The cake even kept so well in my parents' freezer that after a year, I was still in love with it. Yeah, most people HATE their year-old wedding cake, but I was begging for more. Obviously, I need to figure out how to make it.
The cake: champagne cake with strawberry mousse filling (and buttercream icing). Here's a picture of it after a year of freezing and then thawing.
|It was actually even better the next day--it somehow got fluffier.|
The night before our anniversary, I made the frosting from my Wilton books, so that was easy. Then I decided to tackle the mousse. The mousse recipe had a few jobs in it that I'd never done before. The first was whipping heavy cream. I have a handheld electric mixer (no room in this tiny kitchen for a fancy stand one), and whipped the cream like a pro. I was feeling pretty confident at this point.
Then I had to separate eggs and whip the whites. I didn't do any research on this, and the recipe was just very bare-bones about it. I've never separated eggs before, but I do have a tool for that. It fit nicely over a cup, so I just kept adding them to the cup. The yolk broke on the fourth one (out of six), so I now learned why this method is a bad idea. (Pro tip: dump each egg white into the bowl right after you separate it.) I couldn't get all of the yolk out, so I just moved on. Once I got my 6, I tried to use my whisk attachment for the mixer to whip them. Twenty minutes later, I still didn't have stiff peaks. I've sorta watched my mom make meringue before, so I knew something was wrong. But it was past bedtime at this point, so I said screw it. And so I mixed my soft-peaked egg whites into the rest of it.
|That's a 5-quart bowl, about 4/5 full of runny mousse.|
|The next day, when I tried to put it between my cake layers. Major FAIL.|
The good news is that the next day, when I actually made the cake layers, the recipe called for another six egg whites whipped to stiff peaks again. I was definitely not gonna screw this up a second time! I turned to YouTube and found an informative video about doing it by hand. I decided that was the way to go. Of course, I had already done a full workout that morning, including dumbbell activities, but I didn't let that stop me. Boy, was it another workout! I had to take a few breaks. But in less than 5 minutes, I had my stiff peaks!
Then I had to open a champagne bottle for the first time by myself. There were directions on the bottle that made me think this thing just might go everywhere, even though it was a screw-top Wal-Mart variety champagne. The sink was full of cake stuff, plus I'd rather not have to clean the floor if it came to it. After giving it a bit of thought, I decided to do it outside on the patio. That was a good call, since it ran all down the bottle. We'll call that a success.
All in all, the cake did NOT turn out anything like our wedding cake (which is also why I refuse to link to the recipe here). The cake was way more dense--almost like a pound cake. And the mousse obviously didn't pan out, but the taste wasn't even that great. I shouldn't be eating raw egg whites anyway, so maybe that's a good thing?
At least those Wilton classes I took last year paid off!
|The decorating was the best part.|
The list of firsts I experienced with this cake:
- First time whipping cream to stiff peaks (success!)
- First (and second) time separating eggs
- First and second time whipping egg whites (failure and success)
- First time opening a bottle of champagne (it was a screw top, but still)
- First time baking a cake without using a box of cake mix