Black Magic Wedding Cake

Posted on 21 August 2013

Black Magic Wedding CakeThree years ago I kicked off this blog by posting Black Magic Cake. Now it’s back as my daughter Claire’s wedding cake.

Claire didn’t exactly ask me to bake the wedding cake. She asked me to take charge of getting enough Black Magic Cake for the wedding. I think she envisioned friends and family dropping off cakes in various pan sizes at a designated table.

And yet, despite my inability to do anything with buttercream frosting other than get it in my hair, I wanted to bake her a real wedding cake. This would be a challenge. I’ve never watched more than five minutes of “Ace of Cakes.”

Claire is smart, and knows that even the Swedish Chef couldn’t screw up this cake. Still, I felt I couldn’t do this alone. Fortunately, my husband/architect/father-of-the-bride Dan happily designed the cake and 3-tier support structure. He helped me every step of the way.

Since I would need to bake the cake at a remote farm in an unfamiliar kitchen, we planned out every detail. I read up, experimented, and practiced over three months. I filled a notebook with test results, master recipes, checklists, conversion tables, production schedules, flow charts, equipment lists, ingredient purchasing assignments, and Dan’s gorgeous cake slicing diagrams.

I cut out wax paper pan liners to speed up preparation. I tried plastic “cake spikes” that keep flowers fresh in a little water. They worked, but they split open a trial cake and cracked the frosting.

I indulged in all kinds of fun toys. I bought 2”-deep pans in multiple sizes, cardboard rounds, a turntable, an offset spatula, a cake stand, decorating tips and bags, and special nails to distribute heat in the large pans. I bought clear vanilla for the frosting, only to return it because I imagined that syrup of ipecac must taste better. I stuck with my whiskey-colored version.

Our fabulous farmhouse hosts gave us full reign of their kitchen for two days. So the cake came out as planned: rich, moist almost to a fault, with perfectly flat layers that needed no leveling. A spray-on coconut oil did the job as a crumb coat. It kept the icing white, pristine, and not at all like my early tries that looked like oreo cookie ice cream.

Both the bride and groom like to knit and crochet, so my sister-in-law Chris made what could be the world’s first knitted cake topper. I could get all mushy and talk about how it symbolizes the knitting together of their lives, souls, and love. But I will avoid such sentimentality.

If you want, I can give you the scaled up recipes and instructions. It’s a lot of fun. Just allow yourself three months or so to practice.

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5 responses to Black Magic Wedding Cake

  • Bobbie says:

    What a beautiful tribute and gift to Claire and her husband! I love all aspects of your description and the product. And even though I’m not generally a cake person, I may have to make this one (the normal scale), so I can complete my admiration by tasting it!

    • Diane Brody says:

      Thank you, Bobbie. I really appreciate your comment. You are great with pies, so I think you’ll find it easy to give this a try. It’s not nearly as temperamental as pie crust.

  • Emily says:

    Diane – a tour de force !! Only you and Dan could create such a masterpiece. All the best !!

  • [...] year, it was my daughter Claire and Gordy’s three-tiered cake with buttercream [...]

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