Saturday, 30 June 2012

In Which There is Baking

My sister is getting married in August, and some time ago, I, perhaps foolishly, agreed to make one tier of the cake. Mine is the bottom tier, which means it is BIG - 12" x 12".
All the ingredients

I woke up early this morning, and headed out to buy ingredients.. the recipe calls for almost 6lbs of dried fruit, as well as 9 eggs, over 1lb of butter, and a fair bit of brandy. All of which turns out to be quite heavy.
Brown paper and string
Once I got back to the house, I started on the weighing and measuring, and also on what turned out to be the trickiest part of the whole enterprise, the lining and wrapping of the tin. It had to have two layers of greaseproof paper inside, and two layers of brown paper outside.the purpose being (I assume) to provide some insulation so that the outer extremities of the cake don't burn while you wait for the middle to be cooked. For the same reason, you sit it on a pad of newspaper in the oven, and make it a little hat out of greaseproof paper to wear after the first hour or so of cooking.

I've never made a christmas/wedding cake this large before. In fact, I don't think I have ever made this kind of cake on my own before, and although I have been party to christmas-cake making at home with my mother, I haven't done that for about 10 years. So I was a little bit nervous, especially as the recipe I am using has quantities and timings based on round cakes (up to 9" Diameter) whereas I was making a Square cake (12" square) I spent a lot of time last night doing calculations, and looking through my recipe books for similar cakes,  to work out how much of everything I might need - at one point, based on volumes and the 1969 Good Housekeeping Cookery Book, I was up to 17 eggs, but I decided that was probably excessive, and would need a taller tin.

Actually making the cake probably took about an hour, and the actaul mixing is surprisingly hard work (physically) there's a lot of resistance in all that butter and sugar and flour and black treacle.
for size reference: the mixing bowls are each 12" across

However, the mixture ended up looking pretty much how I expected it to look, which is always a good sign, and when I ladled it all into my carefully lined and wrapped tin it filled it without having any left over, so it looks as through I got the quantities about right.

After a little over 3 hours in the oven, the cake seemed done.

It will be spending the next few weeks carefully wrapped in paper and then foil, being fed a spoonfull of brandy once a week, before it is brought out to be covered in marzipan, after which my responsibility will come to an end, as I am not going to ice the cake - I believe my mother is going to be doing that, for all three tiers.

I may cheat and buy ready to use marzipan, instead of making it, depending on how much time I have. That wouldn't make me a bad person, would it?

The colour scheme of the wedding is blue and white, and the decorations are  nautically themed (K&C met through sailing). I believe that the plan is to have sail-based decoration on the cake - something similar to this, although I think without any people.

Which reminds me - I don't think I shared the lovely invitation - each one was individually hand-made by K - the love-knot is made with real string, which is a nice touch.

And as it turned out that this June day has been characterised by torrential rain, and occasional hail, I feel that the decision to  stay indoors and bake a cake was a good one!

1 comment:

Verity Linden said...

Having different family-members make different parts of the cake is a wonderful idea! I'm sure it will be delicious and awesome, as well as uniquely personal :)