This was the first wedding I’ve ever attempted. When I offered to do the cake and cupcakes for my brother’s wedding I had no idea how much work it would be. But he is my only brother and I do really love his lovely bride. So when he called and said they really wanted me to do their wedding I enthusiastically said, “No problem!”
In January, six months before the wedding, I called my brother and asked for the final wedding guest count. Now originally I think I had been given an estimate of 200 cupcakes, so I was crossing fingers that nothing had changed. “Brenda, we didn’t realize how many friends we have between the two of us.” Yes, yes you both are very loved, now hit me with the number, I muttered crossing fingers. “Well I think we are really going to need 300 cupcakes.” There was a nice long pause over the phone. Finally, my brother led the way, “If you think that’s more than you can handle we can hire it out.”
Now I know my brother didn’t mean to do this, yet his words hit the target. I have a special love for challenges and the words “More than you can handle,”is my cue to jump in with both feet for better or for worse.
These photos make it look like everything was a piece of cake (oh god that’s a terrible joke, I’m sorry). Believe me it wasn’t. Let me do the math for you: 300 cupcakes (half of these needed to be gluten-free for my brother) and one three layer cake. Oh, and the day of the wedding I would need to transport all of these glorious creations from Portland to Salem. Phew.
Months in advance I ran trial batches and settled on two recipes. A basic chocolate cupcake that always turns out perfect, and the only good gluten-free recipe I am currently familiar with. Luckily neither my brother nor sister-in-law are too picky so I was able to choose very simple decorations to save me time. For the vanilla gluten-free cupcakes I settled on a plain lavender frosting. On the chocolate cupcakes, I swirled white butter cream frosting and topped them with a delicate sprig of freshly cut lavender.
The key to baking in mass without a commercial kitchen is really good friends. I picked five trusty friends (bless all of them a thousand times) and delivered bags with the recipe, ingredients and cupcake liners, and the date which they had to be made. On Friday, we all baked in unison in our own tiny kitchens. Once I had my set of 75 cupcakes in the oven I embarked on the frosting. My entire fridge was filled with tubs of homemade butter cream and by the time I finished my hair had turned white from the powdered sugar. Somehow we all did it. Early Saturday morning, my boyfriend, my coworker, and I sat and frosted all 300 cupcakes. Presto. I thought the worst was over.
Let me tell you, the drive from Portland to Salem was the most terrifying hour of my life. Every bump, every turn I was terrified I was going to upset the cupcakes in the backseat. Barely 5 miles out of my driveway a pedestrian decided to cross the street out of nowhere. There was breaking, there may have been swearing, and in the end we lost 20 precious cupcakes to the upset. But still we pressed on. Let’s just say my boyfriend is a very patient man, to drive with me that full hour. Seriously, the man deserves a round of applause.
We made it though. The cupcakes were swiftly placed around a giant cupcake tree, and I very nervously managed to transport the cake to its final resting place at the top.
Everything was beautiful. The wedding had been so carefully planned and the weather showed up with an incredible 80 degrees and bright sunshine. What a day! Congrats to my wonderful brother and new sister-in-law! I’m so glad I could contribute to their special day.