This cake has been a labour of love all week. I worked out that I have spent 28 hours making roses and leaves out of sugar and a further 37 hours shopping, ordering supplies, baking, assembling and icing this monster of a cake. I have to say I am pretty tired, but it is the best kind of satisfied tired I have been in a long time.
I have learnt many lessons whilst making this cake. The most important lesson was letting the iced tiers dry separately before assembling together. Secondly, one must use a large pizza peel to move the cakes about without marking them. And thirdly, Royal icing is now my favourite icing as it sealed up any gaps between the tiers and smoothed over any unwanted cracks. If you are ever asked to make a wedding cake, think about where you buy your supplies from as you can easily cut costs by ordering cake boards, icing and boxes from warehouses. Making flowers takes time and should be started weeks before the wedding day, I accidentally dropped a few (which was heartbreaking) and it is a good idea to make more than you think you’ll need. Doweling is ESSENTIAL and shouldn’t be overlooked. I worked out that the cake weighs about 30kg and that poor fruit cake at the bottom has to support quite a lot of that weight. One must respect the fruit cake and stick many a dowel in it so that no caketastrophes occur (that is what Juliet Sear calls them).
Cakes should be transported SLOWLY and on a flat surface in the back a car (balancing a 30kg cake on a car seat is a disastrous idea). I was a great lover of google this week as every cake query I had was fixed in a matter of minutes. Now I know what to expect whilst making a wedding cake and I think the next one will be a lot easier (but not necessarily any lighter).
My latest challenge was designing a tea party cake. I made a light vanilla sponge and smothered it in rich vanilla buttercream. I put a base layer of icing on the cake before ‘throwing’ the tablecloth on so that the table had a smooth surface. I cut out a big circle of icing (~10 inches diameter for a 8 inch cake) and draped it over carefully, the folds naturally appeared which was rather lucky. I let the icing dry for hours before gluing on the iced tea set so I didn’t make fingerprints and imperfections. I never realised how important cocktail sticks were until I started icing cakes, they are just so handy to poke tiny objects into position. I also learnt that piping mistakes onto dried icing at 2 in the morning is okay because it just wipes off! The tea set was constructed with lightly coloured Regal icing and bits of wire. I stuck everything down with Royal icing which is essentially cake cement and is now my answer to every cake problem.
A big thank you to Jane for challenging me to such a cute cake idea. What will the next cake challenge be? Dum dum dummmmmmmmmmm….
It’s my brother’s birthday today and to celebrate I made a GIGANTIC jazzy. I baked a chocolate fudge cake and covered it in chocolate butter cream and coated it in hundreds and thousands. It dawned on me that perhaps taking the cake into the garden would be a better idea than chucking hundreds and thousands of hundreds and thousands all about the kitchen. It is safe to say that the cake (and the garden) have been decorated.
This cake was baked using one of Juliet Sear’s recipe from her book ‘The Cake Decorating Bible’. Juliet is amazing, I have learnt so much from her book and thoroughly recommend buying it or at least googling her for inspiration. My sister told me last week that Adele is one of her spirit animals and I must admit that I think Juliet is one of mine.
I woke up today with the horror of finding no milk left in the fridge. There was only just enough to make a very STRONG cup of tea. I needed pancakes as they are sacred to my weekend routine. I’m currently at home for the week and my mum has lots of things like soya milk in the fridge which lead me to taking a risk. I was delightfully surprised to find that my pancakes had a nice flavour and were lovely and light.
- 2 eggs
- mug of self-raising flour
- 1.5-2 mugs of soya milk (use your judgement)
- squeeze of golden syrup
My pancake methodology has never been accurate, I just like to mix it together until it’s quite thick and coats the back of a spoon well. After all, the morning shouldn’t be about calibrating your scales and weighing things out meticulously. Loose as a goose. I always make scotch pancakes using a very hot frying pan with a light greasing of vegetable oil. I think they look cute when they’re small. Then you can justify eating lots of them…
Why not have the occasional fling with a soya bean this weekend?
