Monday, September 8, 2014

Jessica & Judy's wedding cake week

Wedding cake has occurred! Most of a week, almost 10 pounds each of flour and sugar, 8.5 pounds of butter, 56 eggs, and one ball of yarn later. I'm happy with how it turned out, and very happy I tackled the full-on tiered thing. And everyone else seemed to like it too, including the lovely couple. Here's to many sweet years to come!

Big thanks to:
* Peter for letting me stay at his house and take over his kitchen
* Amy for letting me use her car
* Brian for helping with errands and keeping me company
* Sarah for crochet hook and buttons
this post for day-of assembly instructions
* Jessica and Judy for the honor of including me in their special day!

23 oz dark chocolate (1 pack + 13 squares TJ's pound plus)
1 14-oz can coconut cream
plateful of cocoa powder
12x4 tea bags (3 boxes) Stash double bergamot earl grey tea
1x3 quarts buttermilk + ~1 c milk or cream
1 c + 4x3 c + 1x8 c + sugar
4x3 + 2.75x8 sticks butter
4x3 t vanilla
8x3 eggs + 4x8 egg whites
8x3 c flour
1/3x3 c corn starch
4x3 t baking powder
3x3 t baking soda
2x3 t salt
4x8 oz creme fraiche
10x8 drops bergamot oil
5x6 dashes Angostura
1 box raspberries
Americolor royal blue soft gel paste food color

1 each 6", 9", and 12" square x 2" tall cake pans
2 9x13" cake pans
1 each 6", 9", and 12" square cake boards
1 13x17" thick cake board
1 16" square thick cake board
plastic hollow dowels
7", 10", 16", and 13x17" cake boxes

6pm: Make truffle ganache, and crush a dozen raspberries into half the ganache. Refrigerate both until firm.
10pm: Form ganache into truffles and toss in cocoa powder.

9am: Place 24 tea bags and 2 qt buttermilk in a large saucepan, heat until steaming but ideally not curdling, turn off the heat, and cover. Also place the remaining 12 tea bags and 2 c warm water in a small saucepan, and cover.
10am: Squeeze out and discard all the tea bags. Be disappointed at how much the buttermilk curdled, but realize that you should have seen it coming, and that it will be fine anyway. Top up the buttermilk with milk or cream to make 8 c total dairy.
10:30am: Preheat oven to 325F, make simple syrup with 1 c sugar and the nondairy-ified earl grey, and prepare the cake pans.
11am: Make a double batch of cake batter using the dairy-ified earl grey. Put about 3 c, 7 c, and 11.5 c batter in the 6", 9", and 12" pans, respectively. Bake for 40 min, 50 min, and 60 min, respectively, rotating the pans partway through.
12:30pm: Lunch break!
3pm: Make a second batch of cake. Level the tops of the first batch of cake, triple wrap each layer in plastic wrap, and freeze.
4pm: Make the first batch of buttercream (4 egg whites, 1 c sugar, 2.75 sticks butter, half pack creme fraiche, bergamot and Angostura).
5pm: Level the tops of the second batch of cake, triple wrap each layer in plastic wrap, and freeze.

9am: Freak out that there won't be enough cake. Also freak out that there won't be enough fridge/freezer space to hold this much cake, let alone as much cake as I'd like to provide. Decide to make more cake anyway.
10:30am: Start steeping another 12 tea bags in another quart of buttermilk. Make 2 batches of buttercream, adding 2 dozen whole raspberries to each batch by dropping them in one at a time while the mixer is running.
11:30am: Take the 6" pair of cake layers out of the freezer. Unwrap one layer and place it flat side down on the 6" cake board. Brush the trimmed top side with the earl grey syrup and spread with a generous layer of the raspberry buttercream. Unwrap the other cake layer, brush the trimmed side with syrup, and place trimmed side down on top of the buttercream. Check to make sure that the cake is oriented in the flattest way possible, then brush the flat top side with more syrup. Wrap up the whole package (board, two cakes, and frosting) in plastic wrap (I reused the plastic wrap) and stick back in the freezer. Repeat with the 9" and 12" layers.
1pm: Lunch break!
2:30pm: Make a third batch of cake in two 9x13" pans and bake for 50-60 min.
3:30pm: Make a double batch of buttercream. Put most of it into the tupperware with yesterday's batch of plain buttercream, and mix a bit into the remaining raspberry buttercream to bring the amount up to what's needed to fill the 9x13 cake.
6pm: Evening break!
11pm: Start crocheting a border for the 6" cake using a variation on this pattern.

10am: Pick up boards and box for the 9x13" cake.
1pm: Hang out at Golden Gardens and finish crocheting the borders for all three layers.
4pm: Make another batch of plain buttercream.

8am: Pull the 9x13" layers and the 9" and 12" squares out of the freezer. Trim, brush, and fill the 9x13" cake just like the squares. Unwrap the squares so they don't get too soggy while defrosting. Put the 9x13" cake on its board, frost with buttercream, box it up, and put in a cool room since there's no fridge space for such things. Pull the 6" square out of the freezer. Frost the 9" square, dowel it, box it, and cool it. Frost, dowel, box, and cool the 12" square (making the final double batch of buttercream when the frosting runs out partway through). Frost, box, and cool the 6" square. There was about 4 cups of frosting left: I put half in one tupperware, beat food coloring into the other half until it was a nice blue, then put that in a separate tupperware.
12:30pm: Quick break to eat the lovely brunch that Laura, Derek, and Peter managed to cook while I used almost every surface in the kitchen.
1pm: Collect everything for on-site assembly: white and blue frostings, piping supplies, icing spatula, big spatula, powdered coconut, and crocheted borders. Also collect the 2 kinds of truffles and 4 boxes of cake. Also collect the outfit to change into. Put everything in the car and carefully carefully drive over to Brian's.
2pm: Stick the truffles and all the cake that will fit into Brian's fridge. Drive Brian over to the Mac&Jack's brewery for keg pick-up. Hang out until we're allowed to go to the venue.
5:45pm: Carefully carefully drive over to the venue. Unbox the 12" layer and place it on the venue's cake stand. Touch up the frosting with the spare plain buttercream, wrap the crochet border around the bottom, and dust the top with coconut powder. Carefully place the 9" layer on the dowels, centering and leveling as necessary. Repeat with touching up the 9" layer, stacking the 6" layer, and touching up the 6" layer. Pipe some blue buttercream to decorate.
6:45pm: Ta da! All done. Enjoy a gorgeous wedding and a splendid evening! The tiered cake was the right amount for the ~100-person wedding, with just a few slices left over.

Bring the 9x13" cake to the day-after picnic.