Wedding Cake Redux

So I made another wedding cake with my friend Marge. Why? Shits comma giggles. Blood comma sweat comma tears? Also Marge and I served as Maids of Honor at this particular wedding, because it was for our best friend from high school. Here’s a quick tip from me to you: don’t be maid of honor and wedding cake maker at the same time. You’ll end up pouring hot sugar into stained glass icing molds the morning of the wedding in a frantic hurry while trying to come up with some semblance of a maid of honor speech to be delivered later that day. Also your hair will look like frizzy shit in the photos. Also Marge got frosting on her dress when we moved the cake into the big fridge at the venue, which I took partial blame for, because I feel like that was a move totally aimed at me (universe, I’m onto you), but Marge was in my vicinity so she bore the brunt of it.

But let’s say you do decide to be a wedding cake maker/maid of honor. And let’s say that, somehow, the cake actually comes together. If you’re like me, you’ll be so happy that you’ll drink a little too much, drop a dumpling on your bridesmaid dress, and deliver one of the best speeches of your life in a hazy haze of relief and gin. But you’re not like me, internet browser. You’re much more put together and you’ve gotten much more sleep. Well, I can only assume. If you’ve gotten less sleep, I don’t want to hear about it, because it would make me feel really sad about your quality of life. You should really sleep more!!!!!

If you want to talk logistics, we used a Moosewood recipe for the cake, which I love. I’ll promote the Moosewood ladies as long as I live. I love those kooky Ithaca hippies. They make some damn decent food too, and this lemon curd layer cake is a great example. Marge added some fresh blueberries into the middle layers of each of the tiers for aesthetic and delicious purposes. Overall I was pretty happy with how it came out. We swiss meringue buttercreamed it–which….ok, I love a swiss meringue buttercream, but it was very difficult to ice. The texture is weirdly silky and if it’s the wrong temperature it can be super bitchy. Well also I was using pretty primitive tools. And I drove the cake 45 minutes to the venue in the back on my mom’s car, blasting the air conditioning the whole time because it was 95 EFFING DEGREES OUT thank you New York. Oh I’m just kidding, I ain’t mad atcha. By the time I flew back to San Francisco and was greeted by no good bagels and 60 degrees and fog, you were completely forgiven.

So I guess if you ever want to make stained glass sugar windows for a wedding cake for your best friend from high school, here’s a totally sweet recipe?

Stained Glass Sugar
from Jacques Torres via thefoodnetwork.com

Scant 5 cups or 1 kilos sugar
1 1/4 cups or 400 grams corn syrup
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 250 grams water
Cornets, method follows (at least 1 cornet per color)
Food colors, assorted
Royal icing, recipe follows
Heavy cotton gloves, to help protect hands from heat

Royal Icing
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and strained

To make royal icing: Combine the egg white and powdered sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and continue whipping until completely incorporated, about 3 minutes. The lemon juice whitens the royal icing. The royal icing should be light, fluffy, and slightly stiff. You may need to adjust the consistency by adding more egg whites if the icing is too dry or more powdered sugar if it is too wet.

Use the royal icing to pipe out a frame or design for your stained glass. When all of the outlines are drawn, place the ingredients for the stained glass in a pan,  insert a candy thermometer and cook to 320 degrees F (I did slightly under that…probably around 290), divide the sugar evenly between the heatproof, warm measuring cups. Add a few drops of food color (pick colors that will work with your drawing) to each cup of sugar and stir with wooden skewers. It is best at this point to use some heavy cotton gloves to protect your hands. Pour 1 of the colors into a cornet and use it to fill in the spaces that you want to be that particular color. Use 1 color at a time. You can reheat the sugar in the microwave as long as it is in the measuring cups but you cannot reheat the sugar when it is in the paper cornet.

When all of the spaces on your drawing have been filled to your satisfaction, you are ready to display your stained glass masterpiece!

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