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So I know you’re totally wondering where I’ve been right? Well the thing is, I don’t know if you heard, but first there was Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then the first hangover of 2010. Oh, and not to mention the biggest stress of my entire life. Well you know, except maybe that whole carrying a child thing. (Okay well maybe you don’t know, but that’s neither here nor there.) Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes.

The wedding.


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Not mine, you wishful thinkers, my little brother’s. Because little bro’s are good for nothing except showing up their big sisters–yeah, yeah, yeah, I know everyone, MY LITTLE BROTHER GOT MARRIED BEFORE I DID.

Now, what exactly was my part in all this wedding shenanigans? Duh, the cake. If I was really an awesome blogger, I’d have all sorts of photos tracking my progress in the whole process that started the week before the wedding. But as you can tell by my two month absence, I’m not an really awesome blogger.  Sue me.  I started taking pictures once  I got the cakes all packed up and ready to go in the car.  (There are lots and lots of other great pictures that I didn’t take and wanted to put up, but no one will share them with me.  So suck it you guys, I did it all by myself anyway!)  Enjoy.  :)

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 And finally…. TA-DA!

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The bottom was a 12 inch, three layer chocolate cake (so good!) filled with whipped chocolate ganache. The top two were ten and eight inches, both three layers of White Velvet Cake filled with mango curd. The board is a 16×16 inch piece of plywood cut to size by my loving boyfriend, covered in foil, and then frosted. I have never dealt with fondant in my life, so instead opted to frost with a notoriously finicky frosting I’ve never dealt with before. (Otherwise known as Swiss Meringue Buttercream.) But you know what? IT ALL WORKED OUT SOMEHOW. Even though it took eleven hours to bake the cake (I could only afford one cake pan per tier, thus leaving me to bake one layer at a time), twice as long as I thought to layer, fill, and frost the thing, and my three year old sister gouged a corner out with her teeth two hours before the wedding.

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And now I’m going to act like I know what I’m talking about and give you a few tips. You know, because baking one wedding cake pretty much makes me an expert at this point.

  • Have some sort of plan of action. If possible, make test cakes just to make sure your recipes work, especially if you haven’t used them before. (I am crazy and did not do this simply because I didn’t have the money to make cakes for no reason. I had to do a lot of math to scale recipes to fit the size pans I had, and I honestly have no idea how things turned out so well. God apparently loved me that week. You might not be so lucky. Err on the side of caution.)
  • If you don’t know what you’re doing, doing go crazy with piping detail.  I don’t have mad piping skillz, so I pretty much did what Deb did.  Dots are pretty simple to make.  (If they look a little nipple-y when you’re done, stick it in the fridge to let the frosting harden.  Dip a small offset spatula in hot water, wipe it off, and gently squish those little points flat.)  The only thing I insist on is a border between tiers–it hides any mistakes you might have made while centering the cake, as well as the cake board.
  • Start early. I baked the cakes a week prior to the wedding, and I thought that was pushing it.
  • Bake your cakes at a lower temperature. Despit the suggested 350 oven setting, I bakes mine at 300 for a bit longer. This produces a much more level cake. You can use those fancy wet strips, but it really seemed like an unnecessary expense to me. You can apparently use wet paper towels wrapped in foil, but why bother with all that when lowering your oven temp works just as well? And after your layers are baked, you can…
  • Freeze your cake. Place each layer on a cake board (cheap at a specialty store, or you can make your own out of the millions of boxes leftover from your child’s Christmas presents), wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap, and freeze. (I have an oooold school side-by-side fridge, and my bottom layer didn’t fit in my freezer. It’ll be fine in the fridge for a week, but any more than that is pushing it, I should think.) Not only does this help with advance planning, but frozen cake layers are easier to handle than delicate un-frozen ones are.
  • Hydrate your cakes! To make sure your cakes as moist as they were when you baked them, brush each layer with a simple syrup before filling. (You can get fancy with flavors if you want–for the white cake I brushed it with watered down mango nectar.)
  • Make sure your cake boxes are the correct size.  That is, don’t buy a eight inch box for an eight inch cake, buy a tench inch box for an eight inch cake.
  • Brings lots and lots of extra frosting in all the colors you are  using.  I recommend make a ton of each color, only because it can be hard to recreate a color once you’ve run out.  Better to have too much.
  • Drinking straws work great for the inner support of your cake instead of dowels.  Because who really wants to cut a 1/4 inch wooden dowel with your kitchen shears?  Pass!
  • Most importantly, have some to call and cry to.  My best friend I’ve never met, Heather, was amazingly helpful and eased (almost) all of my worries.  She has a glamorous bakery delivery service in Hollywood, and actually knows what she’s doing.  Plus, she’s pretty.  Always a very telling personality characteristic.

But the real highlight of the wedding?

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Tequila Sunrise, compliments of my dad.  Clearly, it runs in the family.

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6 Responses to “congrats, little bro”  

  1. 1 Patty

    Congratulations to your little brother! (Even if he did beat you to the altar!) The cake looks beautiful, certainly not like it was your first one. I’ll bet it tasted great, too. Well done, Meleyna!

  2. 2 Meleyna

    Thanks! I was quite proud of how it turned out, if I do say so myself.

  3. 3 Scootabaker

    Look at that!!!!
    I’m pretty???? You pretty tooo!!!!
    We are best friends! Anyone as funny as you is my kinda gal pal!

    And congratulations on your first wedding cake!
    I’ll totally vouch that square cakes are thee hardest cakes to frost. You did a really great job of frosting them!
    Now how about that birthday cake of mine?

    luv,
    Heather

  4. 4 Deneil Merritt

    That is one awesome cake. Congrats to your brother and his new wife. Tell your boyfriend I said pop the question already! lol just joking.

  5. 5 Katie

    Congrats! It looks beautiful and I’m glad you’re back!!

  6. 6 Meleyna

    Thank you to you all! Much love. :)

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