Things you should know if you agree to help make ten cakes, of eight different kinds, for a dear friend’s wedding:
3. Start ahead. Like, way, way, way ahead. Freeze those cakes. Make that dulce de leche. Have as much done as humanly possible before the madness of the actual wedding hits.
4. One word: Lists.
5. And another word: Sharpies. It turns out cream cheese icing looks like coconut icing looks like mascarpone icing.
6. Simple syrup in a spray bottle. If you’re even remotely worried that your cake will be dry, just spritz the layers with your syrup before frosting. Add a tiny bit of vanilla for flavor. Best. Tip. Ever.
7. You can keep your cake rounds clean by inserting wax paper under the edges of the cake itself before you frost. The paper catches the frosting smudges, then can be removed and thrown away. If you forget wax paper, saran wrap works in a pinch.
9. Let people help you! The bride and another friend baked a large portion of these ahead of time and froze them. I seriously could not have done it without them! Team work, rah!
10 and 11. Always make more frosting than you think you’ll need. Always. And an offset spatula, warmed in a glass of HOT water, smoothes icing like a dream.
12. Bacon Brittle makes eeeeverything better.
Bacon Walnut Brittle
Adapted from the Seattle Times. Makes 2.25 lbs.
The bacon walnut brittle was used as a topping for the maple walnut cake. Because, you know, bacon makes it better.
1/2 lb high-quality raw bacon (about 8 to 10 strips)
2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/2 c water
2 c walnut halves, toasted
1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 t baking soda
- Cook the bacon strips until very crispy and fully cooked through. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and pat off fat
- Chop finely and set aside
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchement paper, grease, and set aside
- In a large, heavy saucepan, over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water, and cook to thread stage, or 230°F on a candy thermometer
- Add the walnuts
- Continue to cook until the mixture hits 301 to 302°F (hard crack)
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, soda and reserved bacon until blended
- Pour the candy onto the prepared pan
- With two forks, pull the peanut brittle out to a large rectangle, spreading the candy to about 1/4″ thick
- Let cool completely, then break the candy into pieces and store in a tightly covered container at room temperature