Let's talk about frosting, y'all. (With some crappy cell phone pictures!)
Rule #1: You never have enough frosting.
Rule #2: Do you have some time? Make some Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Make some more. It'll be worth having it stashed away.
So! Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It is delicious. It starts out with egg whites (I use ones from the carton, because they're pasteurized and no worries about separating eggs) and sugar in a double boiler. Stick a candy thermometer in it and whisk 'em up until they hit 160 F.
Once it hits 160, move it over to the stand mixer and whisk away. You did wipe down all implements/bowls/whisks with lemon juice, right? Just in case there was any trace of fat or oil on them? Good. Get the stand mixer going and walk away.
While the mixer is going, cut up some butter.
A lot of butter. (This is for a ten-cup batch of frosting.) Revel in the amount of butter you are using. Delight in it. Cackle while you're cutting it up. It needs to be softened to room temperature before you can put it in the frosting (I have shortcutted this in the microwave at low power levels. Use caution.)
Your meringue should be expanding rapidly at this point. Once it's thick, white, shiny, and (most importantly) the bowl of the mixer is neutral to the touch, it's time to chuck your butter in! One piece at a time, please. This is a good task to delegate out if you have other people around. Continue cackling.
Once all the butter's in, walk away. Again. If you come back in a few minutes and it looks kind of grainy, that's a good thing. Walk away again. Don't come back until it looks like the crappy cell phone picture above. Add a pinch of salt and some vanilla and whammo, frosting! It is not enough frosting. It is never enough frosting.
Cake assembly time! This is one skinny-ass half-sheet lemon layer with some frosting slathered on top and some whole raspberries studded into it. Some days you just don't want to cook down the produce, and that's okay.
Then take your heart into your hands and flip your second layer on top of the filling. (If you freeze it first, it'll be less floppy and panic-inducing.) Crumb coat everything, using more frosting than you could possibly think you'd need. It is not enough.
Between that step and the next picture several things happened. I started piping on swirly roses in a haphazard and nonsensical pattern, ran out of frosting, decided they looked bad, scraped everything off, and started over. Piped more swirly roses on in a much more reasonable fashion, ran out of frosting. Made another (small) batch of frosting with the rest of the egg whites. Tinted it pink, piped on more swirly roses, ran out of frosting again. Went to the store, bought more egg whites, came back, made ANOTHER (medium) batch of frosting, tinted it pink, finished piping the damn cake. Filled in any little gaps and stuck the whole sucker in the fridge to firm it up. Take it out of the fridge, take a picture, box it up, back in the fridge, and here we are!
So that was my weekend. Delivered the cake today (it's for a bridal shower, can you tell?) without issue, always the MOST fun part of the process, and it's in good hands now!
What have we learned?
NEVER. ENOUGH. FROSTING. We're done here.