Do you remember last year how I told you I'd been asked to make a colleague's wedding cake?
Well, if not (and you can't be bothered to click through- last December, S commissioned me to make her wedding cake. And to be completely honest, between then and June I kind of put the entire thing out of my head because I was just so worried about it. A wedding cake is a huge deal for a lot of people, and while S and P are very laid back, I knew that if I messed this up, they'd be so sad, and I couldn't do that to them.
So back in June, the three of us went for coffee and talked ideas. We established that their colour scheme would be ivory, navy, and silver, and that they wanted a simple, traditional cake. They asked for three tiers, enough cake to serve up to 70 people, and for the middle layer to be sponge, while the top and bottom layers were fruit.
In the end, I took a whole week off work around the wedding (which was a Thursday) to enable me to make the cake in a relatively stress free way back in Devon. I made the fruit layers back at the end of August (as fruit cake is best when it matures and you feed it. Consider it a new pet, albeit one that you feed with brandy.), but had to marzipan and ice them in the days running up to the event.
I did have a small mishap when it came to the sponge layer, however. I may possibly (read: definitely) have made the sponge layer an inch too small- which sounds like nothing, but trust me, it was a big problem. Cue an 11pm dash to the nearest Tesco (read: a good 15 minute drive away) for a new correctly sized tin where, in my panic, I bought the wrong sized tin again. So Mama CupandSaucer took pity on me, drove out to Tesco again- this time with the cake board in tow to check the size- and left me re-making my cake batter. In the end, I think I got to bed around 2am, still with all the cake filling, icing, stacking, and decorating to do. Yeah.
Oh, and once it was all made and stacked, I had to transport it 30 miles across Devon in thick fog.
So here are my top ten tips for making a wedding cake! Obviously, I have made a grand total of one so you know, I'm no expert but still, for a beginner, these might help:
1- Always check your cake tin sizes. Obviously.
2- Fondant smoothers are the best things in the world. You will not get a decent finish without them.
3- Don't over stretch yourself. If you aren't an experienced decorator, think simple- it's so much more elegant than a messy attempt at something fancy.
4- Get a little saw for your dowel. It's harder to cut than you'd think
5- A yoga mat under the cake box in the boot of your car will stop it from going anywhere
6- Use recipes you have practiced and are comfortable with. This isn't a time to experiment.
7- Royal icing sets like cement, so is the best thing to use between layers to stop them from moving. This will particularly help if your layers aren't perfectly flat.
8- But really, when you trim your cake layers. use a spirit level (yes, really) to check it- then turn it upside down before you marzipan and fondant the cake
9- Put each cake layer on a board the exact same size as the cake, then treat it as part of the cake- that is to say, make sure you drop the marzipan and fondant down to cover the board as well as the cake!
10- Make sure your cake layers are even heights. And if they aren't, you could either trim them or use cake boards of different thicknesses under each layer
And a bonus no. 11- Enjoy it! You're getting to be such a cool part of someone's special day- it's something to enjoy, not fear!
So yeah! I learnt a hell of a lot making this cake. And I absolutely cannot wait to make another.
Oh, and that wasn't my only wedding thing of last week. I also received my invitation for my brother's wedding, helped Mama choose her outfit for my brother's wedding, discussed cupcake favours with my brother and his fiancee, went to S and P's evening reception, and chatted everything wedding-y over brunch with my friend LR, who is getting married next August. Seriously- no more weddings until the New Year. Thank you kindly.