By Indiana Nash
Daily Gazette Reporter
At first, Evelyn Keplinger wasn’t sure she could swing it.
“When she [Sabihah Mamdani] called me, I thought she was joking,” Keplinger said.
Mamdani, a local bride to be, was looking for someone who could design and make a cake for her large wedding reception, with more than 750 guests, and a swinging wedding cake.
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Keplinger had done weddings for 300 or 400 people, but never something as big as 700.
But, she’s never been one to shy away from a cake challenge.
The 64-year-old decided to start her business, Treatie Beatie Cakes by Evelyn, after a lifetime of decorating birthday cakes and holiday cakes for family and friends. Since creating the business in 2013, she’s won several national cake decorating competitions and she’s designing, baking, and decorating more cakes than ever.
“It’s just been one thing after another,” Keplinger said.
She runs it mostly out of her home in Niskayuna. Her kitchen is not expansive, and although she installed a large mixer and a few other appliances, her oven is relatively small.
Yet, she was able to create the decadent swing cake and enough sheet cakes to feed the Mamdani’s substantial guest list.
It helped that from the moment Keplinger met with Sabihah and her father, she knew they were a good match.
Both Sabihah and her father, Razza, agreed. “I really just felt comfortable with her,” Sabihah said, “I felt like I didn’t need to go to New York City or New Jersey for my [wedding cake].”
After a tasting or two, they settled on a four-tiered cake, with silver, grey and blue colored fondant. Keplinger added lace detailing, along with classic floral designs, and the couple’s initials.
While some cakes can be difficult to design, this one wasn’t a problem, Keplinger said because Mamdani knew exactly what she wanted.
The only challenge was the swing.
“I wasn’t quite sure how it would work,” Keplinger said.
However, with the help of the Albany Marriott staff, she was able to get the four-tiered cake balanced and stabilized on the swing shortly before the reception began.
It was difficult to tell which looked more elegant, the four-tiered cake or the swing it was suspended on, which had fresh flowers and beading cascading down from it.
The sheet cakes, which were for the majority of guests, went off without a hitch, Keplinger said. Although the presentation wasn’t quite as elaborate as the four-tiered cake, the sheet cake flavors were decadent enough. Keplinger paired tropical fruits with vanilla and chocolate.
According to Keplinger, there are some bakers who are comfortable baking the cake well in advance and freezing it, but she doesn’t count herself in with that crowd.
Thus, she started baking only a day or two in advance, making sure there was fresh cake to be had for all.