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Friday Favorites: Cake, Hazelnut and Wedding Memories

Homemade Wedding Cake

“Friday Favorites” features my favorite great ideas/recipes/etc., from across the giant world wide webs.

A week from Sunday, the Guy and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary! I truly cannot believe it’s already been almost a year. Our whole day was very simple and very special. We kept the celebration small, with only immediate family members and a handful of our closest friends. Even then, since we have lots of siblings with lots of kiddos of their own, there were still around 30 people there.

Keeping the guest list short was key to keeping the day simple. And that was critical to us, since we wanted to make sure everything was stress free and focused on what was important–starting our new life together. At the same time, we really wanted to celebrate with as many friends and family as possible, so we came up with a compromise, and hosted a reception celebration six months later.

We had an informal luncheon for our attendees after the ceremony, and most of the food was made by myself or family. In keeping with that feel, much of the food at our later reception was made by friends who volunteered their services, and I decided to tackle the formidable–our cake.

I know how to bake a delicious cake, but I’ve never been great at decorating, so I turned to the Internet for help, and found this great tutorial on frosting a layered cake from Whisk Kid. If you’re like me and are crazy enough to make your own wedding cake, this tutorial is a great place to start.

Instead of attempting a tiered cake, I bought a cake stand with three layers, and made two layered cakes, with cupcakes adorning the top layer of the stand. I also kept my decorations simple–no fancy frosting techniques–by using a stencil along with colored sugar and chocolate shavings to create a sunflower design (in keeping with our wedding theme). A pretty ribbon around the bottom made it almost look professional.

Homemade Wedding Cake
The two cakes I made for our wedding reception–one chocolate and one butter pecan. Both had hazelnut espresso frosting.

One of the cakes and all of the cupcakes were chocolate, and made from scratch using Hershey’s classic “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake recipe. It’s hands-down the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, and it is well named–it comes out perfectly every time I make it. The second cake was made from a mix–Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Butter Pecan flavor. I usually prefer scratch-made, but this mix is sooo good, I don’t think I could beat it at home.

The Hazelnut Espresso frosting was what put the whole thing over the edge. The idea originally came from this post on Erica’s Sweet Tooth. But she used a hazelnut mousse for her cake, and I needed a buttercream frosting in order to make a cake that I could actually decorate, and would hold up to sitting out for a bit during the reception. So, I took a basic buttercream recipe and mixed in 1/2 cup of Jif’s Mocha Cappucino hazelnut spread.

The end result? The cake didn’t look perfect, but I was pretty pleased, considering my lack of experience. And as far as taste, well…that was absolutely perfect. 🙂

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