• Ashley Margaret Waterman

Because We Like Cake, Too: Engagement Party

Last weekend, Sam and I went to New Jersey. After we got engaged, Sam thought it would be a good idea to have a small, family-only party at his parents' to celebrate. Since his grandparents are in their nineties, they won't be making the trek to Colorado next June. I was happy to visit them and spend the weekend eating bagels.

When we started planning the party, my only request was a cake from Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC. I didn't care what we ate for dinner or if there were decorations--I had my priorities!

Back when I was still gluten-free, I fell in love with McKenna's cookbook BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery. Some of the best cupcakes I've ever made are from this book. In 2013, I went there for the first time. Despite being from New York, I don't get to New York City frequently. My family lives about eight hours from the city, so I only get to visit if I can manage to see some friends. Sam's family is relatively close to NYC, which means there's a chance that when we're visiting, I can convince Sam to go to New York.

Because our weekend in NJ was packed with parties--we also celebrated his nephew's third birthday!--it was easier to have the cake delivered. I could have a cake from Erin McKenna's Bakery delivered to Colorado, but it's one of those special treats that I'd rather save for when I'm closer. Jan ordered the cake and had it shipped to the house. I couldn't wait. When you order a cake and have it shipped, it comes unfrosted. This makes sense. It'd be too difficult to ship carefully and keep cold. Piping bags, tips, and gels packed, I was ready to frost my cake!

Before touching the cake, I decided to see what the frosting was like. I've had the frosting before, but I didn't know if it would be piping consistency or if I'd frost the cake with my spatula and call it good. After bringing the frosting to room temperature, it was the perfect consistency to pipe some roses.

This face screams look-at-the-best-rose-I've-ever-piped! I demanded Sam take a picture of me and my rose for proof. In all my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the roses on their own, but they're visible on the cake.

Unwrapping the cake was like opening the present you've been waiting all year for on Christmas morning.

I was ready to fill the cake. I unwrapped the secured gluten-free, vegan red velvet cake and drooled. Red velvet is my favorite cake flavor. I know it's chocolate cake with red coloring, but there's just something about red velvet that feels decadent. After piping a perfect layer of frosting, I popped it back in the fridge and finished my flowers.

I was satisfied with the finished product. It's not the best cake I've ever frosted--you can see some cake through the icing--but it wasn't the worst. If I hadn't put so much frosting in between the layers, I would've had enough to fix the outside, but the inside was very aesthetically pleasing. I impatiently waited to cut the cake, making sure some of the roses ended up on my plate.

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