Water Color Wedding Cake

Photo Courtesy of M. Harris Studios
A few months back, a friend reached out looking for wedding venues. As the best man, he was hustling for ways to help plan one of his favorite couple's, Lissette and CJ, wedding. I gave a few suggestions and threw my name into the hat as a cost-effective option for the cake. I had hung out with the couple on and off over the years and always found them darling - no harm in offering! I was completely surprised when they asked if I would do it. Talk about a leap of faith! Thank you both for entrusting me on your special day!

I will admit - this is the most effort that I have ever put in trying to perfect a cake. The first wedding cake I ever made was straight forward as Heather and Mike knew exactly what they wanted. For this one, I ran the gambit of flavors including vanilla, elderflower, ube, and mango. The ube was a total fail but it did lead me to a recipe that I am excited to try on my own time. I loved the elderflower sponge cake and was stunned when they disliked it.

For all the taste testing, they made the wise choice of going sweet and simple: dreamy vanilla cake with a strawberry mousse filling draped in my favorite swiss buttercream! A list of resources can be found at the end of this post.

Once the flavors were selected, it was game on! The cat was exiled from the kitchen space and I wore my own version of a hair net. This was a two tier cake, with each tier consisting of three layers, each lovingly sealed in with vanilla simple syrup. In case of emergency, I made a big sheet cake to hide in the venue's kitchen. All the dry ingredients were pre-mixed and placed into individual Ziploc bags by tier size. The filling was made in advance to give it time to cool completely.

Rather than going with the traditional fondant route, the bride selected a very hip style of frosting: water color. I really loved blending the colors together and the casual nature of this look. The one lesson learned from this experience is to make sure your crumb coat is white white white! You want the colors to stay pure so it needs a blank canvas. I love using Kerrigold butter because its delicious flavor but it adds a hint of yellow (KerriGOLD) to the swiss buttercream. A work around is to use white food coloring to lighten things up or take the hit and make an entirely vegetable shortening based frosting (shudder). I wasn't sure if it was the bad lighting of the walk-in fridge or if the heat from assembly made the crumb coat blend into the water color piping, but I was bugging out that the final cake looked more kelly green than the soft teal at home.

The only bummer was we were unable to get our own photos of the end product. It was a hot, July day and the last thing I wanted to do was transport a cake slathered in buttercream in the oppressive summer air.  The work-around was to assemble the tiers on-site. Unfortunately, the kitchen was crazy hot too! We had to work on a rolling, plastic dolly in the walk-in fridge. This was a particular obstacle because I had just showered to hide avoid looking like a crazy home baker. It was like a sadistic game of tag, running in and out of the fridge to make last minute adjustments, shivering all the way. All the full fledged photos were taken in the glorious, fluorescent lighting of the walk-in fridge.

This cake was made possible by two special worker elves - my wonderful husband, Michael, and my beloved kuya, Brandon. I teased Mike that the local grocery store must think we live off of unsalted butter and egg whites while B looked like a drug dealer helping me divide flour into bags of white powder. When it was time to deliver the cake, my least favorite part, Mike drove steady with the AC blasting. B tried to remain calm but his gripping knuckles on the bottom tier of the cake said it all!  Thank you both so much for all your love and support!

Vanilla Cake from How To Cake It
Swiss Buttercream from Smitten Kitchen
Vanilla Simple Syrup
Strawberry Mousse Filling from Taste of Home
Tutorial for Water Color Butter Cream can be found by Abby Larson