Monday, December 20, 2010

A Display Cake, Wedding Cakes, and Favors for M&J's Wedding!



It has been a while since the last blog post, and I surely didn't do enough of a good job keeping up with the blog updates :(. Holiday season is crazily busy for most of us, holiday shopping, holiday baking, family members visiting, etc.

Good thing for me, that me and my family has never been big on Christmas gifts, it was never a tradition for us to exchange gifts, but I did try to at least bake some Christmas goodies to give for friends. Last year, it was extremely last minute, I baked some stuff the night before the last day of work to distribute to some coworkers. Then, I promised myself to plan better next year (which is this year) and bake lots of different goodies, I've already had a list of what I want to make and believe me, there are tons and they're all sounds so good! Now that "next year" is finally here, here I am being in the same situation as last year, if not worse. It's only days before Christmas and here I am typing a small part of this draft post on Sunday at work in between firmware builds, so sad I know.


Anyways, back to what this post is all about, I must have mentioned about working on a wedding project a few times now and this is it!
It doesn't feel like too long ago I made this bridal shower cake, and now they're husband and wife!

When M asked me if I would be willing to make her wedding cake (and favor later on), I immediately said yes. Not because it's a challenge (this would be my second time), but how can I say no when it's your good friend who's getting married? This is the least thing I can do to show how happy and excited I am about their marriage.

The word "Wedding" never comes easy. Everything that has that word in it has to be big and special, and unfortunately that also means stress and a lot of work for many people too. As usual, I prepared a giant spreadsheet containing very detail budgeting information, which online store I should ordered from, every single item I need to buy from 10 different stores, details as for how many servings, decorating details, recipe conversion for each size of pan I used, timetable, you name it, heck it has 6 huge different tabs. It took me about a month getting everything together and even during the last week, I'm still updating the spreadsheet every single day.

I asked M from the beginning if she's ok with having display cake and having the real cake in the back, not for budget reason though because having it this way is more expensive, but it serves a couple of advantages:
- I don't have to worry about transporting four-tiered cake to the reception
- No need to worry about refrigeration or the cake being unrefrigerated for hours
- You can be creative about the decor as it is more sturdy (although in my case, it's just a simple decor)
- The last reason which is the most important one for me is that you can be creative with the actual wedding cake and you don't have to be limited to buttercream cake!

The cons are that it's more expensive more labor-intensive, which is something I always try to avoid whenever I make cake, but this time, it's special. I decided to make two flavors on the actual wedding cake, chocolate-hazelnut (a.k.a Ferrero Rocher cake) for the chocolate lovers and white chocolate raspberry cake for the fruit lover. It might sound like a disaster waiting to happen when you're trying to serve individual cake to 200 people, and you can never please anyone, but I can't help it.

The display cake is very simple-decorated, I'm very fortunate that M is a very laid-back person, she's not picky, she's basically ok with everything as long as it won't add more work on my plate. She picked a design based on a magazine we saw and I think it was pretty easy to execute, I just have to match the color and add some flowers to match the theme of the wedding. She didn't request anything for the cake and favors (except for the budget of course), but she left all the flavors, and every single detail up to me, which makes it easier on my end. The hardest part was to constraint every single expense so that it would fall under the budget (or at least close). I wouldn't have so many problems if it's just a buttercream cake but since I wanted a nice (and complicated) cake, most of the ingredients are special-orderred, so it was quite a challenge.


The three goodies for the wedding

The last week of the wedding was insane, intense baking for 7 days, day and night, constant dish-washing, it was hard to imagine that I actually went through all those. Making multiple desserts for large scale in a home kitchen (a messy one at that too) is quite a difficult task. My mom and brother were coming in that week too from Indonesia, busy work week as usual, it was crazy! I think my biggest problem was not having enough refrigeration space for all those cakes and desserts! I really wished I had at least two very large fridge and freezer that can fit multiple half-sheet pans!


The favor: Macaron with rose buttercream and lychee filling

The favor was purple macaron that I brushed silver streak on with rose buttercream filling and lychee center. I finally got some help to fill the macarons and put them in each favor box, thanks A and S! I bought a new silpat mat for this (I used to have only one) but for some reason, every batch of macarons that I baked them on, it always failed, always, and it drove me mad especially when it happened three batches in a row in the middle of the night, and you still have more than 100 macarons to make. All you wanted to do was cry, I almost gave up for quite a number of time to be honest.


The assembly line

Fortunately, everything went very well, everything was done on time. There were some minor glitches such as the catering didn't have a dessert plate, all they had was China plates for the entree, I freaked out. They finally came with a backup plan and although we had to settle with less, I was happy to have a plate for my dessert at least :).

I learned quite a number of things in this experience, one of them is that making cake for large portion is very different than making a small one. I converted each ingredients needed but the result was different for some reason. I was so scared that the taste would get impacted and that it wouldn't taste as good as I wanted to be, but my worries didn't come true. Yes, it tasted different than the small version I usually make and I hoped that it would be better, but as soon as I got a lot of people going to the kitchen asking for seconds, I could start breathing peacefully :). I even heard that some people are going around the tables after the reception to find more unopened favor (the macaron), yay! Mission accomplished!

We had a thunderstorm and a VERY COLD weather that day. We even had a blackout for about an hour in the middle of reception! Yeah, it was unprepared and pretty hectic at first, but I think it made the whole wedding memorable and quite casual as candles were lit everywhere, making it very romantic. The songs that some of the guests were singing had to be improvised to acapella too and they sounded great! Not to mention that M looked absolutely beautiful, she looked gorgeous! Jefry has got to be one of the luckiest men.


The beautiful bride and groom

So cheers to you both and I wish you both a happy and wonderful journey together. As Linda (the maid of honor and also the sister) said "may this day be the day where you love each other the least" --> not sure where she got the quote from but I love her speech! :). CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!

I don't have too many pictures of this as I didn't snap a thing during the reception and the cake-in-the-making, but I'm glad that at least I have something to show you in this post :). Won't show too many of the wedding pictures since they haven't been published yet :)


Happy to get two pieces :)

10 comments:

Debbie said...

Hello ... The 2 cakes are each a work of art! Would you be willing to share your recipes for these creations? Thank you ... Debbie. Debbmarie@me.com

Swee San said...

Did u use italian method to do the macarons? I can't seem to get a smooth surface like yours. any tips ??

Btw, good job on the cakes and favours. They look fabulous

DessertForTwo said...

How gorgeous!

I love the photo of you behind the plate smiling like crazy :)

Bertha said...

Thank you!

Swee San: Yes, I used IM method for my macarons. What do you mean when you said you can't get a smooth surface? does it form a dome, or is it wrinkly, or it's just unsifted almond powder?

DessertForTwo: The person behind the plate was actually my friend, not me. I'm the one on the other picture :)

Jane Ko said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous cakes!

My family is the same too. We don't really do the whole exchanging of presents or celebrating the holiday either so I always do it with friends

Jess @ Bakericious said...

all the bakes looks so gorgeous. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Hello Betha,
You ceations are AWESOME!!!I would really appreciate if you share me the white chocolate raspberry cake recipe.My kids love both white chololate & raspberry:) thanks in advance.Send to sapnasibu@yahoo.com

john said...

Wow, amazing work. I love that even the design aspects of the cakes are three-dimensional, with bits and pieces curling up off the Wedding Cakes.

Tates said...

The wedding cakes are seems to be very delicious. Thanks for sharing great information with us.

Lisa Li said...

Wow, your blog is gorgeous!