So today I’m making a wedding cake, and I’m up against the clock as usual…
But I’m not in a flap (much) as I’m using the recipe I wrote for BBC Good Food this June, which is a dirty dark and white chocolate ripple, flavoured with Irish Cream (Baileys). (The recipe isn’t online yet, so when it is I’ll post about it.)
I’m not doing the full three tiers or icing it; it’s for an easygoing wedding and the cake is part of a cake buffet, so it doesn’t have to be enormous. Lots of other friends are bringing smaller homemade cakes to keep it company. That way there’s lots of choice, with maximum visual effect. A bit like this (fingers crossed):
It’ll have piped roses all over it, a little like this (decorated whilst fiddling about during recipe development for What to Bake & How to Bake It). The nozzle is a Wilton 2D, in case you’re thinking ‘I need one of those!’.
There’s a simple, easy-to-follow recipe for Vanilla Celebration Cake in What to Bake too, finished with a silky white chocolate frosting, and it will honestly put any store-bought cake to shame. That’s why I always make celebration cakes for friends; I can’t face their disappointment if the cake looks great but tastes anything less than wonderful.
Take it from me:
1. You can make it ahead.
Most cakes freeze (wrapped really well), without the frosting for up to a month, and actually it’s often easier to slice a very cold, just-defrosted cake, than freshly-made. The fats are firmer, and the crumbs will be less crumbly. This is handy if your cake needs to be cut horizontally for frosting in layers.
2. Swat up on the venue.
Speak to the venue the day before and make sure they know that they can’t put your cake either next to a sunny window or a hot radiator. I once did a cake for a wedding at the House of Lords, and it was left in a hot conservatory for most of the day (after having been scanned for bombs beforehand!), and the butter cream was waaay too soft.
3. Different flavours? Tell someone!
If you’ve made three different flavoured layers, make sure you tell the catering manager or someone in charge of the event. I did my fruit, lemon and chocolate layered wedding cake but only the fruit layer made it out of the kitchen, which was a real shame. Here’s the recipe if you fancy trying three different flavours. All of the important info on stacking, how to ice, etc. is there too.
4. Too scary?
If you’ve been asked to make an alternative wedding cake for someone, or feel daunted by making a large stacked cake, try this. Make one beautiful bundt, then surround it with mini cakes, loaves or cupcakes. I did just that for our friends’ vintage winter wedding, which finished with a very chilled party at a local pub. Lemon drizzle was their favourite, so lemon drizzle it was.
The proud cake maker
Need help with a big cake project? Get in touch and I’ll answer a few of your selected questions later in the month.