Monday, July 13, 2009

A Happy Engraduation Party

My roommate and his partner decided to get engaged, then his partner graduated from college, then he went back to the Dominican Republic. All in about one month. So before the Dominican left, we threw them a Graduation/Engagement party. We tried many graduation/engagement word mash-ups like Engagiation and Graduagement, but the one that stuck was Engraduation.

Of course, the party was also about saying goodbye to the Dominican, who has to remain in his home country for the next two years as per the agreement of the scholarship he was awarded. But we didn't want to emphasize that aspect.

My roommate commissioned me to bake a couple of cakes: one to celebrate the graduation and one to celebrate the engagement.

the boys with their cakes

June 13, 2009
Name of Cakes: Happy Engraduation!
Occasion: A Graduation, and an Engagement
Constituents: A 10 inch, 2 layer, round white cake filled and frosted with swiss meringue buttercream, and a 10 inch, 2 layer, square chocolate cake filled and frosted with swiss meringue buttercream

These were the fourth and fifth cakes I had baked in three weeks, so after these were done I also said, DONE!

The first step was to calculate all my ingredients. For the round cake this wasn't a problem, but the square cake? How do I figure out how much batter fills a square cake?

Thank god for that Cake Bible. Rose has EVERYTHING in there!


I decided that since the square cake volume wasn't much less than a 12x2 round, I decided to use the recipe for that. The extra batter could make a nice little snack for the baker and roommate later on.

Somehow, I was able to mix up the batter for a two 12x2 rounds when I made the bottom tier of Julie and Noah's wedding cake. Since I didn't make any mention of the shenanigans that went on when I did that, I assumed that I was able to mix up the batter in my KitchenAid. So I did just that.

cool chocolaty spiral

Do you guys see a problem here? There's a cool chocolaty spiral from trying to mix in the chocolate/egg mix, but trying is the key word. Apparently the batter for two 12x2 round cakes is a bit much for a 4 quart KitchenAid. I wonder how the heck I mixed up that wedding cake tier last fall.

The leftover batter got baked up in this little 3-tier wedding cake mold my roommate gave me many years ago. I hastily leveled the cooled layers and glazed them in the last of Brains's chocolate frosting, which incidentally makes a better glaze than a fudgy frosting.

goofy little tiered cake

The title of this photo is "goofy little tiered cake." That pretty much sums it up.

The white cake sailed along smoothly, mainly because the batter fit nicely in the mixing bowl and the cake rounds in my oven. The 10 inch square pans, by the way, just barely fit in the oven, but fit they did.

Next up was the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Martha's recipe makes 4 cups of frosting and I calculated that I would need about 12 cups. Luckily I did remember that a double recipe fits in my KitchenAid, and that I liked the frosting with 25% less sugar than called for. For some stupid reason I decided to make the single batch first and it was already close to midnight the night before the party. After filling and almost having enough to frost the white cake, I debated with my roommate's brother on whether or not I should make the second batch now (at 1 am) or the next day (the day of the party). He was polite enough to ask me decision-making questions but the look of concern on his face convinced me to forge ahead and make the double batch of frosting. Luckily, it seemed to come together faster than the single batch and I completed both cakes, boxed them up and went to bed.

My roommate and I had talked previously about how he would like the cakes decorated. We decided that the engagement cake would have flowers. He had bought this life-sized cardboard mortar board to use, and it turned out to be the perfect size for the graduation cake. Saturday I ran around town buying flowers, a giant particle board to hold both cakes, and a ton of decorative foil. The day was hot and I was sweaty; I knew the buttercream would hold but I worried about how long it would hold. When I returned home I grabbed some more things, some leftover yellow ribbon from Julie and Noah's wedding, and headed to the party site. (The cakes were already there.)

The cakes were intact yet the frosting was VERY soft. As I attached the ribbon to the circular cake, it got greasy and didn't lay flat and pretty much looked terrible. However there wasn't much I could do at that point. I used tarragon to line the cake plates, and a bunch of bright flowers as a cake topper. My favorite find were the monkey tails. Look how awesome they were (they are the curly looking things):

cake, flowered

The mortar board on the graduation cake turned out pretty awesome too.

When it came time to cut and serve the cake, Joelf's brother brought it out to where the men were sitting. Cookie's sister got a little video of it:

Everybody made sweet speeches toasting the two men and their success, their love, and their future. Many tears were shed, and we drowned them in cake.

the boys with their cakes

I am going to use this moment to point out how ridiculous and unacceptable it is that this upcoming wedding that we are celebrating isn't legally possible in this country. That these two men who love each other very much and have chosen to be in a committed, monogamous relationship to each other might still be something to hide. I certainly hope that by the time this couple returns to the US in two years this country will have its shit sorted out, and the only problems these two might face as they get married is the issue of the Dominican's foreign status, not his gender.

Regardless, we will be there, probably making more sweet toasts that cause us to drown our tears in wedding cake. Congratulations to my lovely men, for all that they have created and for all the adventures to come!


  1. The cakes were wonderful as always. And I do hope for them that we do have our shit together and they can legal have what so many have. A happy "married" relationship that is legal in all states and not just in a few. Congratulations to them on their love and their future. I hope that when they come back they their won't be as many closed minded people in this country.

  2. Thanks Laurie, for everything you said. I hope our country can make the change.

  3. I came back to look at your cakes one more time and can see I forgot to comment...very unusual for me, yeah? I was sure I did. I am losing my marbles, I think.
    Your cakes look just wonderful! Such happy events to celebrate. 'Congraduations'!

  4. Thanks Melinda! If I could pipe, I would have piped "congraduations" on the graduation cake!