Around the House, Current Projects

Adventures in Cake Making

Mark’s sister got married this summer at their parent’s cottage and it was beautiful.

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It was a small wedding and everything except dinner was done by the bride and groom and their friends and family (including the bride’s gorgeous dress – which she made). Despite a thunderstorm during the ceremony (which I think made it even more romantic and intimate) the whole thing was perfect.

About a month before the wedding, Mark heard that they weren’t planning on having a cake. Mark, of course, was aghast. (He is very dessert motivated.) He says he didn’t volunteer to make the cake, but I’m pretty sure he basically volunteered to make the cake. So while I was away on holiday with my Mom, I started getting pictures of test cake number one.

I say ‘test cake number one’ because this was the beginning of a month-long endeavour of learning how to make a wedding cake. It was a lot of fun and I personally want to thank Youtube and Pinterest for making it all possible.

Cue the Rocky montage music …

We started by doing a little research (*ahem* Pinterest) and laying out our cake requirements. According to the bride and groom, their requests were: no citrus. That’s it. (Pretty easy to please!) So we came up with a few more requirements: no fondant, flowers would be nice, the whole thing had to be shock resistant (it would need to survive an almost 2 hour drive up highway 410 and into cottage country), it would have to be reasonably heat resistant, and – oh yeah – it should look nice and taste good.

I should probably mention at this point that we both have engineering backgrounds. We are also slightly crazy.

We were dazzled by flower cakes online (I need to single out Olga Zaytseva who was not only a huge inspiration, but her delightful youtube videos basically taught me everything about making buttercream flowers) so we decided to practice some flowers. Well, a lot of flowers.

That first cake above had Swiss meringue icing – and suffice it to say – we were not fans. The second cake had a raspberry batter and cream cheese icing with buttercream flowers. The leaves were also cream cheese icing (bad idea). Although it tasted amazing, as you can see, it failed the heat test. Spectacularly. (The ‘heat test’ involves sitting out in the direct sun at noon with temperatures around 35°C.)

The second picture above was our very first attempt at flower making! It was also Mark’s very last attempt. He left the flowers up to me from that point on.

We used the rest of that batter to make cupcakes. During that time, Mark and I got invited to a BBQ and were asked to bring ‘appetizers’. This is what they got. Lol.

Next up: our brief foray into chocolate cake. This was met with a few difficulties. First: Boo licked the cake (we marked out the licked portion with the orange arrows and just decorated over it. Don’t judge us.)

And second: another heat test failure. This time, it wasn’t the icing that was the problem…

So, for those keeping track at home – new cream cheese icing: yes, soggy chocolate cake: no, Swiss meringue icing: no, stiff buttercream icing: yes, raspberry cake batter: yes!

Well, a few more rounds of practice flowers (with mini-cakes and cupcakes) led up to our penultimate cake trial the week before the wedding – we opted for blue and white flowers for the final cake. And, yes, the penultimate cake passed the heat test with flying colours.

Last minute switch up – Mark wants two tiers – TWO TIERS!! After a perusal of youtube, Mark is convinced he can do it. It involves cardboard circles that each tier sits on and a bunch of wooden dowels.

So, the cake is finally made but one problem remains: how to transport it almost two hours away without it completely falling apart? Youtube to the rescue! Specifically, Yener’s Cake Tips to the rescue and a tutorial on how to make your own refrigerated cardboard cake box! (Seriously, thank you Serdar Yener, and your amazing cakes.)

We strapped that puppy into the car (it’s behind the blue duffel bag) and I drove the slowest and most carefully that I’ve ever driven in my life. I wanted to get a sticker that said ‘Baby on Board’ but scratch out ‘Baby’ and write ‘CAKE’. Whenever we went over the smallest bump in the road I stopped breathing.

But … the cake made it to the cottage with every little flower intact! Yay!

And now for the finished cake!

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It was a hit! It tasted great. A wonderful and memorable time was had by all.

And thus concludes our illustrious career as cake makers.

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P.S. If you ever think that it’s a good idea to eat cake every day for a month – it’s really, really not.

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in Cake Making”

  1. I ended up on your website for crochet, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your sister’s wedding. I also had a small, diy wedding (so glad I did) and I love reading about other people who have done the same! Thank you for sharing the pictures, and the cake looks amazing! Well done to everyone in your family!!

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