Is it just me, or are people hooking up for a walk down the aisle all over the place?
This summer has been a furry of engagement parties and wedding showers as an astonishing seven couples in our circle of friends are planning to get hitched in the near future (with another two couples in negotiations-rumor has it). To say that love is in the air almost doesn't cut it- we're thinking by now that there must be something in the water.
Anyway, we are very excited for all our friends (Danny and I are the first to heartily recommend marriage) and I was thrilled to be asked to decorate a cake for a wedding shower I attended last weekend for the lovely Christina--as if I need an excuse to play with sugar.
I had had the idea for a design of a dress where the skirt was sugared rose petals, but as any baker knows, having an idea and executing an idea are two very different things. While I found the sugaring of the petals to be excruciatingly long and tedious, I was happy with the results--and so was the bride, which is most important, after all.
I used a vanilla butter cream to ice the whole cake. I sugared rose petals for the skirt of the dress and piped in the bodice with a pastry bag and tip. Pink geraniums were sugared as well and decorated three corners of the cake.
During the process of decorating this cake, I found out that I still despise working with a pastry bag, and that attempting to get the icing really smooth still drives me nuts!However, if I must work with frosting, this recipe is without a doubt my favorite. Plenty of butter gives it a fluffy texture and a vanilla bean adds decadent taste and pretty specks throughout.
Adapted from Martha Stewart:
Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Continue beating until the mixture if fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to have separated after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again.) With the tip of a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla pod and add to icing. Beat on low speed to eliminate any air bubbles. Stir until smooth.
Frosting is now ready to use or it may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Before using, bring to room temperature.