes are not iced on the top and sides, so you see the layers of cake and filling from the side. Check out some images here.
- Cake recipe: Martha Stewart Weddings Lemon Cake.
- Three tiers: 8, 10, and 12 inches, plus a sheet cake.
- Fillings: Lemon Curd (recipe from the bride) and homemade jam – Choices available to us are Apricot, Blueberry, Strawberry.
- Icing still being debated. I tried a Swiss Buttercream recipe by Smitten Kitchen this evening, but wasn’t too thrilled by it. I think I might go with your basic powdered sugar/butter combo.
Tonight we did our first test bake with a single 8″ round. The cake came out perfectly golden and slid right out of the pan. The lemon curd is delicious, and only a bit clumpy – we’ll strain the yolks next time. Tomorrow, we’ll assemble the layers and sample a few flavor combos.
If you have a favorite lemon-jam flavor combo, let me know. And also, if you have a to-die-for icing recipe that is simple and will hold up to heat, PLEASE share it with me!
With cake love,