Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Making a wedding cake, part 1

Recently I was asked to make a wedding cake for my friends, Chris and Beth (hey guys!). I hope they don't mind me writing about it here! I thought it might be interesting to other people to see just what goes into making a big, layered cake, and it might also turn out to be a great outlet for me to record what I learned to be a better baker in the future.

I went to get the ingredients last night, so the plan is to do all the baking tonight and tomorrow night, do the icing and initial setup Friday, and final assembly and decorations Saturday. It's going to be a hectic week!

The main thing I had to figure out before getting started was how to schedule the baking. I only have a few pans, so I'll need to reuse them. I first wrote down everything I needed to mix and bake:

Next, I wrote down each batch I would need to bake, and what pan would be needed. I moved the batches around until I came up with a schedule that would allow each cake to cool while a different pan was being used.

The main thing I have to figure out in the next two days is the cake board situation. I think some people make a base out of plywood, but I think that might be more than is needed here. I'm planning to transport the layers separately anyway, and just assemble on site a few hours before the reception, so I might just double layer the regular cardboard cake boards. It's going to be two very busy nights, but it will be fun, too!

Edit: I forgot when I wrote this that I will actually be doing a 9x9 middle layer of vanilla, not 8x8. So the schedule is a little different, but the concept is the same! The cake will be a 12-9-6 three tiered cake, for even proportions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Little things

Now that we've been in our house for over half a year, I'm definitely starting to notice a few things that need a little improvement. While our budget doesn't allow for major renovations or anything, I can't wait to make a few tweaks here and there.

- Fixing the latch on our gate. We've gone as far as taking the old one off (not a big problem, as it was mostly broken), but we have the new one and haven't put it on yet. We may be investing in a drill soon; I think it will come in handy for more than just this project.

- Putting trash cans in every room of the house. This one is really minor, but I've noticed there are a couple of rooms where trash seems to accumulate because it doesn't have an immediate place to go.

- Hanging things on the wall. We have a couple of things, but our den and living room have pretty much nothing at all. Also related...

- Hanging some window treatments. We have nice blinds on all the windows, but I'd like something soft and modern to frame them up a little.

- Refinishing the kitchen cabinets. Our cabinets need repainting, and they have nickel bathroom drawer pulls as handles. I'd like to change those out.

- Gardening! I generally think of myself as having a black thumb, but we have a couple of really nice hydrangea bushes, with a lot of weeds growing around them. They would look so much nicer weeded and surrounded by fresh mulch!

We will have to do some major projects in the next few years (roof, possibly plumbing), but while we're still paying off other debts, I think it's a great time to tackle some of these other jobs.