Are you ready?
Last Sunday N drove very very carefully from North London to Cambridge, with three very fragile, moist and decadent chocolate wedding cakes nestled in the boot and backseat of the car. I winced at every slight acceleration, every tiny curve in the road, and at every traffic light that flipped to red at the last moment (it was a lot people, the traffic light gods were not on our side). But we made it, without incident, and after the slight panic over cake stands, and only one minor disaster, the cake was be-decked in ribbon and flowers and standing proudly ready to go.
And here it is:
Many apologies for the not-great photos. I'd had a few classes of champagne by this point, to quell my nerves, and drink to perhaps the most perfect couple I know tying the knot. (I managed not to blub during the ceremony, but it was a close call!)
The florist is the one who did the great job with the flowers, so I can't take credit for that, but the cake and ribbon is all me, and I have to say I was a little bit proud. There are two moments that stand out for me. The first was when people started walking into the hall and taking pictures of the cake. I never thought that something I made would warrant other people taking photos. I mean, yes, I take pictures of the things I make all the time, but to see other people doing it during ooh's and aaah's really made my heart swell a little. It made me ponder how perhaps I could do this sort of thing after all.
The other moment that really got me was when the bride, my amazing friend D, cut the cake and then leaned in, put her nose milimetres away from it and took in a huge satisfied nose of chocolate fumes and grinned. It was at this point that I knew it would all be alright. She was happy with it, and that's all I wanted. I stressed during the whole thing that it wouldn't be perfect enough for their big day, and I didn't want to let them down. I got that big sigh and grin from her and knew I'd done okay. I relaxed, and took a large satisfied gulp of wine. Everything was okay.
I'm so pleased I did it. It was worth all the stress and worry just to see D eagerly scoffing a piece of chocolate cake in her beautiful dress with a massive grin on her face. She'd been so relaxed about the whole thing (seriously, I've never heard of a bride who says things like "as long as we've got a cake made by you that tastes good we don't care what it looks like" and actually means it!), and I think that's the only thing that made it possible. I'm not the world's greatest cake decorator, in fact I'm not that great at all, and know I could never actually make wedding cakes professionally, but to do something to make a friend happy is something that makes me happy, and I'd do it all over again for her.
I'd crack, separate and whip 14 egg whites to make four batches of icing, I'd chop over a kilogram of chocolate and melt it, I'd cover myself, the flat and every available surface with batter, strawberries, cocoa, and swiss meringue buttercream, I'd discover splatters of jam on parts of my arms days later despite showers, I'd blue-tak cake bases into boxes so they don't move in transit, I'd even tie 112 bows of ribbon (more on that in another post). I'd do it all because that smile of genuine pleasure on a friend's face is the best reward I could ever have.
Thank you D and A for trusting me with your cake. (and thank you N for putting up with a flat full of chocolatey mess, and an exhuasted stressed little me, and still being good enough to drive me to the wedding after having been at another wedding the night before - seriously, how much is this guy amazing?!)
p.s. - I'll post more about the process in a couple of days. I know it's Thursday, but believe me I'm still recovering from the carnage!