1) Make sure you have PHONE NUMBERS for the Bride and Groom. One of the main problems we had was that for various reasons the invitations were sent via electronically. We somehow missed getting put on the list, and so a week before the wedding we didn’t have specific information we needed. In fact, as of the Thursday before the wedding we weren’t sure we were doing the cake. This delayed shopping and the beginning of baking. It all worked out in the end, but a good part of my worries last week were that I hadn’t gotten phone numbers. The questions we had could easily have been solved if I had. Part of this was that it didn’t even occur to us until the weekend before the wedding that we had not gotten an invitation. Somehow the wedding snuck up on us.
2) Be sure to include ALL ingredients on the shopping list, and buy extra: We ended up spending a lot of extra time shopping on this cake. LLT went Friday night before I got home and got the main ingredients. My job on Friday night was to go get the cake boards and boxes from the cake store. Saturday we went out to RD for the rest of the main supplies. Then once we got the first of the layers baked we went back to the cake store to update our luster and petal dust supplies. When we realized more batches of the chocolate cake were required than we thought, I had to run out for baking soda which we had run out of. We also didn’t have enough fondant, which I had bought over the internet and had to substitute Wilton fondant. We actually wasted a lot of time this weekend shopping for things that could have been bought off the internet or bought ahead of time. Also going to the same store more than once.
3) 5 lbs of fondant will not cover a four tier cake (6”, 8”, 10” and 12” – 3.5” layers).
4) Marbling can be achieved either by using powdered color in addition to powdered sugar while rolling out the fondant. It also can be achieved by putting VERY SMALL amounts of the colored frosting into the fondant when kneading it. However it is important to remember that buttercream will break down fondant.
5) Fondant can be softened in a microwave
6) Things to get for the future: Another silicone mat to make flipping Fondant easier; a longer (preferably 3-4 foot) rolling pin; stippling sponge (yes, a theater makeup reference)
7) Sometimes making extra cake is not a bad thing: We could easily have made another 10 inch chocolate cake and had it served.
8) We need to work on our estimates of how much we need to make the cake. We have more than 20 eggs left over and 5 pounds of butter – not to mention about three pounds of carrots
9) Carrot cake doesn’t suck even if it’s made with bread flour (and be sure to read the label on the flour before using it). Of course it doesn’t help that we have more than four different varieties of flour in the house and I thought they were all in the matching mini trash cans. I didn’t realize the all purpose flour required for the recipe was in a different canister and didn’t really read the label.
10) REMEMBER TO TAKE THE OVEN OFF PREHEAT!!!!
11) Cakes covered in fondant use LESS frosting, not more: In the past we have made buttercream in half batches since our “professional” size Kitchen Aide Mixer couldn’t handle anything bigger. Now we have a 30 quart Hobart mixer and it occurred to us that we could do pretty much as many recipes as needed in one batch. For some reason we were both convinced that we needed to have more than one recipe worth for the chocolate cake. Somehow it didn’t sink in that we were only doing three layers and they didn’t need as much as normal because the cake was being covered with fondant. After I finished frosting the cake I started filling plastic tubs (the kind you get from Chinese restaurants when you order a LARGE soup) with icing. I am pretty sure we were up to eight or nine. I know at least six of them are in our freezer now. Anyone want chocolate icing for anything???
12) Remember the largest cake spatula looking thing (the one with the wooden handle) is actually a knife.
13) We LOVE the grating feature on the food processor. It made the carrot cake much better than our test cake where we just processed the carrots into tiny chunks.
14) Cognac works as well as vodka for dust painting
15) Square cakes with all the weight on one corner need extra support – especially if any of the cakes are super moist. On the other hand, when one of the cakes isn’t level it gives the optical illusion that the cake is sinking.
16) We want to put together a collection of table coverings in various colors of organza because we love the effect…but we NEED to hem the pieces.
17) It’s a really bad thing when none of us think about what we’re going to put the cake on until the car is completely packed….talk about a close call!
18) Crock pots are the greatest thing since sliced bread – especially for the day before a cake is due.
19) No watching TV during the dinner break – or having cool friends over during the baking – we got behind because we were fascinated by snarking on Sandra Lee’s Halloween special when we could have been working Saturday night.
20) Orla sucks at reading out loud, but Julie & Julia is good for keeping people awake during the drive home after a wedding.
21) frederich should be encouraged to come take the photos of all of our projects - except we like him too much to require him to go to that many weddings.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure that LLT could add to the list with things I’m forgetting