To Bake a Wedding Cake, Part V: The Home Stretch
Friends, it’s wedding cake time!
After several months of, design and re-design, recipe hunting, cake baking, flavor testing, and technique practicing, I’ve arrived in Colorado to do the real thing. Though the next few days will be long, busy, and full of butter, I’m really quite thrilled to be here. I haven’t seen October in Colorado since my senior year of high school, and it sure is something to see. We don’t have the red sugar maples of the east coast, but golden aspens against evergreens and snow-capped peaks are truly breathtaking. I hope I have at least one evening to take a drive through the mountains and enjoy some Colorado autumn.
But the priority this week is cake. Monday night found me bustling around my apartment packing what may be the strangest looking luggage I’ve ever compiled. In addition to my standard jeans, t-shirts, and socks, I’ve packed 10 cake pans, a quart of pecans, a case of decorating tips, piping bags, a bridesmaids dress, three options for shoes to wear with said dress (I may end up using all three, who knows), two antique glass insulators, four cake knives, one cake layer slicer, a box of parchment paper, two tubes of raspberry filling, a Lazy Susan, a cake turner, a jar of ginger, a roll of blue cellophane, a tripod, a pack of paintbrushes, gum paste, almond paste, vanilla bean paste, and a few other odds and ends that I’ll need to make this cake happen.
Upon my arrival, my mom and I made a major grocery run for the ingredients I will need to actually put all that crap in my bags to good use. On any other occasion, the contents of the cart would be somewhat horrifying. But to any bakers out there, I wager this is a familiar, albeit excessive, sight to see.
The equipment is ready, the ingredients are purchased, and here I am, baking again in the kitchen I’ve known for most of my life. Having supported two young cake decorators for about ten years, this room has seen its fair share of baked cakes, buttercream icing, and greasy dishes. Many a mangled decorating tip has been pulled from the garbage disposal, and many a tear has been shed in anguish over icing that simply wouldn’t smooth and delicate rows of piped shells destroyed by the occasional rogue air bubble. I hope that that week, there will not be tears (though I will breathe easier, surely, once the cakes are baked and all high altitude cave-in fears are allayed) and I’m certainly not looking forward to the dishes, but it is a special treat to bake this cake, the best wedding gift I can think to give to my closest friend, in the place where I learned this art in the first place.
So without further ado, adieu! I’ll see you on the other side of this big, buttery week.