Welp. Here it is. Here is the culmination of 547 days worth of constant caking. When I say constant, I mean throughout the course of an entire year and a half of my life, at some point of each and every day, I was forced to think about caking and baking and blogging. I frequented condescendland (cake supply store near my office) so often, and spent so much money, that one might assume that I was friends with the owners. And when I say “one might assume that I was,” I mean “I dreamt about but ultimately failed at becoming.” Granted, I did sit down in an aisle once and bend one of their cookie cutters to a shape I liked better. But they were being dicks.
Was it worth it? The time, the effort, the money spent? So much has happened since I started this thing. I turned 23, then I turned 24. I moved into New York City, a relationship ended, I had my appendix out, I moved to Brooklyn, I got evicted, I met Radiohead Bassist Colin Greenwood, I went to Ikea three times, my brother had a daughter, I started improv classes at UCB, I cooked an old modem in the oven by accident. These items are not in sequential order.
The point is – I’d have to say that yes, this ridiculous project was worth it. Each cake is symbolic of a very specific memory, which is neat. Someday long into the future, when my grandkids ask me what life was like in my twenties, back in what was formerly “New York City,” I’ll send them a PDF of the So Many Cakes archives via eyeball transfer, ditch ‘em, and pop over to the moon to have moon tea with my moon friends. In an ideal future, I will never need to verbally communicate with my grandkids. Also moon colonization.
But let’s get back to talking about this cake. It’s a wedding cake. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, and here it is. This was a cake made for a wedding, and it was treated as such. As a wedding cake. For a wedding. People took pictures of this cake and put them in albums. People ate this cake as toasts were given. I still can’t wrap my brain around this. The other thing I can’t wrap my brain around is the fact that the final result was not only passable – it’s like the best thing I’ve ever seen.
But what you don’t know is that this cake – this whole cake blog, in fact – has been a byproduct of a larger plan. A plan I’ve had since before So Many Cakes was even a twinkle in my eye. A plan driven by a goal I’ve had since I was a tiny child: to one day successfully crash a wedding.
This particular wedding brought together friend Farry’s brother (Manouch) and his fiance (Sean) in holy matrimony. I would not be receiving an invitation, because, well, I’d never met Manouch or Sean. My only connection is Farry, and lord knows she wouldn’t be making me her +1. But this plan had been set in motion before Manouch and Sean were even engaged. In the summer of 2010, when Farry casually mentioned that her brother was getting serious with his girlfriend of a couple years, an intricate plan began to piece itself together, whether I wanted it to or not.
The first step in my master plan was to start this blog that we all know and love. I needed to develop a skill set in something – anything – in order for this plan to get off the ground. Cake decorating? Sure. Whatever.
Next I had to make sure that the engagement became real, as opposed to a casual speculation. So I hid in the bushes and presented Manouch with a ring. “Alright,” he said, “free ring!” Already, this plan was breaking my bank. But phase two was complete.
Step three was probably the easiest. All I had to do was drop hints and shove my cake blog in Farry’s face on a regular basis. She eventually asked me to make her brother’s wedding cake. And it just so happened that the date of the wedding corresponded with the finale of my cake blog how fortunate.
As a precaution, I injected a childhood friend, Brad, into the wedding party. He was Manouch’s best man, and he was an integral part in making sure that all cogs in the plan aligned perfectly. Whether it be arranging for lax security at the reception, talking me up to anyone who would listen, or distracting suspicious guests. He had it covered. He was my man on the inside.
This next part was the most difficult. In order to pull this off, I’d need to be semi-decent at my chosen skill set. So over the next twelve months, I caked, I blogged, I counted down the days to the big event.
My final precaution fell into my lap as friend Colin (Farry’s +1) mentioned in passing that he was thinking about making a Princess Beatrice Hat to wear to the reception. Princess Beatrice wore that god-awful thing at the royal wedding, and half of Farry’s family is British, so it all makes sense. I promptly sped over to a craft store and bought all the materials needed to replicate the hat. That way, if the cake was a total disaster, I could fall back and say “Remember that hilarious hat? I made that!” and people would forgive me and hug me and apologize for accusing me of crashing and fetch me drinks from the open bar.
In reality, friend Brittany made the hat. I was so busy making the cake that when she saw me frantically stretching felt over a styrofoam doughnut, she took pity on me and grabbed the glue gun.
It came out great, didn’t it?
Next up: cake construction. Now here’s the painful part. Seventy-five gum paste roses, friends. Each rose had at least six petals, and each petal was individually manipulated with a ball tool on a slab of soft foam. Each petal was strategically placed around a gum paste bud. Each petal contained a single tear from my eyeball. It took forever. But as I got more comfortable with the technique and more restless with the time commitment, I achieved this sort of effortless sloppy feel, and it worked. I imagine that these gum paste roses are akin to the Jonas Brothers spending hours making their hair look like they had just rolled out of bed.
It should definitely be noted here that much like Brittany and her hat rescue, friend Katie also came over and essentially baked the whole three-tiered cake. Once again I outsmart my tendency to underestimate how long things take to finish by having phenomenal friends.
After two long days of cake prep and a quick half hour of setup at the venue (accompanied by my father, who provided all sorts of help by cutting my cake boards to size, building the cakestand, assisting in the stacking and driving me to the venue – man. I had a lot of help.), I got a breakfast sandwich, went home, and napped. I skipped out on the ceremony part, because who wants to see that. Colin took pictures, that’s good enough.
Gametime. I washed the drool off my face and made myself presentable. This is not something that I do very often, but in order to blend, I needed to at least look like I knew what “presentable” meant.
This was the pivotal moment. A year of my life, gone. And what did I have to show for it? I could not fuck this up. So I did the only thing that made sense. I snuck onto the dance floor during “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” notoriously the most vulnerable moment in a wedding reception, security-wise.
Well guess what, boners – I did it. Went off without a single hitch. There was much dancing, much drinking, and much hat-wearing. See for yourself.
Now I’ve confirmed that this was not, in fact, a gay wedding between two men named Manouch and Sean, and you’re a little disappointed about it, aren’t you?
Some other pro tips I picked up along the way:
If the bride gives you a weird “why are you here” look, say that you’re there for cake maintenance, and that you’re not charging them for it.
If invited guests give you a weird “why are you here” look, meet their gaze twice as hard. You don’t owe them shit.
Take advantage of the open bar. Nothing compliments forty straight hours of gum paste rose-making like unlimited free alcohol.
Exhaust every dance move you’ve ever heard of. Then make some up, and give the “oh brother” face when others can’t follow. People will assume that you’re hired talent.
So, yeah. I pulled this one off. I really couldn’t have done it without my friends and family who came by and witnessed my slow descent into insanity as I made rose after rose after rose, and who, without question, jumped into action and assisted me. “Why are you mumbling at the gum paste, Kristin?” they’d ask. “Flermp,” I’d respond.
I don’t even know how to wrap this thing up. It’s been such a big part of my life for what seems like a very long time. So I guess I won’t. Wrap it up, I mean. I’m going to just keep posting shit here, if that’s alright. OKAYBYE