Well I just got back from a lovely weekend up in the hills of Bellingen where I had the privilege of making the wedding cake for our dear friends on their beautiful wedding day.
What an experience! I have to say this is another first for me. This is only the second wedding cake I’ve done so it was always going to be stressful. Unlike the first one where I iced, assembled and decorated the cake onsite. We were staying in the cottages at the top of the blue mountains. This time I got to make the three tiers at home and then transport them to be assembled onsite. Let me tell you getting the cake ready at home is way less stressful and I actually managed my time heaps better. Putting them into the car and diving 110km to deliver it was a different story.
So the lovely couple were the ones I made the silhouette engagement cake for last year. There were a few different ideas thrown around in the beginning as to what they were looking for but one thing was certain the flavour had to be the same. A rich chocolate cake with caramel buttercream filling. The final design was a Birch Tree style wedding cake to go with their outdoor country style wedding. We searched online and scoured Pintrest for different ideas and things we wanted to incorporate and leave out. The brief finished at a Birch Tree Wedding Cake for approximately 100 dessert servings, decorated with fondant/ chocolate eucalyptus leaves and topped with two birds in a nest.
This is how it went.
To get the required number of servings I made 3 tiers, a 12″, 9″, and 6″. Each was 3 layers with caramel buttercream between the layers.
To make the outside layer of buttercream white I used Wilton’s white-white food colouring. It is crazy but it works and takes out that yellow tinge we get from our quality Australian Butter without compromising flavour. I didn’t need as much as I thought either which was nice.
To add the marks of the bark I used a tooth pick dipped in black food gel just making random marks as I spun the turntable. One thing I have learnt was that I should have made the marks straight after I’d put the buttercream on and it would have absorbed into the buttercream better. Because I’d put them back in the fridge while I covered the other tiers they’d hardened up and the gel just sat on top. It didn’t take away from the look just a observation for next time.
In the middle layer we have the carved love heart with the bride and grooms initials. This was done the same way as the other marks but this time with brown food gel.
Each tier was supported by wooden dowels, the cake is pretty dense and would probably hold up on its own but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I also scribed a circle on the top the size of the next tier so I knew where to place the cake when I was assembling it.
Next job was to make the cake topper, a nest with 2 birds in it. It’s really hard to find “how to’s” for good looking nests online. Maybe I wasn’t using the right keywords or something but a lot of them looked like piped or rolled fondant and I just wasn’t happy with them. Thankfully I found Ann Reardon’s chocolate birds nest on her “How to cook that” website. It has a video tutorial which helped heaps. I had two attempts at it, I built mine over the back of a bowl instead of aluminium foil because I needed to fit the birds in it and the bowl was a good size. Next time I’ll put the foil over the bowl because the first one broke when I tried to take it off but the second one came off a treat. The awesome birds were hand crafted out of clay by my beautiful wife, she was also responsible for the floral arrangement so a big thank you to her !!
That was all the pre-assembly done except for the gum leaves. I wasn’t confident and have no experience with making any leaves from fondant or chocolate and felt that I couldn’t make them look authentic. So after a quick call to the bride we were off to grab some real ones, then into town to get baby’s breath and white roses. You really cant go past fresh flowers on a wedding cake.
So the day had arrived and it was time to pack the car and head on our adventure hoping there weren’t too many pot holes in the road and wild animals running out in front of the car. I’m pleased to say the were minimal pot holes and no animals so the cakes arrived intact. The reception was being held in a marque and even though it is still the first month of spring it was a smashing hot day and not the place for a buttercream cake to be sitting out in the sun, thankfully there was a cool room for the cake once it was assembled.
The bride and groom had arranged a slab of timber to be used as the cake board which looked great. It was a nice solid base for the cake but did add another 10kg to the weight of moving it around.
The photo above is just before it went into cool room. The last job was to put the birds into the nest once the cake was in position and my job was done.
I was really proud at how the cake turned out. I got to learn a few new things along the way, the bride and groom were happy and everybody enjoyed eating it which is the main thing. I’m not sure I’d want to be making these things all the time but I think I could enjoy making more of these special event cakes. A big thank you to my wife for helping me decorate and bringing me back when I got stressy and to Britt and Matt for not only letting me celebrate this special day with you but that you gave me the honour of making the cake too.
Well who knows what the next adventure will bring but until then,
Thanks for Readin’