A Perfect Dessert……..I mean Day.

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Welcome back to the second installment of me blabbing on about my wedding, which was officially one year ago.  The reason I’m feeling ok with making this blog a complete over share is because I chose not to put any photos online of our wedding, other than what was taken by phones of friends, or the occasional profile picture. I’m excited to use this outlet as a way to share because honestly,  I LOVE our photos, I want to share them with the world because I think they’re incredible.  And shameless plug. if you need a great wedding photographer in NYC or Jersey, check out John Branch Photography (all wedding photos on the blog this week were taken by him). We found him on Thumbtack (a great resource when hunting for wedding services) and we couldn’t have been happier.  He did such a great job our friends hired him for their wedding, taking place on Saturday in Long Island City!

I’m skipping the Mug Cake this week.  One of the biggest aspects of wedding is that your families are joining, whether you like it or not.  Lucky for us, we liked it a lot.  We both get along very well with each other’s family and loved them coming to visit NYC for our wedding weekend. It was nice for them to spend some time together, and get a peak into our lives here in New York. Having them here, we could finally showcase how incredible our community of friends are. I think both of our immediate families were taken aback by how strong our circles of friends are, how much we all love each other, and how much they loved us together.  It made our families understand what keeps us here. Sure we have careers, and we love the energy of New York, but when you get down to it, it’s being surrounded by very very not shitty people who make it all worthwhile, and having our families see that meant a lot. 

So I’ll be giving you a recipe from each side of our family, and if you want to skip to the bottom, I made my mom’s Chocolate Eclair Cake.  AND IT IS STUPID GOOD.  IT’S INSULTING. THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS.

A few more pieces of advice about weddings though.

  • JUST DROP IT!

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Well, everything else that is. If you are planning your own wedding, it will be all consuming.  You don’t have to be a Pinterest Queen but if you want personal touches, organized spread sheets, quotes from many companies for every rental aspect (like we did) to find the best price of the best quality, it can easy take up all of your spare time.  Not to mention the moment you start to loose yourself down the rabbit hole of wedding blogs. And you know what. That’s ok.  If everything goes according to plan, this will be the only one you get, so just let it be your life so you can be happy.  Talk about it when people ask, don’t freak out about not spreading yourself 100 different ways while you ALSO try and plan the wedding.  Just plan it.  I barely did any theatre while I planned, because I knew after we said I do, theatre was still going to be there.  And guess what, it is, and things have gotten even better, despite my super low key 8 months of almost no auditioning. There are also post wedding blues. It’s very real, and don’t deny it of you feel the void of not planning anymore, or having no more things to compare, or ideas to float on you ‘OMG WEDDING’ board. It’s over, life has begun. It’s about to get even better.

Here are some of our personal touches:

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I made these letters by wrapping sequence around paper mache letters. Also kind of seen in this picture, giant balloons that were a MUST.

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My sister and mom were kind enough to help put ALL the flowers together with me two nights before in our friends garage. Don’t listen to online articles, if you can keep them cold, you can do your flowers up to 3 days in advance with sacrificing how they look.



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his guest book was made by Tactile Craftworks, an awesome company based in Milwaukee.  We knew one of the founders and had them use the stick figure insignia my husband designed for the front. They do beautiful work.  Check them out, their leather goods are stunning.

 

  • GET A DAY OF COORDINATOR. TRUST ME. SERIOUSLY.

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We did not have a budget for a full out wedding planner.  And as listed above, everything can get very overwhelming, easily confirming why people throw thousands of dollars at a professional and are like “I like gold and navy, YOU PLAN THIS INSTEAD.” What we did have, was a great friend who volunteered to be a day of coordinator for us as she was beginning to bust out into her own business doing that very thing.  Look at that picture above, we’re busy dancing like idiots to Jamiraquoi and on the right, that chick with the BINDER, is MacKenzie.  A great actress, a fun coffee date, and the baddest bitch on the block when it comes to wedding planning. She is painfully organized, asked us questions we didn’t even think about, made sure we always had a drink (or water!!!) in our hand and kept things on a reasonable schedule so everything we wanted to happen in the night, happened.  She’s the one at 1:30pm told me I had to leave setting up and chill before getting ready for my wedding. She was there at 9:30am to see where things needed to go. And she made sure we had a drink and food waiting for us in the small room that we sat in before the ceremony started.  Whether you hire her specifically or not, hire SOMEONE who will make your night worry free. It is worth it in a way I can’t even describe.

