Red Velvet Wedding Cake

I’ve already covered red velvet here, for Ginny’s welcome back to China party last year. But it was requested as a flavor for a wedding cake that I’m making (practice for my sister’s next year!)

The bride went with very simple (it’s more of a Beijing-centric friends celebration than a big wedding ceremony) design. White vanilla buttercream, red, red velvet cake.

I used a fairly standard red velvet recipe.

I made the two layers of the cake on Tuesday evening, and froze them, and let them thaw on the counter early Saturday. Friday evening I was going to make all the cupcakes, but I fell asleep almost as soon as I got home–long week! And, with over 80 people in attendance, I had a lot of cupcakes to make. I woke up at 5:30 in a complete panic, remembering that not only did I need to bake 60 cupcakes and decorate them all plus the cake by 11:30, but that I hadn’t cleaned my apartment, and a photographer/journalist was coming over to take pictures of the frosting process as a part of his background story on the participants of White Collar Boxing.

I flew around making sure everything was spotless, hid all the weird stuff, and tried to make the place look sort of cute, then started on the cupcakes. I finished a couple batches, and whipped together the American buttercream frosting. Butter and powdered sugar was spun out everywhere, including all over me. I mean, not a huge surprise, and generally I wear big t-shirts that aren’t damaged by a little mess…but then I remembered, high-resolution photos. I had to change shirts to my cutest/most respectable pajamas (yoga pants and a t-shirt, and a cute apron) and did my makeup, feeling slightly ridiculous. Vain and ridiculous. But there’s already a photo of me mid-pushup being circulated out there, and several that look like they’ve been lifted from an ’80s training montage, so forgive me this little vanity.

The reporter showed up at 9:00  when I was about 75% done with cupcakes and had successfully put together the frosting. He took many, many photos of my house (so glad I took the time to clean!) including my adorable pantry book shelf, and my neurotic fridge with grocery list written in chalk pen, as well as many close ups of me putting together the cake, frosting the cupcakes, putting cupcakes in the oven, etc. As slightly unnerving as it was to try to create newsworthy frosting flowers with a  giant camera poking in at all angles, it was a better experience than the interview during class. Sure, the sparring photos are badass and I hope he got a few great shots of punches landing, no one really needed that attempted-push-up-facial-close-up photo.

The bride requested red velvet with plain white vanilla buttercream, no specifications on the design other than simple. So I made one 8-inch circular layer cake, with a layer of frosting in between. I had to make a triple batch of frosting (3 cups of butter, lost track of how much powdered sugar).

Carefully frost the cake with a crumb coat, and then use a clean spatula to add another thick layer, and smooth it all around. I piped a line around the edge, smoothed it over, then piped little drop-rosettes around the edge and where the cake met the platter. It looked rather elegant if I say so myself.

For the cupcakes, I found a tutorial on how to frost pansies with a rose-petal tip. I tried, I really tried, to make roses, but I just managed indiscriminate blobs of white. The pansies were much easier. With the round edge of the tip facing down at the center of the cupcake, raise your wrist so the tip moves out to the edge of the cupcake and then back, in a horse-shoe motion. It creates one petal. Rotate the cupcake and repeat. Five petals makes a lovely flower, then squeeze a little blob in the middle and cover with sugar pearls.

Cupcake Tower

Cupcake Tower

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