To begin my wedding reflection series, I will write about my cakes. Why, you ask? Because I had the coolest cakes in the entire world. Kate Middleton, step aside.
The story of how my cakes came into being starts in 2008. In July 2008, after living in California for two months with my long-time roommate J and the short-term roommate J the law student from China, I met E. E would move in to the house we called “The Villa” with me and J that July. E was coming back to California from her parents’ home in Louisiana after having ACL surgery. To take it easy during her first weekend back, E ran around like a crazy woman, putting on an art show at her school for her master’s degree program and made an AMAZING cake with shattered-glass-icing.
The cake was modern art. The cake looked better than half of E’s classmates artwork. The cake was amazing. And best of all, the cake’s maker was moving into my house.
Fast forward about a year. In the fall on 2009, I met C. She and her husband moved to California and started to get acquainted with folks in my community. I met them at a going-away part for someone they didn’t know. It was the most epic going away party ever (bounce house and coordinated ladies’ dance to Beyonce and Michael Jackson), and I appreciated people who would show up at a party where they knew so few people. C didn’t love California right away because she used to be more of an east coast big city girl. (Now, she says she can never move back because paying $1/ea. for lemons is a crime against humanity.)
I emailed C one day and said, “Hi, I heard you don’t like it here. Let’s be friends. I’ll come to your house tonight.” She said, “OK!” I showed up, and she had baked cookies for me. Orange-flavored butter fancy frenchie pretty cookies–not your normal “oh I just whipped these up” kind of cookies. Come to find out, I had stumbled into friendship with a professional pastry chef. Score!!
Friendship with E and C only grew sweeter. The community mourned when E graduated from school and took a job in Fort Worth. Leaving C behind in California was one of the hardest parts of getting married. I actually delayed telling her the good news of my engagement because I was truly sad that marriage meant a change for our friendship.
What, you may ask, does these stories of friendship have to do with my wedding cake? You might be thinking, “obviously, K, your cake-baking friends made your wedding cake.” You would be wrong.
When the wedding plans started taking shape, C immediately began to plan to come to Tennessee a few days before the wedding so she could bake and decorate a wedding cake for me. Somehow, and I’m actually not sure when this came about, she and E started talking. E wanted to help. They could team up! Making a cake in a remote location isn’t the easiest venture–everything has to be done on the spot, and having two very experienced wedding cake chef/artists would be much better than one. Then, C called to drop a bombshell: she couldn’t get off work on the week we picked for the wedding.
We couldn’t move the wedding date on behalf of C (though the thought crossed my mind), so we came up with plan B. Plan B resulted in the most beautiful collection of wedding cakes known to man, displayed on a table with multi-tiered cake plates. My mother found a bakery in Tennessee that would make 5 double-layered 9″ round cakes, flat-iced. E and C then came to town (E one day ahead of time, C the night before at midnight) and worked feverishly to decorate the cakes.
They planned and sketched the cakes ahead of time, asking me about a few details but mostly working independently. C flew in with sugar flowers she had made, and E brought fondant that she painted. They also added layers to two of the cakes to create more visual interest.
The best part of the story, for me, is that my friends also granted my one request: they finished the cakes in time to attend the wedding. I love you, E! I love you, C! Thank you for loving me so well and for making my wedding special through your cake love.