Monday, April 26, 2010

White Wedding Cake with Strawberry Cream Filling and Swiss Buttercream Icing

THE wedding cake...done!

So here it is...the project that I thought would be the end of me. (Side note: this post makes me regret not taking more photos while I was making and assembling this wedding cake, but you're lucky that I took this many).

You guys, I've never been more nervous. Well, maybe I was in school - it made me think of those late-night studio sessions, you know the ones where you stay up all night working on a project and then by the time you present it, you're so tired and exhausted and consumed and whatever that you think you've lost your mind.

This is how I felt. Did I eat that day? Nope. Did I talk to my husband at all? Nope - when he came into the kitchen to chat I had to brush him off, shoo him away with floured hands, I'm busy here. Did I stop at all, to enjoy the sunny day or to feed my animals? No, no, and no (don't worry, my lovely husband took care of them). All I could think about was cake. Getting this cake right and not messing it up.

I got up early that morning to start on my to-do list, which went something like this: make frosting, make strawberry filling, fill all three layers, ice all three layers, chill, re-ice all three layers with final coat, decorate, box up, drive to wedding site, deliver cake, make a big drink to celebrate. And this is exactly what happened - no real hitches or problems at all. Either I'm incredibly lucky, or my crazy planning actually paid off.

Some things I learned along the way include:
a) Strawberry freezer jam makes an excellent cake filling when blended with swiss buttercream.
b) Wax paper under the cake when you start icing the layers is essential. Once you have the wax paper in place, don't be shy with the icing.
c) Refrigerating the layers between icings will allow the buttercream to set up very nicely.
d) You will mess up. You will have places of icing that aren't smoothed to perfection. It's ok, they will probably cover it up with flowers anyway (they did)
e) You can make up the cake decorating pattern as you go. This is what I did (terrible, I know!). I played with different ridges in the icing until I liked what I saw. You can re-smooth icing quite a few times until you get it just right.
f) The scalloped shells at the base of the cake are really not my style, but they helped incredibly when it came time to hide the cardboard base at the bottom of each cake.
g) When actually delivering the wedding cake that you just spent the majority of the past two months thinking about, practicing on, and obsessing over, you will drive 20 miles per hour, highway or not. And you will sweat.
h) Don't ever be above purchasing pre-made fondant decorative flowers in case you need to hide a goof. I was so thankful that I did.
i) Don't really sweat the small stuff - most definitely, people will love what you did, and the bride won't even notice (or, in my case, show up a teeny bit inebriated). Yes, she did.

Some other details, in case you were wondering:
- Cake: White Cake, from Joy of Cooking
- Icing: Swiss Buttercream Icing, from Smitten Kitchen
- Filling: Strawberry freezer jam + icing + lots of red food coloring (if you don't do this, your filling will be a fleshy pale pink color. Not appetizing.)

Any other questions? Just ask!

2 comments:

upcydown said...

Ummmm, Jennifer...this is freaking AMAZING. Seriously gorgeous and really tasty looking. You should be really proud.

cjm said...

AHH!!! I was so looking forward to this and then I missed your post. :) It looks fantastic. GREAT tip about chilling the cake before icing it again.

I would have been a nervous wreck when it got to the transport part. I don't see how I would ever get over that even if I were a professional baker. Great job!