Tmonkey and Ayagwa are getting hitched in March!!! But listening to them talk about their big day and planning was way too painful for me. "I will wear jeans, and Tmonkey will wear a Star Trek costume," or "We don't need any proceedings, we can just go with the flow and maybe it will become a poetry reading night," or "Why do I have to wear makeup?!"
I am not a wedding planner, but I know how parties work, and going with their instinct would result in a total disaster, so I intervened and took over important steps, including wedding cake baking, and making a bouquet for the bride.
I've made wedding cakes before, of course not fondant style, but big ass square ones. They told me initially the party will be less than 100. I was like, "Ok, it won't be that hard. I just have to bake big sheet cakes and decorate it". Turned out that they are expecting 150. Also Ayagwa wants a Japanese style strawberry short cake. It's basically genoise cake, very chiffony and light, sandwiching strawberry slices and whipped cream, then coated with whipped cream on top and sides.
I told them "Sure I can make a cake," but what I didn't realize was how much I have to bake. I found a recipe, that uses 4 eggs, 120g sugar, 120g cake flour, 30g melted butter, and thinking I can just multiply this to feed 150 people. Above measurement will make 18cm round cake (about 7 inches round).
By looking at the measurement of the round, it looked pretty small, and we thought it would feed 4 people. This means I have to multiply by 37.5 in order to make a cake big enough to feed 150 people. 4x37.5=150. 150 eggs!!! WTF!! For decoration, it calls for about 2 cups of heavy cream x 37.5 = 19 liters (about 5 GALLONS OF FUCKING HEAVY CREAM!)
I couldn't believe the massive volume of this project, and needed to find out how many can be served with regular recipe. So last night, I made a trial version.
Making genoise is simple, and because of that, it's very difficult. Similar to macarons. It's all about how you mix dry ingredients into a bubbly egg mixture. First you mix eggs and add sugar, mix it until it's thick and about 3 times bigger in volume. Then add flour, mix them WITHOUT losing a lot of air. This is the hard part. And I screwed up by adding the whole flour at once, so it took too many stirring to incorporate everything.
Hence the cake didn't rise well... But this time, all I wanted to experiment was how many slices we can get out of a regular recipe. Luckily, we figured we can get 12-15 slices. So instead of 37.5 multiplying, I can only do 13. I am relieved.
Cake looked ok, but whipped cream is a tough one. It starts running in room temp. I was reading how to make stabilized whipped cream, and bought piping gel at a baking shop. It's gelatin+water+corn syrup. Unfortunately they didn't get completely incorporated and I saw lumps here and there. Because of that, it didn't stay stiff.. On top of that, 2 table spoons of piping gel is basically ton of sweetness because of corn syrup, hence the cream got way too sweet. My friend suggests adding room temperature gelatin water. I will try that next time.
Hey, Chef the City, do you have an alternative idea for this? I don't want to make butter cream since I don't like it, and I really like whipped cream's pure whiteness. Totally perfect for bride and groom (yeah, right).
Genoise was another problem. It was more like a pound cake than spongy cake. I am sure my colleague will have to taste so many cakes until mid-March when I MUST make the MOST PERFECT wedding cake for Tmonkey and Ayagwa.
This is my Lent. I will give up my impatience, and keep trying this recipe until I can make a perfect cake and stiff and stabilized whipped cream.