Yesterday I finished making a cake, to serve as ONE of the wedding cakes, for the wedding of our good friends Lyra and Ed. This is an All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake with Mousseline buttercream frosting from my favorite cake cookbook, the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. When I bought this cookbook I was particularly taken by the love story Rose tells in her Introduction and I can never resist repeating it when I am serving a cake to a new Cake Bible audience. It is particularly apt for a wedding cake.
Rose was in a master’s program at Cornell and was proud of the academic response to her dissertation. “Feeling proud after seven years of night school as a food major, I presented my paper to a boyfriend who was a physician.
To my amazement, he actually snickered, saying” ‘Is this what you consider a suitable topic for a dissertation?’
It only required a week’s interval to recover sufficiently to hazard showing the paper on a first date to Elliot Beranbaum, also a physician. . . . By then the paper had taken on the aspect of a test of sorts. I watched as he leafted through the 24 pages gravely nodding his head. Finally I couldn’t resist asking: ‘You don’t find this topic a little funny?’
‘Not at all, he replied. ‘I have encountered the same problem with dry ingredients for my digestion studies’ . . .
I thought to myself: Ah hah! This is the man I am going to marry. We have the same approach to life.” And marry they did.
The mousseline buttercream is what surprises people. It is not overly sweet and it tastes so light. Then I explain how you make this merinque buttercream which begins with beaten egg whites, adding a sugar syrup cooked to the firm ball stage – slowly – and then – slowly – adding one pound of unsalted butter. It is the pound of butter that shocks everyone, but the recipe makes a lot of frosting. I’m making a small cake today for us just so I can use the rest of the mousseline.
Cynthia, mother of the bridge, helped serve the wedding cakes. She made the Red Velvet Groom’s cake, and Susan put a whole bouquet of flowers on her chocolate cake. I used ‘Starlet’ spoon mums, a reflection of the golden September afternoon.
A perfect day!