Piece O’ Cake
Wedding cakes. Never did I ever think that I would be the go to person when it comes to wedding cakes, but so far I’ve been lucky enough to experience what its like be able to sweeten up two couples weddings. My first attempt came about in May of 2009 when a statuesque blonde with bands of tattoos asked me to make her wedding cupcakes. 70 cupcakes, and a 4 tiered cake and a broken KitchenAid later the first special occasion cake was introduced to the world. The cake would be a fluffy Meyer Lemon cake with a lemon and orange blossom glaze slathered with whipped cream and garnished with slices of strawberries and candied kumquat. FIRST TIME! With some excellent help from my good friend Danielle, my roommate’s KitchenAid Appliance, and tips from my Pastry Chef Jen along with some last-minute necessities I was off for a bit of an adventure!
Armed and ready with butter, flour, sugar, eggs, honey, and garnishes within 3 hours I was able to whip out those lovely delicate cakes. But of course something had to happen. Dee (Danielle) dropped the kitchen aid on the LAST batch! Whew I thought, it’s okay because that was the last batch, but what about the frosting??? Mixer = Broken. Fell to its death. “Ohhh no I don’t have the money to pay for another kitchen aid” said Dee. “STOP! We’ll worry about that later”. With two whisk, A sunny San Francisco day, a back yard and some stairs we began to whisk the honeyed whipped cream into the light and airy frosting. The cake came out beautifully for a Spring Wedding! And of course delicious!
Second came about early June 2009. A couple overheard that I did a wedding cake and they asked me if I would want to do theirs? Suuurree I thought…later I received an email from the grooms mother asking me to make a grooms cake. With some handy-dandy research tools I was able to find out that a groom’s cake was a very southern tradition. Usually a very decadent or whimsical cake that is used to represent the groom.
Karl and Halo had a beautiful wedding on their family’s ranch July 4th 2009. Needless to say there were insufficient modern-day tools to help me with this one. I baked the vanilla cakes a day ahead and was able to pack everything in neat little containers so that the next day all I would need to do was assemble the 5 tiered cake. The cake would consist of Vanilla cake, with layers of whipped cream, strawberries and a milk and honey concoction. The outer would be slathered with whipped cream, bits of pecan praline, and shavings of chocolate. IT WAS A SUCCESS!!! But of course mishaps occurred.
No…absolutely no kitchen aid, no whisk, and no bowls present at the ranch. The local convenience store, and grocery store had only 2 1/2 pint containers of whipping cream. We had to drive 30-45 minutes away to two different locations to buy 10 1/2 pint containers of heavy
whipping cream. Daniel who was also photographing the wedding ended up also being my knight in shining armor and my driver. The local breakfast joint/lunch and dinner spot was kind enough to let me borrow a giant whisk and a very large bowl to whisk the cream, a bowl that Paul Bunion must have used himself. Assembling the cake was easssssssssy. 4- 8 inch round tiers of cake moistened with a milk and honey syrup (which I found was a symbol of long-lasting love in Persian culture), slices of fresh strawberries, hand whipped honey cream and a top-tier about 5 inches in circumference was the cherry on top. assembled 1.5 hours ahead of schedule I went off to take a shower and ready myself for the wedding.
“Y’all better head back to the house I think something’s happened to the cake!!” So with whipped cream still in my hair, my eyes bulged, and I took a gulp. WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED!!! I ran into the house. It felt like I had just walked into a bad hospital scene. All the nurses inside just bowed their heads down in silence as I walked through the archaic kitchen, walking through the sea of women in the kitchen to see my patient on its side 1/2 the body torn. The tiny fridge which held the large cake was pretty much at room temp. I faintly opened the refrigerator door only to find that half the cake had disastrously plunged to its sweet death. WHAT WAS I TO DO? the chocolate shavings the praline, the cake!!! THE CAKE!!! The electricity on the ranch was not up to par with modern-day standards. Daniel who by now was running around like a mad man shooting odds and ends of the wedding came to my side and offered me a suggestion as I went completely numb from shock. 1 hour till the wedding, no working oven, no supplies, no extra ANYTHING!
“JUSTICE LEAGUE” said Daniel “Lets just…do this…and that…and we’ll…and then…VOILA” the HALL OF JUSTICE was born. Karl the groom wanted a cake that would show his love for comic books, so he presented me with a few Justice League characters in the form of Lego figurines. This was to be the whimsical and decorative element of the cake. The tippy top of the cake was salvaged from the wreck. Somehow we jimmied the two leftover portions of the cake together. I can’t really explain how we did it but we d
id. With all the separate components now becoming one as the frosting suddenly the HALL OF JUSTICE appeared! No one was the wiser. The cake was better than the original and in fact matched perfectly what a grooms cake was all about.
“Are you the young woman who made the cake?” asked the grooms mother. An angelic woman of magnificent grace and beauty. “Yes…but I have to admit the cake didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to so I won’t charge you anything for it.” I braced her with what had happened, held her warm hand and led her into the kitchen. Her eyes lit up and she seemed completely shocked. I almost had to lift up her lower jaw from the floor!
She loved it, and she didn’t understand what was wrong with it in the first place! It was such a long SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHH of relief.
Both occasions I learned how important it is to roll with the punches and with downs always there is an upside to things. Nothin’ beats a little positive thinking, quick thinking and ingenuity. Nothing beats teamwork.
And a little song: