Friday night I finished my first wedding cake. It was epic! Am I allowed to say that? In epic I mean it was great in size, the duration of time invested was extensive and I was a little heroic attempting a 3 tier cake with lots of flowers!
I’ve been through all my photos including the photos I took during the creation of the cake and I want to share about thirty photos! So this blog post may be in a couple of parts (I don’t want any of your web browsers crashing!). We’ll see where my writing takes me, like my cakes I only plan to a certain extent and then see where my imagination goes!
I was so excited when I got the phone call from the bride-to-be asking if I would make their wedding cake. What an honour! And even more excited when she said she would like fruit cake. I love fruit cake, but it seems that the younger generations like it less and less. I love dried fruit; I love cake… so what’s wrong with combining them! Add brandy, a chocolate frosting and then fondant icing and are you still not tempted?!
I spoke to the bride and her daughter in November about the cake to see what she had in mind. I knew the wedding was to be Hawaiian themed and was really hoping the bride liked frangipanis as I can make them! I had spoken to my cake decorating instructor and she recommended 3 tiers for the number of people attending the wedding – a 6 inch, 9 inch and a 11 inch. So I browsed the internet for tiered frangipani cakes and took some pictures to show the bride. I also took my pink frangipanis and purple roses and her daughter (who turned 4 this January) was very impressed with my frangipanis! Phew I had one tick of approval! The bride pretty much said it was up to me and a yes to frangipanis as she already had some arranged for the tables. She also showed me this head-piece as she was thinking of something similar for her daughters.
I had planned on starting to make some frangipanis in December in preparation, but just ran out of time with work, Christmas functions and even Christmas cakes (and I am still yet to show you all of them!)! When we got home from our UK trip the end of January I was a little inundated with work again. It’s always the way after holidays, you take 3 weeks off and it takes 3 weeks to catch up! So the end of the first week of February I made the fruit cakes and then each day going forward I made flowers, leaves and some ribbons to go with my flowers!
I proceeded to make a lot of frangipanis and I would have them sitting in an egg carton filled with cornflour for a couple of days – cornflour dries the fondant out quicker so then you can colour the frangipanis and use them! When I had a couple of dozen done I attempted some roses. It was May 2013 when I made 3 roses in class and haven’t done any since. I was going by my notes – which made sense at the time! So I was a little dubious if they would work out. Roses need to be made in 5 stages so you can let the petals harden and ensure they have attached to the bulb, and then the next row of petals attached to the inner ones and so on. At each stage I made a few more frangipanis in 4 different sizes, just in case the roses didn’t work I would have plenty of frangipanis.
Each time I had to go out everything would be moved from the kitchen table to the kitchen bench to ensure 2 little furry ones did no damage. Each afternoon I would move everything back to the kitchen table so I would not get into trouble if hubbie had no room to make dinner! Plus working from the kitchen table was so much easier on my back and feet. It’s easy to do flowers sitting down!
The puppies always sleep with us. Hamlet has taken to sleeping between our pillows. I think he was sick of us kicking/moving him in the middle of the night when we couldn’t straighten our legs. Macbeth is even more sensitive and sleeps under the bed! Hamlet is a very good sleeper and since we have put an anti-bark collar on Macbeth he is not so sensitive to noise (small noises are not worth barking for!). They usually do not get up until we do so I have been leaving my cake stuff on the kitchen table overnight.
However the Saturday before the wedding we must have had a little lie in and I heard some barking downstairs. Like a good Mum I know their different types of barking and knew they were playing – but with what? So I quickly got up, and I do not do anything quickly first thing in the morning… I got to the bend in the stair case and saw flour on the bottom two steps and leading across the timber flooring to the kitchen, so without panicking too much I followed the mess and found two puppies who looked like they had been snorting cocaine (we had just seen The Wolf of Wall Street so cocaine was fresh on my mind), an egg carton the right way up and with most of the cornflour still in it – but with no frangipanis! To make it worse it was my 18 egg carton and you don’t get them too often and it was perfect for my frangipanis! So I am not sure if I was more upset with the 18 more frangipanis I had to make again, or that I had to get a new 18 egg carton and more cornflour! But it was pretty much a night wasted as I needed to make more frangipanis. Darn those puppies – I am not sure where their sweet tooth came from!
I have been asked how long it took me to make the cake and it would have been over 30 hours. I knew it was more than 20 hours, but figured I might as well try to work it out. Of course as I made each stage of the cake I had a movie or show playing. So I added all the hours from the DVDs and it came to over 30 hours – that’s not including some Mork & Mindy I watched nor any shows I may have forgotten. Just as a side note – Robin Williams is just hilarious in Mork & Mindy – there would have been no show without him and his hilarious diatribes!
I do try to watch shows that are along the theme of the cake I am making – so of course I tried to think of shows with weddings and also about love. I started my journey with BBC’s 2008 version of Sense & Sensibility – which is a beautiful version of it even if I doesn’t have Hugh Grant & Emma Thompson. This was followed by BBC’s 1972 version of Emma which is lovely and you get to know the characters well after 4 hours, but Emma comes across as quite stuck up compared to Gwyneth Paltrow’s soft funny portrayal, but I know the story so am quite happy to listen to it in the background.
At this stage I really wanted to watch BBC’s 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice – well I love Colin Firth and it ends with 2 weddings! However 2 little furry guys have eaten my DVD remote and Pride & Prejudice’s DVD doesn’t automatically start with “Play Movie’, it starts on ‘Scene Selection’ and you just end up in a loop if you press the Play button on the DVD box. I was devastated! It was the perfect movie for this cake! I made up for it and watched Bride & Prejudice that night instead (Bollywood’s version!) and then the American 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightly today while I was choosing which photos to include in my blog!
As you can see I am Jane Austen fan! But after 3 Jane Austen type shows I needed a change and decided to find some love stories. First up was Ever After: A Cinderella Story – Anjelica Huston is the perfect wicked step-mother! Then The Princess Bride which is such a favourite of mine. Whenever I think of this movie I think of Cary Elwes and Robin Wright’s characters and true love! However I always forget Fred Savage’s part of the movie which is just beautiful and how wrapped up he gets into the story even though he wasn’t interested in hearing it to start with. If you haven’t seen it for a while I highly recommend it! And then you’ll have a huge chuckle over the many humorous characters (“Anybody want a peanut?“) and how well the story is portrayed! (I even more so recommend reading the book as it goes into the background of all of the characters and Inigo Montoya’s (Mandy Patinkin) story is enchanting. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.“)
I think by this stage I was starting to ice my cakes – which is a long enough process as it is with fruit cakes. To get the perfect fondant cake the frosting underneath needs to be perfect, which means you should fill in any holes of your fruit cake with fondant so you have a flat surface to frost. As you can see fruit cakes have lots of holes! And I just had a thought, I should have covered the fruit cake with a thinner layer of frosting. This time when I covered my cakes I ended up with a few bubbles and also some cracks the night before the wedding and I am wondering if that was because I put on too much frosting. The purpose of the frosting is so the fondant sticks to the cake and really for no other purpose (except chocolate takes yum!). This thought only occurred to me right now, because as I was writing how I filled in the holes and I realised that the cake’s surface should then be quite flat! I think this needs further experimenting…
I am ending Part 1 here, but I thought I may get in big trouble if I didn’t show you at least one photo of the finished cake – so here it is and a close up on the flower topper!