Last week I was honoured (and very surprised) to be asked to bake a wedding cake. My sister-in-law asked me to make a cake for her friends who were getting married this week as she’d just discovered they didn’t have one. Awww, how lovely is she?
Now, I’ve made big cakes, small cakes, ridiculously layered cakes–really want to make another Dobos Torta–a 3D raccoon, and a couple of stacked cakes, but never a wedding cake. So baking this wedding cake was not something I undertook lightly. There are so many emotions tied up within a wedding cake, you’ve got to get it right. I was a nervous wreck by the time I was done.
I sketched out a few ideas and settled on a simple but hopefully pretty design. (Loving playing with my chalkboard; I get to feel all artistic. Luckily for everyone, I bake better than I draw.) As I’m currently in love with peonies and the wedding colours were to be white and baby pink, I thought I’d have a go at making a simplified one to grace the top tier.
I’d love to say that this cake went smoothly, but as with all things that you care rather too much about, nerves played their part. My fingers were less than nimble at times and the cake isn’t the flawless beauty I’d imagined. But what I think doesn’t matter: Emily and AJ were thrilled with their cake and as luck would have it, the flower I created looked exactly like one of the flowers adorning Emily’s dress! (I’m going to ride the wave of these burgeoning psychic powers and buy a lottery ticket.)
Congratulations Emily and AJ, I hope you have many happy years together!
Make a timetable. Work backwards from when the cake needs to be ready and add an hour on to each stage of the cake to give yourself a nice contingency cushion. Just in case things go wrong. (I had sufficient time left to bake another tier of the cake if necessary.)
Use a tried and tested recipe. I used Lindy Smith’s madeira cake recipe which I’ve been using successfully for the last three years. (I go the whole hog and wrap the tin up in newspaper as well as having a tin of water on the floor of the oven. Works a treat.)
Use a cake leveller. And use it properly. Level each tier to the same height, then as you cut the cake into layers cut each tier before changing the height on the leveller again. This will make your cake look very professional when cut!
Don’t use new-to-you items. I used a different brand of fondant icing, in the name of saving money, and regretted it. It changed colour overnight and then my ribbon didn’t match and it was all very traumatic.