The Littlest Birds Sing The Prettiest Songs

I’ve kept you in such suspense! I’m sorry! Life has been very busy here, with traveling, moving, applying and receiving a teaching job, etc. So much is going on! But, part of the events going on were traveling to Seattle for Sasha and Robin’s beautiful wedding, which I was lucky enough to get to be a part of by making their wedding cake! Here it is, in all it’s glory:

Because you waited so patiently (and some not so patiently…hi Julie!), I’m giving you a lot of pictures. And a short run-down of the experience. In brief, it was stressful and chaotic and involved so many grocery-store trips that they caused a few break-downs. And a lot of phone calls to my mother to help explain the difference between baking in an electric oven versus a gas oven (literally NO ONE in Seattle has a gas oven. What? Why? I don’t understand). I almost lit the house on fire, no thanks to a certain firefighter that was helping me bake the cake…

But it was all worth it. The wedding was lovely; love-filled; such a warm and beautiful and community celebratory event. Everyone helped out and celebrated Sasha and Robin’s love for each other; every single toast (there were a lot) included a statement of the fact that Sasha and Robin are the best couple IN THE WORLD. I agree. That’s why it was worth it to bake their wedding cake in an oven that was not my own, and have this crazy adventure that I embarked upon. It was totally worth it.

Fluffy Ginger Cake, with Raspberry and Toasted Almond Filling, a Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting, and Chocolate Ganache piping for decoration. The winning combination for such a wonderful couple. The recipes are copied below all the pictures…

You can see Sasha in her wedding dress behind the cake:

The first thing you’ll need to make a wedding cake is lots of ingredients. LOTS. No kidding, I think we went to at least a dozen stores to find everything, which was ridiculous, because why couldn’t I just find everything at one place like I can here, at Berkeley Bowl?? Life outside of the Bay Area confuses me.

Since I doubled, tripled, quadrupled, 10-timesed the recipe, I needed a lot of ginger. We had to grate it all very finely:

Thank goodness I had help from good friends to grate all of this. And peel the ginger. Look, so much ginger peel!

My wonderful friends helped at every step of the process. Here they are, covering the cake-plate/board with black material, so that it would look fancy. It took a lot of concentration:

We very carefully sliced each cake in half horizontally. This is the biggest cake (15-inch diameter). This was the trickiest to slice and then lift the top half off, so that we could spread jam and sprinkle toasted almonds in between the layers — I was worried that if we picked up the top half, it would crumble and fall apart. So, I found a very thin large flat cookie sheet, and stuck it between the layers after I sliced them, and then simply lifted the top half off of the bottom, spread yummy fillings inside, and then pushed the top layer off of the cookie sheet and back onto the bottom…It sounds simple now, but it was a very stressful 2 minutes of the cake-decorating adventure!

Spreading jam, and carefully placing toasted almonds in the middle of the layers of the 9-inch round cake:

To decorate a 4-tiered wedding cake, you need a lot of frosting. Like the ginger, I mean A LOT of frosting. This bowl was insanely large, filled with an insane amount of frosting. Delicious, yes. Sickening, yes. Amazing, hell yes.

After frosting the cakes on top of each other, I piped thin vines, leaves, and swirls around the cake’s edges, made out of a simple chocolate ganache (recipe below).

Have you ever seen cuter cake toppers than these little paper mache birds? They were so perfect, nuzzling each other! Thank you, etsy!

The moment we’d all been waiting for! The cutting of the cake!! (The cake is the whole point of coming to the wedding, right?…).

Fluffy Ginger Cake Ingredients:

This recipe makes one 9-inch cake

1 Tblsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tblsp. freshly grated/zested ginger

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Or both, if you’re neurotic like I am. Set aside.

Stir the almond milk and apple cider vinegar together well and set aside (the mixture will curdle). Grate or zest your ginger while you wait for the curdling.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the almond milk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the ginger at the very end, and mix to incorporate.

Fill your cake pan with the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then when luke-warm, remove cakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup Earth Balance shortening, room temperature
3/4 cup Tofutti Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Beat the margarine, shortening, and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. When you have a smooth, fluffy consistency, add the vanilla bean paste and confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Mix until fully combined. Add more sugar if you want a thicker frosting, but be aware that it can get quite sweet quickly!

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:

1/2 pound dark chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler. When smooth, pour into a blender, and then pour in your almond milk. Blend on high for one minute, until fully incorporated. It should be quite thin, like a dark, rich chocolate milk. Pour this into a container and refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight. The chocolate will harden (but not completely). You’ll be able to spread it onto a cake, or pipe it in little decorations. You can fiddle around with this recipe, adding more chocolate will make the mixture more solid after refrigerating it, or more milk will make it thinner.


16 Responses to “The Littlest Birds Sing The Prettiest Songs”

  1. 1 Mar August 8, 2010 at 5:21 am

    That cake looks delicious! Well done. Not sure how I would have coped using a strange oven.
    Any chance that you will be putting up the other recipes from the testing post?
    Have also been meaning to write to say that I adore your white chocolate vanilla bean frosting. It is to die for!

    • 2 Tessa August 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Mar! I’m so glad you like the frosting! That’s certainly one of my favorites! I thought about using it for this wedding cake, but it ended up feeling like too many flavors! I might put up some of the test-recipes, but actually a lot of them are already on my blog in the archives. The almond cake was originally a cupcake recipe (I’ve used it multiple times, if you do a search on my blog)-it’s always amazing. I also posted the Earl Grey Cake recipe before in cupcake form. Was there anything in particular you’d like the recipe for?

  2. 3 jake August 8, 2010 at 9:13 am

    beautiful! and totally looks delicious too. i love it.

  3. 4 Julie August 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    WOW! Truly worth the wait! SO BEAUTIFUL

  4. 5 zach August 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    amazing! you’re amazing! yay!


  5. 6 Bonnie August 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Oh wow, that is so impressive. I get have trouble putting layers and filling together even with tiny cakes, so I can’t even imagine how tricky that must be with such a large one! You did wonderfully, though – the cake is beautiful! I love the birdies, too.

  6. 7 Mary August 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Tessa,how beautiful. I have been waiting to see the cake for so long. What a wonderful wedding present you made!

  7. 8 Sari August 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Tessa, it’s sooo beautiful. I’m excited to have finally seen the pictures. You are amazing and this was such a fabulous wedding present for Sasha and Robin.

  8. 9 Netsy August 9, 2010 at 9:14 am

    You are incredible! I wish I was getting married again (not really) so you could bake my wedding cake.
    Loved the photos and the commentary!

  9. 10 talia August 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I love how we all got so obsessed with the saga of the cake. real friendship. this turned out more beautiful than i ever dreamed. you’re a real talent.

  10. 11 marika August 12, 2010 at 9:10 am


    • 13 Tessa August 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      what a great story! i totally empathize with the author, when she writes that she looked at the finished cakes and realized they weren’t perfect but they were still beautiful, and the people getting married were glowing, and the cakes were baked with love. what a great story! thank you sasha for posting it!

  11. 14 Pauline December 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

    What an amazing cake ! I love the decorations 🙂

  1. 1 Celebrate! « Cookies and Candids Trackback on September 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm
  2. 2 I’ve Got My Eye On You… « Cookies and Candids Trackback on November 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm

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August 2010

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!