Well I’m having a fabulous rainy Wednesday prepping the wedding cakes I made yesterday. I have used 63 eggs and am too scared to calculate how much the total amount of cake weighs. I have foraged for ingredients, baked, shaped, buttercreamed and marzipaned the cakes over the last 48 hours. So far so good.
Making a cake this big is surprisingly physical, I shall be incredibly beefy by the time I am finished.
Now for icing, assembling and decoration…. but maybe a nap first.
My mum’s favourite cake is carrot cake. This is the best recipe ever!
- 350g self raising flour
- 350g light brown sugar
- 350ml sunflower oil
- 6 carrots
- 6 eggs
- Several handfuls of sultanas
- Good dash of orange juice
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tub of cream cheese
- Orange zest
- 50g icing sugar
Soak the grated carrots and sultanas in orange juice whilst greasing your tin and finding all the things you need. Mix all the ingredients together and then add the soaked carrots and sultanas. Bake in a 8 inch square tin for about an hour on gas mark 4. Leave to cool and make the cheese frosting. Sift the icing sugar into the cream cheese and apply generously on top of the cake. I also decorated it with lemon zest and a big ‘Mum’ out of sultanas. Happy Mother’s Day!
It’s almost wedding cake time! I’ve been practising flower arrangements on a polystyrene dummy. It’s very comforting to know I have made enough roses over the last two weeks. Also, rather conveniently I have tested two wedding cake flower sets at once as I have two cakes to do.
Advice to anyone making flowers out of modelling paste for a wedding cake…. start EARLY! They are fiddly and time consuming. They also need steaming to bring out their colour as they’re covered in icing sugar and look pale. Once dry they are very brittle and it’s heart breaking when you drop them and they break into a thousand bits! It’s all good though, just don’t sit on them. Wow, I should get paid for this advice… 😜
- 175g gluten free self raising flour (Tesco blend)
- 175g caster sugar
- 175g butter
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 75ml milk
- 3 eggs
- Drizzle syrup- juice of 3 lemons and 2 tbsp sugar
After my last gluten-free baking boob, an old school friend of mine sent me a recipe online. Good old Pete. I whisked up all of these ingredients together and baked for 40 minutes at fan 160 in a loaf tin.
Have to say this recipe was much much better than the potato based lemon cake. You wouldn’t know this cake was gluten free! The texture is cakey and lovely. I am happy. Thanks Pete!
Yummy scrummy cherry cake for work colleagues tomorrow….
- 8oz self raising flour
- 8oz caster sugar
- 8oz butter (room temperature)
- 2tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 25g ground almonds
- 200 g chopped cherries washed and dried
Mix all the ingredients together and fold in the cherries. I dried the cherries with a clean tea towel and coated them in a little flour before folding them into the mixture. This prevents them all sinking to the bottom whilst the cake bakes. I loaded up a greased 6 inch round cake tin to get a nice high cake to ice. I baked it for about an hour at 160 degrees (fan). If it starts to colour rather quickly pop a little foil on top to keep it a nice brown colour. Avoid charcoal hues, I have found it be most disaggreable. Not sure why I’ve turned into Mr Darcy there but these things happen.
After turning out the cake I mixed up some icing sugar and a bit of water to make a thick, runny icing (150g, 1-2 tbsp of water) and poured all over until just running over the sides. Few cherries here and there and wowsa. NOM!
Probably won’t look like that by the time I get to work on the train tomorrow …
I’m on the hunt for a scrummy gluten free lemon cake recipe at the moment. I followed a BBC good food recipe that substituted wheat flour for mashed potato and ground almonds. The mixture was quite sloppy compared to normal cake mixture and smelt a bit like dinner. The cake achieved a good rise from all the eggs in it which I was quite impressed with. After drizzling it with lemon syrup and cutting into it, it became quite apparent that I had actually made something of a lemon Spanish omelette…. This cake kind of represented the day I’ve had really as I found out that my boiler had broken and a CHILLED shower is not the best way to kick start the day. This recipe made me miss wheat dearly. My quest for gluten free cake continues …. I won’t be making this one again but I’m sure there will be someone free of gluten out there who really does enjoy lemon omelettes.