This past Saturday, our friends Jill and Gavin hosted a party to celebrate getting married last month. The affair was casual, a backyard BBQ with guests asked to do something extraordinary in lieu of wedding gifts. After a little subtle questioning, it emerged that they were not getting a wedding cake and thus a plan was hatched for our “something extraordinary”. Dylan has been wanting to bake a wedding cake for quite a while now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Ordinarily, I might be wary of presuming to bake someone a wedding cake, especially as a surprise, but Jill and Gavin have such a laid-back attitude that even if the cake had turned out horrendously, they would have been appreciative and welcomed it. (As opposed to many brides and grooms who might scoff at anything that strayed from their visions of a “perfect wedding”.)
The decision was quickly made to do a three-tiered cake with three different layers:
1) A large bottom cake with three layers of genoise, filled with a peachy compote and whipped cream
2) A middle-sized chocolate buttermilk cake, filled with whipped cream
3) A small carrot cake, also filled with whipped cream.
The entire thing was then thickly covered in cream cheese frosting and after a lengthy debate over how to get around the issue of being unable to create a perfectly smooth outer layer of frosting without using a fondant or special tools, we decided to cover the whole thing in white chocolate shavings and strawberries, thereby distracting from any imperfections in the icing (and it totally worked!).
I’m not going to write out the recipes or instructions for baking a wedding cake here given that they’re pretty lengthy (there’s some internal construction to help support the cakes), but all in all, I was both impressed with how our cakes turned out (they were all delicious!) and the whole process wasn’t nearly as tedious as I would have imagined it would be. Dylan spent several hours on Thursday baking the three cakes and then we spent about4-5 hours on Saturday making the filling and frosting and assembling the whole thing. I don’t know that I imagine doing it again anytime soon (or perhaps ever), but I like the idea of having at least tried it once. And the hilarity Dylan driving 10 mph with the blinkers while I sat frozen in the passenger seat, covered in a towel while perilously holding the cake in my lap as we drove the mile to their house was priceless. I think Jill and Gavin were surprised and amazed to see that we’d baked a wedding cake, even knowing how much we like to cook. And by the end of the 7 hour party, the cake was almost entirely gone and we truly felt like we had done something out of the ordinary.
(If anyone is interested in baking a similar cake and wants suggestions or has questions, just leave a comment!)