Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Making of a Cake

I have been making cakes for friends and clients for a while. This doesn't happen too often, but once in a while I get asked. While I didn't go to baking school, I had some "formal" training on cake decorating while working for this insane but very talented woman who will remain unnamed. She made very traditional French cakes, and her decorating techniques were amazing. Decorating cakes is such a work of patience and you need hours and hours of practice to get the manual skills you need to execute perfect piping. I am a little of a perfectionist so it is really stressful to decorate a cake because I keep trying to get that perfect smoothness and perfect edges. By no means I am good, and I haven't mastered any of the designs that some people like on their cakes, however I can make cakes that taste really good and are simple but beautiful.

Throughout the years I have learned that planning is essential for my sanity and to avoid disasters. The more prepared I am the better the end result (sounds simple, right?). The cake layers are made two days before the event (this in case a baking disaster happens and I have to start again), assembled the day before, chilled for hours in the fridge so the flavors can come together. The cake is then crumb coated, chilled again, and frosted with a rough layer. The day of the event, the cake is "polished" and any final decorations are piped on. Then comes the most stressful part, the delivery. Moving the cake to the car is the first hurdle, then comes the ride of the precious cargo, then the walk from the car to the final destination. Imagine walking in slow motion, checking steps, people around you, doors that can swing open at any minute, all carrying a very heavy cake and sweating cold bullets. The sense of relieve when you finally lay that baby down and you admire the final product is priceless.

I made this cake for a very special person, a woman I met when she waited tables at a restaurant where I worked six years ago. She was my favorite person there, her attitude was remarkable, without an ego and no sense of entitlement, a very mature young person indeed. She is also a phenomenal babysitter, who comes with two huge tool boxes full of things to make fun projects with the kids. She also believes in saving and recycling, and uses salvaged items for her art work. She chose a vintage dress for her special day, how cool is that? She is also always smiling, I actually think that she walks few inches above the ground, I kid you not.

When she asked me to make this cake for her wedding I was really touched, and I put lots of love into it. The cake consisted of a lemon raspberry bottom tier and two tiers of chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse in between. Then I made a second little cake because she also wanted an amaretto cake. I always fear that the cake I made was not perfect, so I was waiting patiently to hear back from her. Bre loved the cake and since she didn't get to try the amaretto cake I promised to make one for her first wedding anniversary.

Congratulations Bre!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Congrats to Bre! That cake is splendid. Great job!



natalia said...

Ma che meraviglia !! Si possono avere le ricette ? Ricorda che ho i libri qui ! Ma a luglio viene la mia amica tua quasi vicina in caso li darò a lei !! Baci

Ilva said...

I love the look of that cake, amazing in its simplicity!

Laura said...

Thank you Rosa!

Natalia, le ricette sono troppe da scrivere, se vuoi te ne posso scrivere una alla volta. La torta di amaretto la voglio riprovare perche' non l'avevo mai fatta prima. Se ho tempo faccio un post. Ti ho scritto via facebook.

Ilva, that's what I love, simple but very flavorful. Thanks for stopping by.

Gaia said...

LE hai ftto proprio un bel regalo!

Laura said...

Gaia, era un po' regalo e un po' mi ha pagato ;o)

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

You did such a beautiful job on this cake! Did you deliver it already stacked or do you stack it on site?

Laura said...

Thank you Jill! Coming from you is more than just a compliment. I stacked it on site, the location was an hour away, I didn't want to risk it.

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Smart move to stack on site--that is how I do it, but I know that there are people who like to build the cake and then move it--but frankly, I don't think I could carry a 3 or 4-tier cake very far without the major possibility of dropping it. :)
Again, love it!! :)

Laura said...

The walk from the kitchen, where I assembled the cake, to the dining room was stressful enough!

Leslie said...

Your cakes are fabulous!


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