Friday, September 26, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake! (Rehearsal Dinner Fun)

My baby sister's son is getting married this weekend.  Last night, she and her husband put on the most wonderful rehearsal dinner.  Just to give you an idea: the buffet included beef tips in gravy, herbed salmon, roasted chicken breasts with cranberry and apple stuffing, stuffed shells, wild rice, roasted new potatoes...shall I go on?  Oh, and there was salad, too--but unfortunately I didn't have much room left on my plate for a whole lot of that before I got to the end of the banquet table.

I tried a bit of everything, and seriously would have gone back for seconds if I wasn't a genteel lady who eats like a bird (NOT).  But I held back, even though the stuffed chicken breasts were singing a siren's song that was almost impossible to ignore.  "You should have seconds!" they called to me.

But I resisted.  Mainly because I was saving room for cake.

The theme of last night's dinner was soccer, since both the future bride and the future groom used to bend it like Beckham back in their high school days--and the first stop on their European honeymoon tour is a Manchester United soccer game in London!

Manchester United is the couple's favorite soccer team, and my sister asked me a while back if I could make a cake with the team's logo on it for two of their most enthusiastic fans (knowing that I always bake rehearsal dinner cakes for my boys, and that I would pretty much bake a cake a day if I had good enough excuses to do so). "Sure!" I said gamely, with no idea whatsoever what that would entail.

When I finally got around to looking up Manchester United online (maybe a week ago), here's what I found:
And here's what I thought: "WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!"

The other night, my sister told me she was looking at the logo, too, and she said to herself, "Laura's going to kill me."  But I assured her that though the thought crossed my mind, it was only fleetingly.  And then I decided to meet the challenge head on, by gum.

Well, for better or worse, here's the final product:
The kids were pleased.  My sister was pleased.  And the cake was delicious!  Between the giant two-layer cake and the mounds of buttercream icing, I think I used around a dozen sticks of butter (so it's no wonder it was so yummy).
I always use boxed "butter recipe yellow" cake mixes, with Betty Crocker my current favorite brand, because when I made a yellow cake from scratch once it was not nearly as delicious (and I've heard that some professional wedding cake-makers do this as well, so I'm in good company).  And here's the to-die-for icing recipe I use: two softened sticks of butter, 1/2 cup of light cream or half and half, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 6 cups of confectioner's sugar, beaten like crazy until it's super creamy.  That's enough for one 9 x 13 sheet cake. You're welcome.

The event room at the converted 1800's orchard house where the dinner was held looked beautiful! My sister had decorated the tables with flowers, and each arrangement had soccer balls on thin dowels poking out of the tops.  She also set out a whole bunch of two-sided picture frames, with recent pictures of the couple on one side and old pictures of them on the other (baby pictures, toddler pictures, and those school day ones--with braces and whatnot--that provide lots of chuckles), and each guest could choose a frame to bring home as a favor.  Genius.  She's really good at this rehearsal dinner stuff--and this was her first one!

She's gorgeous, too, by the way.
(Look at those big brown eyes and that mega-watt smile!  Are we from the same gene pool?  Not so sure about that!)

It was such a pleasure and a privilege to be included in last night's festivities.  And Saturday there'll be a wedding and a reception at the same place our #4 son and his bride had theirs back in February.  'Tis indeed wedding season in both my husband's and my families!

I just love weddings.  And cake.  And I love you, baby sister.


  1. My weakness is buttercream frosting so... I am terribly excited for an excuse to make a cake now. :) You do such a good job with these cakes! Enjoy the wedding weekend!

    1. I'd say use the light cream--I've made it with both that and half and half, and I think it's better.

      Have a great weekend (filled with cake eating!).

  2. It was the perfect cake for the perfect rehearsal dinner! Thank you so much for doing it for them (and us)!!! You are so from the same gene pool, you gorgeous woman, who NEVER ages!! I love you too!

  3. So clever!! Can see the family similarity. Your nephew looks similar to your boys, which is interesting cause I thought before they look more like their dad.

  4. He's my sister's stepson, so he's not technically related to me. He looks a lot like his handsome dad! (And I guess a bit like our boys, too!) :)