Monday, September 29, 2008

Julie and Noah's Wedding Cake, Part Four: The Results Show

The day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and the wedding was full of love and sweetness. And the cake...the cake! It was a hit.

julie and noah's wedding cake: the remains
the remains of the day

September 27, 2008
Name of Cake: Julie and Noah's Wedding Cake
Occasion: Julie and Noah's wedding!
Constituents: chocolate cake with raspberry filling, sour cream banana cake with sour cream ganache, GF agave sweetened white cake with raspberry filling, frosted with ECL's swiss meringue buttercream

My list of thank yous:
  • RLB for the Cake Bible, which has the best chocolate and banana cake recipes that always surprise people because they taste like something other than sugar. If I had a dollar for every person who came up to me and said, "Great cake," and with wonder added, "and it wasn't too sweet," I would be rich.
    And especially to RLB for her entire chapter on wedding and event cakes, where she has figured out how much batter you need for almost any size cake, how much frosting you need to fill and frost any size cake, and for calculating the exact weight of certain things like one large egg white, one cup of sugar, etc.
    And also for telling me to freeze egg whites for future use, so that when I needed 20 egg whites for the frosting I already had them sitting pretty in my freezer.
  • Marion Cunningham who in the Fannie Farmer supplied the GF cake recipe that saved my ass from certain humiliation and despair.
  • Martha Stewart and Dorie Greenspan for their Swiss Meringue Buttercreams, which were pretty much exactly the same, and thus gave me the confidence to go ahead and make, despite never making or tasting it before. (But seriously, ladies, take the sugar down a notch!)
  • Deb at Smitten Kitchen for her beautiful blog that I secretly have been envious of. She did a four-post series on her first wedding cake that was VERY informative. I read all her wedding cake posts as well as ALL the 251 comments (if you click on this link, scroll down to see the comments)--and got lots of great advice. I learned how to use a towel to transport the cakes, to tape the flower stems, to bring the cakes in separate layers, to give myself plenty of time to assemble and decorate on site, and to bring a bunch of decorating tools--just in case.
  • Brains for rescuing tossed cakeboards for me when he worked out at Leach Botanical Garden, so that I already had an 18 inch cakeboard.
  • The Decorette Shop for carrying all the baking tools an amateur baker could want, and much, much more. Even if I have to drive to Tigard to get it.
  • Annmarie for being my gluten free taster. And for listening to me talk obsessively about the cake and my cake making experience on at least four different occasions.
  • My sister Michele who helped me to understand that a medium yellow is like a sunshine yellow, not a daffodil nor a butter yellow.
  • Cheryl and Amber who helped me unload all of my cake and cake supplies when I got to the wedding site 90 minutes behind schedule, and who spent time cutting flowers and wrapping stems. Their bubbly attitude and efficient help kept me positive and unconcerned about the time.
  • Erin and Cara for helping me cut and serve the cake, as the table was rushed by eager hands holding out empty plates yelling "I want chocolate" and "I want banana!" These girls kept me from waving my chef's knife at them and yelling "YOU PEOPLE NEED TO STEP OFF, I HAVE A KNIFE."
  • Julie and Noah for having the faith and trust in me to bust out a tasty and beautiful wedding cake for their special day, knowing that I had never done it before. And for falling in love and getting married, for these two have a love that is once mature and wise and yet so sweet and innocent, such that the love they share with each other spills out and blesses all of us in their wake.

Enough talk. Here's the finished and decorated cake:

julie and noah's wedding cake!

I was pleased the yellow ribbon I bought matched her yellow roses exactly. Hooray!

It took about 2 hours total to stack and decorate. Actually, stacking the cake took mere minutes--the rest was decorating. The ribbon served to hide the gap and cardboard between the layers and stuck to the frosting without pulling it away.

