The Bake-a-thon

When my sister got engaged, in December of 2009, I knew right away that I could help with the wedding cake! Problem was: I had never done a wedding cake! I had hamburgers, ladybugs and airplanes under my sleeve, but a pristine formal wedding cake? Nope! You see, cakes have the bad habit of getting burned while you wait for the center to get cooked, or sometimes they look perfect on the outside but they are not done in the inside. Then there’s the issue with decorating the cake: I have always said “If you make a mistake on that big cake, that’s it! One big cake is all you have”… and so, that’s how the idea of making a cupcake tower was born.

Thankfully, my sister was never a bridezilla and she was open to any ideas I had to offer. A cupcake tower turned out to be the perfect solution for her morning wedding, and that’s how my Cupcake fever began!

So, I started to practice several months prior to our trip to Costa Rica (where the wedding took place). I would bake every week and time the preparation from start to end. I would test different flavors each week and research for trendy, yet budget-conscious ideas to decorate the cake stand, and continued baking cupcakes each week, until they started to come out of my ears (and strangely enough, always seemed to land in my husband’s belly! … That’s how his title of Quality Control and Cake Tester got started!)

By the time my sister’s wedding arrived, I was baking several dozens of cupcakes in a blink in my not-so-industrial cake studio, A.K.A. my kitchen with a regular one-oven stove. Which was perfect because once in Costa Rica, a one-oven stove was exactly what I would have access to for the preparation of what we called The Bake-a-thon of 2010.

The Bake-a-thon was such an amazing challenge! Baking in a different oven, trying to find ingredients that would match those that I used back at home, in the U.S., dealing with high humidity conditions, transportation issues (roads are not in the best of conditions and that’s bad news for a cake maker trying to get her goodies in one piece from Point A to Point B)… Many variables to deal with, yet, such a satisfying experience! Baking these cupcakes for my sister was a big honor and not as stressful as you might think.

Lemon, chocolate/raspberry, chocolate/orange, pineapple cakes... Ready for the Cake testing

Following the instructions I sketched on the working mat

Best of all, I got to share the experience with all my family! My nieces would come, days prior to the wedding, and help with decorations. The bride and groom would get up early in the morning and wait for the truck that delivers fresh eggs right on your front door, then bring them to my kitchen. My Mom would come and check on me every now and then, while she was busy finishing the last details of my sister’s wedding gown (we call my Mom “Queen of the Needle” … she designed and sewed my wedding gown in 2002, and then repeated the story a few years later for my sister. She truly has magic hands and a gift with fabric and thread… I, on the other hand, can barely stitch a button! And when it comes to fix the hem in my pants, it’s not uncommon for me to use a stapler rather than a needle to fix the problem. My Mom is so ashamed! LOL..)

Final details on flowers and special arrangements for the cake topper

But, back to the story, this bake-a-thon was a true labor of love. Three days in a row I baked, prepared, decorated and successfully packed about 175 cupcakes, plus some bite-size mini-cupcakes that I made for those in the family with diabetes (they were not sugar free, but we figured that a little tiny one, consumed in moderation, along with a balanced meal and plenty of exercise and dance, would do the trick!)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he day of the wedding came and we were ready to rock-and-roll. I barely slept that night, even though we had finished decoration of all the cupcakes the night before. But I was so excited for my sister! Of course, there was also the little minor detail that we didn’t have a car in the house to deliver the cake (we had to wait for my brother to bring his mini-van, load the cakes, and then go up hill for miles and miles of “holy roads” … roads filled with holes!).

Two hours before the wedding, my brother and his car were nowhere to be found; the cupcakes were still sitting near the front door, waiting for their ride; we still had to load the cakes, deliver them safely and set the cupcake stand at the reception place; AND did I mention that we were selected as the Best Man and Maid of Honor at the wedding… What were we thinking?????!!!!???? LOL

Long story short, cupcakes were delivered successfully (kudos to the Hubster for an epic cake delivery in the middle of a coffee plantation!) and we still managed to get to the church on time for the wedding ceremony, looking like mental patients who had just delivered more than a hundred cupcakes! I remember my heart pounding so hard as we walked down the aisle, as part of the wedding party. I remember trying to smile and feeling my mouth shaking out of control, so many emotions coming together! And then looking at my little sister, dressed as a bride, beautiful as ever!… Tears started to come out of my eyes!…

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]t the end everything worked out. The Cupcake stand looked beautiful, filled with cupcakes in 4 different flavors inspired by cocktail names… Since this was a morning wedding, there was no alcohol during the reception and so, we had a Cupcake Bar instead. (I gotta thank my clever friend in New York, Pam, for coming up with this idea!!!). The bride and groom were very happy with the final product and the guests were really impressed with the idea. Cupcake towers were just starting to pop up here and there and the cupcakes were just plain cute (and yummy, as we found out hours later.)

I will always remember this day with special love, for it allowed me to serve my sister and her husband on their very special day.

What a sweet ending for this Bake-a-thon!


My sister and her husband on their wedding day. Their wedding bands were used as "cupcake toppers" for this photo. July 2010


Cupcake Tower after the Bake-a-thon!