I baked cakes yesterday in the start of my practice run for my wedding cake. I didn't make the full three rounds of batter like I will for the "real" thing, I just made two rounds. This means that I will have three tiers with two layers each. (Above: 9-inch and 12-inch layers.)
Here's what I learned:
- It's not that hard to make a cake batter. (I already knew this.)
- It's not hard to bake the cake off, although I did need to adjust baking time for my oven. (This is why I'm making a practice cake.)
- Prep work takes the most time. (Eggs, butter, and milk take several hours to come to room temperature.)
- Making a cake this large uses more eggs and butter than anything else I've ever made in my life.
- Greasing, flouring, and cutting parchment paper for my pans took as much time as making the batter.
- I need bigger cooling racks. The 6-inch layer ended up cooling in a flat-bottomed colander because I didn't have enough cooling rack space. It still worked.
- Wrapping the cakes in plastic wrap for freezing takes almost as much time as prepping the pans.
The instructions in the book (America's Test Kitchen Baking Book) and the blog I read for help both said that time is the biggest factor. I do like that I can do this in stages, so when the actual time comes, I can be comfortable making the cakes a few weeks in advance. I ended up dragging a chair into the kitchen to sit in front of the oven while I read my book and kept an eye on the cakes. I've never been much of a cake baby-sitter, but this is important. After the first batch came out, I was more comfortable with the baking time and just letting it go on it's own. (With a timer.)
I am very excited to have all these new baking supplies. Where have offset spatulas been all my life? I finally have a pastry bag with different tips for frosting, which I look forward to breaking out. I never felt stressed when making this cake. I think knowing that it could fail and that was okay made it a much better situation for me. We'll see if this feeling continues throughout the process. I do like my start though!
Next weekend, filling and frosting.