Yesterday The Hubs and I delivered my largest cake order yet. Back in May I agreed to do cake for the wedding reception of a good friend's sister. It ended up being a bride's cake, a groom's cake and cupcakes for about 250 people. Before I was finished, I seriously thought I was crazy for trying to do all of this on my own.
The bride's cake was inspired by three different cakes she saw in the wedding cakes page on the Martha Stewart website. The cake itself was vanilla bean white cake filled with strawberry buttercream and iced with vanilla buttercream- very similar to what I did for her bridal shower. Each tier was adapted from one of her inspiration cakes. It worked, but I have a lot of self-criticism: I need to keep up with my piping skills for writing; the colors weren't exactly what I wanted; the white candy tiles were too tall, etc., etc. I think no matter how good something may be, I can still find fault with my work.
The groom's cake was supposed to be a surprise. I didn't spoil the surprise, but he did come in when I was setting the cakes up. Oops. A cake with a St. Louis Cardinals or Rams theme was requested. I held out on deciding which to do until after the World Series - then I knew I would do the Cardinals. The bride was having a hard time getting the groom to commit to a flavor other than "chocolate" so we went with chocolate fudge cake with peanut butter buttercream filling and rich chocolate buttercream icing all covered in a mixture of fondant and candy clay.
My inspiration for the groom's cake came from a couple of pennant flags in the Cardinals shop on the MLB website. This cake really didn't turn out the way I envisioned either. I had piped "St. Louis Cardinals" with red and blue confectionery coating, but the red just would not smooth out. Couple that with the fact that "Cardinals" broke when I was attempting to remove it from the plastic and it didn't take long to scrap that idea. I had looked for small number-shaped cookie cutters to do fondant cut outs of the years they won the World Series, but the only ones I found were metal, which I ordinarily prefer but for intricate or small designs is difficult to get fine details. It made them look juvenile. I did happen on a set of fondant molds that I liked much better. Instead of molding fondant, I molded tinted confectionery coating. I was fairly happy with how they turned out, even if 1964 is extremely crooked on the cake. (And learned in the process that the Cardinals have never won a World Series in a year containing the number 5. Just a little trivia there.)
I'm not sure how the groom felt about it, but my dad would like this cake.
And of course, the cupcakes. Originally intended to be three dozen carrot cake cupcakes, a last minute plea from the bride altered that. Apparently the mother-in-law was in distress that there would be no red velvet cake. The bride didn't seem overly excited about red velvet cake so I countered her original thought to replace one of her tiers with red velvet by suggesting some of the cupcakes be red velvet. Compromise is key. We ended up with carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese buttercream topped with a flower of dried pineapple and red velvet cupcakes with the same buttercream - hence my suggestion of cupcakes instead of one of her cake tiers. Easier for me, the bride had no offending red velvet in her cake, and the mother-in-law got what she wanted.
The adrenaline rush of getting all of this done and delivered successfully has waned and I am now back to wondering: "Is this really what I want to do? Am I taking something I love and wringing the passion out of it? Did they like it? Can my self-esteem handle it when the time comes that someone doesn't like what I do?" I don't have answers to those questions right now. But I'm not giving up just yet.