Cautionary Cake Tale

Today I have a cautionary cake tale. I love dessert, I mean, I make cakes…all the time. So a delicious cake was important to me. This is our cake:

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Chocolate Cake with chocolate buttercream makes a delicious cake! Now take a look at this:

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This is the first and last bite of cake I got! Do not forget to eat your delicious cake! I became totally distracted and completely missed eating the cake! Your wedding will be a whirlwind, if you can, have someone set aside some cake for you to take home. I was so sad I missed it, the one bite I had was delicious though!

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What’s Mom Been Up To? DIY!

We have officially lived in North Carolina for a week and it has literally rained every day.

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This weekend wasn’t bad, we ventured out for a little bit to go grocery shopping and get a few necessities.

Life is slowly settling back into “normal.” But as I’ve been moving and been totally out of sorts, nothing has really happened on my end. However, my mom has really taken over the DIY! I really want you to see all the work she’s been doing!

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These are our cake toppers! She got a kit from Etsy, but the artist work is all her. I think she got our likenesses pretty well!

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These are going on the back of our chairs.

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And these arrangements will go with the guest book and card tables.
So she has been super busy and we are so excited to put it all together in less than two months! Now I hope I can get my act together by then…

Cutting Costs With Cake

Ok, you guys know I love cake. I love looking at cake, baking cake, and, of course, eating cake. When I have time, I LOVE watching those shows where they basically create art out of cake. I have always wanted to have this awesome wedding cake that makes a statement.

Wellllllll…..statements cost money. A lot of money. Since our wedding is small, there is no reason for us to have a HUGE cake that no one would eat. I do love to bake, and had considered baking my wedding cake myself. Here a few creations of my own, mostly for birthdays.

 

The good thing is, I’m not the only one in the family who makes cakes! So we have decided to save money, by making our wedding cakes. I know it’s kind of a risk, but the person helping has experience in cake, so I think it will be ok. Homemade cakes can be so beautiful in weddings and I really like how they look kinda rustic all by themselves.

Not only is making your own cake a great way to save money, but they usually taste better too. Nothing against bakeries, but the big, elaborate wedding cakes tend to be more dry and flavorless. So if you make the cake yourself, you can control how moist and delicious it is!

YUM! How many of you have made, or will make your own cakes? Is it worth it? I know, after having baked a lot of cakes, that it is a lot of work, so making four or so cakes would be a big task!

Guestbook Ideas, Favor Ideas, AND Chocolate Cake!

I have been so tired lately. It has been a black hole of work, home, sleep, work, home, sleep. This is my favorite month of the year, but it has just been raining non-stop and no one can enjoy the fall when it’s pouring rain. bleh.

I was so down today, I just needed something delicious. Ever just need dessert? Yeah, today was one of those days. PMS + Horrible Weather = Me getting fat on dessert. I don’t always have time to bake some awesome creation so instead I take the easy way to deliciousness and all you need is 5 minutes!

I’ll share my 5-minute secret:

4 Tablespoons Flour

4 Tablespoons Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cocoa

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons Oil

3 Tablespoons Milk

3 Tablespoons Chocolate Chips (optional)

A Dash Vanilla

1 Large Coffee Mug

Put all of that in the coffee mug, mix it all around REALLY well, get out all the chunks of flour, stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes. After that, you are all done! And you have a ready-to-eat chocolate cake!

That is my fiance on the mug! I designed it and had it made for him 🙂 an inside joke of ours!

Now I understand the cake doesn’t look like the most delicious cake you’ve ever had, but you get what you get for five minutes. 🙂 The chocolate chips really make the cake super yummy and it is the perfect dessert to eat on a cold and rainy night.

I make this cake a lot, because it takes five minutes, and I get a yummy dessert, but today as I was making it, I was thinking about how much I love baking. I bake something almost every week for my friends, and I love trying and learning new recipes. So why not incorporate a little of that into the wedding? I’m really leaning towards using recipe cards as a guest book!

I love the thought of recipes passing from generation to generation, and I would love to have a great recipe along with my guests’ well-wishes! I of course realized that I was probably not the first person to think about this as a guest book idea so I sought it out on Pinterest. Some recipe card inspiration for you!

