Saturday, September 29, 2012

Well, Let them eat....

Halley & I on her wedding day!
One of the motivational forces behind my desire to blog more has been my best friend, Halley, over at Out of Oz.  Hal joined forces with her TinMan this summer and has moved to the Emerald Isle.  Now, Miss Halley has always been and will always be my DIY Partner in Crime.  The two of us are more comfortable with power tools and wrenches in our hands than we have ever been with mascara wands and hair pins.

This summer that was only amplified by her wedding plans and her desire to have a DIY Wedding.  As I was her "Meg of Honor" I was overjoyed to join in the assist.  If you remember this meant not only learning to sew a bridesmaid dress, but also taking on the challenge of baking a wedding cake for the very first time!
Ok, so here I'll just come out and say it.  I am good when it comes to cooking and baking.   I have a somewhat innately domestic side of me that really only shows itself when I get into the kitchen.   Seriously though, this cake was my crowning baking glory!  I began researching cake recipes, sizes, shapes, colors, structures, yada yada yada around January to February.  I finally settled on a recipe that I found off of Pinterest that originally was published in Real Simple magazine.  Citrus Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and a Lemon Orange Frosting. an understatement!!  I must admit that I gleaned the idea for the Candied Orange and Lemon peels from a local Italian Restaurant, Lydia's.  We had visited Lydia's for my Sister Out-Law's birthday in May and they had the delectable desserts on her birthday cookie plate.  As soon as I tasted them I knew I had to learn how to make them.

Ready? Set! GO!!

They kinda look like worms...
yet, they taste like happiness!
I decided to start the task by inviting my baking buddy, Dave, over with the assist on the frosting.  This was the scary part for me.  I've never made frosting before and let me just say we have some "Golden Oldie" Tall Tales in my family regarding my G-Ma's frosting and the rock solid strength of it.  Dave showed up on Tuesday night (timeline...the wedding is Friday) with his trusted Kitchenaid Mixer "Marth Vader." We set to work mixing the pounds and pounds of sugar, butter, and citrus zest.  Wow, did it turn out great.  My next task that night was to start the dried orange/lemon peels.  Really, this  is sooo simple!  You boil sugar and water together in a pot and then simmer the peels in that simple syrup for about an hour.  I found that the thicker I sliced my peels the more I enjoyed them.  Keep the white part on even!  Once the hour had passed, I drained the peels and put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet that I'd sprinkled 1/2 C sugar on.  Spread them evenly and dust them on the top with another 1/2 C of sugar.  They are tasty now, but let them dry out for 2-3 days (if you can keep fingers out of the pan!!!

My next endeavor was to start the day long task of baking the wedding cake layers.  I originally doubled the recipe.  During the course of making the cake I discovered that this would NOT be enough batter to make the layers needed.  So, I added another batch of batter and then another half batch on top of that!!!  Whoo!!!  I decided late on Wednesday night to go ahead and frost the crumb layers and let them refrigerate overnight to be ready to frost on Thursday.

Oh! The Beautiful Toes!!
Thursday.  Day before the big event.  Plans were a bit up in the air.  The bride had family from all over coming in for the big day.  She'd been forced to do two things she just dislikes soooo much: be the center of attention and spend money.  Yet, it was all paying off and we had planned specifically for today to relax her.  Well....we went and got mani/pedis of course!!!  Afterwards, all the ladies were hungry and we had Toto (Hal's new step-daughter) with us just aching to have a Gen Dare.  What is a Gen Dare you ask?  Well, if you live in Kansas City, a Gen Dare is a glorious burger from Fritz's.  It boasts one or two steakburgers, mustard, ketchup, grilled onion, and HASHBROWNS!!! YEAH!!!  So, we toodled over to Fritz's for some lunch.  Afterwards, the gang went their separate ways to get their many tasks accomplished.  I must say, practicality forced me to miss some of the fun.  Instead of lingerie shopping and slumber partying I decided to stay home and work on the lemon curd filling and to start.  Oh, this was a tedious task.  You have to stir this potion constantly so that the eggs don't scramble/curdle.  If you ever set out to take this on, I applaud you.  Welcome to the club of custard/curd makers!  It is sooooo worth the effort!  This stuff is as tasty as heaven!  I could eat it every day.  It was the flavor I've dreamed of my entire life!!!  Unfortunately, no pictures, I just couldn't grow an extra hand to get it done.  :-(

The completed cake table
Anyway, at this point ALL that was left was to construct the layers (Thursday night).  Frost the layers (Friday morning), transport the cake(w/assist by my Mama), construct the cake at the hall, and finish up the decoration.  Here it is, by the power of television finished!!

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