A few years ago I was introduced to someone. I’m going to call her Supernurse. A mutual friend introduced us because I’m from Belfast and Supernurse is the only English born person I’ve ever met who lived in Belfast for a few years and picked up a faultless Belfast accent. I loved her from the start. Not only did she love my home town but she even brought the accent back with her to England.
Our friendship developed and when her birthday came round I made her a birthday cake. and the next year I made her a birthday cake. And we baked together (including the most phenomenal peanut butter layer cake ever). Supernurse is loved by everyone in our family and so when she got engaged we were all incredibly happy and celebrated with cake. Our shared cake history made her think that I could bake her wedding cake. There is actually no evidence that I can bake wedding cakes but Supernurse thought somehow I’d be able to do it. I think she also knows me well enough to know that I’m always up for a challenge and I love trying out new things. I said yes.
That was some months ago. I had a PhD thesis to finish before I could think cakes. The wedding cake was not at the top of the to do list.
Now it is.
I have 27 days to figure out how to make not one but three wedding cakes. Supernurse really, really likes cake, and is a very firm believer in the well known saying ‘Why have one cake when you can have three’. In line with current wedding trends we’re going naked on the cake front (or semi-naked – not quite sure yet).
For the next month I will be testing textures and tastes, icing consistency and chilled versus room temperature. Anyone who comes to visit will be eating cake and I will be bringing cake wherever I go.
Yesterday was Day 1. I tried out a Raspberry and Lemon Layer Cake. Mmmm-mmmm.
The recipe is here on Pint Sized Baker’s website : Raspberry and Lemon Layer Cake
The lemon cakes were soaked in lemon syrup and tasted really good. The sponge is made by incorporating egg whites in the mixture and made a really delicious sponge. The buttercream was a variation on swiss meringue buttercream and making it felt a little like alchemy: boiling sugar and adding it to whipped eggs as a base for the icing. The filling between each layer was lemon buttercream with lemon curd and raspberries, which gave enough tang to balance out the sweetness.
The baking bit I can do. I’m good at it. Taste and texture were fantastic. Icing is not so much my thing. I tried using a piping bag for the first time. So that was fun. and messy. and quite splodgy. and not in any way straightforward. I piped some on the cake, and then some other bits leaked out the side over my hands and dropped on the cake looking like ….. well let’s say slugs. (I thought they looked like something else but I’m not going to write it here). Thank goodness for raspberries. Turns out they cover a multitude of badly piped icing.
As you can see I’ve got a way to go but it was a start.
Things I’ve learned from Cake 1 :
- Chill the icing before piping
- Don’t use cake tins made from different materials
- Piping needs a lot of practise
- Lemon curd and raspberries are perfect to offset buttercream
- This buttercream is good and not too overpowering
I brought it to a party and the only criticism was that it needed to be bigger.
Cake 2 coming soon.