And in the case of Mrs. D, my friends’ mom/our neighbor/my second mother, I made two cakes. Because that’s how I show my love. Her family threw her a surprise birthday party, and I volunteered to make the dessert. I decided on two cakes, a chocolate cake (courtesy of Smitten Kitchen) and a white/lemony/raspberry/vanilla cake (from Dorie Greenspan).
The plan was to make the cake layers the evening before the party, and do all the assembly and decorating the following day. The original plan also included a full nights sleep. But sometimes, sleep is not in the cards. Sometimes, at the final moments of mixing your cake batter, you mistakenly put in the wrong amount of the last ingredient. Sometimes, you ruin the entire thing and have to start over.
No one likes a soupy batter. The most frustrating thing about the ordeal was that I had spent the entire day scaling down the recipe and converting measurements from volume to weight.
I double checked all my numbers, I even had a spreadsheet! But I still messed up. It was a low moment.
So I started over, with a late night run to the 24-hour Jewel for more cocoa powder. And luckily I made it through the two cake recipes with no fatalities.
This my friends, is what 2 am looks like.
I woke up to homemade biscuits for breakfast, courtesy of Alex (who, along with her sister, was home from college for her mom’s party, but hiding out at our house).
After breakfast, I made a third layer for the white cake, since the two I made then night before did not rise quite as much as I had hoped. In between each layer was a vanilla lemon buttercream and raspberry preserves. Probably one of the most delicious combinations.
I also made a run to the craft store for cake boards and found myself wanting to buy their entire supply of cake decorating tools. I resisted for the most part, though I did get a turn table, which made decorating so much easier.
When most of the white cake was complete, I leveled off the chocolate cake layers, which had turned out gloriously big and sturdy.
Then the chocolate brandy ganache and raspberry preserves took this cake to a whole new level.
With about an hour left before we had to leave for the party, I still had to do the finishing touches on the white cake, shower, get ready, and clean the kitchen. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that I was using every surface in the room.
After no less than five trips to the grocery store, 16 hours in the kitchen, unspeakable amounts of butter, and an infinite number of dirty dishes, the cakes were finished. And they survived the car ride to the party!
I have never been so proud of something I created. I loved every minute of making these cakes, both the highs and the lows. And the eating of the cakes. That part was good too.