For those of you who would like an explanation of why last week's wedding cake was so challenging:
Short version: The icing for the wedding cake had to be ordered from a local bakery but "all's well that ends well."
Blow-by-blow version: Tuesday of last week I made 7 batches of icing but every one of them had a slightly odd taste. If you can imagine eating something that tastes the way that gasoline fumes smell that would have been the best way to explain what it was like. The longer it sat the worse it became until it tasted like axle grease. I thought on Tuesday that I had solved the problem. Three weeks earlier I had purchased the powdered sugar and Crisco shortening and placed them in the trunk of our car. Having no place to store the ingredients in my kitchen I left them in the trunk. But in our trunk was also a gas powered weed eater and blower. I thought that the heat of the trunk had caused the gasoline fumes to get into my powered sugar. Wednesday I purchased all new Crisco and powered sugar to take care of the problem.
Thursday morning I began making icing with the new sugar and Crisco - same "fumey" taste! I was stumped! So I methodically began replacing all ingredients to find the problem. New salt, new flour, filtered water instead of tap water, special trip to get a new batch of clear vanilla. Same bad taste! It was getting very stressful. Just the week previous I had made icing and it was fine. Perhaps it was my mixer somehow dripping grease into the batch but inspection of the mixer showed no problems. So last shot - try a new mixer - same bad taste. At this moment I did not know if I should laugh or cry. When something like this happens I wonder, "Is God trying to tell me that I shouldn't make the icing?" Perhaps my icing is not stable enough to withstand the heat/drive and so to save me some heartache I'd better go a different route. So that's what I did. For a "small" fee a was able to order icing from a local bakery that was ready for pickup at 10:30 on Friday.
Bakery icing is so "sicky" sweet that I can hardly stomach it but there wasn't much choice. So even though the cake looked okay it wasn't as tasty as I would have liked. But I am so glad that Clarissa and Joe got a wedding cake. For awhile I wasn't sure how it was going to all work out.
Back to my dilemma: What could have happened? I've used this recipe with these ingredients for years and never had a problem. Then it hit me late Thursday afternoon. The lids of the cans of Crisco that I had purchased said, "0 Trans Fat - Same great taste." Hmmmmmm...did they change their recipe? I looked at the nutrition information and compared it to the half used can that I had used the week before and sure enough - the fat contents were all different. So, I mixed up another batch (this was batch 12!) using the old Crisco and WALA! Same great taste! Okay, so trans fat is bad for you but it tastes far better than axle grease! Sighhhh...now another challenge - find another recipe that can be used for decorating without compromising the taste and ease of preparation and use. Since my next wedding isn't until August I have some time to experiment. I'm also going to contact Crisco and make sure that this new "fume" taste is normal.
So there it is folks. More than you ever wanted to know.
Another interesting side note: all of my cakes are prayed over for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is that almost every cake decorator has a "horror story" and someone ends up with a wedding cake disaster or no wedding cake at all. When I finished icing the cakes at 11:00 Friday night I felt very impressed that the Lord was telling me not to decorate until after I had transported the cakes to Shelbyville. Hint: when God says something - His idea is always best. When I opened the trunk of the car after arriving at my destination all of the cakes had shifted and settled enough that there was a band of icing sticking out on every last cake between the layers. So all of them had to be resmoothed. Had I decorated them it would have been next to impossible to fix the problem. It was still difficult as it was because the icing was very crusty. My heart was very thankful that God had whispered a few instructions to me because he knew what was going to happen.
Something like this happened to my husband (who is feverishly working to meet his deadline for Zondervan next month!) not long ago. God impressed him to do something that looked like it was going to be a mistake but turned out that it saved him work in the end. I said to him, "Isn't it good to be in "cahoots" (if I can use that term) with a God who knows everything?!" He sure saves me from a lot of hurts and heartache (if I am listening for His voice and obey). That sure is encouraging to a person who feels so inadequate of facing the challenges of being a wife, mother, and teacher. The God who created this universe is interested enough in my life that he tells me, "Go to bed, decorate tomorrow when you get there!" So I got the rest I needed and Joe and Clarissa got a wedding cake. WAAAHOOOOOO!!!!