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Baking Wedding Cakes – the tasting

cake

When some friends of mine got engaged last year, I offered to make them cakes for their wedding assuring them that they would taste good, but probably not look perfect. Last Sunday we had a tasting! Luckily, we also had people over to watch the Seahawks game afterwards, so they were able to make a dent in the leftovers.

They had given me some ideas for cakes, fillings and frosting that they wanted to taste, so I whipped some of them up and our friend Michele helped me!

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Cake #1 was a pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon buttercream filling and cream cheese frosting. It was (almost) everyone’s favorite option. The Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake was taken from Bon Appetit and turned out really well. I used the same Cream Cheese Frosting from Smitten Kitchen that I used for Shannon’s birthday. In this case I left out the peanut butter and added an extra tablespoon of butter to compensate.

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The other cakes we tried were the wedding cakes Smitten Kitchen made a few years ago: Vanilla and Chocolate Layer Cakes. The frosting was a Swiss Buttercream Frosting.

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We then tried different combinations of fillings with the chocolate and vanilla cakes. We made a raspberry buttercream, cinnamon buttercream, german chocolate (pecan/coconut) filling, and a whipped chocolate ganache.

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The German Chocolate Filling is from David Lebovitz and was phenomenal. Later that week when I brought the leftovers into work, one of my coworkers offered to eat it with a spoon. We didn’t end of choosing it for the wedding, but I definitely want to make an entire German Chocolate Cake in the future.

The winner for cake #2 ended up being the Vanilla Layer Cake with raspberry buttercream filling. The raspberry buttercream came from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I took the Neoclassic Buttercream recipe from her cookbook and added some Raspberry sauce to it. I think Rose recommends 1/4 – 1/2 cup sauce to the whole recipe. Since I was just doing this for the tasting I only had a few cups of the frosting and added the sauce tablespoon by tablespoon until it had the right flavor.

Raspberry Sauce
Take one bag of frozen raspberries and cooked them on a stove top until they started to break down. Strain the mixture into a bowl and return the juice to the stove top and allow it took cook down a bit.

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Cake #3 ended up being the chocolate layer cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache. The recipe came from Faith Durand on the Kitchn and ended up being really delicious. By itself it’s a little bit bitter, but balances out the sweetness of the chocolate cake and the frosting.

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The other filling we tried was the cinnamon buttercream we chose for the pumpkin layer cake. I used the same Neoclassic Buttercream as the raspberry sauce and added cinnamon until it had enough cinnamon flavor (probably 1 T. or so). When I figure out the right proportion we’re using for the wedding, I’ll update that here.

We ended up choosing three main combinations: Pumpkin Spice with Cinnamon Buttercream filling and Cream Cheese frosting, Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache and Swiss Buttercream frosting, Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Buttercream filling and Swiss Buttercream frosting.

I’ll update more later when I figure out the exact numbers of cakes being made and the presentation! But for now we at least have the flavors!

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