Wedding Cakes & Wedding Bells

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned.

Looks can be deceiving....

Looks can be deceiving….

Over the weekend my daughter and I travelled to Montgomery, Alabama where MacKenzie was to be the maid-of-honor in the wedding of one other closest friends & I was to do the wedding cake.  With my four tiers of wedding cake baked and prepped for travel Mackenzie and I set off for a five-hour trip that took nearly ten hours to make due to a serious traffic accident!

Loaded and ready for travel.  Yes, this is going to be a wedding cake!

Loaded and ready for travel. Yes, this is going to be a wedding cake!

Ever made buttercream icing in a hotel room?  Me either, but I love the kitchen at Montgomery's Homewood Suites as it made a great place to do last minute prep!

Ever made buttercream icing in a hotel room? Me neither, but I love the kitchen at Montgomery’s Homewood Suites as it made a great place to do last-minute prep!

The bride had a great vision for her cake, but since she couldn’t arrange everything she wanted on her end, I altered the original vision and gave her a wedding cake that seemed to make her quite happy on her special day.

Iced coffee to fight the heat and I'm ready to work!

Iced coffee to fight the heat and I’m ready to work!

This cake was a little different for me to decorate (not in a bad way) as it was a combination of elements; fondant, buttercream and fresh flowers and greenery.  It made quite a lovely combination without a doubt.

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When it came time to assemble it all, is when it became a real challenge as the wedding was held in an old cotton warehouse (The Eclectic Warehouse in Eclectic, Alabama).

via Eclectic Warehouse facebook page

via Eclectic Warehouse Facebook page

The temperature inside was 91 degrees which did not work well for buttercream icing and the table was a wee bit bowed in the center which made my precisely leveled cake look a little off!

It's MELTING!!

It’s MELTING!!

But finally with a little help from trays of ice and a large fan, I was able to finish the cake.

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At last ready for viewing….

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The icing was still a little droopy, but there is only so much you can do when it is over 90 degrees… and my cake isn’t leaning, the table was bowed!

I thought the combination of elements was really pretty.

I thought the combination of elements was really pretty.

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The bride seemed genuinely happy which was of course my only goal.

The wedding was sweet.

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The bride and groom enjoyed their day.

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MacKenzie enjoyed standing by her best friend.

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She looked stunning while doing so.

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And it’ll be a long, long, long time before I use buttercream icing for an outdoor wedding when it is over 90 degrees!

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Pizza, Bowling & Cake!

I think one of the hardest things a mom has to do is watch her babies grow up!  When they are small you can still snuggle and cuddle with them as they tell you they love you forever, dress them up, play tea party, and hold their little hands when you go out with them
Then they turn into teenagers.  
Tea parties became make-up parties, they don’t want your opinion in dressing up, and the only hand they want to hold is the boy in school who seems to have her heart as well.
So when one of those babies asks for us to celebrate her 14th birthday at Chuck E Cheese pizzeria, I’m going to do it no matter how much I despise that place!

And, of course we had a wonderful time!It was capped off by my parents who drove five hours (one way) just for this little party, knowing that they had to return home the same day so my daddy could preach on Sunday morning!

 

Not only did we play at Chuck E. Cheese for two hours we also went bowling, making this birthday celebration an all day affair!
The girls brought the boyfriends….. thankfully my son isn’t into girls yet; at least the ones his age (college girls on the beach are an entirely different story!) !
With six strikes I had a great night bowling!!
MINE!
But in the midst of all the birthday fun and laughs was was a cake.
Madeline asked for a green cake.
Only my child.
We looked at several pictures on Pinterest for inspiration before she decided on one that combined two decorating elements:  rosette swirls and ruffles.
via Pinterest
via Pinterest
Now I had done swirls before, but ruffles was a whole new game for me.
I have a long way to go.
But I tried to give her what she wanted.
First I baked the cake using my favorite white velvet cake recipe.
Each of the four layers was a different shade of green; the popular ombre style.
I only used two recipes of the white velvet cake …. each 8-in cake pan held 2 cups of cake batter that I had tinted green in separated bowls.
I used Wilton paste in Leaf Green for the color, adjusting the amount and even adding a bit of white to achieve the colors I wanted.
After baking the layers and letting them cool, I leveled, stacked with basic buttercream icing between each layer, and then lightly (or dirty) iced the cake to keep my crumbs contained and give myself a base to work with.
And then I started playing with the icing.  I used the same Wilton Leaf Green paste for tinting my buttercream.  I made three recipes of the icing to make sure that I had enough.
I did the ruffles first and discovered that my icing was not stiff enough to stand, so they don’t look very good.
That means practice because I am a perfectionist and won’t be happy until I can do this technique correctly.
The rosette swirls made the top of the cake.
The main thing was that Madeline loved her cake and it was green!
I used taller candles to add a little elegance to the cake.
OMBRE!
I forgot a decent knife to cut the cake with, so we had to settle for a plastic one at Chuck E. Cheese.
Madeline’s birthday was a truly special day …..
It was a day for counting our blessings for sure:  you just can’t be anymore blessed than having a happy, heathy family who truly enjoys being together and grandparents who go out of their way to make sure they are a part of it all.
God has been so good to us!
It’s birthday season for our family, so now to plan Bradley’s 13th celebration for March!
Lot’s of fun!

