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 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!