The Actual Wedding Cake Post
It’s been too long, I know. I was waiting for the official photos, and then the other half (well more than half) of My So Called Life took over – science. But it’d be silly to delay any longer before satisfying maybe a few (?) people’s curiosities about how the cake turned out. So …voila! Thanks to the lovely Leili, the wedding photographess, who with just a few shots made it look a lot fancier than I could have with my poor little iPhone 4.
So it turns out that making a cake – even a three-tiered, triple layered one, is much easier on holiday. This monster, believe it or not, was made over two weeks in effect, having been frozen a while before. It still never ceases to amaze me how well cakes freeze. Don’t believe me? Have a penchant for a bit of cake mix, but don’t fancy the real thing? Make a cake. Freeze it. Lick the bowl clean. Then defrost for a surprise treat another day. Handy!
I have to say, this week’s experiment (unblogged, since a), all of it was eaten and b), a) happened before I could take any photos) in this sense worked too well. Welcome to the world of the freeze-and-bake cookie. Delicious cookie dough, rolled into a cyclinder, then frozen. Ready to be cut from frozen into circles that are popped straight into the oven given the most capricious of whims. Cookie dough that can be happily nibbled on whilst raw. BUT. But. This doesn’t work if one happens to have a bit of an addiction to frozen food. And uncooked cakey things. Because, the beauty of this recipe – which does not require its cookies to suffer any thawing before cutting and baking – also means frozen cookie bits can be nibbled on FAR too easily. I found out that the cooked cookies this time tasted better than their frozen counterparts. Sadly this was still after about a third of the cookie dough had been erm, tested, raw. Next time, dear readers, next time.
Anyways, I digress. The Wedding Cake Bake Calculator. It was immense. I hadn’t stopped to think about the sheer cooking time that 9 layers of cake would take. Turns out it was approximately 7 hours. And around 5-7 goes in the oven. The inner aesthete paled into the background as The Scientist and The Excel Spreadsheet took over. For getting the right amount of cake mixture for each layer, and getting each layer even, is no mean feat.
Turns out a bit of biology and maths is useful in real life after all. Anyways, the cakes were baked (finally), and after sugar migraine had cleared (and the cakes cooled), they were wrapped well, boxed, and driven over to Spain, to be frozen. Leaving me, one week later, and two days before the wedding, to start converting them into an actual cake. Behold the sheer numbers of layers:
Also in sheer excess was the amount of butter used. There was a fun interlude on Friday where the men of Katherine’s poor family had to escort me round 2 supermercados, trying to source unsalted butter that was pale enough for the buttercream. They must have thought I was utterly bananas. I even had a bit of a nibble of one packet when no -one was looking, to double check it was unsalted. Turns out in Spain, butter is always a little salted (unless explicitly saying not so). But anyways, one shopping trip, 3 cups sugar, 12 egg whites, 72 tbsp butter, 19 oz of white chocolate and a lot of beating later, the white chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream was also ready! So the cakes were filled, assembled into the three layers, trimmed, and crumb-coated, before being piled into a fridge overnight.
Saturday, was proper icing time. But…the joys…at the wedding venue. An entire, industrial-sized kitchen all for little me and a little cake. Mountains of time. I actually quite enjoyed myself. It took a long time, but was not stressful at all. The only issue was the heat, which frequently meant I had to swap cakes, placing the others in the walk-in fridge. [Oh sorry, I forgot to mention. I had a WALK IN FRIDGE.] Although the fridge did have a lot of seafood in it; as the hours rolled on I started to suspect the prawns were staring at me every time I entered. Or possibly the cake. Do crustaceans like cake? Finally, the black lace piping was done, despite nervous hands (you really only get one go with this sort of thing): I think it looked OK.
The worst part was probably Sunday, when the cakes had to be assembled. Cue trying to cut plastic dowelling with a cake knife, getting it wrong, trying to extract dowelling with tweezers, trying to place a 3kg cake on top of another without smudging anything, getting the ribbon on correctly first time round, placing the flowers on the cake without smudging (which didn’t happen for your interest, though I don’t think it was noticeable), and finally getting the actual cake to the presentation table. The part where the waiter nearly dropped the top tier of the cake (which he didn’t realise wasn’t firmly attached to the next layer), I screamed and caught it, is NOT something I ever wish to undergo again.
But despite all that – joy! A finished wedding cake. And it did make it, as you will already have seen from the first three photos. It was strange yet thrilling to watch people coming over and gathering around to look and take photos. A cake I made! Gosh. Best of all was seeing Katherine’s response, and the fact that she loved it I think.
Am I glad it’s over? Yes. Would I ever consider making another one? Definitely. A cake – something so hand-crafted and personal – is a pretty cool gift to be able to give. Have a go! Even a little cake for a birthday. You might surprise yourself…