Sunday, February 5, 2012

I do

The following happened in November, and I haven't been able to find the words to capture the magic of the occasion. So for the first time ever, I'm going to have my assistant T author a post because she was there in person. As you know, she does all of the actual baking here and, unlike me, is a very real person. So do her a favor and transport yourself back three months. The leaves are still red, the air is getting chilly, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner...

November 19, 2011
Hold yourself together... I'm blinking away tears, and have no idea when they started falling. Maybe when I first saw Karen, glowing and beautiful in her white dress. Or when I caught Joe's beaming face as he watched her walk down the aisle. No, it must've been the vows—their emotional exchange of promises as they recounted all the things they love about each other.

No matter, no one can see me. In the blink of an eye, we're up from our seats, applauding and cheering as they kiss and make their way down the aisle as newlyweds. Husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Karen Paone. They do!

As the guests flock to the bar and appetizer tables for the cocktail hour, I duck into the cottage where the cupcakes are on display: Three tiers of cupcakes sitting on a cloud of rose-tinted tulle, topped with a photo of Karen and Joe. The cupcake tier is the centerpiece of a rustic wagon filled with assorted candies, cookies, and other sweets.

I move one of the vanilla peach cupcakes a hair to the left. This is the culmination of a sleepless night spent mixing and baking, frosting and decorating. It's the end of 121 miles of travel from San Francisco to Monterey, where each bump and turn sent me into a mild panic attack. And this is the first time I've ever baked for a wedding. I'm nervous. I'm thrilled. I'm running on adrenaline.

I take one last look at the cupcakes stacked neatly on the tier before rejoining the festivities. Dinner is delicious, the speeches are heartfelt, and the slideshow draws laughter and aww's from the guests. Before I know it, it's time.

I hold my breath as everyone makes their way into the little cottage. All eyes are on Karen and Joe as they each select a cupcake. Joe chooses a red velvet, while Karen takes a peanut butter cup, and they playfully take a bite of each other's before finishing their own. The cake has been "cut," the couple is beaming, and the guests flock to the dessert table. I can't help but smile when the compliments come. They like the cupcakes. They really like 'em!

The rest of the night is a whirlwind of dancing and laughing, and I'm out like a light the moment my head hits the headrest on the ride home.

Karen and Joe—congratulations! From Cupcake Wars to your beautiful wedding, you've helped me grow so much as a baker this year. I can't thank you enough for your trust and support, and am so incredibly happy for you.

And thanks so much, V, for being such an amazing baking assistant and photographer. I really couldn't have done this without you.

To the happy couple!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy new year!

Hi there! Happy new year! Here I am, saying hello, waving, acting as though I haven't been irresponsibly, unresponsively neglecting this blog throughout 2011...

My assistant T still believes in the whole new year's resolution thing (how charming), and is resolving to keep all promises in 2012. I guess I have to follow suit, being a figment of her imagination and all. So here it is:

I promise to post at least once a week - every week in 2012 -- starting today. And I promise to share more: more photos, more recipes, and more cake.

And to kick things off -- how about a photo of two of the things we love most here at Carrie Cakeaway: craft beers and freshly baked and frosted cupcakes. Cheers to more recipes featuring our favorite brews. Some pair with cupcakes, others go straight into the batter, and still others are spontaneously enjoyed by the baker.

Bourbon mudslides on the left, chocolate strawberry shortcakes on the right, fancy beers in the back, happy feelings all around. Now that's the kind of Tuesday that one could get used to.

Apologies in advance for derailing any belly-busting new year's resolutions. But in all seriousness, I'm wishing you a happy, healthy 2012 filled with sugar, spice, and all things nice.

With love,
Carrie Cakeaway