Happy Wedding my friends!

3 Jul

Lovelies

Dear Nina and Becky,

I am supposed to write a blog about making your wedding cake, and somehow it seems like this is a harder task than making the cake itself.

The original theme I settled on for this post was, “Sweet tooth satisfied yet?” as it lent itself naturally to baking metaphors to describe your love ratification. Unfortunately, my first attempt was full of words like, tender, sweet, and moist (as in my eyes were the whole dang weekend…). My sentences came out (dare I say it?) well, gooey.

It is absolutely true. Your ceremony was tenderly sweet. There was not a dry eye in the house, and I know I was not the only one full to the brim with tender, sweet, gooey love while watching you together. xoxo Zoe

I realize now, that the self-doubting tone I took in my previous cake posts here, here, and honestly here too, was not the best way for me to put my friends at ease about their wedding cake. I’m a big baby whiner, but I always had complete faith that the cake would work out in the end.

Yes there were a few surprises along the way. Yes, my super duper awesome baking strips and frosting knife stood me up and decided to party at the post office instead. Yes, I did leave all of my recipes at home. Yes, the pans were 2 inches deep instead of the 1 inch I had prepared for, so all of my recipe calculations were wrong anyway, and also yes, being stubborn and anxious I did overfill the first cake pan (to the brim!), causing a sickly sweet, smokey mess in the oven.

But no matter because Cape Cod is a magical wonderland. It is the kind of place where you can use a stealth canoe to sneak up on your friends and spring upon them with yelps and ukuleles.

We just rented this sweet canoe at the Boston airport and paddled over. NBD.

I consider myself really lucky to have friends who who will while away an evening doing handstands and whittling ribbon twirlers and then dance the rest of the night away like crazies in a dark field.

And go!

They are special people, and I am honored to have been able to contribute this one thing to the party.

Now is the time that I share the wedding cake recipe with you.  Use it wisely (as in all the time).

But first, a final technical note.  In all of my preparation, I did not give any thought to the arm strength required in cake baking. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the mixing, one layer of the bottom tier called for 9 cups of flour, 6 sticks of butter, 6 cups of sugar and 16 egg whites.  First off, that’s a lot of mixing, and secondly at some point you have to lift that smoking hot pan out of the oven.  Whew!  Let’s just say that y’all can come over and see the gun show now.  Wink, wink.

For your at home use, I’ve adjusted the all of the recipes down.  The cake recipe is a modest 2 layer cake (Use 9×9 inch pans).  The frosting recipes still might make too much, but they taste so good you might not care.

Nina and Becky’s Strawberry-love Wedding Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

You will need:

3 cups cake flour (Important! If you don’t have cake flour make it by measuring out each cup of regular flour, extracting 2 tablespoons of flour and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch).

2 cups sugar

3.5 t baking powder

½ t salt

2 sticks butter (softened)

1 c frozen strawberries

6 egg whites

½ c milk

Red food coloring (optional)

For the assembling of the cake:

½ package fresh strawberries

Bonne Maman 4 fruits jam (Not necessary, but suggested.  It keeps the cake moist, adds to the berry flavor, without having a cloying strawberry jam taste.  Very subtle)

1t vanilla

Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

Whipped cream frosting (recipe below)

Let’s bake this cake!

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  Sifting lightens up the flour, which is important, because this cake can otherwise be quite dense.  Set aside.  Using a food processor, puree the frozen strawberries and milk together.  Set aside.  In a third bowl (the largest you own), cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Set aside.  In a fourth and final bowl, whip your egg whites.  Whip them until they are nearly a meringue.  This may or may not occur for you.  In my prep, I discovered that when I used fresh egg whites that I had separated by hand, I was able to create a meringue.  However, when I used egg whites from the carton, my meringue did not form.  Either is fine as long as you have a nice foamy egg white mixture.  Guess which I chose for the wedding cake? Here’s a hint, I used 78 egg whites in the cake.

9 cups of flour, 6 sticks of butter, 6 cups of sugar and 16 egg whites here!

Let’s go back and look at the bowl of creamed butter and sugar.  Turn that mixer back on.  Start adding the sifted flour mixture to it, bit by bit.  At this point, the recipe is rather dry, so if you reach an impasse where your mixer is whining and groaning and refusing to go on,  just pep it up by adding in your liquidy strawberry milk mixture.  Then add some more.  Eventually you will have all of the strawberries, milk and flour in the same bowl.  They will all be mixed together.  At this point you might be like, “HEY BUT MY CAKE IS NOT PINK!”  That’s right.  So add some red food coloring.  (Unless you are allergic to red food coloring, then may I suggest that you exclude it?)

At this point all you have are the egg whites sitting to the side being like, “Wut UP, dudes?!”  These are code words.  They would like to join the strawberry party, at this point you can let them.  Dollop by dollop.  They are there to help fluff up the cake, so add them gently.  Fold them into the batter.  The goal is to not deflate them too much.

When everything is all mixed together into one bowl you are so good to go!  Pour the batter into two 9-inch pans (square or round!) that have been lined with parchment paper.  Alternatively, you can butter and flour your pans if you do not have parchment paper.  Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.  If you’ve expanded the recipe to wedding cake size then you might want to bake the cake for an hour and a half at 275 or 250.  Just sayin.

Now shall we move on to the frostings?

Extra batter baked up for hungry sunbathers.

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting You Will Ever Eat In Your Life

(for the middle layer)

Scaled from Smitten Kitchen

1 package cream cheese

½ stick unsalted butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar, sifted

1 t vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and combined.  Mix in vanilla, and begin adding the powdered sugar, bit by bit until all is combined.  When it is all combined, please stick your finger in the bowl. TASTES SO GOOD.

Absolutely Amazing Whipped Cream Frosting

(for the outside of the cake)

Adapted from  Allrecipies.com

1 package cream cheese

1c powdered sugar

1t vanilla

2 c heavy cream

Cream the cream cheese with vanilla in a large bowl.  As in the previous recipe, add in sugar bit by bit.  When it is all combined begin pouring in the heavy cream in a steady stream.  Whip it all together until it holds peaks.  Stick your finger in the bowl.  IT TASTES LIKE A CREAMY CLOUD.

When the cake is cooled and ready to be assembled, assemble thusly:

Click the photo to enlarge this cake map!

Then eat,

Margie

And eat,

Liz & Nina eatin'

And give a little kiss and hug to someone you love.

Congratulations!


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5 Responses to “Happy Wedding my friends!”

  1. Emma July 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Absolutely delightful. So glad you decided to put the work in to give us the scaled down recipe; although I might have enjoyed reading your actual quantities 🙂

  2. Robin July 3, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    SWEEEET!!!

  3. Robin July 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    SWEEEET!!! And just in time for strawberry season which is happening NOW in MN. Thank you for making the cake, for writing the post, for all that you do in this particular fabulous circle of friends!!

  4. Mandy July 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    The cake was so, so awesome….a true masterpiece! I will be taking this recipe for a spin, my friend. Do you think I could replace the flour with almond flour for a gluten-free recipe? Hmm….

    • Zoe July 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

      Thanks Mandy!! I’m not sure about replacing flour with almond flour for this particular recipe. It tends to be pretty dense, and almond flour will weigh it down more. I think I’d try another grain-y substitute. But I like your idea, and will experiment and get back to you!

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