Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wedding Cake Failure

Okay, so let me start by saying I only volunteered because I thought I knew what I was doing.  I only volunteered because I knew it would be cheaper for them in the long run.  I only volunteered because I wanted to be nice, and because I actually do love doing cake decorating.  But, what I didn't know when I volunteered what exactly I got myself into...

It all started on December 4th when my Brother called me up saying that he was getting married on December 14th.  I was excited for him and my soon to be Sister-in-Law and nephew.  Well a few days before the 14th, my Brother called up again and said that they were changing their wedding date to the 28th of December and they plan on doing a Wedding Reception on February 1st so that more family can attend.  Asking what they have done, and what they need to do for both I was all to happy to volunteer for decorating for the wedding or reception, OR I can make their cake.  I had plenty of time to 1. borrow supplies from family and friends so I could make a cake, 2. figure out what type of cake they want, 3. figure out how to make and decorate a cake that will not break, fall apart, or melt on an hour drive to where the reception will be held, 4. figure out how to do this while moving, and planning a 2 week vacation to Florida, and home schooling my children, keeping up with my counseling for our church youth group Young Women.

Here is the first picture that my Brother gave me for their wedding cake.  The picture on the left.  I laughed and said good luck finding someone to make that on your budget (which was pretty much the cost of supplies).  Then after a night of pinterest and google I found enough pictures of red, white and silver cakes to get my SIL to choose what she wanted which is the picture on the right.  I gave them the option of going with a round cake and have real cake for each tier, or go with a square cake and get 2 tiers being fake cake, and the top tier being real.  And just having sheet cakes for their guests.  After a whole month literally!, they went with the fake cake and sheet cake and square cake option.  So this then became my first ever tiered cake, first ever fake cake, and I had 1 week to put it all together while moving and packing to go to Florida.  Too bad it took so long for them to make a decision on their cake, oh well.

foil wrapped boxes
inserting real cake slices
What I did to make the firm structure of the fake cake was go to Goodwill, and buy 2 board games that had the perfect square stacking shape (I didn't realize until I got home that my square boxes were too thin, but it still worked out well).  For the box that was the bottom tier, we cut out part of the box so we can slide in 2 pieces of real cake.  Then we covered them in tin foil, shiney side out, using masking tape.  The cake board was thick card board covered in tin foil and clear scotch tape. I used a recipe that I was given by a friend and started making (for the first time EVER), marshmellow fondant.  This was a chore and a half all on its own.  I was told by more than one person that you can't mess up this type of fondant, its really easy to make, super quick to whip up.  So I thought, okay, I can do this, no problem.  So after a practice run late at night, the next day I made tons (I don't remember how many batches of doubled and tripled batches) of marshmellow fondant.  I used my Mother-In-Law's help to get the first bit on the bottom box.  It cracked, and didn't look very smooth, we got air bubbles, and of course it wasn't evenly rolled out due to lack of space.  (Trying to pretend that we were Buddy on Cake Boss, which didn't work).  FAILURE 1.  The second batch of marshmellow fondant turned out better...some.  Come to find out that my recipe just wasn't a good recipe.  So here's my warning DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE for marshmellow fondant!  It doesn't turn out right at all.
failed fondant

As I continued to work on the cake (like I said it took me 6 days to make) I needed butter cream frosting, but after spending $50 of my own money, plus the supplies that my Brother and SIL bought for their cake, I needed to stop spending more money and just get things done.  So I went online for a quick easy butter cream frosting.  The recipe I found on google called for milk.  I thought this was weird, but didn't think about it more.  I used this frosting to frost over the fondant, to THIS RECIPE for butter cream frosting.  So we ended up running to a store and buying a white layered cake and transferred the wedding cake toppers onto the store bought cake.
sheet cake
frost the 3 sheet cakes I needed to make, and to frost the 3 layers  top tier of the wedding cake.  I was going to use it for frosting roses, but ran out of time so I bought some fake roses at the Dollar Tree from their Valentine's Day section which were actually really pretty on the cake.  In the picture above, the square cake had silver pearls on it, but my Brother and SIL asked for black pearls instead.  So I put them on, but with just a little bit of moisture they started to bleed onto the white frosting of the cake.  FAILURE number 2!  So I used nail polish on the fake cake to fix the pearl bleeding.  And it actually worked out well.  Then I finished the whole cake and had to transport it to their reception 1 hour a way from where we lived, in a mini van packed to drive down to Florida after the reception was over.  So half way down to the reception I started to see an air bubble in my SIL's name I piped onto the top tier of the cake (the only real part of the wedding cake).  I tried to fix it using a straw, but it got worse and worse.  Then I noticed that the sides of the cake were melting, and the frosting was turning to liquid.  FAILURE 3!  It was because of the milk in the butter cream recipe, it went crazy on me.  My warning is this.  DO NOT USE
In the end my Brother and SIL did end up with a pretty cake, and a funny story.  Why did I go through all this trouble to help them out and do my very best, even though I was doing stuff I really didn't have a clue on how to do?  Because when I got married 8 years ago, my wedding cake was a disaster.  It wasn't the color I wanted, there were not decorations on it.  And the cake itself started to crumble under the weight of the other tiers (it was only a 3 tiered simple cake).  Lastly, no one ever told me that the top tier comes home with the Bride and Groom for their first anniversary, so I made it the flavor I HATED.  I didn't want my Brother and SIL to have those issues, and they LOVED my cake, despite the failures they didn't know about.

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