Today Kara finally got to do a cake run. There are many factors to evaluate...
The Design/Decoration: Of course they day before she did it would be when I decide to change the design. Okay, not the design but the look, so all I had for decoration was the ribbon from a few weeks ago with KK--No twine or burlap. However, the thicker dark purple ribbon I got that I thought I didn't want to use, may end up being what I use if not the twine. Talking it through with Kara, we decide we could always use a regular stand, lifted up on blocks or something of the sort and just overlay it with the burlap and maybe even incorporate some moss. Is it bad that I sill really don't know what it's going to look like--with 25 days to go!
Icing: It ended up not mattering too much that we couldn't do much decorating because her buttercream icing with no real butter test didn't turn out so well, which meant the exterior look wasn't really top-notch. (Good news is, it wasn't the taste of the icing that had issues. I thought it was delish!) Neither of us thought about the fact tub butter/Earth Balance is very soft in general and that it probably would melt and become soft very easily. While it tasted great, she had a tough time spreading the icing so it was pretty thing and sloppy. It will definitely need a better look for the real deal. I would think that stick margarine would work better. It was only NOW, though, that Jon decided to mention that his mom has her own Jon-friendly recipe. Hopefully that will be the secret sauce we need. She uses water, powdered sugar and vanilla, which I would think creates a fairly thick/stiff icing.
Flavor: Chocolate cake was great. Not too heavy, which I had feared only slightly. It's been that way sometimes in the past, as I have found happens more so with baked goods from scratch. She did good though...as I expected from her baking experiencing! She's also going to throw together tomorrow a bourbon fused version of the cake. I doubt we'll go with it, but it's definitely worth trying and we know how Jon feels about bourbon!
And something extra: Kara also stuck a little purple surprise in the center! She put a layer of purple icing between the two layers on top. (I assume she did the same for the bottom.) Not only was it purple, though, she took it a step further and threw blueberries in it. I guess she knew we wouldn't turn down the extra thought by securing my vote with the purple and Jon's with the blueberries.
Icing will have to be bettered and the look still has to be nailed down, but it'll come together. It's one of those things I'm not too worried about.