In my circle of friends, I’m known as “cake girl”… Okay, no one actually calls me that- but they might as well. I will find any excuse to make a cake. There’s something about coming up with the flavor combinations and design that I find exciting. And frosting a layered cake is oddly soothing. Still, I was surprised (but also excited and flattered) when my boyfriend’s sister asked me to make her wedding cake.
I said yes almost instantly, of course. And then panic instantly set in. What if it tastes horrible? What if it doesn’t look good? But as far as wedding cakes go, I knew this one would be pretty simple. The bride and groom had already planned on having mini doughnuts served at the reception, so the cake wouldn’t need to feed 150 people (phew!), it was strictly for the tradition of the cake cutting. So, I figured this would be a great way to expand my skills while also providing a nice wedding gift.
For a while, I toyed with whether or not to make the cake gluten free. The bride and groom aren’t gluten free, so they wouldn’t really benefit from that. Ultimately, I made it gluten free for a few reasons… 1) It would be easier to taste test along the way, and 2) I’ve been baking with gluten free flours for a long time now, so I’m more familiar with it.
I did 2 trial runs before the final cake, which I highly recommend to any amateur bakers out there taking on something like this. The bride requested a red velvet cake, and I wanted to make sure the color was spot on. For some reason, whenever I think of red velvet cake, the movie Steel Magnolias instantly comes to mind. Was anyone else out there haunted by the armadillo-shaped red velvet cake in that movie? I didn’t want this cake to be blood red like that. I wanted a nice deep, almost burgundy red. So, for my first trial I went to Whole Foods and picked up a packet of “all natural” food dyes. One entire bottle of food dye later, and… the cake was brown with the tiniest hint of red. Trial runs were created for a reason. Ultimately, I ended up going with good ol’ McCormick brand red food dye.
For the cake, I adapted this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Instead of using the pre-packaged gluten free all purpose flour, I decided to make my own gluten free cake flour mix using:
3 cups white rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
For the icing, I knew I wanted a cream cheese frosting that would be easy to work with, but could also stand up to the Florida humidity. I went with Chelsweet’s cream cheese frosting and it was THE BEST. Seriously. So easy to work and re-work, tasted great, and never wilted.
NOTE: I didn’t make any substitutions for this frosting recipe. The bride and groom have no dietary restrictions and I wasn’t really in the mood to test a dozen different vegan cream cheeses, so I just stuck with the original recipe. However, I don’t think you’d be sacrificing much if you chose to use dairy free creamer in place of the heavy cream, and a good vegan cream cheese!
All in all, I got to practice my skills, the cake turned out great, and I’m really glad I was asked to do this! Have you ever made a friend’s wedding cake? Leave a comment below to share your experience!