Early in 2014 I was asked by friends Jenny and James if I would be up for making their wedding cake. I was flattered that they had so much faith in my abilities and after checking that I could logistically make the cake (it was a Christmas wedding in London), I agreed. Jenny and James were very relaxed about what they wanted for their wedding cake. Jenny sent through some pictures of cakes she had seen that she liked, alongside a picture of the wedding signing book, the tartan and the bridesmaid dresses. I had a lot of things to look at that really ranged in style, so after much thought I decided to start with the common themes/things I knew to be fairly inflexible:
- The cake was for 60-80 people
- The flavours they wanted were chocolate and vanilla sponges with cherry jam
- The cake should be circular and stacked – all the pictures they had sent of cakes that they liked were circular and stacked
- I saw a reoccurring theme of small, delicate detail in all the decoration they had chosen to include in their wedding
- The wedding colours were white and green – a specific green that the bridesmaids were wearing that matched the tartan the groom was wearing
When I started baking the cake on the 27th December I had no idea how it would turn out. The decorating day was the 28th and after covering the layers of chocolate and vanilla cake in white fondant I mixed the green fondant to get the right colour and started the decoration.
If I’m honest, my first idea didn’t work – I wanted to make Rob Ryan inspired panels for the middle tier which would sit on a green background. I designed and piped the panels but I thought they looked too messy and clumsy for the paper-cut effect I was after:
So, after going through my standard ‘I-want-to-throw-this-cake-out-of-the-window-why-did-I-agree-to-this-I-should-never-bake-again’ wobble, I went back to the drawing board and really thought about the tiny delicate details that I noticed in a lot of the pictures Jenny had sent. I had bought some tiny ivy cutters for the cake as it was a December wedding and I had seen the florist idea boards for the wedding which included ivy. I also had a set of little star and flower cutters and it is with these and a tiny piping nozzle I started on tiny details in green, working upwards, making each tier individual.
Once I had finished the cake (about 9pm before the wedding day), I had a sudden panic that they might not like it. As they had been so relaxed and open about the cake we had only talked in very vague terms about what the decoration would be. I decided at that point not to send them a picture as it was too late to change anything and went to bed with a panicked mind.
Happily, my worries were unfounded and Jenny and James were very happy with their cake. That or they are very good actors… The wedding day itself was wonderful, with a fantastic ceremony followed by a romantic, beautiful and atmospheric reception with love, merriment and friendship filling every corner of the venue.
I have to thank Jenny and James for having so much faith in my baking and also for letting me do what I liked in the way of design. So there we have it, my second wedding cake for a wedding. You can read about my first one here and my first wedding cake not for a wedding here.