This is the first time I’ve ever made a wedding cake away from my own home kitchen so back in August I started compiling long lists of essential ingredients and equipment necessary for the task. I forgot one indispensable item, however, until 2 days before I was due to fly out to S.F. as I was visualizing the whole process in my mind’s eye—a heavy duty turntable. Luckily my friends Caitlin and Meg from Miette Bakery jumped in generously loaning me their best, most smoothly turnable turntable. Caitlin also managed to find me the Green and Black cocoa which is my favorite and had been sold out at Whole Foods.
I also couldn’t have managed this complex cake without the help and moral support of my dear friend Diane Boate, aka the Cake Lady of S.F. who also took these excellent photos, and her long time very significant other Robert Myers who cheerfully stood by always ready to chauffer us back and forth to Daniel Patterson’s new restaurant Coi where he was preparing both the rehearsal dinner and his wedding dinner for 135 while I on the opposite side of the kitchen was making the cake (what a sport)! And finally, if not for the loan of their neighbor’s microwave, I’d still be there trying to get the glaze to the exact right temperature! The cake took 16 hours to complete—12 hours the first day as the layers needed to be baked, syruped, and frosted a day ahead of glazing. Day two was the glazing, insertion of the straws support for tiering, and day three was packing the layers so that they wouldn’t touch the sides of the boxes during transport to the hilly headlands! Then of course the hair-raising business of tiering the layers on top of each other and attaching the chocolate twigs en site with people watching. Diane Boate This cake, which is a ground-breaking new cake that I’ve been working on for months for my upcoming book “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”—Fall 2008, is a chiffon type of chocolate cake that fills the pan only about one-third full and in the last 10 minutes of baking magically rises to the very top. It is moist and dense, yet light, and tender and deeply chocolaty hence the name “Deep Chocolate Passion Wedding Cake.” The baked layers are brushed with a milk chocolate syrup and then masked with a dark chocolate ganache. Then each layer is glazed with a “Dark Chocolate Lacquer Glaze” that is as shiny as a baby grand piano. The finished cake weighed in at about 17 pounds off the presentation stand. (It felt like an athletic event!) Milk Chocolate Syruping the Cake Frosting the Cake, Bob Myers Looking on (about to Lick the Whisk) The Glazed Layers The wedding took place at the Marin Headlands Art Center and the theme was a rustic winter wedding. Much to my delight, the beautiful and gracious bride Alexandra Foote (who is an environmental lawyer) had the good taste to request an all chocolate cake and asked if I could somehow incorporate curly willow branches as the décor. Thank goodness for Google—I found chocolate twigs made with ValRhona chocolate that were dramatic and delicious. Lacking that, I would have been tempted to pipe chocolate meringue twigs but feared the possible S.F. humidity would cause them to droop (more than curly willow would have). Rose at the Headlands about to Tier the Layers (Note the Straw Supports) To my delight, guests included dear friends and colleagues Paula Wolfert and husband Bill Bayer (the renowned detective writer), Harold Mcgee (“On Food and Cooking”), Kathleen, Ed, and Aaron Weber of Della Fattoria (they supplied the bread) and perfumer Mandy Aftel who was Daniel’s co-author of "Aroma." It was the most original and enjoyable wedding I've ever attended. And the highlight for me, in addition to meeting some wonderful people was the enchanting little flower girl Sarah, looking like a confection herself in her pink dress, who hugged me around the knees exclaiming “I LOVE your CAKE!” I was also vastly relieved when Daniel pronounced that the cake exceeded his expectations. (I was almost afraid he’d never talk to me again after having so disrupted his kitchen and wedding preparations.) The truth: In all due modesty the cake exceeded my expectations as well! It was the best gift I could offer to two dear friends one of whom is a chef whose work I so deeply admire. Sarah, The Flower Girl Rose and the Webers of Della Fattoria The Weber's Bread from Della Fattoria The wedding dinner included delicious and tender Broken Arrow Ranch wild boar sous vide, Grimaud guinea fowl en crepinette (lacy caul fat), and several different wines, my favorite of which was the NV Sean Thackery Pleiades XV, Bolinas. By happy coincidence I was sitting opposite the wine maker! The tables were also graced by custom-blended perfume by Mandy Aftel (black pepper, pink grapefruit, cocoa, coffee, agarwood, cedar, nutmeg, Peru balsam) The after dinner coffee was extraordinarily good: Blue Bottle (available on line). And finally came the cake cutting ceremony after which it was whisked into an adjoining back room. The cake was cut and plated under my “mother of the cake supervision” but before it could be brought out to the serving area, most of the guests had stormed in and it vanished within minutes. The Cake Cutting Ceremony