I had the honor to make a dessert table for my dear friend, Yossi's bridal shower last week. She lives in TX with her fiancee currently, but they're going to move to Indonesia for good at the end of the year and have their wedding there. So when Yossi asked me if I would make a dessert table for her bridal shower that was going to be held here in San Jose, I was ecstatic! I was so excited and my head was soon filled up with thousands of ideas. I love making cute petite desserts in small glasses or petite everything, but I don't have many opportunity to do it.
Time went by pretty fast and before I knew it, it was a month away before the shower. I hadn't planned anything at all and work suddenly got really busy, my weeknights and weekends were full of events and full of cakes. I started writing down some ideas, and it took me two weeks to finalize it, but things changed so easily even the day before the shower. It wasn't until two weeks before that I really felt that I need to force myself to focus on this, writing down a timetable on a spreadsheet, cost, things to do, things to buy, where, when, etc. I started to freak out because I knew exactly that I wouldn't be able to do it by myself considering my work schedule at that time. Luckily, I'm surrounded by wonderful friends who are happily lending their hands, or thoughts, or moral support for everything. Without them, I wouldn't be able to finish this.
So the shower was for 50 people and I was planning to make quite a few types of dessert with different flavors. I tried to avoid making tea cakes or any sort of "heavy" cakes, and tried to keep everything light since there are so many types. I counted everything and tried to make every type at least 50 pcs, so that each person can get a taste of everything. In the end, I ended up making 8 different desserts, 1 big cake, and 2 savory (ready-made and bought). I was really afraid that there wouldn't be enough variations, or not enough amount, so i kept adding things to it. Initially, I was going to make a tiered cake as a centerpiece of the dessert table, but I changed my mind last minute, a few days before that I was just going to make one simple cake, not tiered due to time constraint and there will be plenty of desserts and tiered cake would be too much.
Tiramisu and Mango Panna Cotta Verrines
Mini Lemon Tart and Fruit Skewer
Indonesian Cheese Cake and Ispahan Verrine
So there I was, set with the menu, but it wasn't all smooth sailing all the way, nu-uh. From half of my macarons cracked and I had to changed the menu because I won't have enough time, and my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer died on me (this is really an interesting story), and to an online website that I was planning to order things from, suddenly decided that they will go to vacation. Everything that could go wrong went wrong (well, not quite everything perhaps). Some of the menu I was planning includes verrine, which is just dessert in a glass. I was set on my online research of where i can get the petite dessert glasses from, but the day I was going to order, they went on vacation starting that day and won't be back 10 days after. I almost shot myself at that time, didn't know what to do or where else I can get similar glasses with such a limited time. I think I couldn't go to sleep peacefully that night :). So I spent half a day driving around trying to find the smallest cups there is, but unfortunately, the smallest one I could find was still twice as big as the one I wanted originally. I bought it anyway because I had no other choice.
To make the story shorter, I was able to pull it off with the help of amazing friends who were willingly stayed up late on weeknights to help me with the desserts, printing out the menu, etc. I had such an amazing team, we started at 9pm on Thursday and continued for 3 hrs. On Friday, we started at 8pm until about 2:30am, it was super early morning for me everyday that week. I particularly want to thank Hany for all the help she gave me. She was such a HUGE help and was so kindly lending me most of the dessert plates and containers she has. She was also there for advice and support and not to mention that she offered her help many times even though we live oh so far away. Good thing I had quite a few people helping me so that I didn't have to drag Hany down here :). So the final menu of the dessert table includes three different kinds of verrine, tiramisu, ispahan (lychee-raspberry-rose), and mango panna cotta verrine. I also made some mini cream puff with vanilla bean creme diplomat filling, fruit skewer, blueberry mascarpone cheesecake, indonesian cheese cake (nana's last-minute request :)), and mini lemon tart. The big cake was raspberry and white chocolate cake, decorated simply with white chocolate and white roses. We also had some egg rolls from our favorite place and pineapple and teriyaki meatballs.
There are SO MUCH things I could learn from it and what I would do differently if there's a next time. Time management is really important, and also try to keep everything small in size (the wine glasses that I used were definitely way too big and not meant for desserts), variety in flavor and texture is important too, and don't try to make everything perfect because there will be some flaws and if you can't live with it, you'll just stress yourself out. I probably overestimated everything, I was so scared that we wouldn't have enough for everybody that I made more than what was needed.
It was the first time in such a long time that I had so little sleep. I guess I wouldn't be able to sleep well anyway knowing that there are so many things needed to be done and so little time. With the adrenaline pumping, I could stand for hours and multi-tasking all the time. It wasn't until the shower is done and I sat down on a sofa that I felt my body screaming for rest. I really hope that I could do a better job for Yossi's shower, I wish I could do this differently, make that a little more neat, etc. But I did my best and I hope that it's enough for her. Despite all of the craziness happened during the preparation, without a doubt, I would happily do it again :)