So if you can make cake in a mug, you can have delicious favors in a jar! If cooking and baking is your thing, why not send your guests home with your favorite recipes, easily transported home in a jar, and super easy to put together!

I personally want to try the quick bread! It looks like a super yummy recipe!

What the Wedding Industry Wants You to Do…and What You Can Do Instead! Part II

I always thought the most expensive part of the wedding would be the venue…and I wasn’t totally wrong, but a close second (and maybe a first depending on your venue) is the food. Food for a wedding is an overwhelming, jaw-dropping price tag that I don’t think anyone sees coming. I’m only feeding 50 people and I couldn’t believe it. It doesn’t matter if you are going sit-down dinner or buffet style, the price is still astronomical.

The situation I have now is the best option for us, but originally I thought I would cut costs by asking the caterer to serve “home cookin” southern-style type meals. Everyone loves chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed ‘taters! Even with serving food that isn’t considered “fine dining” it still costs an arm and a leg. So here are some ways you can cut costs on your food budget.

I know this is going to sound nuts but have your hors d’oeuvres passed out by the catering staff instead of a buffet or table.

I know, I know, all that food looks expensive…and it probably is, I just like to tease you. 🙂 If the catering staff passes out your hors d’oeuvres it controls food intake. You may be looking at a little more in cost for the staff, but your guests probably haven’t eaten in hours, and those hors d’oeuvres are the first thing they get to devour, so they go pretty fast. If your caterer has to re-stock hors d’oeuvres that’s more money out of your pocket.

Next I’m going to ask you to break a rule of the wedding industry.

Only one meat option. I know it is customary to have at least two choices of meat for dinner, but trust me, it’s not that big of a deal. Instead, offer once choice of meat, and lots of vegetarian options as sides (which tend to be cheaper). Your guests who don’t like their meat will still be able to have plenty of sides to fill them up.

And now onto dessert! This is where my advice isn’t entirely needed because most people are breaking out of this box by themselves…but what is the biggest dessert item that the industry says is a MUST have?

Yup. The cake. And not just any cake. If you want YOUR wedding to be THE talked about wedding you must get a SEVEN TIER wedding cake. Wait…what? I don’t think even the biggest of wedding parties could consume that much cake. That is a lot of dessert. I don’t think I could eat more than 50 slices…

Seriously though, you absolutely do not need a seven tier wedding cake. If you are like me and love dessert, there are some much more awesome, cheaper options, or, to be honest, if you love cake, you can still have it, just, please, not seven tiers tall…I hate to see good dessert go to waste.

All Photos From The Sweet And Saucy Shop

Cupcakes, Mini Pies, Macarons, Cake Pops, and Pudding in a Mason Jar…mmmmm it all looks delicious! Now of course don’t choose all of these options, that would defeat the purpose of cutting costs. But it is much cheaper to do small items in bulk than it is to do one big cake. Some of these, like the pudding in a jar are very DIY-ish too. Then, if you still want a cake on top of that, get a small two tier cake for just you, that way you still have something to cut into.

If you still aren’t convinced, and you love the WOW factor of a seven tier cake, it is possible on a tight budget, you just have to pull a fast one on your guests. The bottom layer of your cake will be all cake, and the rest of the layers will be styrofoam. You’ll cut the cake and none’s the wiser! If you have a large wedding, serve sheet cake as the alternative (SO MUCH cheaper), or if you have a small wedding, get 2 or 3 of the seven tiers in cake and the rest in styrofoam.

Those are just a few tips from the BIGGEST offenders of a budget. The cost of something is all in your hands! Be creative and think outside the box! You can absolutely pull this off! (At least that’s what I tell myself every day!)

If you have any other money-saving tips I want to hear them! I love your comments, so keep ’em coming!

GEEK WEEK Food & Drink!

Ok so THIS is an area where I really want to bring out the geek in our relationship: cake. I know I have had ideas in the past about a nice rustic cake to go with the theme, but I’m really coming to believe that sticking to a theme is less important than highlighting what makes up you as a couple. So I think for our cake we really want to do something fun and geeky. Of course I had to grab some inspiration, of not only cake, but some awesome geeky food and drink too!

