Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wedding bells

Last weekend I had the ultimate honor of making a wedding cake. But it wasn't just a cake for anyone. It was a cake for a classmate of mine ("T") I've known for 6 years.

Their toppers were hand-made wooden figurines 
made to look like the bride and groom. So cute!

Grad school is an interesting beast. It throws together all different kinds of people from all over the country into this incredibly intense experience. There are many students each year in the PhD program so I met lots of people over the years. But most of my closest friends were my Cancer Biology classmates.

In many ways I always thought of my Cancer Biology classmates more like family than friends: they may not have been people I would have normally become friends with under any other circumstances, but I always knew they were there for me through thick and thin.

Each one of my grad school classmates became a friend in different ways. And each has left an indelible impression on me. But I can honestly say T is responsible for some of the most interesting memories during my 6 years in California. And I think most of my class would agree.

When you get to know T, you realize he's as caring as he is unique. So when he asked me to make his cake I was beyond excited. Even more so knowing how happy he'd be on his wedding day. I don't think I've ever known a couple more matched and perfect for each other than T and his wife.

The other great part about making their cake is how much personal style T and his wife have. They're both extremely creative and I was stoked to make such a cool design for their cake!

Their wedding colors were yellow and silver. 
Such a unique, yet absolutely stunning, combination!

The cake was based on a Martha Stewart DIY wedding cake. Not to toot my own horn, but this cake was definitely one of the most technically difficult compared to the other DIY cakes on the site.

Cake cutting. Love it!

For everyone interested in the flavors, here are the specs:

10" square: chocolate cake* with Italian meringue coffee buttercream frosting.
8" square: yellow cake** with Italian meringue buttercream frosting (with a hint of orange oil)
6" square: brown butter pound cake with the same orange buttercream frosting

Red arrow = my roommates espresso cup. But I filled it with sake, not espresso.  
15 hours of baking, filling, frosting and fondanting the three days before the wedding 
(after full days of work) will lead anyone to copious sake drinking...

* I tried a new recipe from the Cake Bible book (perfect all American chocolate butter cake). FAIL!! It tasted good but was a bit dry and super crumbly. Sooooo hard to work with. (The cake literally cracked in half when I tried to flip it over.) Ugh. Should have stuck with my favorite chocolate cake recipe.
** Even though I prefer the Rich and Tender Yellow Cake from Cooks Illustrated, it bakes up a bit flatter than other yellow cake recipes. So I went with the (almost) equally delicious yellow cake from Smitten Kitchen.

For everyone interested in the process, here it is:

Wednesday: Bake the three batches of cakes. Do a ridiculous amount of dishes in between baking.
Thursdsay: Bake another half batch of chocolate cake because the layers were too damn small (not initially in my schedule). Make over 15 cups of frosting. Fill the cakes with frosting and cut to make them as square as you can. Frost the cakes.
Friday: Cover each of the three cakes with fondant. Cut out over 50 different sized petals (in three shades of yellow). Decorate the cake.
Saturday: Assemble the cake. Get drunk.

Food totals: 6 pounds of butter, 7 pounds of fondant, 2 dozen eggs, cups and cups and cups of flour and sugar.

And just because the wedding was so beautiful, a few more pictures to share:

I loved the "old time" feel the wedding had. For example, their card box was this cool old luggage with a hole cut out on top for cards. But they also included blank pieces of paper for "Notes, Thoughts, Complaints." I was at the table when the priest (?) asked me what the blank paper was for. When I told him he joked about writing "T sucks" on one of the cards. And I convinced him to do it! hahahhaha.

This picture I stole from another one of my classmates' Flickr pages because I think it perfectly captured the gorgeous day (and bride) better than my photos.

Yours in love and friendship*,
Jackie

*OK, up until this point I've been signing my blogs "Buen Provecho" for this reason. I haven't abandoned Buen Provecho, but I'm mixing things up a bit. My boss always signs her e mails 
"Yours in ______"and I think its the best phrase ever. I've been wanting to steal it since I first read an e mail from her, so I'm now officially making it part of my blogging signature. Hope she doesn't mind- but imitation is the best form of flattery...

4 comments:

Tamara Marnell said...

I wish I had the bride's figure (and dresses)! I also wish I had your fondant skills. I'm only in a professional degree program and I couldn't imagine finding the time to bake and decorate that cake so nicely.

Jacqueline said...

Thanks. But you didn't see the cake from up close- not so sure how much you'd be congratulating me on my fondant skills then. ;) I have yet to say I've mastered the skill. Plus I've got a 9-5 job now so it's easier to do stuff like this. But I will admit, a cake this big will wear you out. From 6-11 pm on Wed, Thurs, Fri I was basically working non-stop!

Erin said...

I'm going to have to get married again so you can bake me a cake! So beautiful! Great job (and I'm sure it was as yummy as it looks!).

Alana Conner said...

Strong work, Dr. B! And thanks for the flattery :) You have a way with fondant AND with words--not to mention with health, biotechnology, Silicon Valley innovations, museums in general and in specific, etc. Keep up the fabulosity!
Yours in pulling it all together into one delicious life,
A

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