I ran out of time on Wednesday night after baking (2) 12inch layers of marble cake, so I didn’t get to make the (3) batches of Mousseline buttercream that I was to bring with me to MA the next day. I threw about 20% of my kitchen in the trunk of my Beetle and drove up with the frozen cake layers and everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I needed to make the buttercream and decorate the cake at my Aunt’s house. She was a little nuts with all the stuff I brought, but she was kind enough to let me use her kitchen to make the buttercream and decorate the cake. *MY* plan was to do a bit of a “dress rehearsal” for the wedding in April, decorating the cake with dulce de leche buttercream, ribbon and fresh flowers, but my aunt read me the riot act and said that it would ruin the surprise if I brought something that approximated the wedding cake to the bridal shower. “Can’t you make flowers out of frosting?” she barked. This, after running all around town to find those little spikes to hold fresh flowers in the cake, and buying a few stems of different flowers to try with the blue ribbon.
So, for the next 3 hours, we played with buttercream: piping buttercream roses until there were enough for a big enough mound on the top to satisfy my aunt; mixing up a blue that was close enough to the color of the bridesmaid dresses to use for some accents and the shell border at the bottom of the cake; making various drop flowers with almost every decorating tip I own to accent the white roses, although she ultimately decided that the blue wouldn’t look as good as an all-ivory cake.
Did I mention that this aunt isn’t the mother of the bride-to-be, nor even from the same side of the family, nor is she even invited to the shower?
My cousin—the one getting married April 19—didn’t even know who her florist was (“Dee something in Somerset”) when I called her. Am I taking this too seriously when I’m more freaked out about the wedding cake than the bride, the mother of the bride, the maid of honor and the rest of the bridal party?
Anyhow… I hope there’s a lot of people at the shower, because there’s a hell of a lot of cake. For those who by now can’t stand the suspense anymore, skip down to the picture. For anyone interested, a few notes follow:
When they say to fill the heating cores 1/2 full, follow the directions. I filled them to match the level of the batter in the rest of the pan, thinking I was being clever, but the resulting “plug” wasn’t big enough to fill the gap left by the core after the cake had cooled and shrunk. The truly resourceful may use some of the cake left over after you level it to make up the difference. On the subject of leveling, the hole in the middle left by the heating cores allows you to use the small, (and inexpensive) wire leveler, eliminating or delaying the purchase of the bigger “cake saw.” Put one foot of the leveler in the hole and turn the cake as you saw off the top.
The 8th, 9th and 10th buttercream rose go much faster than the first two. Definitely keep 2 piping bags going as you (read: “I”) can only do at most 2 roses before the buttercream in the bag is too soft to work with. Also, making the little cone of frosting with the No. 12 tip is a pain. Through trial and error, I figured out how to build up a base with the No. 104 tip by the time I was done. Also, put the bags in the fridge, not the freezer to cool them down again. The icing in the metal tip gets too hard in the freezer and you experience “bag blow” with the plastic disposable decorating bags when you try to sqeeze it through.
My aunt (that I’m staying with, not MOTB) and I both agree that the icing with the dulce de leche is leaning a little too much away from ivory and toward “latte.” I use about 2 Tbsp of the caramel to one batch of mousseline buttercream. I found the taste and smell of caramel much more pronounced than the last time—it’s a fantastic addition to buttercream, but might not be what I go with for the real deal in April.
Finally, I need to start making myself a checklist, as I seem to forget 1 (sometimes important) thing each time I go through one of these drills. After I leveled the cake, I forgot to put on the syrup, even though I had poured some into a small bowl and set out the pastry brush next to where I was working. (Ask me about my first attempt at genoise au chocolate. I got it all the way into the oven when I realized I hadn’t taken the sugar out of the cupboard.) I think it should still be moist enough as it was frozen within a few hours of coming out of the oven, and only stayed frozen from Wednesday night until Friday night when it was allowed to defrost in the fridge overnight. In any case, it’s only the shower.
That’s all for now. Shower starts in a little more than an hour. I’m getting help bringing the cake to the hall beforehand and need to get it all ready. Will try and get a picture after it’s cut.
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