I first want to highlight some of the really fantastic geek cakes out there. There are SO many, but here are some of my favorites!

The Mario cake is hands down my favorite cake! I love that it’s so bright and colorful, and of course Mario gets his princess in the end…if only she would stop getting kidnapped, then they could at least settle down! If you want to make your own geek cake, the Rubik’s Cube is linked to a tutorial on how to make it! It doesn’t look too hard either!

But I want to give special attention to a truly awesome cake. This cake was made by the famous Charm City Cakes which is featured on the show, Ace of Cakes, and it is probably the most awesome geek cake ever:

This is an EPIC reproduction of the final battle in Ghostbusters, in which they defeat the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! Who DOESN’T love this scene? If this happened in real life, I probably would have run outside and made gigantic s’mores. AND I haven’t shown you the most awesome part of the cake yet!

How cool is it that they made the streams light up? It’s a good thing that nothing bad happened to the cake, as the streams are crossed, and we all know, you don’t cross the streams!

Cake isn’t the only food where elements of geek can be incorporated! Here are some favors and snacks that would make any geek wedding shine!

How fun are the cereal snacks? Your guests will definitely smile at these little touches!

How about some geeky drinks?

I also love the retro Pez Dispensers, this will definitely bring guests back to those comics they loved as kid!

If you want to maybe class up your geek a little bit, how about an 8-bit wine bottle?

8-Bit Vintners will bottle wine with the 8-bit label for any classy geek occasion!

Are you choosing to show your geek through your cake? Maybe your drinks? I am still leaning toward a very geeky cake!

 

 

 

 

To Bake? Or Not To Bake…

So I kind of love to bake…I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but I bake every week. It’s a pass-time of mine. So the idea had crossed my mind to bake some sort of cake of my own for the wedding. I quickly dismissed the thought because if it didn’t turn out, I would never forgive myself. However, after speaking with the venue/caterer people, and their statement that a cake would drive the cost of the food up, I began to reconsider the idea. I had always wanted a wedding cake, and wedding cupcakes just didn’t seem to cut it for me. If I could just have a little cake, maybe just something for us to cut into, that would be awesome. So I formulated an idea.

I think I like the idea of having the caterers create these:

Click the photo for an awesome How-To!

They would be so cute AND cut down on the cake cost (and the cake cutting cost)! BUT so I can have my cake (and eat it too) I will try my hand at making this cake:

Click the picture for the full recipe!

That way, it’s a cute little hive with honey bees, surrounded by a cupcake flower garden! Perfect right? Sure…if I could actually pull it off. The only cakes I’ve ever made are round. I don’t do cakes shaped like things…mostly because I’d screw it up royally. I tried a fondant cake once…that did not end well. But for the sake of experiment to see if I could, and for the joy of you all out there, I tried it.

The cake itself is a honey banana cake. It tastes like banana bread, which I love, so no problem there. Part of the cake is baked in a pan, but to create the “hive look” the other part is cooked in a bowl. The bowl takes about 10-15 minutes longer to cook, but they both came out splendidly. And, as with all my cakes, they sit in the fridge over night. This helps solidify and cool the cake, and actually locks in moisture! Refrigerating tip courtesy of Paula Deen, so you know it works!

The next day, it was onto tackling the buttercream frosting. This is real buttercream folks, not that powdered sugar crap that tastes artificial.

And apparently for real buttercream you need about 6 sticks of butter. For this whole cake process I needed a total of 8 sticks of butter…that’s FOUR CUPS of butter. Talk about adding to the thighs!

Buttercream takes a lot of love, attention and whisking. SO MUCH WHISKING. My arm hurt by the end and the boy had to take over for some of it. As you may remember I am not cool enough to own a stand alone electric mixer, so my electric mixing has to be done by hand…thus my huge biceps…

I finished off the buttercream with some honey, vanilla, a bit of salt and some yellow food coloring to give it that “beehive color.”

