i made a real life wedding cake. yes, a very real, edible wedding cake that is actually very delicious of which i baked, assembled, and decorated in all of one weekend. why, you may ask? to well, broaden my baking horizons, to accomplish what most people will never, to make something huge that tastes good, and to push myself to a limit. i love art, love to be creative, love baking, and figured this was a good start.
this was my first approach, ps. oh, and did i mention that i (yes, "i" meaning singular, just me) did this in a small apartment kitchen with just one pan for each layer, which means i had to bake them one at a time!? i officially had two break downs, possibly grew a gray hair, filled 3 trash cans of trash, destroyed three 12 inch cakes, threw my spatula at the floor (covered with buttercream icing) in anger, cried at the sight of soupy buttercream, dropped a bag full of pearl dragees all over the floor, ruined a perfectly good white james perse t-shirt or two (not a sexy look to say the least) , made 5+ emergency trips to the market, mowed my way through 80 eggs, a 15 pound bag of sugar, 10 pounds of flour, and in the end really lost count of how much batter made . i don't even want to bring up the mess i made. no, i'm not going there.
whew. i am so glad i finished this! oh, and i forgot, i can't even lift the cake it's so big and heavy, so this means it can't be moved unless alen is around to help. ( the cake also takes up my entire fridge, completely emptied and bare.) that and i think my oven was on for two days straight from 8 am to 10 pm between all the layers, mishaps, and test cakes that i made. and just my luck, it's just now warming up here in LA which means my kitchen was steaming like a sauna!
anyway, i decided on a coconut wedding cake made with three different cakes-
top two layers are coconut cake with coconut buttercream frosting
3rd is a chocolate butter cake with a swiss buttercream frosting
bottom tier is a vanilla buttermilk with a swiss buttercream frosting
i also made a test cake with fondant and bought rolled fondant at michaels (wilton. yuck. looked pretty but tasted otherwise) strictly for practice and a more expensive fondant at surfas(which actually tastes good- not all fondant is created equal!!), and in the end decided to go without the fondant. good choice! i love coconut, decided on the anti- mainstream approach, and overall thought this cake just looked dreamy. in the end, the cake is moist, decadent, and just so incredibly tasty, it's almost unheard of for a wedding cake to taste this good. to say the least, i think i somewhat impressed myself:) so, now that i slept it all off, i'm here again, ready to take on my next cake (well, maybe after another nap). wow, i learned so much from this experience! i'm seriously ready for a glass of wine now- *cue* my huge grin
my workspace . apparently, as you can clearly see, i ran out of room. there is one of the cakes i destroyed- & of course, it became a taste test-
this is what all of my counters looked like, ALL of the time -
playing with the fondant was fun, but i would never sacrifice taste-
the chocolate butter cake was the most moist cake i had ever tasted-
i had to nearly take each recipe and multiply by 6 to make enough for my cake. it sounds like alot, but trust me, you do want to make more than enough
Chocolate Butter Cake
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Makes one 8-inch square, three layer cake
3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch square cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans; each pan will take about 3 1/4 cups of batter.
4. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Makes one three-layer 9-inch round cake [Equivalent in batter to an 8-inch square; we scaled it up for a 10-inch square/middle tier of the wedding cake]
3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.
4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. When the layers have cooled, place a cardboard cake board on top of a layer, invert again, and lift off the rack. To make the layers easier to handle, wrap them on their boards completely in plastic, so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.
Swiss Buttercream via Torrie via Smitten Kitchen
For a wedding cake (or most of one, depending on the size)
2 cups of egg whites (approx. 12 large)
3 cups sugar
5 cups butter, softened (2 1/2 pounds, 10 sticks)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For a 9-inch cake (plus filling, or some to spare)
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the tiniest amount, if you’re just practicing (or enough to cover and fill the 4-inch cake pictured)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.
Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Here’s a tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.)
Add the vanilla.
Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip, whip, whip. Oh and FYI- it took me 30 minutes to whip this with my Cuisinart mixer until it finally came to a mayo-like consistency.