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i do and i'd do it again

April 23, 2009

No, I’m not talking about getting married, although that is absolutely true. I’m talking about the much anticipated, stressed over, gray hair manifesting, zit-inflicting, family-neglecting baking of my first ever wedding cake. After months of planning, practicing and preparing, the big day arrived, ready or not, last Saturday. Here’s how it all went down:

Two weeks ago I flew to Utah, along with all my children, my mother, two Kitchen Aid mixers and half my kitchen, leaving behind my husband and my sanity. The day after we arrived was shopping day. 6 dozen eggs, 4 pounds of marshmallows, 5 pounds of sugar, 6 pounds of powdered sugar, and 7 pounds of butter – and that is just the icing and the fondant. A couple days later I baked the cakes. The two largest cakes had to go in my niece’s oven and then in her freezer, the rest I made and stored at my sister’s house. It went fairly smoothly, with the exception of catching my an oven mitt on fire. After a couple days of resting, it was time to make the fondant. I spent a full day melting marshmallows, sifting sugar, and kneading the fondant, leaving a beautiful cloud of powdered sugar dust all over my sister’s kitchen. After another day of resting and visiting, I began the pearl-making process. 8 hours later I had 700 individually made pearls. So far, all was going according to plan.

The day before the wedding was the day I had set aside to make the buttercream. I began in the morning and working two batches at a time, had the icing completed by early afternoon. This is where the real cake detoured from my practice cake process. Instead of frosting  and filling the cakes immediately, I put the frosting in the fridge so I could accompany my 2 year old to the rehearsal. Being a ring-bearer is a big job and he needed his mommy present. Later that night when I was ready to frost, instead of the beautiful smooth spreadable fluff that I left, I found the icing was solid, as anything that is 75% butter would be after hours of refrigeration. So, I waited and waited and waited some more. A couple hours later, I think it was almost midnight, I gave up on letting it warm up gradually and I separated into small batches and rewhipped it all a little at a time. By the time the icing was finally ready to use, I was a tad on the frustrated side. Then when I began the process of filling and layering the largest cake, I broke the top layer in half. I cried more than once. I contemplated starting over with a new cake, but decided instead to do the best I could to glue it together with icing. I prayed that God would make it all work out I didn’t know until a couple hours before the wedding if the broken cake would withstand the weight of the fondant.

On wedding day everything proceeded fairly smoothly but also slowly. I didn’t get it finished in time to get myself cleaned up and ready for the ceremony. I finished packing it into the boxes just as everyone else was heading out the door. Then the stress really started to take over. I was sitting in the house alone with my cake and no way to get it where it needed to go. The reception was scheduled to start at 5:00 and I sat there watching the clock, waiting for someone to return from the ceremony to retrieve me. At 4:40, my ride finally arrived. I had planned 45 minutes at the reception hall for set up, and yet I would only have 10.

We carried the boxes up the stairs and began to unload the cake. My brother helped with the set up and my sister helped me separate and arrange the flowers in record time. By 5:04 we had a finished cake. The bride and groom made their appearance about 10 minutes later. They loved the cake. Whew.

Probably even scarier for me than the set up was the cutting of the cake. I was scared to death that they would put the knife in it and the whole thing would crumble to the ground. I couldn’t watch… I had to close my eyes. But much to my relief, it didn’t collapse and before long the caterers were carting it off to the kitchen for slicing and I was ready for a nap.

kristens-cake

As stressful as it was, I would love to do it again. If I had been in my own kitchen and I hadn’t been related to the bride and the mother of the ring-bearer, it would have been, well… a piece of cake.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. kermooch permalink
    April 23, 2009 7:24 pm

    Incredible! And what beautiful colors.

    I really hate it that you didn’t make it to the ceremony, but I guess that’s the price of being an artiste (and selfless). What a wonderful gift they will always remember.

  2. scrabblenut permalink*
    April 24, 2009 8:20 am

    I was initially skeptical about the orange and blue, but it was wonderful when it all came together.

    Yes, I was very sad to miss the ceremony, especially since it was so close. I almost decided to just go in my pajamas, but then thought better of it 🙂

  3. Kellie permalink
    April 24, 2009 11:05 am

    I almost cried for you reading this cause I saw what you went threw with the practice cake. I’m glad in the end it turned out wonderful 🙂 And You arranged everything on the cake so beautifully wow a lot better than I’d imagined from the talks.

  4. Debby Morton permalink
    May 8, 2009 12:03 am

    What a shame that you missed the wedding ceremony but what a wonderful looking cake you turned out for the happy couple.

  5. heiditheophilus permalink
    May 12, 2009 12:41 pm

    you are amazing! i would have crumbled under the pressure…as would my cake! 😉

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