  • CREATE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS AND FORGET THE ONES YOU DON’T WANT

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o you’re reading this on a baking blog right? But let me admit something, cake is ok to me.  Just ok. I love making it for other people, and I’ll eat it if I’m in the mood.  But you know what I LOVE, ice cream. Phil and I did almost none of the usual traditions at our wedding.  We didn’t have wedding parties, we stayed together the night before, we didn’t do a bouquet or garter toss, we barely had a rehearsal dinner, and we didn’t have cake.  We had ice cream. Something else that ended up on the top of the list of awesome decisions we made. Blue Marble, a Brooklyn based creamery, allowed us to pick three flavors, and they served them unlimited for 2 hours.  And it was delicious and if people didn’t want dessert right away, they could wait. Or if they really loved the pistachio almond, they could go get more! Sure there are usually pictures cutting the cake, be we had pictures of our first scoop, and there wasn’t tons of slices of cake sitting around on tables untouched, like I’ve seen at so many weddings.  We took things we liked about weddings and twisted them to fit us. Throwing tradition to the wind.

We also decided to exchange a small gift before the wedding. It was something that we opened when we were separated, getting ready in different rooms and it was a little something decided by us. It was a small reminder that down the hall, is the person you’re preparing to begin a huge journey with.

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So families coming together right? As a kid, my mom would make this cake on occasion and it was one of our favorites.  By far.  She sent me the recipe and it definitely included some things….like Cool Whip, that were all the rage back when. And growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, instant pudding, fake whipped topping, no prob.  However, I decided to make everything from scratch and the result, wowza.IMG_2859

This layered dessert looks and tastes delicious, and it’s also pretty easy to whip up, as long as you have the patience to allow things to cool before putting one on top of the other.

For the Crust
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For the PuddingChocolate Eclair Cake-1

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For the Chocolate GlazeChocolate Eclair Cake-7

I’m tired of taking pictures of whipped cream ingredients, I’ve made it a million times.  It’s cream, sugar, and vanilla.  I’m sure you can all imagine what a stunning picture that would make.

Chocolate Eclair Cake
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For the Crust
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1/2 cup butter
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 4 eggs
For the Pudding
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  3. 2 tbsp butter
  4. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 egg yolks
  6. 1/2 cup sugar
  7. 8 oz cream cheese, softened
For the Whipped Cream
  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Chocolate Glaze
  1. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  2. 2 tbsp butter
  3. 1 cup confectioners sugar
  4. 3-4 tbsp milk
Make the Pudding
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together milk, cornstarch, sugar and egg yolks until smooth
  2. Stir frequently until it just begins to bubble, then turn heat down to low
  3. Stir constantly until mixture thickens (this whole process will take less than 7 minutes)
  4. Once thickened, remove from heat, add in butter and vanilla
  5. Whisk until butter is melted and both ingredients are thoroughly incorporated
  6. Move pudding to medium bowl and place plastic wrap on top of pudding, to prevent skin from forming
  7. Place in fridge (or freezer for fasting cooling) until fully chilled
  8. Once chiiled, in a stand up mixer with a whisk attachment, add pudding and cream cheese, whisking until smooth
While the pudding cools - Make the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and spray 9x13" pan with cooking spray
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to boil, the butter should be completely melted
  3. Add flour and salt and stir using a wooden spoon until dough begins to form
  4. Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time mixing in each completely before adding the next
  5. Once dough is formed, pour into 9x13" pan and pat along the bottom to cover completely
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown
  7. Once removed from oven poke any bubbles formed in baking, place in the refrigerator and cool completely before adding layers
Make the Whipped Cream
  1. Freeze your mixing bowl and whisk attachment for 15 minutes before using
  2. Add in sugar and heavy cream, whisking until it begins to thicken on high speed
  3. Add in vanilla and whisk until soft peaks form
Make the Chocolate Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter and chocolate chips until smooth and fully combined
  2. Remove from heat, slowly add confectioners sugar to create glaze, as it thickens, add milk slowly as needed to thin out
To assemble
  1. Once all layers are cooled, remove crust from fridge, pour pudding layer over crust, spread out evenly
  2. Add whipped cream layer over pudding, spread evenly
  3. Drizzle Chocolate glaze over cake and chill for at least 2 hours before serving, to allow chocolate to harden
Notes
  1. *This dough made for the crust is the same for cream puffs, you can use small spoonfuls, bake them in the oven and make puffs, scooping out the center once baked and filling with your favorite flavored cream!
  2. *Super strapped for time? In a stand up mixer, in place of making your own pudding just add two packets of instant vanilla pudding to 2 1/2 cup of cold milk, then add cream cheese
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
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I wanted to post this picture because if you look at the bottom left, that’s the piece I put BACK because I wanted to eat it so badly I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

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And as I’ve posted on social media, this cake was a hit, beyond a hit. It was perfection and my coworkers were ready to throw all dignity out the window and lick the pan clean. You have one more post full of love to stomach before I go back to my regularly scheduled life program.

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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