It seemed like an eternity ago when my daughter and sil announced their engagement and asked me to make the wedding cake. Not ever having done this before, I started researching, including going right to my Cake Bible. I found this sight, and luckily, with everyone’s help and Rose’s great recipes I was able to make about 10 practice cakes and work out all the bugs, or so I thought.
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the amount of activity that was going to be at my house around the wedding: a total of 19 people staying in my home-which is not that large, over 1 1/2 weeks, before during and after the wedding, a barbecue the night before the wedding, with all the guests invited, and a brunch the morning after. I tried to explain to my family how concerned I was about finishing the cake on Friday and having so many people come to my house that night, but there were enough people ‘enlisted’ to be around and take care of cleaning and setting up for the barbecue.
The best laid plans of mice and men….nobody was available that day, leaving me to to clean the house, get food ready, and attempt to decorate the cakes before the wedding rehearsal, it was also one of the hottest days of the year…you get the picture.
The unfrosted cakes themselves looked great, they rose perfect, and the few ‘tastes’ I could sneak from the scrapings in the pan they seemed to taste perfect, I had them baked and frozen the week before which was a big help. Although I started the frosting on Thursday, I had so many people to pick up at the airport, coming over to stay, I had to finish making frosting on Friday. I am assuming due to the heat the frosting would not seem to ‘set’ well. Nothing I did would allow me to get the cakes to look nice. The piping kept dripping off of the cakes, etc. So I did what I could, decided I could not be stressed, and brought them to the church (the reception was in the church hall) and put them in the large refrigerator’s there to at least stay ‘set’ over night. On the way there the grooms cake, a 12” square had one corner just crack and start to break off…I figured it couldn’t get much worse, and luckily it didn’t.
Oh, they forgot to save the flowers for the cake when they decorated on Friday, and I had to send my sister out to get flowers, only she never heard the part about ‘for the cake’ and thought they were for something else and picked up a ‘mish mash’ of flowers at the supermarket to decorate the cakes! I was laughing at this point. After the most important element of this day, the wedding, which was just perfect, we had 6 hours before the reception, so I changed to shorts and a tee shirt and set out to ‘fix’ up cakes. The frosting didn’t get better, it stayed soft and wouldn’t stick. I managed to cover up the break in the grooms cake, and get the cakes out on the table and didn’t even stress over any of it until after the wedding. Since then I have had awful, awful stress attacks thinking I must have spoiled part of my daughters wedding. Of course she and my sil insist the cakes looked great and it was not a problem.
The good part of this, is they did taste wonderful. I had made a lot of cake (there was about 120 people at the reception), and cut it in approx. 1” by 2” slices, and we only had around 40 slices left (not counting the 6” cake which the kids wanted to save). The grooms cake was a 12” square, the wedding cake (I put the tiers on separate stands rather than tiering it) was a 12” round, two 9” rounds and the 6” round we didn’t cut.
I had people telling me they ate a slice of each flavor, and there were four kinds of cake. Some people said they went back two and three times, and when we cleaned up, their were very few plates with any cake left on them.
I gave the caterers wife a slice of each type of cake to take home and the caterer contacted my daughter the next week and asked if he could refer me for future events as he thought the cakes tasted so good. He was being kind, his wife was there to serve and knew how bad I felt about the way they looked.
I am trying not to second guess everything as it was a perfect wedding otherwise, but I still am feeling bad about how they looked.
Thanks for everyones help and support through this. Now I can get back to regular baking and start participating on this sight again.
I think the way you pulled it off is amazing. I can imagine what must have been going on in your home and the stress you must have felt. I think we are hardest on ourselves. IMO, the most important thing concerning the cake is the way it tasted.
Congratulations on your accomplishment and on the marriage of your daughter.
I know, under similar conditions, I would have been a basketcase
Well done, Linda! What an undertaking…the cake alone is a monumental task, let alone the company and guests in your home (I don’t think I could work in those conditions!). Great job on making adaptations. And great to know it tasted good…we sometimes forget that cakes are MEANT to be eaten! And if it is any consolation, I had a wedding cake disaster that turned into a sweaty blob (tasted good, though)! Best wishes to the newlyweds and congrats on pulling it all together!
Congratulations! You did a marvellous job! I mean, seriously, you did all that—and made the cake!!!!!!! You are an amazing mom. And if folks were eating all flavors and coming for seconds, you made the wedding better than ever—and made wonderful cake memories for the guests, too. You can hear it now: “Oh, it was a beautiful wedding.” “Yes, and that cake!!! It was fabulous.” And then they go on to compare flavors. So, rather than spoiling anything, your cakes helped to make a wonderful day more wonderful!!! And your daughter is so lucky to have found a man she loves and to have a mother like you.
Yes to what the others said, you are completely amazing for having held it together and accomplished all that! And I’ll bet no one else was as critical of the cake as you were. It sounds like it was absolutely delicious, and will be remembered for that. Best wishes to your daughter.
Thank you Sherrie, Anne and Julie. I did amaze myself, I am not usually so calm in the storm, but I think I was so over whelmed that I didn’t get time to panic. From afar it looks okay, but the closeups you can see the problems.
On one cake I didn’t even finish the piping on the bottom, I just took it off because it wouldn’t stick. The only cake that looked fine close up was the cake with the topper on it. These are the only pictures I have, and only one is somewhat close up. They didn’t take many close ups, lol, I think they figured out they weren’t looking good. Like I said, from a distance they don’t look too bad, but when you were within 5 feet of the cakes the cakes, they looked very messy.
