The Making of a Wedding Cake
Last summer my mum got re-married and asked me if I would make her wedding cake. Excited I agreed, and we enlisted the help of my soon-to-be auntie Jackie – who is a master at icing. However, I’m afraid this is not a blog post about the humorous-horror that entailed in making the cake as it was all a relatively calm, smooth process.
Although, I definitely can’t take credit for this. I in fact feel I didn’t so much make the cake as learn how a wedding cake is made. This is due to the very fortunate reason that Jackie has a friend, Lesley Way, who is a professional baker. This was not to be a cake where various overcooked or under-risen sponges emerged in oddly shaped tins from a messy kitchen. Rather an insight into the art of baking with a monster mixer, maths and oh so many eggs (46!).
First things first we had to decide on our cake. Flavour? Design? Height? After some extensive Pinterest research we settled for a naked cake as its rustic charm fitted to the wedding’s garden theme – plus it looked more in our capabilities. We chose light summer flavours of lemon with lemon curd and vanilla with apple and blackberry jam (of course vanilla butter-icing running throughout). I can’t remember its exact height but it was big, with fifty-odd cupcakes to accompany. In decoration we were keeping it simple with copious amounts of fresh berries and flowers. And for the cupcakes: a disk of royal icing and an individual edible flower.
The baking all took place at Lesley’s specifically designed kitchen. Here I learnt the importance of lining your tins: fully inside, but also brown paper round the outside to stop them darkening too much and allowing them to bake more evenly. Texture is an important thing to assessing your mix, how nicely is it falling from your spoon? As we weren’t making a fruit cake we made the sponges a couple of days before the wedding and tightly stored them so they didn’t dry out. I think the most stressful part was transporting them from the New Forest to the Piddle Valley (luckily non were broken). I do feel somewhat guilty writing this out as really I just did the fun bits – the baking and decorating – sorting the ingredients, transport and delicately washing all the fruit were all the jobs of Angel Jackie (I did have exams!).
Being a naked cake no rolled icing was needed (but I did learn – something that had baffled me for years – that when rolling icing you roll it on Trex so you don’t get all the icing sugar sticking to your icing). My friend Issy and I decorated on the day. This involved the very technical process of first a layer of buttercream and then randomly dotting the ring of the sponges with luscious fruit and edible flowers (another tip: we had lots of edible flowers left over at the end which were wonderful frozen in ice cubes and later served in Pimms). We saved the big flowers for the top, popped in a wee tin bucket.
On finishing it all looked surprisingly good, professional even. The sponges were the perfect shape, despite its nakedness it didn’t look underdressed and worked beautifully in the wedding tent. Not to forget, it was darn tasty…
But most important of all, the bride was happy with her surprise!