My first and possibly last wedding cake! The stress was all too much! Friends Lauren and BJ were tying the knot in a western style celebration at an equestrian facility and the bride wanted a simple wood grained cake to compliment her rustic theme and I happily volunteered. What a dope! With only 7 Wilton cake decorating basics lessons under my belt, what was I thinking?
SO much went wrong in putting this together that it was actually a great learning experience. But with 82 other projects due that week I would rather have had smoother sailing and fewer life lessons! First my bottom tier cakes did not pop out of the pan in one beautiful layer, but rather several large chunks. Lesson Number 1: ALWAYS LINE CAKE PANS WITH PARCHMENT PAPER. I asked my fairy cake mothers over at Classic Cakes in Garden Grove if my pile of crumbs would still be stable if reassembled and spackled with enough buttercream. Their pitying looks answered that question.
Back to the cutting board to rebake and cool before icing, which brings me to Lesson Number 2: Too much frosting will pull away from the cake. Scrape off sagging icing and refrost using less.
Lesson Number 3: Figure out how to paint on realistic looking woodgrain on buttercream. Yikes. Tough one. I put a buttercream-frosted test cake in the freezer to make a firm canvas to paint on. I mixed up some brown gel food coloring with water and began painting. My poor test cake started to thaw out and bead up with moisture, which caused my painting to bead up and run immediately. Ugh. Not going to work. I let my real cake just stay at room temperature and mixed my gel coloring with vodka to evaporate instead of water. This worked much better. Then I just layered and layered the wood grain painting, making it up as I went along, and I have to say I was pretty pleased with the final results.
A sprig of fresh wildflowers added between the top two layers and she was done! Congratulations Lauren and BJ. Hope this labor of love was what you'd envisioned on your happy day!