August, man. August was insane. Countless batches of buttercream, seven cakes, buttercream flowers, litres of berries, many happy tummies AND… my very first wedding cake! Despite the insanity of last month, this latest project allowed me to develop so many new skills! My first wedding cake is one I’m sure to remember as it completely exceeded my expectations both in appearance and flavour. I’m not usually much of a risk taker, so when my friend asked me to make her wedding cake, I was a bit apprehensive. This was going to be my friend’s very special day. How mortified would I be if I butchered the dang cake?! However, my excitement overtook my anxiety and soon enough, I was making a wedding cake.
Now being 21 years old, I haven’t had much experience with anything wedding related. The closest I’ve ever come to a wedding cake is viewing a fancy plastic model at a baking school, so you can imagine my surprise when I did a couple internet searches and had my ideas of wedding cake assembly completely shattered. Did you know that they’re assembled with dowels? Or that the cake is actually several different cakes just layered on each other for presentation purposes? There is no “super cake” to be spoken of. Maybe there is, but I sure as heck didn’t find it. I was definitely riding the learning curve.
The first step, of course, was determining the perfect cake. Since this cake was going to be a naked white berry cake and couldn’t hide behind the sweetness and texture of the icing, this needed to be a killer cake. Luckily for me, I nailed the cake on my first of seven attempts. Next was the frosting. I knew this cake had to have Swiss meringue frosting from the get-go. The delicate sweetness the frosting carries would be such a compliment to all the luscious berries. My first attempt at the frosting failed though and I saw a couple hours work and 5 masterfully separated egg whites meet their fate in my compost bin. Second go at it though, completely nailed it. So why did it take so many attempts? Figuring out the assembly, and some shortcuts in between that ended in baking disasters. Turns out the assembly was quite easy and I was then left with a trial wedding cake that I needed to get rid of before I added it to my waistline, but that is what friends are for!
For the final cake I used…
- 3, 8 inch white cakes
- 3, 6 inch white cakes
- a whole lot of Swiss meringue buttercream
- homemade raspberry coulis
- fresh berries
…and it came together beautifully! Given my first attempts, I never could have imagined how wonderfully the cake would turn out. Most of the aesthetic issues I had during test trials were fixed through experimentation alone, and left the final cake looking like an expertly designed masterpiece. What can I say? I was so happy with it. My only regret is not having taken more photos to document the process. I cannot wait for more of these opportunities to present themselves going forward. As someone without professional training, I cherish each new project as an opportunity to master old skills and cultivate new ones.