When the wedding cake goes wrong

So it’s taken me a while to write this post. In fact, it’s been a while since I did any post! I’ve not wanted to write about this cake because it went wrong. It was for a close friend, it was her wedding cake, and it went wrong.

I wrote a post a couple of months ago about our cake tasting and different flavours for a summer wedding….in the end the bride chose a vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream and apricot jam as the 10″ bottom tier. Then we had a lemon sponge with lemon buttercream for the middle 8″ tier, and on top we had a 6″ vanilla sponge with elderflower buttercream. All of the sponges were covered in Swiss meringue buttercream. This is where the cake went wrong…the flipping Swiss meringue buttercream (smb for short).

I had told my bride I wasn’t confident working with buttercream, I tend not to use any form of it. However, she insisted and, when I practised with the smb it seemed to be easy to make, covered nicely and my confidence with it grew. I made the buttercream a few times to make sure it wasn’t beginners luck.

As the wedding loomed, the bride had problems with the dress and the car, I confidently told her, don’t worry about the cake!!! The night before the wedding, the sponges were filled and stacked in their individual tiers. The buttercream was made, and the bottom tier was covered. Everything had gone to plan. I didn’t see the point in covering the top two tiers as by the time I had stacked the tiers and fannyed around, I would probably need to touch up or redo the buttercream anyway. So I packed away, got my box ready to take to the hotel to assemble the cake the following morning. I covered the bowl of buttercream and put it in the fridge. BIG MISTAKE!

The next morning, I was up and at the hotel for 10, the earliest time I was allowed in the hotel. As I was also a guest at the wedding I needed the cake to be ready by 12 so I could get myself ready and get to the church for half 1. Blissfully unaware of the chaos that was about to unfold, I unpacked my box, got my turntable ready and got the middle tier cake ready to cover. This is when I realised the smb was rock solid. Straight away I panicked. What. The. F**k was I going to do. Immediately I googled solutions, smb is quite a forgiving thing as it turns out. When making it, if it curdles…keep whisking and sure enough it will come back together and be just right. So I ran to the kitchen and asked the chefs if I could use their electric whisk to soften the butter and bring it back to the light fluffy consistency smb should be. After an agonising few minutes, the buttercream was back! Horray!! Crisis over?….not really.

As I started to cover the final two tiers, I noticed that in the warmth of the marquee, the smb was getting too soft and with that, changing colour slightly. By this time, there was nothing I could do. I didn’t have time to go home and make more smb, otherwise I would miss the wedding. All I could do was try and hide the cake as best I could with the flowers I had for decoration.

I was absolutely gutted. The cake looked crap. No Instagram filter could make to look better! I was embarrassed that people knew I had made it. I doubted myself, why did I think I was good enough at cake decorating to make a cake like this. Friends told me the cake tasted lovely, which was little consolation. I learnt a lot of lesson from this cake, but I need to remember, this is only the second wedding cake I have made and the first time I used smb on this scale.

I’m still gutted to this day but hey, the baking must go on.



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