Probably the most time-consuming part of making wedding cupcakes is figuring out the logistics. First, there’s figuring out what kinds of cakes you are making and in what quantities. Then there’s figuring out how the cakes are going to look, which is the part I find the hardest – I have a good eye for colour, but my visual imagination is pretty poor, and I find it difficult to picture how everything will look and work together. I have to figure out what sort of cake boards I’m going to use, and how they will be tiered and decorated, and then I have to actually find the things I need to put them together. Sometimes, what I’ve pictured doesn’t exist.
Most importantly, I have to work out what will go on the top two cakes, which have to be spectacular yet transportable. Actually, the question of transport and how much time and space one will have to set up the cupcake tiers is something that feeds back into every aspect of cakey decision-making…
Today’s cake planning is made somewhat trickier by the fact that the bride and groom are far too nice! They are sweet and kind and polite and just delighted that I am making a cake, so they won’t express a negative opinion on anything, ever. I’d quite like a negative opinion or two, because I want to make something that will be beautiful in their eyes as well as in mine, and if there is one thing I’m certain of, it’s that their personal styles are very different from mine – much more elegant and less flamboyant. I’m not sure I know how to do elegant. I’m not even sure I know how to do tasteful…! (Why yes, this is me panicking. It’s OK. I’ve calmed down, now.) I do, at least, know what flavours they like (this being the sort of thing I notice and remember), but colour and style is much harder.
Fortunately, I’ve found a whole collection of beautiful, lacey cupcake wrappers and have managed to snag some in colours ranging from black through deep red all the way to pale pink. On a set of silver boards, I think this will actually look quite classy, and will fit in with what I remember of their furnishings (and, if I’m lucky, the bride’s outfit, since pale pink and black were two possibilities she mentioned). I’m planning to sprinkle my black forest cakes with a few silver stars, and the lemon meringue cakes may get little pink hearts. I noticed this morning that my orange tree is just coming into blossom, which is wonderfully serendipitous – orange blossoms are one of those classic wedding symbols, and if I can crystallise twelve of them to put on the berry and almond cakes, I think that could be rather beautiful. I’ve never done crystallised flowers before, but I have shiny silver sugared almonds as a backup if necessary.
And for the top two cupcakes, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing yet. I’m hoping to make hollow towers of miniature meringue kisses – plain to go on the lemon curd cake and chocolate to go on the black forest one, and pipe lemon curd and kirsch cream, respectively, into their centres. But I have no idea whether this will work. Something to play with tomorrow.
The actual baking and decorating steps are going to be quite easy. I suspect the baking will take me a couple of hours, not counting the meringues, and the decorating will take me another four or five hours, maximum. And then there is the nerve-wracking car ride, in which I cling desperately to my most special cakes, and hope that nothing occurs to make the cakes in the back leap out of their boxes in a suicidal attack on the upholstery…
But for today, my next step is going out to Spotlight in search of ribbons and paper in just the right colours, figuring out how to crystallise flowers, and making the Ultimate Shopping List… and planning dinners for the next few days that are simple enough for me to make even with my head full of wedding cakes.
Wish me luck!