At Last…

November 9, 2010 Ella
Tags: , ,

Photos by Chrissy Hennessey

I reached that point in my life where all my friends are getting married.  I’ve been to about 5 weddings this year alone, most of which happened this summer.  You might remember me mentioning my good friend Scott and his wife Mel last year after they tied the knot at City Hall.  They had a more formal wedding ceremony recently, and perhaps you already guessed that I was in charge of the wedding cake.

Photos by Chrissy Hennessey

I got to hear Etta James sing her all too famous song At Last a few years ago at Carnegie Hall.  She was still performing then– in her seventies and sounded as amazing as ever– perhaps even better and I feel that most great things get better with age.  She joked about how often it is requested that she sing this famous tune for weddings.  I love this song and the title album it debuted on.  And it was sung this weekend at my good friends wedding, for the first dance of the bride and groom.

Photos by Chrissy Hennessey

Being that I’ve had so much recent wedding experience its easy to compare the way the brides and grooms choose to go about the huge undertaking of their nuptials.  I really have to say I thought Scott and Mel were quite successful in making their wedding personal and one of a kind. They were simple with the local and decore were simple. The ceremony was outside and the reception in an old farmhouse.  All of the guest got to spend the whole weekend in a rustic Manor, meeting each other and spending time with the Man and Woman of the hour.They asked their friends and family to take part of the ceremony in number of ways.  Friends presided over the ceremony, gave speeches on how they first met, and their parents also gave speeches and blessings. They didn’t necessarily follow the typical guidelines but with sentiment so easily lost in what you’re “supposed to do.”

It was quite refreshing since sometimes its hard to get a moment with that friend or family member whose just tied the knot as they rush around the party trying to say hello and thank you, take pictures and hopefully get a chance to actually eat or have a drink or kiss when all the glasses begin to cling cling cling.  Weddings are stressful even if you have great family and friends! Making a great celebration about you and your significant other while including all the people who support and love you is no easy task.

Photos by Chrissy Hennessey

Recipe for a Wedding Cake

Favorite Cake Recipe x 20, in this case Red Red Velvet

Now level, torte, and frost each cake.  Red velvet was the bride and groom’s choice, and since I don’t trust cream cheese frosting to stay put in anyway whatsoever I used it as the filling.  The tangy flavor was still there with Italian meringue Buttercream on the outside, which brings me to the recipe.

Photos by Chrissy Hennessey


Photos by CH


Photos by Chrissy Hennessey

American buttercream is composed of butter and in many cases shortening, vanilla extract– clear vanilla if you don’t want a muddy white color, and powdered sugar.  Perhaps you’ve seen my YouTube video, maybe even left me a nasty comment about how many times I say the word “Ummm.”  I didn’t realize how unbareable it was at first… all the same BE NICE! and if you are a real deal baker, confectioner, Mistress or Master of the kitchen you will test your skill (and most likely convert to) using Italian Meringue or Swiss Merignue Butter Cream frosting.

Swiss Merignue Buttercream

3 c sugar

12 egg whites

2 pounds butter (8 sticks) at room temperature

candy thermometer

Now this isn’t exactly easy especially your first time. But I promise you this, the next cake you serve with this frosting I guarentee you will get compliments on how amazing it is.  In fact I was told by catering staff of the Manor, where Mel and Scott’s wedding was held that “my frosting was the absolute best they’d had.”  The manor staff also assured me that they  are absolute conisseurs of cake frosting being that there is a wedding at the Bucksteep Manor just about every weekend.  But I can’t credit… this recipe is all Martha’s from Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes.

Combine sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl.  Set over a sauce pan half full of water and heat on medium to high heat.  Now here is where the muscle comes in.  Start whipping with a whisk.  The egg whites will become foamy  but almost syrupy, but keep beating the eggs continuously.  Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the bowl until the egg mixture reaches 140 F degrees.

Once at 140 degrees the eggs are cooked, so if you are really hesitant about using egg whites in frosting– its cool– rather its hot– they are cooked so your fine.

Move the bowl to your upright electric mixer— If you are without aKitchenAid, simply use your hand held mixer.  Beat the egg whites at medium high speed until they are at the stiff peak stage.  Martha approximates this to be about 8-10 minutes.  I find it needs to be more like 12-15 minutes.   I’ve made this frosting a number of times– and screwed it up a couple times too.  Its easy to screw up in 2 ways.  1.  Under mixing– addingthe butter before your egg whites are stiff enough, or 2. Over mixing– and its hard to tell if you have.  The egg whites combined with sugar don’t stand up at the stiff peak stage , they way they would without the sugar mixed in.   So heres the way I test.  At 10-12 minutes, I stop the mixer and paddle the whites and sugar up around the whisk attachment. If they are thick– almost heavy and stand up straight– even if the peaks flop over a little bit. They are ready to go.

Mix on low  and slowly add butter a tablespoon at a time. You will see almost immediately see your beautiful egg whites deflate and become a little soupy.  Continue to add butter a dollop at a time. The mixture will be soupy and deflated right up until the last stick of butter.  And right when you think you’ve wasted a dozen eggs, and 2 pounds of butter Voila you’ll notice a little change in the consistency.  It becomes whipped and light.

Keep at room temperature. It refridgerate for a week or freeze it for up to a month.


Entry Filed under: ButterCream,Cake,Frosting

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mr. and Mrs. G  |  November 11, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Absolutely elegant

    It’s absolutely beautiful – and the samples we had tasted were great!!

    Much love
    Mr. Golding
    Your Alleged Father

    • 2. Ella  |  November 11, 2010 at 3:38 am

      Hahahaha alledged. Very Funny dad

  • 3. Sherii  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Hi Ella,
    I have a question about the Swiss meringue buttercream recipe. How many cups does it make/ or how many cakes can you frost with the quantity of ingredients you have listed? It looks like it would make a lot and I just need to frost a 9 inch round cake, and was wondering if I should just use half of each ingredient listed. Thanks for your time. Really enjoy your blog btw 🙂

    • 4. Ella  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:02 am

      You can definetely cut the recipe in half for a 9″ cake. The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes, so all the quantites are big! Half the recipe will yield approximately 6 cups which should be the perfect amount to torte and frost a 2 layer 9″ cake (3- 4 inches high) with frosting left over for decoration. Should you have leftovers, or opt to make a bigger quantity you can freeze the frosting for 1 month.

      Thanks for reading!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to comments via RSS Feed

Foodie Fun

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 544 other followers

Whats in the Oven

Birthdays Breads and Pastry Brunch ButterCream Cake Candy Cheesecake Chocolate Cookies Cupcakes Custards and Pudding Extracts and Spices Filling Fondant Frosting Fruits and Tarts Gumpaste Holiday Gifts Holidays How To Videos Pie Puppies Royal Icing Snacks Some like it Hot: Movie/ Book Reviews Specialty/ Weddings Spirits Tea Uncategorized Vegan

Follow Me



Deborah Dilbeck on BRUNCH: Crock Pot French Toast…
25 Easy Breakfast Ha… on Brunch: Crock Pot French …
Community Post: 40 C… on Brunch: Crock Pot French …
40 Creative Food Hac… on Brunch: Crock Pot French …
Bob on Brunch: Crock Pot French …


Blog Stats


The Cake Eccentric

Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets


%d bloggers like this: