Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Wedding Cake Part II: The Tasting

So, the tasting. As I mentioned in the first post, the tasting was planned for Labor Day, which was the day after the bachelorette party as well as the weekend that all my college roommates visited. I finished making the tasting cakes just in time to run off to Traci's bachelorette party. Let's breakdown the process:

The Cake:

Easy-peasy. As I had already made this cake for Joanna, I knew what was coming. After baking and cooling, I cut the cake into six mini cakes that would allow for filling experimentation.

The Filling:

First: the lemon curd. This is especially easy if you have a food processor. Almost all prep can be done in there, including the zest, so you can then dump the contents into a pot to heat and thicken. One of the cool things about curd is that it seems so fluid and liquidy and it feels like you're stirring forever, but suddenly you feel some traction and before you know it, you have curd. And OMG is it delicious. I wasn't expecting it to be that good. But damn - you don't need a cake to eat this, just a spoon.

After realizing how delicious the lemon curd was, I had a feeling making the raspberry was pointless, but I did it anyway. It basically involved boiling raspberries until their cell walls broke down into nothing, then pushing them through a strainer to remove the seeds, then returning them back to the stove to cook into a jelly-like state. Good, but not that different than jam/jelly in my opinion, and I had a feeling it was going to be too much raspberry with the cake. But that was for Traci to decide.

The Frosting:

I followed Smitten Kitchen's Swiss Buttercream recipe to a T, and was pretty pleased. Really light and fluffy. Spreadability/smoothness was yet to be determined, as I was in a hurry to get to the party when I was frosting the tasting samples. Since I planned to do a practice construction run, I figured I'd spend more time on it then.

I made several mini cakes: one with lemon curd filling, one with raspberry filling, one with lemon curd and raspberry swirled, one with just buttercream filling, one with a layer of buttercream topped by the lemon curd, raspberry, or swirled filling. I hoped a little bite of each would be sufficient for Traci to decide.

The Tasting:

Traci and her bridesmaid/our friend Crissy came over the morning after the bachelorette party to taste the cake. As soon as Traci walked in, I got the feeling that a tasting the night after a bachelorette party was a bad idea. She had two gatorade bottles and a bag of cheetos in her purse, and told me she had just eaten a hamburger for breakfast. We did the tasting outside because the fresh air felt good, and at times Traci just laid her head on the table. I couldn't help but laugh, as we all felt like death. Luckily, Crissy was there. An avid foodie (read her blog here!), she is still eloquent and excited about food even when hungover, and therefore a good tasting attendee. Fortunately, the decision was unanimous - both Traci and Crissy easily agreed the lemon curd filling was their favorite. I sent a little leftover cake home with Traci to Florida for Stephen and their parents to try to make sure everyone agreed with Traci's tastebuds; Crissy and other friends that stopped by took some home as well.

Traci evaluating the first bite of lemon curd filling.

Crissy (left) and Traci digging in.

So now I was completely set on the cake. Now, the look? Yikes, I had some work to do...

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