Dave and Fi’s wedding cake

The 9th July 2011 was Dave and Fi’s lovely wedding set in the rolling hills of Devon.   Very kindly a few months earlier they accepted my offer to make them a wedding cake and put their faith wholeheartedly in me to come up with something good, scary!!

I started off looking for inspiration.  The brief was to be square and blue and rummaging around in books I found a lovely cake with feathers on as a basis.  We settled on a three tier cake, with the bottom fruit and the top two vanilla Madeira with buttercream and strawberry centre.  Here is the plan:

A month or so earlier Fiona came round to help bake the bottom fruit cake, giving it plenty of time to mature and top up with booze!  It smelled lovely and was a great solid base to build on.  I quite carefully filled any indents i though might show through on the surface with marzipan

Then cooled boiled apricot jam was brushed on and the very large piece of marizpan laid on top to cover the cake and the board it sat on.  Make sure you settle the marzipan on from onside so that you don’t trap air bubbles beneath.  The marzipan is then brushed with cooled boiled water to create a bond with the blue icing laid on top.  It is worth kneeding the icing to make it pliable as possible. I really try to get it right in one attempt as I don’t want it to get drier…but it doesn’t always happen!  I bought the icing already coloured pastel blue so that I could make and decorate the fruit cake in advance of the Madeiras and know that the icing would be exactly the same colour for the later cakes.

Once covered i got a pearl lustre dust and rubbed it very gently (you don’t want to drag the icing or make bubbles) over the surface for a lovely sheen

Bionic hands

Bionic hands

The next move was to cover the cake baseboard, sticking it with a little water under the blue icing and then lustre dusting it to match the cake

The cake was then placed on, someone to help here is good as the cake is heavy and the board might start to slide!  After firming overnight the next step was to insert plastic dowels into the cake to make the support structure for the tiers above.  The dowels are placed into the cake whole and a pencil line marked on where they exit the cake.

Then taking all of the dowels out of the cake you line them up against something flat.  The pencil lines are probably uneven so you take a mean average and draw a new line across all of them.  This means that the layer above will sit flat (hopefully).  Then cut away! i snapped after cutting halfway through but it wasn’t a great idea as it makes the cut uneven

Right !  Now for the fun bit! First part – painting on white feathers- second part icing beads over the top. Firstly i got a toothpick and lightly scribed onto the cake where i wanted the feathers to be.  To paint i ordered some natural cocoa butter off the internet, too much really at 500g i only used about 10g but it will keep.  I placed a piece on a white plate over a little bowl of boiled water and the heat was enough to melt it.  I mixed the butter with edible white dust bit by bit as i needed it, adding more or less of the melted butter if the white painted on too thick or too thin.

Nice thin brush and off we go – i found it best to just be quite relaxed about making sweeps, you can layer a little bit so if one stroke is not quite right you can lay another over the top, don’t panic – keep going! I tried to to about two feathers each side, varying the size and direction.  To finish i did little ones in the corner of the cake board.

Second step is mixing up some royal icing and putting it into a bag.  Previously I have been enamoured  with make-it-yourself bags, well i am over that now!  I found them a bit of a pain for unraveling and not really holding the nozzle tightly.  I don’t want to put anyone off as you might do it a lot better than me, but im straight down the shop!  I used a 1.5 writing nozzle but a 2 would be good too.  The bigger the squeeze the bigger the pearl that comes out so one nozzle can make a couple of sizes.

I started icing beads along the spines and then adding rows here and there along the feathers where it looked like a good idea.  Good fun but don’t too carried away with covering every bit!

 

A week before the wedding I made the two Madeira cakes.  In exactly the same way they were marzipaned and iced.

The 8″ had dowels put in it to support the 6″ on top and then i placed the whole thing together to be able to paint and ice the top two layers.

 

Once it was finished and had dried i carefully took it apart and put the top two layers onto their own boards, glued with a dab of icing so that on the long drive to Devon i could be fairly sure that they wouldn’t slide about!

A few miles later we arrived at the venue and i assembled it all back together, putting white ribbon at the bottom of each layer and around the cake board for the finishing touch!  The journey was completely fine, no damage, and the very nice catering manager who watched me put it together asked if was near enough to supply him! amazing!


The happy couple!! x x x

It was a brilliant experience, I was so happy that Dave and Fi were so happy!  I had not realised how much the cake means to the whole room, family and friends as well as the couple, as it is a focal point that is shared between everyone and taken home as an edible memory.  Fruit cake is just brilliant, it just lasts so well, smells amazing and feeds so many people!

Two months to go until the final cake…..

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Comments
3 Responses to “Dave and Fi’s wedding cake”
  1. Andrea says:

    Jenny, quit your day job, seriously – you are genius – it looks AMAZING! x

  2. Anne steventon says:

    That is one beauty of a cake Jen, amaaaaaziiiin xx

  3. Fiona Baker says:

    Hi Jenny, what can i say, we were so lucky to have you agree to a bespoke cake, we’ve seen and sampled you others so naturally had absolute faith, but wouldn’t have dreamed it would look so great and taste every bit as fabulous. It was a stand out feature in an amazing day and really made us feel the part, where we were winging it you, planned and performed like a pro. Thanks again!

    Fi x

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