This past week I reached somewhat of a milestone in my pastry career. I made my first wedding cake! It may not seem like a lot, but for me it was a big endeavor and challenge to see what I could do. In culinary school I was required to make a wedding cake, so I had some experience with the process, but doing if for a real wedding where so many expectations were on the line was a whole different matter. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun and was definitely appreciated by my friend Jen, whose wedding I made it for. Here's the final results of more than a week of work:
The wedding was on Friday August 1st, and I started baking about two weeks earlier. Cakes hold up very well in the freezer and even gain moisture, as long as you don't freeze them for too long. I baked both chocolate buttermilk cakes and carrot cakes.
The Tuesday before the wedding I came home from work after my 4 a.m.-12:00 p.m. shift and spent the afternoon cutting, layering and frosting all 4 cakes with vanilla buttercream. My 5 lb bag of sugar wasn't enough and I ended up going to the store a second time for more butter and sugar.
On Wednesday and Thursday I went to work making the buttercream as smooth as possible and picked up the flowers from the florist. Friday morning I arranged the flowers, dowelled the cake (inserted plastic straws in the bottom 3 layers for support), and boxed up the cake. Matt helped me take the cakes to a YMCA camp near the site of the wedding (Oxbow Regional Park) and we went to help the set-up effort.
Unfortunately for my friends Jen and Al they managed to pick the one rainy day of the summer for their outdoor wedding day. What a Portland thing to happen! Luckily for them they had great friends organizing their wedding and we moved everything into the covered reception area and the wedding was still beautiful.
After the ceremony I left to pick up the cake and assembled it in the reception area. Matt documented me putting the layers together.
Then I made last minute fixes to the few areas of the borders I squished while putting the layers together, and the cake was good to go.
One of the sad things about being a pastry chef is that you create these beautiful things and then you have to accept the fact that they are meant to be eaten and they will be destroyed! The cake was only up in full form for about an hour before we cut it and distributed. Matt was my sous chef and helped hand out plates of cake. It seemed like everyone was happy and it was a great success.
After all that stress it was time to relax! Wine was the order of the day and Matt and I both enjoyed some and took a stroll through the woods. It's not every day you get to walk down a trail with a glass of wine!
All in all I was really happy to be a part of Jen's wedding. It was a community effort of all her friends to put on the wedding and it just felt really nice to be a part of the process. It was also great to be able to test out my wedding cake baking skills on a good friend that I know and love. She and Al were so appreciative and it was great to see what I'm capable of.