Sunday, July 24, 2011

How To Make 10 Cakes For Your Friends' Wedding and Not Die


Mollie and I are in that time of life where everyone is getting married.  I mean, everyone!  I truly believe that there is something in the water.  Mollie herself has been bitten by the matrimony bug and ties the knot early August.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am very excited for this season! It's just weird making the leap from unrealistically dreaming about china patterns and actually helping your friends pick them out.  Am I really that old?

The next step: baby showers.  That'll surely bring some gray hairs.

Anyways, in order to graduate from high school, all those years ago, I was required to complete what was called a "senior project."  We were supposed to learn a new skill that we could hopefully use down the road.  This was at a time when all the cake reality shows were becoming big and made me want to become the next big Food Network star.  Though one teacher professed that cake decorating was too easy and shouldn't be a viable option, I boldly traveled down the road of recipe perfecting and fondant making.

One afternoon my mom said, "You know Alli, this really will come in handy when all your friends get married.  You could make their cakes for their wedding present!"  I brushed her comment off with a "Sure, Mom," thinking that's not possible since it wouldn't be time for my friends to get married until a billion years from now.

I was wrong.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I made ten cakes as a present for my friends' Candace and Kyle's wedding.  Though the task was a lot more difficult to tackle than I had initially anticipated, I came away with some helpful knowledge that will hopefully help guide you on your quest to make an absurd amount of dessert for a friend.

1. Bake the cakes several days in advance and freeze them.

Don't feel bad, this is actually what a lot of bakeries do in order to keep up with the high demand that is placed on them.  Candace and Kyle's wedding was on a Sunday afternoon, so I did all the baking on the Wednesday and Thursday before.

Simply let your cakes cool completely on a cooling rack, wrap in plastic wrap, and stick in the freezer.  This will also make frosting easier; not as many crumbs will pop up.

2. Go crazy with the cake flavors, but limit the number of frosting flavors.

Since you're able to make the cake in advance it's not too difficult to try and tackle different recipes.  However, since frosting tastes best made the day before or the day of, many different recipes can create chaos.

I tried to do this.  I wanted to crawl in a hole.

If variety is your spice of life, try thinking of two or three frosting flavors that could compliment several types of cake.  For example, vanilla frosting could be placed on lemon, yellow, red velvet, and coconut cake.  Bam.

Also, try to stay away from varieties that may spoil such as recipes with cream cheese in them.  We don't people leaving the party sick.

3. Try your best, but remember that your friends will be grateful no matter what.

One little crumb peeking it's head through the frosting isn't going to ruin your friends' wedding day.  I mean, they're getting married for goodness sake.  Nothing will ruin their day of bliss!

This is something I needed to remind myself of constantly.  I wanted everything to be perfect so their day could be perfect and their life could be perfect and produce perfect little children and have perfect vacation photos.

My cakes did not make or break their wedding day.  It was a greatly appreciated addition, but if they had been absent, the day wouldn't have been all for naught.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

I know I couldn't have made it through the long night before the ceremony without the help of my friends.  I would have gone crazy.  Don't think it's selfish to ask for help.  People want the bride and groom to have beautiful cakes just as much as you do!

5. Enjoy the reception. 

Once you place the cakes in their designated spot leave them behind.  It's done, finished.  Don't waste a perfectly enjoyable time with your closest friends worrying about the slight crack in the fondant on the right backside of cake #5.  Nobody will notice, I promise.  Have fun and celebrate your friends' entering a new life together.

Love, Alli

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