This was set to be my third ever wedding cake, I was nervous about it but also determined to make it the best wedding cake I possibly could. After responding to an ad from a bride on facebook, and meeting the couple in person to talk cake, it was finalised – I was making the wedding cake for their winter wedding.
The design of the cake was very simple, but elegant and classic. I asked the bride why she didn’t just buy the sponges from M&S or similar and add the ribbon and decoration herself. The reason was twofold – 1. No where made square cakes covered in white icing and 2. One tier needed to be gluten free which supermarkets tend to avoid doing for a wedding.
This couple were great, they picked sponges to suit all the guests with the exception of one tier which is now my favourite cake EVER (See last week’s post on white chocolate and raspberry deliciousness). The decorative snowflakes were given to me at the time of cake tasting and we were ready to go.
The week of the wedding was a mammoth bake off! My patient parents let me take over their kitchen once again. Instead of making one large cake and cutting it into two sponges, I made two individual sponges per tier. Yes, this took a lot longer but I ended up with more even sponges, so less waste, and I didn’t have the added stress of worrying about cutting the sponge unevenly.
I did prepare the fillings in advance and I left them in the freezer in air tight containers, this just took the pressure off during the hectic week. By Thursday all 4 tiers were baked, the smallest tiers were placed on the boards, filled and stacked. I had my spirit level in my hand constantly; checking the cake were are level in every direction! Because the bold coloured ribbon was going to contrast against the white cake , I needed my tiers to be as close in height as possible and also as level as possible. A wonky tier would have been really obvious!
Friday night was spent rolling out over 8kg of white icing, each tier had a thin layer of white icing, followed by a slightly thicker layer. For tips of covering a cake, take a look at my ‘How To’. My sister was an angel at this point, she spent her evening taking orders from me ‘can you pass me this’ . She also did her fair share of rolling out- both of us ended up with bruises on our forearms, I had a circular bruise on each arm, whereas she only had one bruised arm (I did tell her, her pressure wasn’t even!!).
So far, so good. I was under control. I went to bed that night with only one tier needing a final covering. Saturday morning I was up, the final cake was covered and the boxes were packed ready to deliver and assemble the cake. Today it was my Mum’s turn to be my helper! The wedding was held at Harlexton Manor – it was STUNNING! Such a beautiful venue, inside the huge fireplaces were roaring and the place were decorated simply but beautifully.
The ribbon was placed around the cakes with ease, the navy blue ribbon looked striking against the cake. Each tier was given a final ‘smooth over’ to work out any bumps or knocks and the tiers were stacked. The tiers weren’t perfectly level, up close you could see a little gap in one or two places but from a distance they looked great (yes, maybe I am being over critical). The only thing left to do was insert the snowflakes. Each snowflake sat on top of the ribbon, with the stick sitting in the tier below. This was fine for the first 3 tiers, but for the bottom tier, there was nothing for the snowflake to sit in. My first thought was ‘no worries, I will just bend the stick’, which would have been fine if I didn’t go at it like a bull in a china shop and snapped the flipping thing!
At this point, panic sets in. Oh shit! How was I going to sort this! Luckily, I brought some wire with me, my idea was to use a piece of wire to hook onto the snowflake and gently push into the cake. The only flaw in this plan was that the wire was coated in a green paper – do you think we could get the paper off?!! Not a chance! Mum then came to the rescue. Before I left the house, I threw some silver bag ties into my box. Thankfully, they could be attached onto the snowflake, the wire was thin though, so we needed a lot. Each spike of the snowflake had a bag tie around it, then we twisted all of the ties together to make one thick bit of wire. I noticed my mum’s hands were shaking at this point, she was so worried bless her that we weren’t going to fix the problem. She used to make wedding cakes, so she was all to aware of the stress and pressure that comes with making a cake. The thick wire was then pushed into the cake and with baited breathe we waited to see if the wire would hold its position in the cake…it did! Horray!
Stress over! The cake looked great on the Mr and Mrs stand, a few pictures later and a quick tidy up, we were done. I left an information sheet with the cake so the people cutting it up knew what each tier was. The couple had decided they were going to cut the cake as soon as they had their wedding ceremony, the guests when then able to get a bit of cake and cup of tea whilst the bride a groom had their photos. I thought this was a really good idea!
This cake served 150 people:
- Top tier – gluten free vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam
- 2nd tier – raspberry sponge with white chocolate ganache
- 3rd tier – lemon sponge with lemon buttercream
- 4th tier – vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam
I’m not too sure what my facial expression is trying to say here….slightly relieved and happy?!!
Third wedding cake = done!