The bake off...
I watched the Great British Bake off final last night and I have to say generally I was disappointed. I know it is timed and the pressure must be immense but seriously, would any of you been happy with those wedding cake offerings?
Don’t even get me started on Ruby’s show stopper but she did produce a gorgeous picnic basketwork on her picnic pie. The less said about Kimberley the better...
Frances bakes have consistently looked amazing and her concepts took her work beyond food and entering art. So the result pleased me but even her wedding cake looked like it was about to topple over and crush any woodland animals who we scurrying around the log base. A worthy winner but next year I hope we see some grand show shoppers worthy of the final three.
Tom and Katie's rainbow wedding
This weekend was very special. Our good friends Tom and Katie got hitched in technicolour style. My husband Chris was best man, my sister-in-law Victoria was a bridesmaid and Eloise was one of the beautiful little flower girls. A very important family affair.
The wedding was rainbow themed from the men's waistcoats to the flowers to the cake which had a suprise under the tiers.
The cake was made by Tom's mum Pauline (who also made my wedding cake nearly 5 years ago) it was 4 tiers covered in the full spectrum of brightly coloured fondant flowers. The topper reflected the couple's somewhat unconventional nature - Hans Solo and Princess Leia figurines. Considering they exited the church to the Star Wars theme (being played by the church organist no less) this did not surprise anyone!
The surprise was very cool. As Tom and Katie cut the cake they revealed rainbow coloured sponge which had been created by layering different colour sponges with a white buttercream filling. A great talking point.
I know this blog is about cake but I can't help but share a picture of the cute little flower girls, my Eloise and Tom's niece Olivia. They looked adorable and I was a very proud Mum. I was also very proud (and laughing hysterically) at the Best man speech by Chris and fellow BM Ben which included a rap about how Tom and Katie met, to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune. It is moments like this which remind me why I married him.
Congratulations Mr and Mrs Brown! May the force be with you both xx
Lizzy and Jeff's wedding cake
One of my oldest friends Lizzy got married to her fiancee Jeff back in March at the Warbrook House Hotel. I had the honour of making her cake :-)
The whole wedding was very clean and unfussy featuring a lovely deep blue theme with accents of pink. The cake was a smooth white four tier round number with dramatic ribbon bows wrapped around two tiers. A diamante brooch in the centre of each bow added some bling to the design and picked up the detail on Lizzy's dress.
I have to let you into a little secret about the fabric bows; they were a bloody nightmare! Trying to tie a conventional bow around a cake is not a easy as it sounds. The bow looks crap and don't sit properly against the cake. So after a lot of stomping around the house i ended up making the bows the same way i make icing bows. I added the sash around the cake first. I then cut 2 tails and stitched them onto the sash. For the main bow i shape i stitched closed a loop of fabric and then wrapped a small piece of fabric wrapped around the middle of the loop pulling it into a knotted shape. I then stitched this bow onto the sash.
I am aware 98% of you are screaming at your computer/phone screen 'Just tie the ribbon around the cake!!!' and you are probably right. The 2% who aren't understand me perfectly and can come round for tea.
The cake was 4 different flavours and was displayed on a iced board and silver cake stand. Lizzy and Jeff decorated the cake table with pictures of their parent's weddings which was a beautiful and personal touch. I received a lovely note from Sheila, Mother of the Bride, and it appears the cake was so popular there was nearly a fight over the leftovers. Now that has to be the perfect compliment...
Cupcake tower @ Sarah & Dan's do
We were invited to a beautiful wedding this weekend at Silvermere golf club by the lovely Sarah and Dan. The day was perfect executed with handmade decorations and a mink colour scheme.
The wedding cake was a lovely cupcake tower made by bridesmaid Michelle. The cupcakes were chocolate or vanilla sponge and iced with some fab 2 tone buttercream icing and mini roses. At the top of the tower a cutting cake was adorned with real flowers matching the brides bouquet.
The cupcakes were displayed in gorgeous cupcake wrappers featuring delicate leaves and roses and placed on a clear acrylic stand. Rose petals were sprinked across the display table completing the look. Great job Michelle!
Sally & Anthony's wedding cake was my biggest challenge yet. Lots of research had gone into the design over the past few weeks and I decided the black, white sparkly square cake needed to be a real show stopper to match their classy art deco reception theme.
Getting really square corners was important to me as so many square cakes you see on the internet are actually polystyrene dummies which give you perfect corners, so people expect to see this with the real cakes too. The main problem i had was the cakes were rising in the middle but the corners were cooking too quickly in the tin and not rising. I then had to level the cakes to get the perfect square corners which meant wasting loads of cake.
I did some internet research and discovered that wrapping the baking tins in damp toweling can help the tin stay cool and allow the corners to rise up. This meant i had less cake wastage and I was able to bake the tiers faster.
For impact i made each tier 4 inches deep and to give extra height i made a 3 tiered iced base so with the bow topper the cake stood at nearly 20 inches tall.
