Let them Eat Cake

To say it's been a busy few weeks would not even come close to describing the mania of my life. Between moving, trying to do as much baking as possible, traveling for the 4th of July and my moms birthday, work being beyond crazy...I've barely had time to sleep (not joking) let alone anything else.

Amidst all of the craziness though, some amazing cakes have gone out my doors and what better way to kick off thursday than to share them?!

First, there was my grandparents anniversary cake. A few weeks ago my grandparents celebrated 65 years of marriage. 65!!! We threw them a surprise party despite repeated protestation and in spite of the dragging feet...everyone had a blast. When we first started planning for the party, I knew I wanted to make a stand out cake. Something elegant but 'wow' that would also feed about 40 people. I began browsing Pinterest, my go to for inspiration, and my gosh did I find it. I took a few recipes and a few inspiration pieces from several sources and finally settled on a four-tier vanilla cake with white chocolate buttercream. Wait for it...with an Ombre' design and roses from top to bottom.

When I first showed my mom pictures of what I wanted to do, she was supportive but skeptical. I think she thought it would be tough and that if it didn't come out the way I wanted it to, I'd be upset (she knows me too well- I'm a baking perfectionist even if it means re-baking something several times, more on that in a bit). Despite some hesitation, I started on the cake a few days in advance with plans of freezing the layers until the day before the party at which point I'd frost and decorate it.

Armed with cake flour, sugar, a sifter and more butter than i'll admit we were ready to bake (my mom helped!!). In my constant pursuit of the perfect vanilla cake, I wanted to try a new recipe, one I'd found in my many hours of baking research. My mom discouraged me- telling me I should just use her simple, tried and true vanilla cake recipe (which I find too dense) but I refused. So,  we followed the new recipe to a T, meticulously colored each of the four layers a varying shade of purple, and popped them in the oven. Since we only have two 8" cake rounds we had to do the pan preparation and baking in two batches- two pans at a time. When the first two layers came out- something didn't look right. The cakes had fallen in the middle. We let them cool and tried baking the second batch- paying close attention to cooking time. Again, the same thing happened. Being the perfectionist that I am, I promptly threw away all four layers (after tasting them and being truly repulsed), blaming the failure on the new recipe, and told my mom the next time, we would use her recipe. The next morning we did the whole thing again, but this time with my mom's recipe, and whaddya know- the same thing happened. A few raised voices, and a google search later we discovered our baking powder was expired (who knew?!) and yep...had to start over. So, on the third attempt, we tried my new recipe again and voila, it worked. That was easy.

Fast forward the making of a few batches of white chocolate buttercream (heaven), stacking and filling the layers with raspberry jam, tinting three separate bowls of buttercream three unique shades of purple, crumb coating the cake and frosting it...we had a winner. A big time winner. Hands down the most beautiful, most perfectly executed cake I've ever made. To say it was easy would be lying, but the feeling of accomplishment and the amount of fun I had making it- couldn't be replaced.

The masterpiece

Cutting it open!

A full piece!
My family at the party with the cake!

Next there was an Independence day cake. Only a few short weeks after the anniversary cake, my mind started turning on what to make to celebrate the 4th of July. My parents hosted a block party at our house and I was in charge of dessert. I knew I wanted to make something festive for the holiday but also something lite since we'd be sitting outside. I opted for a three layer white fluffy vanilla cake from my baking idol, Sweetapolita, filled and frosted with a self-created whipped vanilla frosting (it's super airy & perfect for summer) with berries between each layer and around the borders. 

The cake went off without a hitch. It was easy to make, easy to tint, easy to layer and the frosting went on like a dream. Amazingly smooth and creamy, and perfectly white, something I often struggle with when working with butter-based frostings. The neighbors absolutely loved it and I'm happy to report that when I returned home a few days later...there was none left! These have definitely moved up the ranks on my list of go-to's.

Whipped vanilla frosting with a blueberry ring along the top and a raspberry-blackberry border.

The amazing red, white & blue layers came to life with the white frosting

So, that's what I've been up to for the last few weeks, in the baking world at least. Stay tuned for a fabulous cake currently in the works for my PIC's birthday and my first PAYING cake gig which I'm making for my roommates' boyfriends' company potluck. Exciting things are happening here! My life may be hectic and I may make cakes at 2 in the morning but baking is what I was born to do, and it feels really nice to know that.

Have a great weekend everyone- I'm off to fire island tomorrow for a few days of beach, sand, sun and relaxation...hello Summer!