I made a wedding cake
This was my first, and probably last, foray into the world of wedding cakes.
It was a sharp learning curve to say the least, it threw up a few challenges and was a lot more time-consuming and stressful than I ever imagined!
I had to speed learn sugar craft, I’d never covered a cake in fondant before and of course there were a few disasters along the way.
This was summer 2012 and this was possibly the most nomadic cake I’ve ever baked!
I created it over a couple of months, in three different house sits plus my van, in three different counties!
This cake was as nomadic as me!
The cake was for Chris’s cousin Katie, who adored the Brambly Hedge books so much as a child that she themed her beautiful wedding reception on them.
In their Summer Story, Poppy and Dusty Mouse got married and it is those two little mice that crown this cake.
Have you ever made fondant figures? Well I hadn’t, and they really aren’t as easy as they look.
This isn’t quite like playing with Plasticine!
I tried making them all in one go first but it was disastrous, the fondant got too soft and wouldn’t hold its shape.
I used a blend of half/half Sugar Flower Paste and Fondant, making them a bit at a time, allowing a day or two for them to harden before adding the next part.
They had cocktail stick spines to keep them upright and to spear them into the cake.
After a week of making these mice I put them on a high shelf to dry out (I was house sitting), which turned out to be a lofty mistake.
In a heart-stopping moment the groom-mouse unbalanced and tumbled to the stone floor below.
His head hit a shelf and separated from his mouse-body but miraculously the rest of him was virtually unscathed.
I did have to make him a new ear though.
A bit of edible glue had him looking right as rain but I felt sick at the thought of what could have happened, there was no time to make another one at this point in the proceedings!
I enjoyed making the sugar flowers more.
I had a bit of practice doing this from a cupcake decorating afternoon I did in Edinburgh a while ago (although the whole wiring technique was new to me!).
I used 5 petal cutters for the bramble flowers, dusting the end of the petals with dusty pink dusting powder.
I coloured some white sugar flower paste yellow with yellow dusting powder and made tiny balls which I dotted with a cocktail stick and glued into each dried flower with edible glue.
Florists wire was fixed onto each flower with a small ball of sugar flower paste and some edible glue.
The leaves were stamped out of ivy green sugar flower paste using a veined rose leaf cutters, in different sizes. I pushed some wire, coated in edible glue into the backs of each leaf then let them dry out completely.
Once the leaves were hard, I paired up two smaller ones with a larger one and twisted the wires together to make a ‘set’, I then wired everything together, as in the above picture then wrapped florists tape around the centre ‘stem’ to tidy it up.
I also made four honeysuckle flowers out of sugar flower paste and decorated the tiered stand with them.
Most of the mouse making and flower making happened in the van, as I had all my tools to hand and it was a pet free, therefore fur/hair free, environment.
I had crushing moment early after spending two days making leaves and flowers.
They ended up in a dog’s stomach when I vastly underestimated the dog’s reach.
It’s extraordinary how deftly she removed the green wires and left them in a neat pile on the chair!
The cake was simply a buttery madeira cake, filled and covered with buttercream and apricot jam.
The cake was finished with pale green fondant, which went on a lot easier than I was expecting.
The cupcakes were two different varieties, toffee and carrot cake.
The carrot cake cupcakes were 100% vegan, I created the cakes especially for Katie and they went down a storm, I was so pleased!
I piped the vegan fluttercream into a taller swirl to differentiate them from the non-vegan toffee ones.
The wedding reception was held at the Cross Keys Temperance Inn near Sedbergh, in a marquee overlooking Cautley Spout Waterfall, a beautiful location.
My greatest concern was that the cakes wouldn’t survive the bumpy journey from Settle to Sedburgh, Juan the van isn’t the smoothest of rides and much of the journey was along winding country lanes.
I had nightmares the night before that the trip would ‘shake’ all the frosting off the cakes as we went along! No, seriously I did!
The frosting stayed put – hoorah – and we added the sprinkles and flowers when we arrived.
The constructing and final decorating of the cakes took quite a while, I had less than an hour to get dressed and made up before we had to head of to the church!
Looking back I’m extremely proud of what I created and I think it looks rather pretty in the photos.
I originally posted a version of this story back in September 2012 but it didn’t make the migration over when I switched to self-hosting last year.
It only came to light a few weeks ago when I went to show it to Emma – the Vagabond Feminist – only to discover it wasn’t in my archives!
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