To give the cake sparkle Anthony's Mum Carol had found some cake 'bling' which came on a roll. I wrapped this full height around 2 of the tiers and when the light hit the cake it sparked and shined. The other 2 tiers were decorated with thin icing stripes. Instead of piping black icing onto the white cake (a disaster waiting to happen!) i made the stripes by mixing 1:1 black sugarpaste and black flowerpaste. I pressed the icing through a sugarpaste gun which gave me neat stripes to attach by hand to the cake an inch apart.
To top the cake off i made a large black bow from black flowerpaste. When it dried the colour was a bit dull so i painted it with black food colouring to deepen the black and give it a slight sheen. Thin black ribbons around the base of each tier and alternating black and bling edging to the cake stand finished the design.
I was so pleased with the result. It complemented Sally's beautiful fishtail dress and the ornate surroundings of the RAC club in Epsom
Huge congratulations Sally and Anthony, you both looked stunning and so happy. And thank you for trusting me with making your cake!
Wedding cake production planning is in full swing for next week and one of the elements i really want to get perfect is the bow on the top.
Sally would like the bow to sit flat on top of the cake with some tails. I am conscience that bows can look rubbish if not done well. So i went in hunt of the perfect icing bow and found this amazing bow from finessecakes.com
Look how beautiful the bow looks on the cake with the stitch detail and realistic knot. It looks like a real fabric bow which is exactly the quality i want for Sally's cake.
Cake stands... or lack of...
Whilst researching the latest wedding cake designs i have discovered the limitations of cake stands available in the UK. They are either heavy silver or gold shiny lumps or weird alien lampshade designs which hold cakes at different levels or see through acrylics - Not my style at all. There is a few cupcake stands and vintage looking cake plates but not a huge choice and no specialist UK suppliers.
The US seem to have a much better selection. I like the fabric sash stands from raisethecake.com which are custom designed to match your wedding cake colour scheme. If you are looking for a vintage feel therochestudio.com has a nice selection of vintage cake stands for sale in a varity of styles and designs from large wedding cake platters to small single cupcake stands. And look at the cute wraught iron cupcake trees by bosscupcakestands.com! I want one!
Luckily they all ship to the UK!
Look at the lovely blog post featuring my cakes for Dan & Leanne's wedding. Doesn't the whole day look stunning laid out like this!
I am currently working on a new wedding cake design. The bride wants 4 square tiers of black and white pinstripes - with lots of bling.
I am currently thinking alternate tiers of solid diamante bling and crisp white icing with black pinstripes. Thin black ribbon around the bottom of each tier and possibly a black bow on the very top. For the base i am going to stack a few iced boards up and edge with the same black ribbon.
Kind of a mash up of these 2 cakes...
Now i have just about recovered from the cake baking marathon of the past few weeks i thought i would de-brief you a little on how the final stages of baking went.
Firstly the dreaded white cupcake cases. Now i thought i had found the perfect white cakes in the Culpitt ones but when it came to the lighter, sponge mix the cases collapsed in on themselved giving me very ugly edges - this would not do for the delicate vintage cupcakes. I tried recasing them but i couldn't get the cases to take the shape of the cake so it looked very baggy and i couldn't get an airtight seal with the icing - so the cake would have gone stale.
I then tried Waitrose cases (which you would think should be the best!) but alas a very similar situation to the Culpitt catastrophe.
So i came full circle back to Dr Oaker which you may recall were the perfect size for my tins and therefore gave me a lovely frilled edge but went very brown during baking. I did a little research online and a suggestion was to bake in 2 cases then remove the outside case. I tried this and the inside case was definietly a lot less darker. To further improve this i added a third case during the bake which vastly improved the colour. It did not stay completely white but it gave me a nice, clean pale colour which did not look discoloured. I was happy!
Next the Victoria sponge stack. Leanne changed her mind on the fruit at the last minute which i think was very wise. It did not change the baking but it gave a strong colour to contrast against the sponge and filling.
Despite doweling each cake on an individual board i was very nervous about the stability of the cake. The sponges had to be extremely fresh which meant they were not dense. Also i needed a decent amount of buttercream between each layer to achieve the right look. This combination of airy, light cake and lashings of buttercream and jam does not bode well for tiered structures where the bottom is under some pressure. It did seem to lean a little (i don't think the slightly sloping barn floor helped!) but some quick readjustment meant it stayed upright until it was cut at 11.30pm!
The fruit was a nightmare. Everytime i put a piece on another one rolled off. In hindsight i should have taken some buttercream along to the venue to use as glue around each tier (although how i would have stopped this from spoiling the look of the cake i don't know. We live and learn!!!
Holographic glitter mixed into the icing sugar made the cake sparkle and shine. (I was sparkling and shining too as i was covered in glitter during the wedding!) Overall a sucess but a little stressfull having to bake so close to the wire and assemble on site.
Mum. Wife. Artist. Baker.