I love love loooooooove weddings so much. :)
The groom in this picture is Mike, who I’ve been friends with since I was 5 years old. I love him more than most of my biological family. And he is, in part, one of the reasons that there is a Robicelli’s in the first place.
Growing up, I was a guys girl- my main group of friends consisted of seven “Bay Ridge guys” (if you’re from South Brooklyn, you get what that means). One night in January 1995, when we were 14 years old, we were hanging out drinking malt liquor- which FYI is the defacto standard weekend activity when you grow up in Bay Ridge. One of their birthdays was coming up, and I suggested we do something special- because as I’m a girl I’m actually considerate about crap like that.
So one of the guys- we’ll call him “Luke” because that’s his real name- scoffs “Yeah, what are you going to do? Bake a cake?”, and starts laughing at me. I say “What, you don’t think I can’t make a cake?”. And he keeps laughing at me. So being the obstinate girl I am, I decide that yes, I am baking everyone a freaking cake, and I’m going to shove a big hunk of that cake right down his little throat and it’s going to taste like defeat. Rich, velvety, creamy defeat.
By the time I was 14 I had read the “Good Housekeeping Complete Illustrated Cookbook” about 973 times, I’d played with savory food (and poorly at that), but I’d never baked a single thing on my own in my life. My first ever, my “spite cake”, was a cheesecake which though very delicious, had a gigantic crack down the center. I whipped up a quick sauce with some frozen berries and covered the top so no one would notice, but it didn’t matter. Regardless of the fact that it was delicious, I knew it was flawed.
PS- to keep this from happening to you, cook AND cool your cheesecake in a hot water bath. Turn the oven off right as the cheesecake looks barely set in the center, then just keep it partially open until the oven and water are cool. Then cover the cake and let it set overnight in the refrigerator to allow the egg proteins to set. OR ignore all that advice, just cover it with strawberries and keep your damn mouth shut. You’re welcome.
With the memory of my cracked cheesecake haunting me, I did the only thing I could do - I started to learn everything I could about baking cake. When Luke turned 15 a few weeks later, he got a cake, too. Then for Mike’s birthday, which coincidentally is today, he asked me to make him a blueberry pie, so I started to expand my repertoire. And until we all went away to college, every single one of my friends got a cake, or pie, or bread or cookies or whatever on their birthday, 60% out of love, and 40% out of vengeful, vindictive spite.
On Saturday, 17 years and 6 months after that fateful night where Luke inadvertently taunted me into my career in an Olde English induced stupor, we were together again watching Mike and his new wife cut into a cake that I made with the man I married, the man who I met in a bar one night at talked about cake with until 10am the next morning. And behind them was the eventual product of my own personal fairy tale- a big tower of Robicelli’s cupcakes.
We’ve been a part of hundreds of weddings- for clients, for friends, for family, for strangers. Even before this business we both spent the majority of our careers working a large amount of banquets and catering. They are checklists, set-ups, breakdowns, deliveries, vendors, planners, tuxedos and walkie-talkies. Weddings for Matt and I are a business. Even our own wedding, which we planned and executed ourselves, was like that in many ways.
This one was different. Maybe because seeing someone you love so much finally finding his other half, and having her be one of the most amazing women you’ve ever met, can make you as happy as if you were falling in love yourself. Maybe it’s because that in that moment, surrounded by the friends who have for the better part of my life been my brothers, I remembered that for all the headaches and hoopla and commercialism- weddings really, truly are one of the most perfect moments in life. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude that so many couples choose us to be such an important part of the greatest moment of their story.
As for my friends- we may not see each other every Friday night anymore, we might not all have as much in common as we did when we were kids, and not all of us survived to be there (we still miss you Sean. I didn’t forget it was your birthday today- happy 32nd in heaven, handsome. I’ll bake you a Car Bomb Cake when I get up there, I promise). Though I am grateful to them for helping me keep my head while coming of age, for accidentally launching my career, for inadvertently giving me the skill that would lead me to finding the man of my dreams- what I am most grateful for is that even as we are all getting older, whenever we get together, we still in so many ways are those idiot 14 year old kids getting drunk in Bay Ridge. And I had forgotten just how much I had missed that.
I love you guys. Even you, Luke. Even though you’re still a jerk sometimes.
What would be really lovely for all of you to do today is perhaps to pick up a cupcake for someone you love, just to put a smile on their face and remind them how much they mean to you. It’s always a good day for that, but today is an exceptionally good day.
Clockwise from front: Dark Chocolate Dulce, Coconut Custard, Root Beer Float, The Bluth
Dark Chocolate Dulce: Dark chocolate cake, dulce de leche buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, sea salt
Coconut Custard: Coconut cake, vanilla custard buttercream, roasted coconut
Root Beer Float: Root beer cake, root beer custard, vanilla buttercream, maraschino cherry
The Bluth: Chocolate banana cake, chocolate buttercream, roasted walnuts, ganache
Robicelli’s at DeKalb Market is closed Mondays, but will reopen tomorrow. All the cupcakes you see above, plus brownies, whoopie pies, and more, are going to select Robicelli’s retail partners. Availability varies per store- call ahead if you’re looking for something in particular.