Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big-Ass Cake

From the looks of it I have been neglecting my blog -- over a week since my last post, the longest I've gone between blog entries in the year and change I have been doing this. *gasp*

Don't let the lack of blog entries fool you though, because I have been baking, I just haven't been blogging. A big part of that is that I have been attempting to develop a cookie recipe and have made at least 6 versions of the cookie, but I haven't succeeded with it yet, which is why I haven't posted anything about it. Soon though... soon.

The other thing I have been messing with is this cake. Chris and I have been talking about making and decorating our own wedding cake for a while now. We figure that with my baking and his decorating/fondant rolling skills -- we can make something just as attractive and probably better tasting than what we would get from a store. We're not completely crazy -- we are planning to do something very basic, but that will still look elegant and nice -- a round layer cake stacked, covered in basic white fondant, the bottom edges covered in ribbon, and topped with flowers that will mimic the bouquets.

We have done similar things before and figure with practice we could make our wedding cake look pretty good, and then, even it looked a little less than perfect it would still taste good and it would be ours. The problem we have run into though, is how big to make it?

We have looked at the charts and looked at our guest list... we have only invited 47 people to the wedding, and we figure maybe 35 will show up. Making a 10-inch round cake and a 6-inch round cake will supposedly feed 40-50 people -- but how big are those pieces? We also have a 14-inch round cake pan and that will feed 50 by itself -- so we figured at least give it a try and we would have enough cake to feed everyone twice over -- which would be better than having just enough cake.

So we made a 14-inch round layer cake that is 4 and 1/2 inches tall to practice and to figure out the feasibility of the whole thing. What did we discover? A 10-inch cake and a 6-inch cake should be enough. :)

Most of the problem is that we just don't have the room to actually decorate the sucker. After baking the cakes and putting the buttercream on them, Chris measured and figured out that he would need a 25-inch circle of fondant to cover it -- and we just don't have the counter space to pull that off. Not to mention that the cake weighs around 10 pounds by itself and we would need another 7 pounds of fondant to cover it. Yeah, just not going to happen in our kitchen with our equipment.

It's actually very good to find this out now, rather than right before the wedding. That's why I insisted on practice runs, even if it means giving away or even throwing away a lot of cake between now and then. So the next step is to actually make the 10-inch and 6 inch cakes and practice covering those with fondant so that when the big day actually does get here (under 5 months at this point) we will know what the pitfalls are and hopefully be experienced enough to make it all look good anyway.

The cake itself for this run was the rum pound cake from the Cake Love book -- but it basically just tastes like a vanilla pound cake. It tastes good, no question about that (and thank god considering just how much cake we have at this point) -- but it doesn't taste much like rum. Although, I will admit I did not use the rum simple syrup on the cake which probably would have added a lot more rum flavor.

14 oz (2 3/4 cup + 1/2 tsp) unbleached flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsps potato starch
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda

8 oz sour cream (1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
20 oz (2 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Mix the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla bean seeds and mix for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least one minute between each addition. Then add the egg yolks and mix for another minute or two until everything is well blended and creamy.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the liquid mixture, until everything is well combined.

Pour the cake batter into the bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

For Soaking Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum

Stir the rum and sugar together then brush it on the cooled cake.


Mira said...

hahaha 10 lbs of cake, 7 lbs of fondant? that's a LOT of cake! i'm glad you don't need the 14" round. :) are you guys going to do the freeze the top layer of cake to eat on your first wedding anniversary thing? i'd guess not because, a) doesn't completely sound your style, b) i'd imagine your fridge/freezer tends to be full enough as is, and c) you only do tend to eat crumbs and batter not full slices...

burkie said...

yep, that's a big-ass cake all right! but really yummy.

Mira said...

that was huge!!! and i saw it after 75% of it was gone!! :) but yummy! thanks for sharing...