There’s a reason why wedding cakes cost hundreds of pounds – the ingredients alone for a cake of that size are pretty expensive, and they are a LOT of work. I took a wedding cake decorating class at the beginning of 2015, and we only completed two cakes over the 8 weeks. But I discovered I was fairly good at it, and wondered if I would ever get the chance to make a wedding cake for real….
For those of you who know Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker I’m thrilled and a little bit scared to announce that she has asked me to make her wedding cake! She is a good friend so I think it’s just wonderful to ask someone you know to make your cake, though it is a little bit daunting as I will be watching it all the way through the wedding hoping it doesn’t collapse! Also, making a cake for someone who is such a good baker herself is a bit of a challenge… so of course I wasn’t going to do it without a practice run!
I’m not going to show you the whole cake or even how it’s going to be decorated but I did want to share the recipe. I found it online on the BBC Good Food website and was pleased to find it was for a 30cm (12 inch) cake, which is what I’m baking as the bottom layer, so I wouldn’t have to scale up ingredients or adjust cooking times.
I followed the instructions to the letter, other than not noticing that I needed two pots of sour cream so I only bought one, and didn’t have time to go back to the shop. It turned out perfectly like this though, so when I make the real thing I need to remember to only use one pot of sour cream then as well.
It took a good half an hour to make the mixture then the cake took just under the suggested 2.5 hours in the oven; the way to bake a cake this large without it being burnt at the edges or raw in the middle is at a low heat. The cake was flat on top which was great, and it came out of the tin easily – I had to buy a new cake tin as I didn’t have one big enough and only realised at the last minute that it didn’t have a loose bottom like my other cake tins. I sprayed it liberally with PME Cake Release and had no problems.
This page on the BBC Good Food site was also helpful, as it advises how to assemble the wedding cake and gives recipes for the buttercream. I decided not to fill the cake – when wedding cakes are sliced, they are done in a specific way which means you get a thin rectangular slice (rather than a triangle) and I don’t think I’ve ever had one that has filling in the middle. As the pieces aren’t large when they are served, the buttercream around the side and on the top, and the white fondant, is usually enough. Also, I was quite worried about the structural integrity of the cake if I split and filled it; I knew it would be harder to cover in fondant and get smooth sides if the cake had been cut through, and there was a chance the buttercream would squash down and the top part of the cake would move. Luckily the chocolate cake was so moist and light that it really didn’t need a filling at all.
So I followed the recipe given for the chocolate buttercream and had about four times as much as I needed! I spread it on the top and around the sides of the cake and covered it with roll-out fondant – which was not easy with a 12 inch cake! It looked OK for a practice cake but I think I will need to have a lot of spare fondant when I come to do the real thing in case I need to take it off and start over!
So this is all you are getting as a teaser of the real wedding cake, which I will post on my blog with her permission after the wedding itself in a few months time!
In the meantime because this cake uses Belgian chocolate I am sending it to Formula 1 Foods, the Grand Prix-related blog challenge I host, as the race is coming from Belgium over 21-23 August.