Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Big Event

Well, it finally arrived. The big event, my sister's wedding. Those of you who know me well are aware of how long I have been planning, changing, planning again, stressing, and obsessing over this one. Everything went well and I was very happy with the result, but there were some last minute changes along the way.

I ended up making the tiramisu cake as planned, but instead of cutting the two layers, I made four separate layers to make it a larger cake. I decorated the outside of the frosted cake with the rolled wafer cookies and a ribbon around it, but the colors were so.... BROWN. So- I looked over at the sugared flowers that my daughter Carly did for me (she just started culinary classes so was excited to come and help with the baking!) and it occured to me to place them on the top of the cake. They were originally meant to garnish the limoncello cupcakes but as it turned out, they were a bit too big for the cupcakes so this was perfect. It's amazing how that little bit of color on top of the cake made it extra special.

The cupcakes recipes went through a sort of evolution through all of this. I knew I wanted an Italian theme to go with the tiramisu, so the first one I picked was a limoncello. There were several recipes to choose from, but in the end I decided to make the cupcakes from Jamie Oliver's website and the frosting and garnish from a website called "Tartlette." (I also borrowed the idea of using the nut cups from that site, instead of using cupcake liners. Second, I knew I wanted to do something with Nutella, so I found a recipe for a cupcake with one of those hazlenut truffles- Ferero Roche baking right into the cupcake. Then I decided to frost it with the Nutella buttercream frosting from This is the site where I get most of my cake and frosting recipes. And last but not least, I wanted to make a Sicilian cassata cupcake and since it doesn't seem to exist, I had to invent it myself!

I made a cassata for my dad's 70th birthday party and it got rave reviews, so naturally I thought all I needed to do was to make the cake and pour it into cupcake liners, fill it with the ricotta filling, frost it with chocolate and garnish it with candied citrus and pistachios. Wrong. The cake recipe (originally Emeril's...) does not lend itself to cupcakes AT ALL, so I had to start all over. So I went to my tried and true and made their wonderful yellow cake as a base. I fully intended to fill it with ricotta but then I realized that I had a whole bunch of mascarpone filling leftover from the tiramisu cake so I decided to use that instead. I didn't like the looks of the candied citrus peels at the store, so Carly and I made them ourselves. That was a lot of fun! And when it is done, you're left with a citrus simple syrup. So I cut out the center of the vanilla cupcake, drizzled the hole with the syrup, filled with the mascarpone filling, replaced the top, covered it with the "glazy" chocolate from the original cassata recipe and topped it with the candied citrus and a few pistachios. I invented a cupcake!

Perhaps the biggest surprise in all of this is that I made the cupcake display from stuff I found at JoAnn Fabrics. Now, other than knitting, I am NOT a crafty person, and I had no idea what I was doing. But sometimes I just jump right in even when I have absolutely no experience or knowledge. Thankfully it turned out well (this time anyway....).

I will say what I said after I made the baby bump cake for my niece Jamie's baby shower. SO MUCH WORK BUT SOOOOOO WORTH IT! I don't think I could ever do this for a living like my talented friend Jill, but to cook, and bake and create for the special people in my life I truly care about-- it's a labor of love.


  1. You're a wonderful sister -- those desserts made by your hands must have made Lisa feel so special!!! THe cake really looks beautiful. Congrats.

  2. I told you, when you bake with love, it's always good! Fantastic Job Maria, so proud of you (and will be waiting for the Limoncello cupcake recipe in my "in" box soon!) Sending a HUGE hug your way to you and to Carly! ~ great job ladies ~ Carly the sugared flowers were beautiful!