Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good Ol' Fashioned Wedding Cake - Southern Style

Recently my baby boy married his sweetheart - literally the girl down the street. 

I went a little crazy and decided to make their wedding cake.  I wouldn't trade the experience for the world, but I also won't be doing it again - at least not for one of my own children.

The bride wanted a good old fashioned Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting.  The wedding was at the end of June in Georgia... predictions were for 106 degrees or hotter.  Needless to say I was more than just a little concerned for the frosting.

After several test cakes, I found the perfect combination.  The cake itself was moist and held up well for several days.  The frosting was described by my son as, "Tasting like clouds" which I took to be a good thing.  We even set out a small bowl of the frosting in the late afternoon heat to see what would happen and, while it "glistened" a little, it didn't melt or run. 

So, now for all of you mothers of the grooms out there who are struck with sudden insanity and decide to make the cake - here's what worked for us. 

Oh, and by the way - I can't take all the credit for the cake - in fact a LARGE portion of the credit should go to my BFF Sheryl for helping me bake, letting me use her double ovens, keeping me calm, finishing all of the frosting and piping and slipping a little peach schnapps into my peach lemonade at just the right time.  BFFs are important, y'all.  If you don't have one, you need one.  I found mine at church - well, sort of.  We went to church together, but it wasn't until our kids started dating each other (no, they're not the ones who got married, although my BFF and I had some interesting plans if that had happened - would have made holidays easy, but I digress) taht we actually became good friends.

The cake itself is Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Wedding Cake recipe which you can find here.

 I made the cake just exactly like it said - I've found that following a recipe exactly makes a big difference.  I can't tell you how many times people have come to me for a recipe - which I almost always share - and then come back and say something like, "I just can't make it as good as yours..."  Which, after a few short questions is an easy problem to solve -- yours doesn't taste like mine because you didn't follow the instructions, silly!  To which they'll inevitably answer something the the effect of, "Well, the only thing I changed was I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter instead of actual butter and I didn't really set a timer on the beating of the batter, but I think it was about x number of minutes..."  Silly, silly people -- the secret to good baking is to follow the directions.  Exactly.  All the time. 

So, we made the cakes on Wednesday and got crumb coats on them as soon as they cooled.  This took hours and hours and hours. but we hung in there and got it done and transferred the layers to my refrigetator.  The next evening we set to frosting the cakes.  This was a bit tricky as we could only work well with the frosting at a cool, but not cold temperature and after a tier was out of the fridge for about 10 minutes, the frosting became impossible and had to be returned to the fridge.  I think we had about a 7 degree window for good frosting behavior.  Here's the frosted tiers safely stored in the fridge.

We used a frosting recipe from a friend of mine.  It is simply the best frosting I've ever had.  Hands down.  Not too sweet.  Not too greasy.  But flavorful.  It's a good frosting to use especially if you are going to need to use a TON of frosting in order to get a perfectly smooth finish and do piping, etc.  In places the frosting was an inch thick, and I still ate it all. 

The only alteration I made to the recipe was to use clear vanilla so the frosting remained as white as possible.  Again, set a timer and beat that frosting as long as you're supposed to.  We made about 15 recipes of this (at least) to do this cake and had plenty left over in case we had extra touch-up to do once we assembled the cake at the church. 

Best Frosting Ever
Cream 1 stick of butter*, 8 tablespoons Crisco and 1 cup sugar.  Add 3 tablespoons regular flour, one at a time.  Add 2/3 cup swet milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat in mixer 12 minutes.

* Do not use Oleo.  Use butter, Oleo will not do.

We used Wilton's Hidden Pillars to support the tiers.

No comments: