Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baking Day, Part 1

Alot happened between the making of the test cake and the real deal. A suitable, basic buttercream frosting recipe was secured and tested on coworkers. Cake pans were procured, thanks to a friend with a mom who has made her fair share of wedding cakes. Ingredients were bought, actually loads and loads of ingredients. I'm talking a grotesque amount of butter, an even more disturbing amount of shortening, and enough powdered sugar to frost my bed if I desired. Well, maybe. I also discovered a cute bakery specialty store in Berkeley, turned onto by a good friend whose foodie knowledge is never-ending. The store, Sugar Spun, contained everything I had been losing sleep over....dowels galore, cake boards in every size imaginable, and BOXES. Finally, something to actually assist in the whole transportation aspect of this project. I left Sugar Spun feeling relieved, accomplished, and dare I say ready to get this cake baked.

I took off work for the two days before the wedding, but kept one private swim lesson scheduled for the Friday before. Wishful thinking, it would turn out. Thursday was deemed sheet cake day according to my handy dandy 'wedding cake schedule' I had made one night when sleep evaded me and cake dominated my thoughts. So on Wednesday night, I shuttled over a hefty load of ingredients to my friends' house...the decided location based on the superior oven and kitchen it contained. I also finally put some serious thought into final measurements and their derived proportions and happily discovered that one sheet cake would more than suffice the wedding guests. In fact, if my calculations were correct, there would be quite an abundance of extra cake. I also did some prep work to ease the initial baking process. I measured and cut out the parchment paper I would need, strained the seeds from the raspberry jam, and whipped up a good amount of buttercream frosting to be stowed away in my fridge until it could be put to good use. With the first baby steps taken, I drifted off to sleep.

Thursday morning started off with an SFO run to pick up a friend flying in for the wedding. After a quick breakfast with her, I headed over to the 'cake house' to start my endeavor. I needed to make three batches of the cake recipe to bake the two layers of sheet cake. Unfortunately, the batches had to be made separately, as I did not have the foresight to obtain an industrial sized mixing bowl. Alas. The first batch of batter resulted in me absolutely destroying my friend's kitchen. I'm talking creamed butter and cocoa powder EVERYWHERE, especially in my hair and on the walls. I vowed to make the next batch in a slightly deeper bowl. Soon enough, I had one layer of sheet cake baking away in the oven. I was already tired and couldn't begin to imagine how I would feel the next day, when I would have to make the recipe six times. I pushed those thoughts aside and powered out the rest of the batter to fill the sheet pan again. I've left out the disgusting amount of batter I consumed this first day, and also omitted the terrifying moment when I had to flip the first sheet cake out the pan to cool and prayed and cursed and promised to never do anything bad every again if only the cake would come out of the pan intact. Presumably it was quite a sight to take in. By the time the second cake was out of the oven and cooling on rack, it was time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Day two of cake baking still to come....

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