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OF MAKING A WEDDING CAKE
21 June 2008
When I heard the weather predictions for today (mid to high 90s), I was VERY glad that I had baked all the cakes yesterday, when it was (a little bit) cooler.
I really, really didn't want to drive back to Dixon today to get a larger board for the cake, but I did it. The woman who owns the cake store and I comiserated about how cake decorating is really something you do when you are young, or for your grandchildren. She says she is "pushing 50" and gave up cake decorating a year ago. I understand. I really wanted this cake to be wonderful for Ellen & Shelly, but I realized as I was decorating it how much stress I was under and what fear I was feeling that I was going to screw up.
I frosted the middle layer first and it has a crack in it. The same crack that appeared in my friend Lynn's wedding cake before it fell apart (though not nearly as big or as deep).
Next, after I put the largest layer on the new board I saw some waxed paper peeking out from the bottom of it. I started to pull on it, thinking I'd left a bit in place. I hadn't left "a bit" in place--I hadn't taken off the waxed paper from the bottom of the cake at all. Fortunately I found out in time.
I finally got all three tiers frosted with the first layer (you put on two layers of frosting, the first to pick up and paste down the crumbs, the second to be the "smooth layer") and I marveled at how much more difficult it was than I remembered. The muscles are out of shape and I also don't have the magic turntable that I had before, but have to pick up and rotate the cake each time I need to move to a new spot. A 2 layer 16" cake with frosting and filling is heavy! The bottom layer got frosted and slants significantly.
I have wooden dowels to insert into that cake to hold the weight of the middle tier and that should help me be able to fill the "slant" with frosting (those who love frosting have to figure out which side of the cake to eat!), but do I have something to cut the dowels with...?
I'm also out of milk. I'm so reluctant to go to the store when it's this hot, but it must be done.
* * *
I found a hacksaw out in the garage, measured the dowels very carefully, cut them with the saw, put them in the cake and they are waaay too short. Damn. How to get them out, now...
* * *
Went to the store. Met a guy who runs the Winters Community Theater and had a good chat with him, got a great idea for a feature story for next month. oh yeah--and I remembered to get milk -- and tweezers for removing the dowels.
Cut new dowels. These seem to work fine. (Aside: If I had to make a living sawing things, I'd be dead in a week.) Also did the final frosting on the bottom and top tiers and actually made the bottom tier look level. er.
I'd say I'm proud of myself for managing to keep the counter clean as I work, but really, cleaning, scrubbing, doing loads of dishes, etc, is just another way of procrastinating. I've now done everything except the thing I've most afraid of -- putting the middle tier on the bottom tier. It will be the first moment of truth. There will be so many moments of truth, but this will be the first. Will the bottom tier fall apart? Will the middle tier crack? I'm so terrified that I keep finding a bazillion other things to do before biting the bullet.
[Was I always this terrified when making wedding cakes? This goes beyond nerves. This is real terror. I just keep seeing my friend Lynn's wedding cake and how I destroyed it!]
* * *
Finally did it. Tier 2 is on top of tier 1 and nothing bad has happened. Yet. Next step is to go out into the laundry room and get all the cake decorating supplies. But the light in the laundry room, which was on two hours ago, has burned out. to change the light bulb requires balance and LIGHT, so there's nothing I can do but fumble around in the dark. Fortunately the fashlight I used when the power went out yesterday and the day before was right at hand. But I took it as a bad omen.
* * *
I finally took the plunge. So far so good.
* * *
Catastrophy. The cloth bag that I use for frosting split, making it impossible to use.
I may have another one,but without a light in the laundry room, there is no way I can even start looking for it. Thank god I do have parchment paper triangles, but the cloth bag is so much more convenient.
* * *
I'm calling it a night. I've put the bottom two tiers (now with border on both top and bottom of each) in the fridge and I'll finish first thing in the morning. The problem is that the kitchen is so hot, the frosting is softening in my hands and I can't work with it. I have the a/c cranked down to about 76 and overnight it will cool off, so if I get up at 6:30, I'll have plenty of time to finish. So far it's all holding together well and it weighs a ton. I don't know how I'm going to carry it to the car.
Stay tuned to see what happens tomorrow!
(and no, I did not walk on the treadmill, but I've been on my feet most of the day!)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 53 miles