Posts Tagged ‘icing sugar’

Photo diary of my first wedding cake

Due to a torrent of requests (one) I have decided to bow to public pressure (a few Twitter comments) and make today the photo diary of my epic adventure into the world of wedding cakes.

It started with an offer to bake the cake for a friend’s big day. It was only a small affair so nothing amazing was expected. The friend runs a gallery and requested a cake which looked like a picture frame. Ok, I thought, and got to work with my imagination. I got fancier and fancier. A visit to the cake shop had me with armfuls of stuff to put on.

I dipped into the best cake cookbook I know, from the Hummingbird Bakery and decided on two types of cake, in case I just did one and they hated it. It was like a back up option, to have two! I did a red velvet cake (but not red) and a kind of carrot cake but without carrots and with bananas, pineapples and pecans instead. With cream cheese frosting.

And so it started.

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I made lots of little chocolate truffles. I coated some in white chocolate but ended up using the plain ones instead. They’re so simple – oreo biscuits in a food processor then cream cheese added and whizzed until it’s all chocolate coloured and sticking together.

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I made cream cheese frosting. 50g butter and 300g icing sugar mixed together then 125g cream cheese. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 mins.

Then made the red velvet cake. I left out the red partly because I didn’t think it would go with the cake’s colour scheme and partly because I’d run out of it. If you’ve never had red velvet cake, the reason it’s so amazing is that it’s the loveliest, softest cake ever. I think it’s because it has buttermilk in it but that’s just me guessing. Try one. It’ll blow you away.

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Then I made the fruity nutty cake, which was unusual because it doesn’t have butter. It uses sunflower oil instead, and has 3 bananas, some chopped pineapple and loads of pecans. It tastes really soft and decadent.

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I then cut them so the inside edges were straight and put a layer of the frosting down the middle and stuck them together to make a square.

I covered the whole thing with the frosting…

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…And put the decorations in the middle, worried that if I did the outside decorations first I might knock them while working on the middle bit.

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Next I put the gold paint into the remaining frosting… And disaster! It didn’t look gold at all! I looked kind of dark and un-food-like. I panicked and ran to the cake shop and burst in, explaining my dilemma. “Yeh it’s really hard to make frosting gold.” It wasn’t the thing I really wanted to hear. Their answer? Gold leaf! Ok. I’ve never worked with it before but I was prepared to give it a go. Back home, I piped on the not-gold frosting in the shape of the frame….

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…And put some of the edible red carnation petals together with a blob of melted white chocolate to keep them in place…

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I then covered the darker area in the gold leaf. I must add that I said the word ‘shit!’ quite a lot during this period because it went absolutely everywhere except where I needed it – on the cake! I covered some of the truffles in gold too.

Then, to cover a mistake in the bottom left hand corner, I put some little white hearts and the petals in the opposite corner. I then dotted a few of the gold truffles on, there wasn’t really space for more. And it was ready!

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The groom seemed pleased with how it looked so hopefully it tasted ok too. Fingers crossed.

Things I learned –

Gold leaf is hard to work with.
Get extra of everything.
It is good to have a cake shop near to your house.

If anyone wants any of the recipes for the cake, just let me know and I’ll post them up.

M is for…

MARSHMALLOWS!

This was a very nerve-wracking experience for me so I thought I’d do another ‘What runs through my head when I’m…’ about it.

Ok, marshmallows! I’m going to make marshmallows! This will be amazing! Marshmallows. I can’t wait. Ok, the recipe. Nervous! Nervous! Ok, concentrate.

Sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat it to 216 degrees! What?! That’s so hot. Ok, jam thermometer, in it goes. In the meantime, whisk egg whites. I’d better do that now! Quickly before the sugar heats up! O goodness, it’s a race against time. Crack the eggs in, whip them up, ok, phew, done.

The. Sugar. Is. Taking. Ages. It’s been forever. The egg whites are settling a bit. Should’ve done them later. Why is it taking so long to heat up? O, wait a minute, the end of the thermometer has been touching the bottom of the pan, not the liquid! O no, I think I may have overheated it?! Quick quick! Get whisking the egg whites, pour in the sugar syrup. I think I burned it. Great. I think it’s burned. What do I do? I’ve just wasted all that sugar and those eggs now. Right, just keep going and see what happens.

It’s definitely burned.

Whisk, whisk, whisk. Dammit. Omygoodness, everything in the bowl just suddenly mixed together and swelled up and became one huge marshmallow! One huge bowl-shaped marshmallow. Amazing. I still think it’s burnt, I’ll just keep going and see if you can taste it after they’ve set.

Put half in a baking tray. Roll raspberries in icing sugar and cornflour and dot them over the marshmallow mixture. Other half of the marshmallow mix on top. O no, it’s sticking and the raspberries are going all over the place. Never mind. Just splodge it all on and hope it settles. Leave it for an hour and a half to set now.

Ok, hour and a half up. I’m definitely nervous again. Let me just turn it out of the tray. It’s stuck!! It’s stuck. I have the tray upside down and I am shaking it around like crazy. It’s stuck. Hmm. Calm down, calm down. Think. Spatula, slide round the edges, help it a little bit. Phew, it’s coming out, in one piece. A miracle! Loads and loads of icing sugar and cornflour and it’s sticking to me and to everything in sight.

Ok, breathe, calm. Cut into squares. Icing sugar. Cornflour. It doesn’t look burnt. I still think it might be. Taste one. O thank goodness! Not burnt. I knew it’d be fine. I knew all along. Phew. Need to get a second opinion. I wonder if any of my neighbours are in. Fill tupperware with marshmallows and find friends to get an opinion from.

That was fun. I think I’ll do some more soon.