Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Wedding Cake Tale

Our good friend and golfing buddy Ruth, a retired single grandmother, is a perfectionist. Her only current source of earned income derives from the sale of wedding cakes.

And what cakes they are! She'll make you one from her picture book of previous masterpieces, or she design one to your specifications. Once it's set up and ready for the reception, it's gorgeous.

Today she asked us to help her unload and set in place a huge cake arrangement that she didn’t think she could handle by herself. It takes an 8 foot long table to hold this arrangement. And that doesn’t include the groom’s cake.

Te entire cake was Italian cream, with glistening white icing. Around the various layers and tiers were icing hearts, swirls, and trim. The largest portion consisted of three five-inch-tall tiers. The bottom tier was 18 inches across, the middle one 12 inches, and the top 6 inches. This combination alone weighed 36 pounds. It was placed on a clear plastic stand with four legs that held the bottom layer a foot above the covered table.

To its left was a two-tier portion placed on an eight inch stand. Next to the left came a single layer, eight inches in diameter on a four inch stand. Last was a single layer six inches in diameter placed on a flat support directly on the table.

Between each portion was a clear plastic “stairway” that looked like glass, climbing from cake to cake, from the lowest level to the highest. Underneath the plastic stands of the raised portions, fresh flowers were to be placed.

But first, arranged in festoons over parts of each gleaming white cake portion were attached (with toothpicks) large, ripe strawberries. Some were plain (crimson), some dipped in dark chocolate, some covered in dark chocolate with white chocolate “drizzles” on them, some dipped in white chocolate, and some covered in white chocolate with dark chocolate “drizzles.”

If your mouth isn’t watering at that description, you aren’t picturing what we saw.

Then there was the groom’s cake. German chocolate, designed to look like two horse shoes touching each other. This was also to be decorated with fresh flowers. Why horse shoes? Well, this was a country wedding held at the “Raisin L” Ranch in Raisin, Texas. The groom is a cowboy, and the bride’s parents own a local feed store. It all begins to make sense now, right?

After the cake portions were all in place, the florist arrived and wanted to lift each portion to put the flowers underneath. Ruth intervened and explained that if any movement occurred the stairways between the cakes would fall and the strawberries would come off, ruining everything. The florist frumped a bit but managed to get her flowers under the sections without destroying the arrangement.

Then the table began to sag! We hadn’t checked under the white cover beforehand, but it was a plastic table with folding legs. The weight of the cakes, stands and strawberries was just too much for it. Frantic action on the part of the people making last-minute preparations (including the groom’s father) managed to hold the table and prop a support under it before disaster struck.

Ruth took her pictures, proving it was beautiful and perfect, and then beat a hasty retreat. Her responsibility was over, she was paid, and if it later was bumped and fell over it would just end up being one of those tales the bride and groom would relate to people for decades, “You should have seen what happened to our wedding cake...”

Ruth’s camera is not digital so I can’t show you the cake now, but after the film is developed I’ll scan one and let you see what a beauty this was.

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