Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wedding Cakes

Being a completely self taught baker and cake decorator I tend to shy away from doing wedding cakes. Whereas the odd imperfection can be overlooked on a birthday cake, it is a complete no no where weddings are concerned. Wedding cakes have to be perfect! The first wedding cake I ever made was far from perfect... but it was okay because it was my own! Back then I knew nothing about stacking cakes with boards and supports. I just made four different sized chocolate cakes and put one on top of another. I covered the whole lot with chocolate ganache and then slapped white chocolate shavings over the lot. It tasted fantastic but looked a mess! Even the little hand crafted couple on the top (Me and Stewart!) looked somewhat dishevelled! But we ate it with strawberries and cream for dessert at our wedding and everyone seemed to enjoy it.


So when a couple of years ago my friend Ann asked if I could make her wedding cake I was a little hesitant. She assured me that informal and simple was fine. So with some carefully placed flowers and piped dots to hide the cracks, I think I got away with it!


Gradually my confidence and skills increased so when my brother asked could I make his cake this year I was up for the challenge, although I didn't feel quite so confident when I found out what they wanted... Steam Punk meets Alice in Wonderland! There were many hours spent watching YouTube tutorials where I learned how to make cake lace...


And molded decorations like watches...


and roses!


And although I know it was far from perfect, they were happy with the end result.


So knowing perfection had still to be achieved, it was a bit of a risk when I agreed to make the cake for a friend's daughter's wedding. With a woodland theme, their request was for a reasonably simple cake topped with an ivy garland and accompanying cupcakes.


Last week I made 250 sugar paste ivy leaves in preparation and have spent the past two days making the three layer red velvet cake and 72 cupcakes. There were two attempts at getting the red velvet right (I now have a spare cake in my freezer) and I was on my feet baking for about eight hours yesterday. I've not slept well either  and have had recurring dreams of either not finishing it in time or of all the ivy leaves falling off.


Today it was all ready to deliver and set up... but what if I tripped up whilst carrying the boxes and dropped the cake! What if the ivy leaves really did fall off?


I can't tell you how relieved I was once it was all set up with no mishaps.


And was it perfect? Probably not, but it's the happiest I've felt with any cake I've made and I loved the finished display on the fabulous log slice cake board (made by the bride's Mum!)


So am I now ready to take on more wedding cakes? No I don't think so as I'm not sure I can handle the stress... not to mention the lack of sleep. Although I don't think I will get away saying no more wedding cakes with three family weddings next summer!

24 comments:

  1. I have to say Gina the ivy cake looks absolutely amazing!

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  2. I understand the stress! I am making second daughter's wedding dress at the moment and having to draft the pattern pieces myself as she wants a combination of three different patterns. This is design week with a toile and yes I have had all those wakeful nights and feel a mild sense of panic lurking in the background. Making her older sister's wedding dress was a breeze by comparison.

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    1. I have done bridesmaid dresses and that was stressful enough!

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  3. I forgot to say (in my mildly panicky state) your cakes look wonderful and the Ivy cake is a triumph xx

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  4. Oh wow, they are absolutely beautiful. I can well understand the stress, but what an amazing job you made of them. I can see how tricky the steam punk one must have been, but you really pulled it off. All gorgeousness. CJ xx

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  5. I think it's a very specialist area and you have good reason to worry! But you can certainly hold your head high with those and I'm sure the future ones will be just as wonderful.

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  6. I don't think you have any need to worry about future family wedding cakes, though I can see how stressful they must be. Your cake making and decorating skills are amazing and you can allow yourself to choose which projects to take on.

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  7. Wedding cake problems do not end with the delivery of the cake! In 1958, when my Aunt Doreen got married, her cake was lovingly made, and piped with royal icing by one of her sisters. It was duly delivered, and stood on a table ... with a convenient chair left nearby. One of my 3-year old cousins eyed it lovingly and quietly pulled the chair over, stood on it and bit off a corner of the icing, leaving clear tooth and suck marks on it! Aunt Doreen just laughed it off ... but the aunt who made it did not! So don't worry about cakes not being perfect - this is what makes the family wedding memories. This is one of our classic family stories to be told at weddings. What are yours?

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    1. That is actually really funny! I hope I would have see the funny side if I was the baker!

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  8. You know, I never had a wedding cake! I might ask you to make me one for my 20th anniversary. Let me think.... wildflower meadow theme maybe? Just teasing. Your cakes are all beautiful but I must say I do love your own wedding cake most of all. x

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  9. Gina, you have really outdone yourself. The cake(s)...just gorgeous. Bet they taste great too. Red velvet is a favourite of mine. I bet the bride and groom are beyond delighted. You are an amazing lady.

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  10. Completely stunning Gina, and I'm sure delicious. Make sure you have a relaxing, play free weekend.

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  11. This one is a winner Gina! Very individual and it sounds perfect.

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  12. They are all wonderful Gina. The ivy cake is so unusual and so effective, stunning.

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  13. I recall decorating a fruit and marzipanned cake in Royal icing, three tiers and 280 roses and buds. When I asked how it was, I was devastated to hear that they had to chisel off the icing since they couldn't get a knife into it. I clearly had not used enough glycerine in the icing...

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  14. Brilliant wedding cakes - your decorating skills just get better and better - but the stress level probably goes up just as fast! I drove 300 miles with our wedding cake sitting on a blanket on the back seat of my car, terrified of what would happen to it. I nearly had a heart attack when a lorry braked sharply and unexpectedly in front of me in the city traffic - but thank goodness the cake did not slide off the seat - though it did move!! I was very thankful to make it to the reception centre with an undamaged cake.

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  15. Fabulous cakes Gina - but I can imagine the anxiety involved. I was going to say 'take it easy over the next few days' though I know you probably won't!

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  16. It's gorgeous Gina! What a worry that must've been! I did cupcakes for my son's rehearsal dinner, but that's as brave as I would ever be -- there are just toooo many things that can go wrong LOL!

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  17. Love those cakes! Completely understand the stress. I've made wedding cupcakes and a three tier affair for my girlie but never again.

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  18. Oh my gosh! These all look wonderful Gina! I honestly don't know what you are shy about, because you are an true artist in all that you show here. Love the steampunk and the ivy cake! You have nailed it with the details. Amazing!
    I was admiring the 'woodland' theme cakes on pinterest a while ago and just fell in love with the birchbark some people have created out of icing. Not that either of my kids are showing any signs of getting married, but I'd like to be prepared ;)
    Now you can sit back and enjoy the spare in the lair!
    Wendy

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  19. Have tried to comment on your posts whilst away Gina but something must of got lost in translation! Just to say love your ivy creations- so simple (well to the eye) and woodlandy! Is there going to be a debrief about the GBBO final (I missed it) ? Love to know your thoughts and you should be on The Bake Off, but as a blooming judge! Much love and it's nice to be back but Brrrrrrrrr! x

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