Ok, so technically it was not my first wedding cake, but...hell, she won't read this, it was the first cake I really cared about. Ok, I cared about the last wedding cake, but when all you're given to work with is cake mixes...it doesn't make much of an emotional impact. Plus, this cake had to be perfect as it was for one of the most important people in my life. There. Did that make any sense? Most likely not.
I started the day before the wedding, which might have been my first mistake. An extra afternoon might have taken a little of the pressure off, but it also might have messed up the rhythm I had going, not to mention left two days worth of mess for the Bride's dad and step-mom to deal with. So...maybe a problem? Maybe not.
I arrived just before eight in the morning armed with all my gear, including the pans my mom shipped up and the flour I specially ordered. I had ordered cake flour from www.kingarthurflour.com along with almond extract, because I hate the one brand of cake flour I know all the grocery stores carry.
I used Emeril Lagasse's recipe, found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/emerils-wedding-cake-recipe/index.html for the sponge cake, replacing the vanilla with almond extract. The recipe calls for making it twice for a three tiered cake, however, I found that the layers were far too thin and was forced to make three batches just for the stacked cakes. Here's where the extra time would've helped, I needed to use those ingredients and that time to make a second layer to the sheet cake. The recipe itself was a fair pain in the tuchus, as every ingredient had to be weighed not measured as usual. It made for a more accurate and regulated batter, but took a great length of time.
The batter was then divided into six bowls and Wilton gel coloring was used, splitting the pots of gel between the four batches I made. I then spooned one color of batter into the pan, then another spoonful of another directly on top of it and so on until all the colors were used. Shake the pan if the batter hasn't spread out to the edges, being careful not to stir the batter up.
The pans I used were a 6 inch, a 8 inch, and a 10 inch. I think a set of 6, 9 and 12 would have looked more dramatic, but hindsight being what it is and all...
Follow instructions on the recipe as to baking and let cool completely on wire racks.
The frosting I found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/07/project-wedding-cake-swiss-buttercream/#more-519 and it was fantastic. I have never cooked a frosting before and it was far more interesting than the frosting I normally make. And far more buttery. Wow was it buttery. It spread really well and looked very nice.
I then inserted four straws into the bottom two layers and cut them off a scant 1/8th inch above the cake so the next layer had a stable way to sit.
I managed to deliver the cake to the reception hall without any accidents and the next day I assembled the cakes without fuss. I only wish I had a small pot of frosting to touch up the edges.
For decoration I had made little paper poppies but they would've soaked up the butter from the frosting and looked horrible. The bows I bought only worked for the sheet cake. I replaced the paper poppies with some that I had purchased.
I think I'm just rambling now...
Anyway, it fed everyone despite it's diminutive appearance, there was even a great deal left over!
I think it turned out very well, people seemed to like it.
So there we have it! Nine and a half hours to complete and my second foray into wedding cakes seems to be a success.