Friday before the wedding, I asked our oldest what they had planned for a cake. They hadn't. They figured that anyone who wanted dessert could get it from the pizza joint they were going to for dinner after the ceremony at the courthouse. So I decided to make some phone calls. I thought it would be fun to have a little cake there for them. Something. Anything. A wedding seems somehow incomplete without a cake to me. You know?
I just thought maybe it would be fun to get them something different. They'd never had a donut cake before, so I thought I'd call around and see, if I could find one locally. A donut cake is literally a huge donut filled with Bavarian Cream and iced with chocolate or vanilla icing. I thought it would be different and fun, but I couldn't find anything withing 100 miles. I did ask for a call back from a bakery who thought they might be able to do one, but I didn't get the return call until three days before the wedding. At that point, it was a little too late.
So silly, silly me decided Sunday morning, a mere 5 days before the wedding, to make a cake for them. However, I have no experience whatsoever with making cakes.
When I make birthday cakes, I'm usually in such a hurry that I make a cake in a 9x13" and frost it in the pan, buy one, or cover a roll of toilet paper to look like a German Chocolate cake. That's it there in the picture.
In fact, I think I've literally made 1 layer cake in the 24 years we've been married. I just get so busy around birthdays that I never seem to have the time to even try with one. So I have no idea what prompted me to think I could manage making a wedding cake, let alone a fondant covered cake.
Before we left the house on Sunday, I printed off 8 40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby, but since Hobby Lobby was closed, we went to JoAnn's. It just made more sense to give it a try and have the supplies for future cakes than to spend extra money on a cake to have it made in a rush. We scurried to get the supplies I needed before our daughter met us for some last-minute wedding shopping. I didn't want her to know what I was attempting for two reasons. If it didn't turn out, then she wouldn't be disappointed, and if it did turn out, it would be a fun surprise.
While I was shopping, the hubby went through the checkout line for me repeatedly saving 40% on supplies each time he went through and used a coupon. They were really good about all of it, and I know we couldn't have gotten the supplies without the coupons. Plus I have all the stuff to make future birthday cakes.
Wouldn't you know that I forgot the cake pans? I have a silicone cake pan my husband bought me as a gift one year, and I like it just fine. But I like it for cooking in the microwave. For some reason, I have the worst time trying to bake cakes in them. Some instructions say you still have to grease silicone pans. Others say you don't. And yet others say to grease and flour it. But I always have such a hard time getting the cakes out of the pan. They always come out in pieces, but I still gave it a try.
So Monday night, I tried my first cake. In the silicone pan. I followed the high altitude directions for it, but the cake came out as crumbly and coarse and yellow - not white. And I really wanted it to seem like a wedding cake. And wedding cakes are white, and moist, and dense, and not crumbly. Hah. I piled myself into bed around 1:00a.m Monday night. I was exhausted. And I still had to clean the kitchen counter off and figure out this whole cake baking thing.
Tuesday came early. After getting the kids off to school, I worked on getting the kitchen cleaned up.I really wanted to work on the cake some more, but I knew I needed to get the kitchen cleaned, if I was going to be able to relax enough to concentrate on doing the cake. By the time the hubby came home, the countertop was cleared, and I was ready to try my hand at baking again. He'd stopped and gotten me a couple of sets of metal cake pans to use, so I got them washed up and popped them in the oven with a fresh batch of cakes. This time, I only used cake whites, and the cake was whiter, but it still stuck in the pan. Plus, of all things, the oven turned off in the middle of the cycle, and the cakes didn't finish baking like they should have. It was a mess, and I was stressed.
So I crawled into bed after 1:00 a.m. again and just died. Got up at 5:15 to get the girls off to school and realized that it was an early release day. It was one exceptionally stressful day with our middle daughter freaking out over bringing the trash cans up to the house early, and the youngest one being obstinate about wearing her glasses. Because I was so swamped and so stressed, hubby ran to the grocery store and got me three more cake mixes (this time without pudding in the mix), so we could maybe have a white cake and not a yellow one.
He went to work, and I set to cleaning cake pans and trying to find high altitude directions on the cake mixes. Yeah. There weren't any. And even though I followed the directions on the package to a T, and they turned out white, they were very, very fragile cakes. At this point, though, I'd already baked 6 sets of cakes - 5 different white cakes and 1 chocolate. And the wedding was the day after tomorrow!
So I threw the cakes in the freezer to firm up while I made homemade buttercream frosting. I needed to frost the cakes in order for the fondant to stick. So I got busy with that, and did a quick crumb coat on the cakes and stuck them back in the fridge to harden while I attempted to color the fondant.
Coloring the fondant wasn't as difficult as I'd expected, and I have to admit that I got motivated as I saw the colors turning out right. But by the time I'd gotten the fondant colored and the ladybug parts cut out, it was once again well past midnight. So I crawled into bed again. After all, 5:15 comes early, and I had to finish getting ready for my Mom's arrival and I had to get some rest. I had to be done with the cake before our daughter came over to spend the night before her wedding with us.
Thursday was a bit of a blur. I got busy as soon as we got the girls out the door and on the bus to school. I had to make even more buttercream to ice the cakes with and got that out of the way. Even though I had the ladybug parts cut out, I still had to roll out the fondant and I'd never done that before. Still. It seemed to go fairly smoothly. Until I actually put in on the cake.
I'm not sure, if it was just no longer pliable enough, or if it was too floppy, but I ended up with extra folds on the cake. No matter how I tried to smooth them down, I couldn't seem to make them disappear.
So I rolled even more out and made a grass border to cover it up. At this point, there was only about 29 hours to go before the wedding, and I had to do something.
When my husband woke up and was on his way to shower for work, he stopped by the kitchen. He only had one word to say. "Unbelievable!" I wasn't even finished with the grass yet, and I hadn't gotten the daisies on, either, but I figured that was a pretty good sign.
So I finished throwing it together, got it boxed up, and had him take it downstairs and hide it until he could take it to the pizza joint before the wedding the next day.
Then I cleaned up the mess I'd made in the kitchen, hid all the decorating supplies, so our daughter wouldn't see them when she came over later that night, and dragged myself to the shower. Oh. And I sent a few pictures of the cake to friends.
All in all, I think I did okay for a first attempt. I know I'll do things differently the next time. And I know for sure that I'll be looking for a non-fragile cake recipe, so the cake doesn't get lumpy on the sides from collapsing on itself. It really didn't look that way before the fondant. It's all a learning adventure, right?
Most importantly, the kids were surprised, and they had a wedding cake for their special day.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.