The table was set. The candles lit. But what to serve for a simple, wedding in my home? I wanted to honor the bride’s request to “not make it a big deal”. But, if my home was decorated with winter whites, what would be so wrong with adding a little dessert treat that wore the same color?
I’m a chocolate lover and was never a big fan of white cake until I made Whiteout Cake from Baked’s cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. There is nothing boring or nondescript about this cake!
I made the recipe for the cake but decided (since this was supposed to be “non-weddingy”) to make cupcakes instead. I didn’t want the bride to think I’d gone to the trouble to make an actual wedding cake.
I wrapped them in lacy white cupcake wrappers and sprinkled them ever so gently with silver dragees, both small and large.
I have a collection of cake plates. It’s a secret obsession and I look for any excuse to use them. They are perfect for almost any party (especially a non-weddingy one!) I have them in different heights and sizes with an eclectic mix of cake covers that get interchanged at whim.
I’ve picked a few up at antique stores or yard sales. One was given to me by a good friend with a German Chocolate Cake inside as an anniversary present. One, my mother bought for me when I graduated from college. I love that each one holds a memory.
Plus, a cake stand can take a stack of cookies, a group of cupcakes or a homemade cake and make it look extra special.
Well, the table was set…the cupcakes on display…and my new door chandelier decked out with sparkly white lights. (Yes, I said, door chandelier! It’s my old front door, turned dining room center piece. I can’t wait to share this project with you, um, ’cause it’s pretty awesome!)
Even though it was a simple, casual wedding, we didn’t have to forgo beautiful.
Here are a couple of tips for creating a simple yet elegant event:
~Go with a simple, classic color palette. White and cream, white and black, white and silver, etc…
~Use glass, candles and white lights. The glass reflects the flicker of the candles and the lights to create a sophisticated glow.
~Find one dessert or food dish that is delicious, homemade and can stand on it’s own as something special.
~Serve a beverage that is complimentary. This wedding was in the late morning, we put a pot of coffee on and had ice water available.
~Pull out real napkins and fine china. I used vintage white napkins, white porcelain plates and heirloom silverware.
- For the white cake layers
- 2½ cups of cake flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups ice cold water
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- For the white chocolate frosting
- 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1½ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the over the 325 degrees F.
- Place (approximately) 24 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.
- Make the cake batter
- Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined.
- Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes and let cool completely.
- Make the white chocolate frosting
- Using either a double boiler or a microwave oven, melt the white chocolate and set it aside to cool.
- In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream to cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and white chocolate and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
- Assembling cupcakes
- Once cupcakes are cool, place icing in a piping bag (or a ziploc bag, twisted at the end to form a piping bag and snip the corner with scissors) and pipe swirls on the cupcakes.
- Finish with a gentle sprinkle of silver dragees or colored sugar.