Next I cut and stacked the cakes to give it that sloping effect hives have, then I slapped on the buttercream, between the layers and all over the cake. After smoothing it all out, I traced a spiral patter along the sides and top to give it the textured look. Instead of sculpting bees out of marzipan I just used some icing gel and piped the bees on the cake. I didn’t have enough money for marzipan, or the talent of sculpting…so I may leave that for another practice run of the cake. Here is…drum roll please…the final product:

It looks NOTHING like the professional picture, and yet I am happy with it. I accomplished what I set out to do, and now I know I can do it. It looks homemade, which is the look we are going for anyway. So right now I am seriously looking at the idea of making this cake. I will do many more runs of this in the future, probably trying out different flavors of cake to see what we like best.

What do you think? Has anyone else made their own cake? Sound off brides-to be! Would you ever attempt this to save money?

My Second Love

I am 100% completely in love with food. Everything about it, preparing it, smelling it, tasting it…all of it. If it weren’t for my rigorous exercise regimen I am pretty sure I would have to be rolled out of my house. Surprisingly, when it comes to wedding food, my tastes are very simple. When I was a child my favorite meal, no joke, was box macaroni and cheese, ham-steak, and applesauce. I was pretty easy to please. 🙂 So while that probably won’t be served at our wedding, we will have pretty simple tastes. One word will hopefully define our food: cookout. We are total fans of grilling, especially in the summer. Summers in Maine are cherished because there is maybe four months of warmth before the chill sets in again, so at the first hint of warm weather (which here is 55-60 degrees) Mainers break out the grilling stuff.

Now for the choosing of food. At first I thought this was a plus for our venue, but now I’m thinking it’s a minus, the venue comes with catering. Because of our simple tastes and wanting a BBQ the food cost is low, but the staff still has to be paid, driving the cost up. It’s too bad we couldn’t just borrow a grill, get the men to run it, and serve everyone burgers, fries and potato salad. When I seriously thought of my dream wedding atmosphere, it was like when I went to church pot luck dinners and everyone tried all different kinds of home cooking. I must have eaten my weight in food at those dinners.

So I want to share with you some DELICIOUS looking food that is inspiring the feel for our wedding:

Burgers, Fries, and Pickles! MMMMM!

Gotta have my Mac!

Delicious oven-baked chips! Awesome for a cocktail hour summer snack!

Zucchini Bites! A little healthier than chips but just as delicious!

What is more homey and comforting than breakfast for dinner!

And of course, one of the most important wedding aspects: the cake! My dream cake is probably too expensive, but I love it so!

This website has all sorts of rustic wedding cakes!

Wedding cake tip: Get buttercream. It’s cheaper and tastes SO much better than fondant. Fondant may look cleaner, but it is just nasty tasting, trust me.

There is another wedding cake I just LOVE and I even has the recipe to make it. I dare not make it myself. I may be a baker, but there is no way I could trust myself to make my own wedding cake.

Too Cute!!!

The catering company told me that the cheapest way to go is cupcakes. I don’t know if I can make that step. I love cake, I especially love beautiful and decorative cakes. I know cupcakes can be decorative, but…but…I love tiered cake…here are some cute cupcakes that I think would still be awesome to use in place of a tiered cake.

Who doesn’t love chocolate?

I love the way these look! They could be mixed in there with the chocolate for a pretty display!

Love the special Bride and Groom Cupcakes!

And of course a great display to go with everything!

So we have a lot of decisions to make and prices to think about! What will the food at your wedding be like? Forma dining or hometown cooking? Are you having a tiered cake? I’d love to see it! Remember to Keep In Touch!

Backyard Bliss For Melissa

I am so excited to start this new part to the site! I love hearing about money saving tips and pretty weddings!

Melissa and David are getting married September 8th, 2012 so her date is coming up quickly! So there are still some things to plan but everything is really starting to pull together.

We have a seriously limited budget (nil, well almost nil). We’re having our wedding September 8, 2012 at my parents home. The wedding is in their front yard, and the reception is in their backyard. I’ve got my dress and shoes, got his suit and shoes, but my dress needs to be altered and he needs a tie and vest.

