Tuesday 21 May 2013

Help me make a wedding cake?

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My Evening Dress

Vivien of Holloway

This post is not actually about dresses, but it seemed wrong not to include at least a COUPLE. How adorable would that VoH dress look with my Melissa heart shoes? Or maybe a pair of red skyscraper court shoes?

So. I love a challenge, but I always get to the point a little bit before when I’m like ‘Ohhhh dear. What have I let myself in for again?’ My birthday, last year, I was all like ‘I AM GOING TO MAKE A MILLION CUPCAKES’ and then it was 6pm and I was still icing cakes and everyone was due to be arriving at 7.30 and I hadn’t even got to the venue yet... it may have been a mistake. They were awesome cupcakes, though!

My latest challenge is also cake related, and it’s not an eating challenge, although as I type that I find myself thinking that I should seek one out. I think I’d be awesome at it.

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Nope, my challenge is actually to make a tiered wedding cake for a wedding in September. I’m pretty excited about doing it but it’s slowly dawning on me that this is actually quite a… well, a challenge. I think I’ve written challenge about eighty times in this post. Making a wedding cake isn’t as simple as making a birthday cake because being slightly messy and charming is fine for a birthday, and as a rule for life (slightly messy and charming is how I like to describe myself on dating profiles) but everyone knows – EVERYONE – that messiness has no place at a wedding. Weddings HAVE to be perfect.

No pressure, then.

Here’s the plan: a three tier round cake. The bottom tier will be 12 inches across and lemon flavoured. The middle will be 10 inches across and almond flavoured. And the top will be 8 inches across and chocolate flavoured.

I’ve been googling and Pinning like crazy for inspiration and I’ve found some really good tips on assembling cakes and ensuring they’re well supported, cool icing options and even how many they serve.

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However, what I have yet to find is the perfect sponge recipe for each of these sizes. My standard 8 inch sponge recipe is going to need some tweaking to stretch to a 12 inch and honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to tweaking recipes. So I’m appealing to you. That’s right, YOU. I’ve seen you all out there with your beautiful cake making skills, and sure, you were really nice about those deformed penguin cupcakes I made a while back but now I am begging for your advice because deformed penguin cupcakes aren’t going to cut it this time.

So, help – I need a sponge recipe with quantities, cooking temperature, cooking times etc that will be suitable for a 12 inch cake and a 10 inch cake (8 inch cake, I’ve got you covered). HELP ME. Because otherwise this is going to happen.

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  1. This is the chart I use for adapting recipes for different size cakes and it's always worked perfectly. http://www.lindyscakes.co.uk/2009/07/27/how-to-i-change-a-cake-recipe-quanities/ Make sure the bottom tier is really dense to hold the weight.
    Good luck! I can't wait to see the finished cake. xx

  2. Very big challenge! The style of those cakes is also hard to cut. My friend made a beautiful cake for someone last year and the staff at the wedding venue reduced it to a pile of crumbs when they tried to cut it - heartbreaking! Tell your friend to make sure the staff know what they are doing!!

  3. Blimey, I am no good at even regular sponge cakes, I have to make fairy cakes as I can never seem to get the round ones to stay together :/ My cakes always look more messy than charming.

  4. I found this on BBC Good Food for a 12 inch layer (but it's chocolate not lemon) - might help with working out quantities? :) http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4577/wedding-cake-rich-dark-chocolate-cake

  5. I tend to triple the recipe for a 12", just to try and get the height of the final cake right. (Wedding cakes tend to be 4" high). For big cakes, turn the oven down to 160C, otherwise the edges cook too quickly and the middle is raw. Not nice for anyone! You can also use something in the middle of the cake to conduct the heat to make the middle bake quicker. You can buy special equipment for this or just use a tin can (thoroughly washed and greased). My 12" cakes are usually baked in between 50mins-1hour, without a heating core.

    The main bit of advice would be to have a run through first, so you're super confident when it comes to the big day. :-)

    More than happy to help if you've got more questions. :-)

    Laura x

  6. Cake making requires recipe books in my world, so I'm no help there. I will share my experience with making my own wedding cake a million years ago in the hope of helping you avoid my pitfall. I molded thousands (well, quite a lot) of little roses to decorate it. I had not thought it through, and they all had to be laid out to dry. They were everywhere. in every room, on every surface. I also used sandpaper to get the royal icing flat. clean new sandpaper mind you, not the stuff we'd used for decorating ;-) Have fun!


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