The drive down to the wedding was about 90 minutes, and I kept the air conditioning on full blast to keep the cake's frostings cold. I figured that it would be easier to handle and stack the cakes if the frosting was stiff. Which it was, but boy I was freezing by the time I arrived!

a wedding in the Oregon woods

I got nothing but compliments about the cake, and the entire thing was devoured pretty quickly. Cara and Erin shared one of the last pieces and I took the very last piece, a chocolate-raspberry slice. It was pretty good, and the fresh raspberries nestled in the raspberry jam was a nice touch. Good thinking, Julie and Noah!

julie and noah's wedding cake

Sorry I have no photos of the cake innards, for like I said, the cake was devoured as quickly as we could cut it. But I can tell you that each tier was two layers. Julie and Noah didn't want a ton of frosting because they don't like overpoweringly sweet things. So I decided against splitting the layers--which would have made 4 thin layers per tier, and a whole lot more work for me! But here's a shot of the chocolate cake filling:

julie and noah's wedding cake: the chocolate cake filling

The cosmos were a little droopy by the evening when we got around to cutting the cake, but no matter. It was still pretty.

julie and noah's wedding cake

Foliage I used included lemon verbena from my herb box, spearmint, solal, eucalyptus, spider mums, dahlias, cosmos, roses, and mums (I think that's what the yellow flowers were...).

julie and noah's wedding cake

As soon as the cake was cut and served, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I also felt so, so tired.

Many people asked me why I don't bake for a living and I had to explain that there isn't one job I already do for a living that I would be willing to give up in order to make room for professional baking. I love baking, but I love doing it as a hobby. Plus, I don't think I would want to bake more than one wedding cake a year, and I would do it only for people that I love. Like Julie and Noah.

Julie and Noah's Wedding Cake: a photoset on flickr


  1. Oh Jen, it turned out lovely! So pretty and fresh looking. I am so in awe!
    Glad everything went to plan and you got the compliments that were well deserved!
    Excellent! It really looks so gorgeous!
    Congratulations to Julie and Noah. I wish them much happiness in their life together.

  2. Beautiful! Aren't you proud? You could definitely do it professionally if you were so inclined. I hope you have a relaxing week to unwind from the event!

  3. It's stunning. Or, should I say it *was* stunning, since it was clearly also delicious and thus got snarfed right up? ;-)

    Thanks for taking us along on this journey with you! It has been really cool to see what goes into making a cake like this.

    You're a good friend, ECL!

  4. Yet another amazing cake!! BEAUTIFUL, STUNNING AND WONDERFUL!! I am glad things went as planned.
    Congrats to the happy couple!!

  5. Melinda, thank you! All the tea you made me in an internetty kind of way really helped me keep it together ;)

    Amanda, I am proud, and a little surprised! Thanks for your well wishes--I slept VERY well Saturday night!

    Raiuchka, thanks for being here supporting me through the week! If you guys want a cake I'd do it--but can I stay over?

    Laurie, thank you!!! I'm so glad you've become a regular over here :)

  6. SO beautiful! I like the flowers better than the piped rosettes myself, but I am also rosette-disabled. I love the picture of nothing left but crumbs! How nice to eat a wedding cake that actually tastes good--congrats!

  7. Your flower decorations are delightful!

  8. BBC, thank you! I almost feel like I don't need to take any stupid cake decorating class now, but I know better. Somebody is going to want me to pipe rosettes on their birthday cake someday, I know it.

    Deb, thanks Deb!

  9. absolutely beautiful! The raspberry filling does sound inspired. I am completely salivating. I'm exploring GF baking and may try that GF agave-sweetened cake, too. Yum.

  10. Chris, did you try the recipe yet? Do let us know how it turned out!

  11. Egads, no! I had to get 50 pounds of tomatoes out of my kitchen first! They're all canned and ready to go to the pantry. Next up, piles and piles of laundry before our trip back east on Wednesday. Hopefully soon after we return as a Halloween treat. I'll keep you posted.

  12. CHRIS! I didn't know it was you! And holy hannah do you have enough blogs? ;) Is Luc saying "doula" yet?

  13. Luc says a lot these days. I have him give you a call and say "doula" to your voicemail.