Melissa’s colors are black, red and silver! She has really saved money on the dress and shoes (the shoes she already owned!) and the most unique part about the wedding wear is her non-traditional dress color!

I am wearing the gunmetal grey dress and silver peep-toe pumps…My bridesmaid’s are wearing little black dresses (non-matching) and the MOH is wearing a dark red dress that has a sheer black bodice over it. The groomsmen are wearing black or dark grey suits with some sort of red tie, with white shirts.

Her friends and family are really helping to chip in with some of the hefty costs by donating their lawn and their time!

One of our friends is paying for a third of the photographer’s cost so we’re going to be able to swing that, and my dad and his family are covering the food for the reception, and my dad will be borrowing chairs, tables, and a few tents for the reception. My aunt is making our cake…[it’s] is going to be a simple 2-tier red velvet cake, and my aunt is also making cupcakes so it will be cheaper.

Click for a delicious recipe so you can make one for your wedding too!

What a delicious cake it’s going to be too! Red Velvet is my ABSOLUTE favorite!

They are having few decorations, but the meaning behind them makes them really significant, as well as being affordable!

We’re using sheet music to decorate with (even to make our invitations with). David is a musician and that is sort of how we met, through a mutual friend of his who had a music gig one night. Thus the music theme. (Plus, sheet music is free or cheap, can be printed from online, scanned, or found in thrift stores or from friends.) 

 I’m one flat broke bride, but I’m a happy bride. I know with the help of family and friends we’ll pull it all off, and it will be wonderful, but it’s stressful to say the least, and using all of my creative ability.

I love how the family is rallying around the couple to really make their day so special. This is what weddings are really all about. Cut out the flash and panache, and it really comes down to two families coming together to celebrate the love of two people. :::sniff::: I am really hoping our wedding will be full of love just like I know this couple’s will be!

Dessert Dilemma

I had a panicked thought the other day. What do I do if someone doesn’t like cake? For awhile I had been naively thinking that everyone likes cake…I mean, it’s moist delicious wonderment in your mouth! Who wouldn’t like that? But sadly, it is true; shockingly some people don’t enjoy cake. Sadly for those people, I am kind of broke. So instead of going all out on a dessert bar, I am thinking of taking things a little more simply.

There are three ideas ping-ponging around right now. Idea number one: a hot chocolate bar!

I admittedly thought of this when there was no dessert in the house one day. I dearly love to bake (especially cake…because seriously who doesn’t love cake?) so there is always some sort of confectionary delight in our house. Unfortunately, the last delicious morsel had been eaten by my hubby-to-be and I was left dessert-less. I went back to work craving a sweet treat, and thought I would go grab some hot chocolate, sweet, filling, and not too bad on the calories either! That’s when I thought, “Why not hot chocolate?” I was fairly certain it would be inexpensive to put together, and it would be fun for guests to put their own cup together. We could also very simply make these spoons to go with it:

They would make a really fun swizzle stick for the hot chocolate! There is one downside. Our wedding is to be in August, and it might not go over well to have hot chocolate, in hot August.

Idea number two is certainly very refreshing on a hot day, but sadly less dessert-like: A Lemonade Bar.

It is such a cute idea that I have a hard time crossing it off the list, even if it isn’t really a dessert-y type thing. There are ways to amp up the dessert aspect though, like adding lemon candies and maybe rock candy to the bar.

Also if venue allows, maybe throw in some hard lemonade too! This idea is also very workable with caterers. If lemonade is something they can offer, you just need to provide the styling to make it look the way you want!

Idea number three is by far the most dessert-like, but also the most expensive: S’mores Bar!

How cute for an outdoor wedding! It would run perfectly for my theme! The only thing that is stopping me from running out and purchasing everything is the cost. It may be something you can work with your caterer on, at least with perhaps providing extra gel-fuel canisters for roasting, but I think a lot of the materials would be all on the bride and groom to provide.

I don’t have a favorite! I don’t think I can choose! Maybe I will take a page from Marie Antoinette’s book and just say, “Let them eat cake!”