The Wedding

Our daughter is now a wife.
It seems so surreal.  It seems just like yesterday that I fell in love with this adorable little girl at church and soon thereafter met her father, fell head over heels in love and married him!
Audley & Samantha
Seventeen and half years after Audley and I walked down the aisle, he walked his daughter down the exact same aisle where she and the love of her life were married by the same man who married Audley & I …. my father.
I cried.
So did Audley.
Samantha was beautiful.  There is no denying it.
Of course as her mom I have the right to say this.
It was a sentimental day.
Samantha wore my pearl earrings, a gift from Audley to me on our wedding day.
Her ring bearer’s pillow was made by my mother using fabric from two shirts, one belonging to her great-grandfather and the other to her great-grandmother, both who passed in the last year.
And I made her cake.
And the peppermint bark.
And the cheese wafers, chicken salad, peanut butter cups, cheese platter, pimento cheese, and the champagne punch.
(Samantha picked her menu…. she likes cheese)
The ceremony was beautiful.
It was really sweet.
But the most precious part of my day was adding another son to our family.
I couldn’t be a more proud, happy and very tired mother.
 
Happy Monday Y’all!

Dinner for 250

Over the weekend I actually catered a meal for 250 people.   I kind of feel like “Elle Woods” in  Legally Blonde at the end when she squeals “We did it!”
I have alluded to this huge catering project several times over the last several weeks in various posts. This was a really big deal to me, but a challenge I took on.  Two days after it has ended, I can sit back, smile and sigh with relief that it all went well and I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else in the process of getting it together.
  This little project was for the church where we worship;  an event that was referred to as “Celebration Sunday”, where we were celebrating and praising the commitment of our congregation financially to take on a new building project due to start in January.
  I was given preplanned menu suggestions (ones that didn’t involve a meat, two veggies, and dessert) with the budget to work from and set out from that point to make it all happen.
On the Menu?
Baked potato bar w/ white & sweet potatoes
toppings included sour cream, butter, chives, bacon bits, cheese, jalapeños, cinnamon sugar and brown sugar
Salad
Chili
Chicken Noodle Soup
A lot of cupcakes
Tea, Lemonade, water, and Coffee
 
Thankfully I didn’t have to fix up decorative buffet tables (we served everything from chaffing pans on simple white tablecloths), and I was so busy on Sunday that I couldn’t hardly think about taking pictures, but here is just a glimpse of how it came together via my Instagram pictures.

 

After doing all of my prep work (chopping, dicing, organizing, etc…) at home, I actually cooked my soups at the church building where I had more room to work.
And two stoves to speed the process.

 

Homemade chicken noodle soup & chili simmering away
Baked Potatoes wrapped and ready to cook
Fresh salad just “makes” a meal

 

I had cupcakes ALL over my kitchen!  I made chocolate and vanilla flavored cake, then iced the with traditional buttercream, chocolate and strawberry icings.

 

cinnamon-sugar shaker and brown sugar for sweet potatoes 
I seriously could not have pulled this off with out my husband.  From helping keep the kids and house in order over the weekend to helping me run errands and chopping almost all of the onion, Audley totally kept me sane.

He even stressed for me which kept me cool and collected.

Oh yeah, he wrapped ALL of the potatoes for me as well while my daughters washed them!

I also had two wonderful friends who helped with all of the serving and clean up.  They were total lifesavers on Sunday.
Chocolate cupcakes w/ buttercream & strawberry icing

 

I did display all the cupcakes …. I didn’t want to serve them out of the mismatched assortment of carriers I used to transport them.

 

Vanilla cupcakes w/ strawberry icing and chocolate cupcakes w/ chocolate buttercream
And more chocolate cupcakes
There wasn’t a single cupcake left.
I had plenty of food prepared for everyone and actually overcooked enough that we sent leftovers to a local soup kitchen.
My hobby has been keeping me occupied the last couple of months.  I enjoy doing this a lot, but I did learn that I prefer the smaller numbers because it does take more than one to make it all happen.  Since I am also doing our daughter’s wedding reception in 12 days, I guess I need to embrace the larger number for now!
We are getting holiday ready here, and I hope you are too!  I have so many things to share in the next couple of weeks so stop on in!