The caterers wife did tell me she had seen a lot worse with some of the professionals in town. She said she’d seen cakes that were a total mess and not much that could be done to fix them. At least on my grooms cake you could not see the crack, but you could see the filling ‘bulging’ (again, I am thinking the heat even though the a/c was on) out, and I had the piping I tried to do on the top to hide where I had tried to fix the crack. I literally piped frosting down the crater and just tried to ‘pipe’ a grass over it but the frosting was melting so fast I just did what I could. Plus I finally ran out of frosting!!!
Anyway, I was spared seeing any pictures of the cake close up, I do know their were a few taken. Maybe the coke machine took all the attention away from the cakes and nobody noticed!
To second Missyjean, we are our own worst critics.
Two thoughts: when cake doesn’t have the appearance you wished for, the guests are not aware of this when it is served as a slice. They are very aware of how it tastes. Secondly, I don’t think the caterer was just being kind. He would not have called asking if he could refer you if he really didn’t mean it.
You pulled off an incredible effort, what with everything else going on in your home. I remember my son’s wedding, when we had so many guests, we had to set up a tent for the overflow! And I didn’t have to bake the cake. I’m in awe that you still managed to bake a delicious cake under those conditions.
Thank you Missyjean and Kathleen. I keep looking at the picture to see if maybe I am going to feel better and it doesn’t happen, but everyone’s kind comments make me think maybe they aren’t quite as awful.
I will say as far as the taste goes: they really were good. The 6” and one 9” were the Golden Dream Wedding Cake recipe, and this turned out to be a favorite, there was not one slice of that left, and the kids told me later I should have cut the 6” since they decided it would be better to have me bake a cake for their anniversary and ended up cutting it to eat it when they got home. The other 9” was the yellow butter cake (also Rose’s recipe), it had Vanilla Mouselline Butter Cream and a strawberry mouselline filling. The 12” round was also the Golden Dream Wedding Cake recipe, but I left out any lemon flavor, added extra vanilla, mixed in Les Perles chocolate and made the Grand Marnier syrup with extra vanilla in it. It tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough and was yummy. The grooms cake was also Rose’s chocolate butter cake with Bill’s Mouselline. I think the cake would have all disappeared if I didn’t make so much.
My daughters friends from their town (they don’t live here, only my husband I are from the city the wedding was in) had been tasting the cakes that I would make as I practiced and were so excited about the cakes, because they had favorites.
I will post a funny picture I have of me and my sisters and sister in law cutting the cakes. They didn’t realize when I said they were to help me it meant getting up in front of everyone and cutting, they figured the cakes would be taken to a back room someplace and cut.
Kathleen: I am in the process of trying to find who to contact to see what the laws are to be able to make cakes for occasions and sell them. I know in some states you need a seperate kitchen, I am not prepared to go that far, but I will check to see what SD requires. I will definitely work on the frosting though!!
Linda - be proud! Yes, I’m repeating others here, but we are our worst critics, it’s true! I bet nobody else at the reception could have pulled this off. And while they have to look good I think the main thing is that they taste good, and it seems you have hit the mark there!
Love it how you and your sisters are having fun with your gloves on!
Thank you Silke. Yes, the taste was important and they did taste good.
I got the idea of bringing gloves from this sight, someone mentioned having all their things together in a box or plastic container, and I did just that several days ahead, and then taped several notes around the house to not forget the spatulas, decorating tubes/bags and extra frosting. It worked great because I had everything we needed all together and was able to pack it and bring it home that way.
We were quite the group, not one of them likes to cook nor bake, or entertain, and I used them for the whole week end to help out. Unfortunately none of us knew the snowball affect that the people not showing to help decorate the church was going to have on me (my help had to leave and go to decorate the church), and my sisters and their families had all left for the day to sight see not knowing they could have helped me.
Like I said, everything else really went fine. We all had a great time, even cleaning up, I just still feel like I could have done better with the cakes. But everyone here as always is such a support, I am actually feeling better about it.
The main thing to me at such an event is that everybody has fun, even if things go wrong.
Yep, the snowball effect of people not doing what they were supposed to do. I tend to rely less and less on other people, unless I know them very very well and I know I can trust them. I have big, beautiful (at least I think so) Thanksgiving dinners, and I’ve long ago given up up delegating the table decorations. Or any of the food with the exception of the pies. I now have people help with some things, but I’m the one that’s managing (move this chair here, use these napkins, go outside and find xxx for decorations, put the fork to the left of the plate and the knife to the right, both in the right direction….), otherwise it’s just not looking right. Funny, at work I’m good with delegating, but I suck at it in my private life. Is it because people feel more responsible to do things at work, and are otherwise just generally lazy?
Silke, I don’t know. I was completely shocked by the people who didn’t show to help, or stay to clean up. In their own lives they seem so responsible, but they didn’t here. The other problem could have been they didn’t know, the person who was supposed to speak to these people seemed to shut down and do very little. I did speak to my daughter earlier about this, I tried to get her to understand the magnitude of all that needed to be done, but she was convinced these people would follow through.
I don’t have any more children to get married, but I have learned who I can count on. I think the lazy part covered a lot of these people, they basically never helped the whole week end.
It was still a fun event.
You probably wouldn’t be a fan of Rose’s if you weren’t a perfectionist, but you should be very proud of those cakes! I think we all admire those pictures from RHC and are disappointed when they don’t come out quite like that, but remember that those had professional stylists and photographers working on them to look like that! And yes, there are a few folks here on the forum who seem to be able to replicate those results, but I tell myself they either are currently professional bakers or used to be… : ) And as others have said and like you know, TASTE is what people will remember the most!
Funny how common sense sometimes disappears during special events…its as if the people who were supposed to help got caught up in the moment and having a good time! It’s easy to be laid-back when it’s not your daughter getting married, I guess. But you survived! And produced a wonderful wedding cake, too.