It’s difficult to know what it means. 14. Build a Wedding Cake. A wedding cake, for peace? For justice? For marriage? For eating on a very sad and lonely night? My college years were heavily documented in several, angst-ridden diaries, but why did nineteen-year old me think building a wedding cake a necessary skill? I can’t remember. To her credit, however, I can now say with absolute certainty that I’m so glad she did.
I decided to finally strike number fourteen off my list of thirty things, to build a wedding cake. Context? None. The only flag I had to wave was in the tradition of this great month of love. I picked a date. I invited a few favorite friends. And, when all this was settled, I hit the library to find out what building a wedding cake actually entails. Panic ensued. But if you ever want to get anything absurdly ambitious done, I highly suggest constructing the occasion before the wherewithal. With a date set, and guests coming with highly excitable expectations, I had no choice, no other option but to bake this cake.
Hours spent on this cake? Probably 24. Mind lost? A good quarter. Since I was baking for only 15-20 people, as opposed to 200, I ended up baking four different cakes – which was a nice variation for my sanity. But decorating was ughhhhh and arghhhhhhhhfeawhfawfh. Professional and sincere wedding cake makers out there — you are unreal, actual saints with blessed biceps. Because, who has the upper body strength to unroll fondant for this much cake? Who has the focus and healthy blood pressure to construct such a volatile creation on a regular basis?
The party was this past Saturday. On Friday night, having spent the entire day baking and fondant rolling, I interrupted the process, got into the car and picked up the first of my guests. My friend K, having flown all the way from KC, MO, to attend this party, was sleeping over.
Saturday morning, armed with K as my sous chef, the rest of the party fell into place. Last minute decoration inspirations had me running around, while K chopped vegetables and laid out teacups. She also helped roll out the last of the gum paste, which I hurriedly shaped and covered all cake blemishes with.
When the rest of the guests arrived, they brushed past poofs of tulle, walked through strings of hearts.
My friend Em, who has an amazing food blog you must check out, started to snap pictures, and everything came out roses:
The cake, waiting for everyone to finish eating and giggling, was made up of the following:
the bottom layer = an almond cake with a strawberry filling
the second largest = a gluten free chocolate with a blackberry filling
the pink tier = carrot cake soaked in a buttermilk sauce, with a cream cheese filling
the top = dairy free chocolate, with plum filling
And what was the feeling of cutting into a wedding cake without ceremony? To fill the stomach and hearts of people I love so much?
Oh, it was heaven. Girl fest heaven. For the record, husbands and boyfriends were more than welcome, but all guests arrived without them. And in the end, there was something about soaking in the company of only women – who, while all unique, had brilliance, kindness, and great appetites in common – that made the night everything valentine’s month is about!
In a fashion quite opposite of Jesus feeding 5000, the cake that could have fed 200 was successfully destroyed.
Of course, cute boxes, ribbons, and stickers were provided for everyone to share with their loved ones at home, helping the cake disappear more purposefully…
I was so happy. Happy, full, and content. And, more importantly, I think the feeling was mutual.
I’m blogging early this week, to spend the last days of February in a quieter place. Enjoy the rest of this month, my valentine friend. I hope every day is indeed Valentine’s day for you. Why not? You are loved.