Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brummie Wedding Cake!

What a crazy and fun experience it was making and decorating a cake for my friend in my home country! It was a considerable risk, since I dont know the ingredients, wasnt exactly sure of the location that I would be working in, and I had serious doubts about my ability to pull it off.

Thankfully it all turned out well, my lovely patient long suffering Mum was my sous chef, she also found me a huge and wonderful kitchen, with tons of space, great ovens, a giant
mixer, and a very helpful manager who found us whatever we
We were actually working in the Masonic Lodge's kitchen. I dont know much about what goes on but I do know that they love their meat! The chef was preparing masses of devilled kidneys for a function the following day, and they also made some heavenly smelling steak and kidney pies. I guess that funny handshaking needs a lot of protein for fortification!

Mum was completely amazed by the amount of ingredients we needed as I swept a whole shelf of chocolate from the display at Asda. I normally use callebut chocolate but didnt come across any, so I used a combination of cadbury and green and blacks chocolate with a little galaxy mixed in there.

We got to work on the first day, baked all the cakes in sheets, wrapped them up and then prepared the ganaches. I made a mixture of white and milk chocolate ganaches. These were an excellent complement to a dark mud cake(the bottom tier) and a solid chocolate cake(the top two cakes). We also had to make gallons of chocolate ganache to use as a covering. I'd decided this was going to be the most elegant presentation, and I didnt want to work with new fondant, or worry about buttercream melting.

The next day we came back and cut the cakes to size, then stacked four layers of cake filled with three layers of filling. I carefully measured the cake to ensure it was completely straight, then cut to eliminate any high spots. This is extremely important to produce a neat uniform cake, with a square there are more angles to compare, so just a little bit of a wrong angle looks terrible.

I then crumb coated each cake with a layer of ganache. It was so cold that day that I needed to work very quickly, the ganache started setting almost as soon as I started working! I followed that with another two layers to try and get a smooth finish. This was the trickiest part. I used a bench scraper to get a nice clean line, not as clean as I'd have liked, since the ganache kept setting so quickly, but I had to remember the famous quote 'dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good' which is turning into my mantra.
I stacked all the cakes with plenty of support, then added a fondant ribbon. We heaved a heavy sigh of relief once the behemoth was in the fridge, and went home for a much needed rest!
There were plenty of offcuts of cake left, so I took some home with the chocolate ganache around to my friend's house for dessert and I could tell we'd made a good cake when complete silcence descended upon us until we'd cleared our plates!

The wedding was at the beautiful Highbury Hall, somewhere I'd probably been past a million times but never set foot in! We set the cake up on a dramatic pewter stand and it started to really take shape.

I added the characters and some flowers and it looked great, if a little odd! I'd made all the requested characters, robot, monkey, dinosaur, giraffe, cat and some ninjas, and I decided it would be fun to have two of them as the couple, so added a bow tie to the robot and a little veil to the giraffe.

I also took the other side of the cake as a different perspective and added some sugar flowers that I'd copied from some very blurry pictures of the brides dress.

Everyone was extremely excited by the cake, and it was really fun being able to be a part of my dear friend's day. I did have a little worry, the cake was placed in front of a giant radiator, and I think the insides were a little melty by the time it was served. Thankfully the ganache stood up well to the heat, I dont think buttercream would have survived.

I took the remainder of the ganache and diluted it with cream to make a delicious pouring sauce.

As always with these kind of events, I'll raise a glass (or a cup of tea) to the happy couple, Em and Daz. They were just glowing that day, and I'm so glad that they've found each other, they complement each other perfectly.

The speeches were wonderful, there was so much love in the room for them and support for their union it was really touching. As they return from their honeymoon, I hope they will look back on their day with as much happiness as I do.


Kara said...

What a great story...I'm glad it all turned out well, the cake was beautiful and it obviously tasted good too! When everyone gets quiet while eating, you know it's good.

Brum said...

Great account of a truly magnificent cake! Interesting to learn more about the ingredient & kitchen
challenges then how you overcame them.

You're right thst most guests were excited about seeing/wolfing something that had been so long in the gestation - not least my then almost ripe bump :) We knew about the ninjas & robots but had no idea how they'd work together.

Nice work & hope to get to meet you properly when you're next over (being heavily pregnant left me a bit mono at Highbury!)

SweetThingsTO said...

I'm so glad everything turned out. I couldn't imagine making a wedding cake in new surroundings, new equipment, temperature, etc. Lots that could throw someone off and the pressure - you did superb! Lucky bride and groom to have you make this special cake for them!

Jo said...

Nicely done!
The cake looks delicious!

Jacqueline said...

Congratulations Jenny! What a great story, and fabulous photos to go along with it! The cake turned out fabulous, and kudos to you for taking on the challenge! xo

editorialgirl said...

Oh, Jenny!

I cannot thank you enough for the amazing job you did for us.

To fly over specially, source foreign ingredients (well, ingredients you're not used to working with, anyway), find a kitchen that was up to standard and big enough to work in, work in said strange kitchen (with kidney devillers looking over your shoulder), cope with all the challenges posed by the new ingredients and the different climate, have your mom as the sous chef, deal with our bonkers requests for the decoration... and STILL deliver a cake that went way, way beyond our expectations (and tasted AMAZING, btw)... I am truly in awe.

Thank you so, so much.

And now my mom and dad have some leftover mud cake in their freezer for future visits. It's the gift that keeps on giving ;)

Big hugs
Em xxx

caninecologne said...

hi jw- what an amazing cake and lovely little figures on them too!

congrats to your friends on their wedding! how wonderful that you were able to play such a big role in the reception - the cake is a big deal!!!! :)