Wednesday, July 25, 2012

a wedding and a cake

 My little sister is getting married this weekend.  Okay, so technically she's not my "real" sister if you wanna talk blood relation, but I claim her as mine.  We met when our families moved in a couple of houses down from each other when I was 13 and Haley was 4.  We did the whole block party thing, I baby sat, typical white-bread-suburbia-USA.  Over the years we just got closer and closer.  Pretty soon our families were spending nearly every holiday together, I was the go-to person in times of need (ie. sneaking the car out and not being able to get it parked back into the garage well enough to pass Dad's inspection.  Turns out Dad was smarter than either of us and felt the hood of the car.  Smarty britches was quick on her feet and told him I had taken her out for ice cream.  In their car?!?!?  Whatever, we skated by.)

Over the years we have built a life time of memories like this one.  I could sit and rattle off one after another after another after the time Tom took her to her high school winter formal when he and I were dating because she didn't have a date...or how every day I would anxiously wait for her to get home from school so I could tell her the latest on my budding crush on Tom...or about how we got matching cupcake tattoos (for real!)...or about how we play charades every Thanksgiving and she would be content if she got to act out every single one!  Long story short, I adore her.  She is funny and kind and I cannot believe she is getting married!!!!
 It's a destination wedding, we are Mexico bound, Tulum to be specific.  How cute is their save-the-date?  We are staying in the most amazing looking cabanas that are right on the beach.  They've rented the whole place so it will be like a big three day party.  I'm super excited!! 
 A couple of weeks ago we decided to have a girls' night, a slumber party, to just hang out, watch movies, talk, and be girlie.  Turns out there was very little movie watching.  We talked and talked and talk and talked and it was great.  Anyway, I had been looking for a special occasion to make this cake I had seen over on Sweetapolita.  To say I love her blog would be a huge understatement.  Her cakes are always gorgeous, her photos are amazing...and now I can officially say that her recipes (I've made three) are great!

The one I decided on was a chocolate cake.  If you are wondering about the photo above, I know, it's odd to show the pans but I had to share may all already know this and I might be sitting here looking like a dumbass, but I did not know this - if you are making a chocolate cake you should dust the pans with cocoa powder instead of flour!  Did you know that?  Cause I didn't know that!
 One of the things that I think might make Rosie's recipes so successful is that she gives you a lot of measurements in weight vs. volume.  I've been reading a lot lately that that is the better way to measure when baking.

This recipe also calls for espresso.  I love adding espresso to anything with chocolate!  It doesn't make it taste like coffee, it just enhances the coffee flavor.  Go out and buy yourself a little jar of instant espresso and never ever use it to drink!  Uck! 
 So the reason I wanted to make this cake was the icing.  Didn't really matter what the cake itself was, you could do vanilla or anything really.  I was just itching to try this icing technique.  Let me back up a little.  You know I like to bake, but I'm more of a pie girl.  So in the past when I have baked cakes I've just kind of done it with the tools I have on hand.  Don't do that.  Go buy these three things:
  • cake boards (card board and disposable, get the size to match the cake size you are making)
  • a lazy susan
  • an offset spatula (this is a MUST!)
A couple of things about the above photo.  It is the crumb coat of icing, not some minimalist icing technique.  The idea is that you put a thin coat of frosting on the cake, pop it in the fridge, and then when you go to ice your cake for real you won't have a bunch of cake crumbs co-mingling with your icing. Don't skip this step.

It may look like the icing to cake ratio is very one sided.  But I swear that is not the thickest layer of icing you have ever seen.  Well, on the very edges it is, but inside it's normal.  Here's why it looks that way, and this is another wonderful tip I learned from Rosie at Sweetapolita...take your first layer and put it top side up on your cake board, put your icing on top (for your middle layer of icing), then put your top cake layer top side DOWN!  This way you have a nice flat top to your cake instead of a domed one!  Clever!
 So this icing technique looks kind of like an ombre to me.  It's that lovely gradation of color and you could choose any color combo you like.  Rosie gives you a very easy to follow video of how to ice this cake right HERE.

 I'm a sprinkle junkie.  I need a support group for a few things, sprinkles are one of them.  So are Weck jars (like the one with the blue sprinkles).  I sometimes just look at their website and imaginary order.  Do you ever do that?  Imaginary order stuff?  I do it all the time.  Anyway, yes.  I obsess on sprinkles and jars to put them in.  Doesn't everyone?!?!
So it's not perfect but I do love the way it came out!  By the way, I searched high and low for a cake topper and they were all hideous!  If I would have planned better I would have found a vintage one on etsy but I didn't.  I finally found this adorable topper at Party City of all places.  They had some white folks, but man, their clothes were terrible.  This precious couple was hip and classy and that's my Hay, hip and classy, but not black.  And not always classy, she burps a lot.