Friday, January 16, 2015

So You Want to Bake a Wedding Cake

This upcoming October marks an amazing moment that I cannot wait to bear witness: Heather is getting married. Who is Heather? We became friends back in college at a random apartment party; while I studied closer to Northern VA, she grew in the RVA scene; she then made the jump to new adventures in Jackson and drove back be in our wedding; HB even designed the first banner for this site out of the goodness of her heart. In other words, she's awesome and I love her.

As long as I have known her, Heather has been ready for true love. She didn't want a fling or nonsensical relationship- it was all about finding the Real Thing and putting yourself out there for better or worse. Where I was shy and aloof, she was bold and expressive. We went through the whole  spectrum together- from hurtful break ups to finding the Real Thing. It's crazy to look at how far we've come and process that I get to make their wedding cake: Chocolate Cake with Raspberries. 

The only issue with the happy couple living states away (aside from not getting to chill on the regular) is not being able to stuff them full of cake. They will only be in the area once before the wedding so the selection has to be on point. I want this freaking cake to be perfect and have been scouring the internet for tips, lessons, and tricks of the trade.

To help narrow down the selection, a group of wonderful friends have agreed to form "The Cake Committee." These poor bastards have to sit at our kitchen table and try an array of cakes, fillings, and frosting. Once all options are exhausted, the trial cake will be made. Have I mentioned that I want the cake to be perfect?

For this round, I made three chocolate cakes; three fillings; two types of frosting; and one ganache. It was a great exercise because I have never frozen a cake for more than a few hours before frosting. This helped gauge my expectations and form a better schedule for the day of the wedding. There's going to be a lot of prep work the week of but it will be totally worth it.

Smitten Kitchen: Chocolate Butter Cake
SixOneSeven: Crazy Chocolate Cake
Barefoot Contessa: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Diana's Desserts: Raspberry Bavarian
Taste of Home: Raspberry Filling
Smitten Kitchen: Basic Raspberry Filling

Smitten Kitchen: Swiss Buttercream
I am Baker: The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

Smitten Kitchen: Ganache 

The Cake Committee wasted no time. The Raspberry Bavarian was knocked out immediately much to my surprise. Not far behind that was Taste of Home's recipe because it was too close to a buttercream frosting. We were all stunned to have the Basic Raspberry Filling win the race as it was the least visually appealing but had a lovely and refreshing tartness. 

Next up was the frosting which was no contest for the Swiss Buttercream. It's subtle sweetness won the crowd over instantly. It's going to be a tough one to beat but I will keep looking for other options. 

Last but not least, the most important element of that whole wedding CAKE thing... the cake! This is where people had the most back and forth. Words were said; feelings were hurt. Kidding.

And the winner of the chocolate cake preliminary battle is....
.... Smitten Kitchen.

No surprise there ladies and gentleman! While all cakes received points for moistness and richness, Smitten had a little trick up her sleeve. What tipped the scale for this cake? A dash of cinnamon in the mix to help dial down the overall sweetness. Let's see if it makes it out of round 2, scheduled in February, starring What Katie Ate's, "Chocolate Fudge Cake," and Call Me Cupcake's, "Chocolate Cake Deluxe."

Special thanks to The Cake Committee! Till the next episode!