This past weekend, my very good friend Brynn married Brandon.
When asked to make a wedding cake before, I've always declined but this was one request I could not turn down. I quickly set out by first writing a baking schedule:
I baked three lemon almond layers (12", 9", and 6") from the "Golden Dream Wedding Cake" recipe in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes.
Instead of using Rose L. Beranbaum's frosting, I made my own Swiss meringue buttercream icing and flavoured it with white chocolate and almond oil.
Dowels or bubble tea straws are placed in the cake to support the layer above it (this is crucial). For the cake to travel stacked, a 3/8" centre dowel must be driven through all the layers. Here is a helpful youtube video.
A box makes transporting the cake easier. And, of course, there is a youtube video on how to prepare a box. I used a 16" cube box to contain my cake that is resting on a 16" round cake drum.
Just to make me nervous, a friend of mine sent me this picture of his cake transport disaster:
Note the absence of a centre dowel in the picture.
Thanks to the dowel and another friend's careful driving, the cake arrived in one piece:
- The Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) is an easy recipe to remember: 4 egg whites, 3 sticks of butter, 1 cup of sugar, a healthy pinch of salt yields four cups of base. Up to 8 ounces of white or dark chocolate can be added to this, or up to six tablespoons of lemon curd.
- My SMBC had 8 ounces of white chocolate and 3/4 teaspoon of almond oil.
- I needed about 8 cups to fill the layers and apply a crumb coat, then another 12 cups for the finishing (the rose swirl technique uses a lot of icing).
- The key to successful SMBC is to keep beating the meringue and butter mixture until it curdles, and then to keep beating some more until the mixture reconstitutes into a smooth, dreamy and luscious buttercream. See this video.
- Try the rose swirl piping technique to frost your cakes. It is super easy, and yields dramatic results. Here is a list of videos demonstrating the technique. You will be able to frost an 8" layer cake in less than 5 minutes - for real!
- A cake with this much frosting on the side needs to be in a cool room (19C). If not, keep in the fridge and take out an hour to an hour and a half before serving. Otherwise there is a risk that the frosting might get too soft and slip down the sides.