Archive | August, 2012

Mission Wedding Cake: Almond Cake Trial 1

22 Aug

Here it is, the inaugural cake trial! In our “consultation,” Austin felt partial to the almond cake and the Bavarian cream fillings, so that is what I attempted for this first trial. It’s white, it’s triple-layered, it’s sweet, and it’s completely bridal. But I grade it a C at 75%, and I’ll tell you why!

I used a modified double batch recipe from allrecipes.com to make a six-inch and eight-inch cake. Additionally, I used information from marthastewartweddings.com to judge how long to bake each cake, how much filling was needed for each tier, and how much frosting was needed to ice the outside of the cakes. It was very accurate, except that I needed double the amount of frosting!

I must say, the cake itself turned out better than I expected! I used almond flour instead of all-purpose, and I baked it in the 3-inch deep round pans whereas the recipe called for a sheet pan. With information from good old Martha, the cakes turned out perfectly well baked–it was rich, moist, and the perfect density to be really tasty but still have enough structure to hold up two more tiers. The consistency was perfect for torting (cutting the cake horizontally into layers), and the crumb was still cake-y enough for me as well. I think I am definitely going to stick with this modified recipe for the big day! We have a winner!

Double batch of Joe’s Bavarian Cream

On the other hand, the Bavarian cream needed some additional tuning, more or less. As you can observe from the photo, the cream was very firm, and not at all like custardy smooth cake filling to me. While this recipe would be perfect for custard molds and a spoon, it doesn’t quite serve the purpose of a cake filling very well. In my second run-through of Joe’s amazing recipe, I will definitely use less gelatin. Additionally, I also might have added more of this Amaretto deliciousness (featured below) for increased flavor. It was a little bland. When I taste-tested it in the middle of the process, it seemed like its light flavor would go well with the sweetness of the cake, but I was wrong. I know that it should have packed more punch, and a few people who ate the cake agreed.

BRING ON THE AMARETTO!

Additionally, my taste-testers and I thought that the cake needed some acid for contrast of flavor. Raspberry filling sounded awesome to me, and I think I will add that in my next trial. :) Should be pretty simple, right?

The icing, the doweling, and the stacking of the tiers went alright. I couldn’t get the buttercream frosting super smooth like the pro’s do, but I did my best, and Austin was still impressed with my sharp 90 degree edges. :) Unfortunately, I don’t have pics of the finished, uncut cake. Austin’s dad took some pictures, so perhaps I will be able to get those to you later… although I am not too proud of my icing job, so maybe I will keep those to myself, haha! My awesome future sister-in-law Emily (who you’ve read about in this post) has lent me her rotating cake stand for frosting purposes, and I am way excited to see what I can do with it!

There ya go! Lots of room for improvement, but also not a complete fail like I was half-expecting! Completion of the cake took around 6 hours. If I break up the stages, I just might be able to pull this off for the wedding! Wish me luck!

Next up: a ten-inch chocolate cake with mocha mousse filling, for the bottom-most layer of our 3-tiered cake. I am super thrilled to get started on this!

Thanks for following along with Mission Wedding Cake… Over and out!

-ATP

Mission Wedding Cake: Initiating…

6 Aug

Let me tell you, friends… It has been one great summer for me! I am thoroughly enjoying being engaged to the love of my life and planning a wedding. What other period in one’s life allows you be 100% girly? I’m just drinking it all in! The only not-fun part, as you probably anticipate, is the budget.

As you can imagine, Austin and I are working our darndest to save as much as we can, but still throw a pretty rockin’ fete. For example, when we were researching cakes we were pretty astonished at the prices and wondered what in the world we could do… Enter MWC, Mission Wedding Cake!

You guessed it, for the next several months I will be using every opportunity to practice wedding cake making. Am I insane!? Maybe a little! Some wise people have advised me that it would add a lot of stress and it might be worth it to just shell out for a bakery-made cake. It’s not that I want to ignore them, but I’ve always been more of a “do it yourself” kind of person and I want to at least try it. Heck, I even love baking, so that should give me at least a boost in the odds of success, right!?

If worse comes to worst, and my test cakes turn out to be extremely time consuming, and/or terrible-tasting, and/or horrendous-looking, I might opt to get our cake professionally done, but until then it’s full steam ahead with MWC!

I’ll be chronicling my test cakes and learning process on this blog, are you excited?! I sure am! The best possible result would be that Austin and I get a homemade, delicious cake that adds a personal touch to our wedding, and that any of you readers out there might be encouraged to try this money-saving option for your big events and parties, too! That is pretty awesome to me, so I am ready to get this party started already. Hope y’all come along!

Let’s all say a little prayer that I at least have a bit more skill than the po0r soul who made this cake. More at the famed Cake Wrecks website. :)

Of course, I’m trying to be realistic here, too! Please don’t expect to learn how to make something like this:

You might be disappointed. Just maybe. ;)

The first test cake is coming up THIS WEEK! This is my To-Do List:

  • Have a “consultation” (I get to pretend I’m a pro pastry chef) with Austin to see what flavors and fillings we think would be tasty for our guests.
  • Research recipes, sizes, servings, and styles of cakes we like.
  • Make a stop at a restaurant supply store to pick up some cheap pro tools! On the list is 2-3 new sizes of round cake pans, flower nails, cake boards, a leveler, and dowels.
  • Bake, wrap, and freeze the cake layers.
  • Make a filling and a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (this will only be my third attempt, hopefully my second success)!
  • Assemble and frost.
  • Present to the unknowing guinea pigs. :)

I predict that in the next few months, my family and friends will be inundated with cake! Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Showers, parties, New Year… I will bake until either I master MWC or until MWC masters me.

*cue theme music*

– Ann

P.S. I have been reading Deb‘s wonderful series on a DIY wedding cake, and it has been enlightening! If any of you have experience in this arena, please leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you!

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