Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Making of a Wedding Cake

There is one thing I love about my job... Golden Fridays! 17 times per year we get the Friday off... I try to use this day to do absolutely nothing important or necessary... unless of course I have a cake to bake or I'm having people over for dinner the next day and I have the chance to get ahead.

Today is one of those days! I have a wedding cake to do for tomorrow. It'll be simple but elegant. Three tiers of white cake covered in vanilla buttercream icing and draped with white fondant. As decoration, white and turquoise ribbons and fresh flowers.

So... this is the story of how a wedding cake gets made!

First bake the layers and layers of cakes!

Once they've cooled... time to make the buttercream icing... and I'm gonna needs lots of it! The important thing is to really whip the butter - whip it until it is as white as possible - a good 10 minutes aught to take care of it! Here's where a stand mixer would come in handy.

My basic buttercream recipe, which I have been making for the past 16 years or so (picked out of an old "Australian Woman's Weekly - Children's Birthday Cake Book" is:

Buttercream Icing

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups icing (powder) sugar
4 tbsp milk at room temperature (could vary depending on the weather - I go 1 tbsp at a time)
1 tsp pure vanilla (none of that fake crap)

Cream butter with stand mixer for a good 10 minutes until it is as white as can be.
Sift in 1 cup of icing sugar and add 1 tbsp milk at a time.
Mix in completely before adding more.
Add in extra milk if consistency is too thick.
Blend in vanilla

See how white the butter it became?

Now, it's very important - especially when making a wedding cake, to ensure the layers are even. The tops must be cut off to give a perfectly flat surface... I have this nifty little saw that can be adjusted - the perfect way to ensure each layer is the same height!

The second important thing to do is to smooth on a crumb layer on the cake. This seals in the crumbs and after refrigeration, the second layer of icing goes on "smooth like buttah"!

Now the fondant layer... requires some dexterity but frankly, I may not win any competitions on "Challenge" on The Food Network, but I think I do pretty OK!

Here are the three layers just waiting for assmbly!

Now... time to put the whole thing together!

OK, but kinda drab
Much better!

Lots of time and effort but I am pretty pleased with the final result... Hopefully the bride is as well!

Delivered and added some greenery.  This is the final result!