Three Weddings

One weekend, three weddings (two on Saturday, one on Sunday).  Good thing I've got a vacation in California coming up!  I love this job, but it's much better for my sanity if I only do one or two large events per weekend.  I've got two of the three cakes to show you; I'll post pics of the third cake when Peggy, the (fantastic) photographer, shares them.

I delivered the first cake to the EMU ballroom at the University of Oregon.  I assembled it on site, as I didn't want to invite chaos by transporting four extra-tall tiers all stacked.  It was rainy and grey that afternoon, so the ceremony was moved indoors.  I got to see the bridal party -- Alanna, the bride, looked magnificent in a satin mermaid gown.  The cake was a modern classic, in ivory fondant with touches of pearls and a topper of sugar hydrangea.  (Photos to come in a future post.)

Then, I was off to the Corvallis Country Club to deliver the second cake.  Actually, calling it a 'cake' is really a misnomer.  Indeed, this dessert posed something of an engineering challenge.  I had to configure 60 servings of tiramisu (and I really mean tiramisu, not 'tiramisu cake') into a three-tiered confection, and contain all this mascarpone and amaretto without spillage, or worse, complete ruin.  The beautiful couple, Kim and Joe, had their hearts set on tiramisu as the dessert at their wedding, and how could I disappoint them?  We went through several iterations of tiramisu-inspired cakes, which were tasty but really uninspiring when you're jonesing for the true texture and deliciousness of a classic tiramisu.  Eventually, I proposed this: let's use the old-school pillar-and-plate system, and encircle the three plates (7", 10" and 12") with a band of modeling chocolate.  That way, the pillars would support all the weight of the tier(s) above, and the chocolate would neatly contain all the tiramisu.  Kim and Joe wanted the top tier to be wrapped in dark chocolate, the middle in white chocolate, and the bottom in milk chocolate.  My contraption (which eventually required foamcore bases and some acetate strips for extra stability) worked, to my surprise and delight, and now - of course - I can scheme about all kinds of things to serve in this way (a custard wedding cake? or four tiers of M&Ms, contained by chocolate bands?).  Who needs cake?

The top tier is alcohol-free (I used espresso to soak the ladyfingers in, and some rum extract to flavor the mascarpone filling), while the middle and bottom layers are amaretto-and-rum flavored. If you want my tiramisu recipe, leave a comment for me and I'll send it to you.  It really is just mascarpone, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, savoiardi (or Lady Fingers), espresso, amaretto and rum (with some chocolate shavings on top).  Crazy good.

Sunday's cake was for my friends Josh and Rebecca, who hosted their reception at their home in Eugene.  When they throw a party, they throw a party.  The food was beyond amazing, the live bluegrass band toe-tappingly awesome, and the guests funny, cool, smart, warm, and just a ton of fun.  We danced in the street (with permission from their neighbors), the groom cried during the toasts (bless him!) and I was lucky to be part of the rainbow bridesmaid parade (our 7 dresses really were ROY-G-BIV).  

My lemon-poppyseed cake was filled with a marvelous strawberry-and-rhubarb compote (made by the bride, with rhubarb from the garden!).  I frosted the whole thing with a silky combination of Italian meringue buttercream and sweet cream cheese.  Oh man, this job is going to give me diabetes... 

The bride's grandpa shook my hand and said, it was the best cake he'd ever had.  Thank you, sir.  I am humbled.

In my cake studio, with its sugar-bloom adornment, but sans topper:

At the wedding, with fresh flowers inside its porcelain topper, which was made especially for Josh and Rebecca by a dear friend (who is an amazing sculptor of porcelain):

And below, the potter (left) and the baker (right):