Make your own wedding cake – the recipe

This is the second in my series on making your own wedding cake. In the first section I discussed timescales and planning in advance, today I am going to talk you through the actual wedding cake recipe. For this four-tier wedding cake we will be making…

  • 10 inch Fruit cake
  • 8 inch Chocolate
  • 6 inch Victoria sponge
  • 4 inch gluten-free Victoria sponge

Each layer should be approximately 8cm high once baked so you can create a lovely even 4 tier showstopper!

 

Ingredients

Baking crib sheet

4″ GF 6″ Vanilla 8″ Chocolate 10″ Fruit
Flour GF 100g SR 200g SR 240g Plain 450g
Sugar  100g 200g 400g 450g (brown)
Butter  100g 200g 240g 450 g
Eggs 1 4 6 8
Bicarbonate of soda a pinch  – a pinch  –
Baking powder  – 1 tsp 1 tsp  –
Cocoa powder  –  – 100g  –
Boiling water  –  – 400ml  –
Ground almonds 60g  –  –  –
Salt  –  – 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract a drop 1 tsp 2 tsp  –
Mixed dried fruit *  –  –  – 1.8 kg
Nutmeg  –  –  – 1/2 tsp
Mixed spice  –  –  – 1 tsp
Chopped almonds  –  –  – 110 g
black treacle  –  –  – 2 tsp
Cooking time 18 mins 25 mins 35 mins 5 hrs
Cooking temp 180°C 180°C 180°C 140°C

* Mixed dried fruit – currents, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, apricots, glacé cherries and mixed peel. The more cherries the better!

For the icing

  • 3 x pack of 1kg ready to roll fondant icing
  • Icing sugar – at least 500g
  • Butter – at least 500g
  • Cocoa powder – for the chocolate layer
  • Sugar syrup
  • Jam – raspberry and apricot

10 inch fruit cake

This can be made a month or so in advance, so it’s good to get it out the way. You can then ‘feed’ it in the run up to the big day by poking holes in the surface and pouring brandy or rum into the cake. I used cherry brandy as my cousin re-gifted a nearly full bottle – helps to add to keep things fruity too! This is the only cake that won’t be sandwiched so you will only need one tin.

Tips

  • There is A LOT of mixture in this cake, my friend recommended mixing it in a washing up bowl as I didn’t have a mixing bowl large enough.
  • Wrap your cake tin in newspaper to insulate the cake and protect the outsides from burning.
  • This cake needs a good 4+ hours in the oven, so bake on a day when you have a lot of time, and don’t mind waiting around for it.

Method

  1. Weigh out the fruit and nut mix, pour over the brandy and leave to soak –  ideally overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 140°C
  3. Grease and line a 10 inch cake tin. Cut an additional 10 inch round of grease proof paper to cover the top of the cake in the oven if it starts to colour too quickly.
  4. In a separate bowl (or washing up bowl) mix all the ‘normal’ cake ingredients using the all in one method: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, black treacle and salt.
  5. Whisk using an electric whisk until you have a light cake batter.
  6. Slowly add in your dry ingredients, and mix it all together using a wooden spoon.
  7. Tradition for making Christmas cakes dictates that at this point you make a wish – it couldn’t hurt! 😉
  8. Pour your mix into your cake tin, it should come up quite high but don’t worry it won’t rise much.
  9. Wrap the tin in newspaper and string to protect the outsides from burning, and sit the tin on a double sheet of newspaper in the oven.
  10. Bake! This should take between 4 and 5 hours. Check the cake after 4 hours by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean – you’re done! If it needs a little longer cover the top of the cake with foil or grease proof to prevent the top from overcooking.
  11. Leave to cool before you try and remove from the tin.
  12. Store in a cake tin or box, and feed your cake once a week with brandy.

8 inch Chocolate cake

Side note: This recipe was originally a three layer sandwich, however it rose better than expected and ended up having a layer spare. I have adapted the ingredients list above to make just two cakes but this should hopefully explain why there are three in the photos!

Method

  1. Boil the kettle and mix together the boiling water and cocoa powder to make a thick paste. Set this aside to cool.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  3. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch cake tins
  4. Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl
  5. Sift flour, salt and raising agent into the creamed butter and sugar mixture
  6. Add the eggs into the main mixture one at a time, whisk thoroughly after you add each egg.
  7. Fold in the cooled cocoa mixture, and mix well – the batter should be quite wet, but don’t worry it will turn out perfectly
  8. Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake.
  9. Baking should take approximately 30-35 mins
  10. You will know the cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean or they are spongy to the touch.
  11. Set aside

6 inch Victoria sponge

This cake is a quick win as it’s a crowd pleaser and the recipe just works. You have enough other things going on, so it’s nice to have a recipe in your back pocket that won’t stress you out.

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease and line 2 x 6 inch cake tins
  3. Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl
  4. Sift flour and raising agent into the bowl (I don’t usually bother to sift – but hey it’s your wedding cake)
  5. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl until they are pale and fluffy
  6. Add the eggs into the main mixture a little at a time whisking as you go, until you have a lovely fluffy cake mixture
  7. Spread the batter evenly between the two tins and bake
  8. Baking should take approximately 20-25 mins depending on your oven, watch them through the window and try not to open until at least 20 minutes in or they will sink.
  9. You will know the cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean or they are spongy to the touch.
  10. Set aside to cool

4 inch Gluten-Free Victoria sponge

This is pretty much the same method as for the non-gluten free Victoria sponge. My experience of gluten free baking has been one of heartache (blog on this coming soon).

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease and line 3 x 4 inch baking rounds and sit them inside an 8 inch cake tin.
  3. Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl
  4. Add in the flour, ground almonds and raising agent.
  5. Mix well and add in the egg.
  6. Spread the batter evenly between the three rounds. Fill them about half way – don’t worry if you have mixture left it’s better not to overfill.
  7. Baking should take approximately 15-20 mins but as they are small the tops can catch quickly so keep an eye on them.
  8. Set aside to cool

Now your layers are baked and ready to be iced!

Cake layers cooling on racks
All layers of the cakes baked and cooled, ready for assembly (note I made an extra layer of the gluten free and chocolate layers just in case)

Icing

There are two layers to this, crumb coating and fondant rolling. You will need to crumb coat all of your sponge layers (Victoria, chocolate and Gluten free), this helps keep them moist, makes the icing neater and defines the shape of the cake.

Tips

  • Invest in equipment – your life will be 100 times easier if you have the right tools. I would recommend that you beg, borrow or steal: and icing turntable, icing rolling pin and a smoothing tool as a minimum
  • Practice – in a previous blog I talked about the importance of practice and this is nowhere more true than fondant icing
  • Don’t stress – if you make a mess you can take it off – re kneed and try again!

Crumb coating

  1. Using a sharp bread knife square off your cakes – so they have a flat top and bottom.
  2. Melt the jam slightly in the microwave or in a pan so it’s runny.
  3. Make your butter cream – to do this cream icing sugar, butter and a dash of water, it’s best to do this by eye so keep combining ingredients until you have a creamy, spreadable mixture.
  4. ‘Glue’ the layer of your cake to the icing turntable using a blob of butter cream to hold it in place.
  5. Spread the melted jam over the top of the cake, and a layer of butter cream over the second layer.
  6. Position the layers on top of each other, take time to make sure they’re straight.
  7. Cover the cake in butter cream – imagine you’re a plasterer and make sure you fill all of the cracks to make a smooth surface.
  8. Use the icing smoother and the turntable to help you slide off an excess and create sharp, square corners.
  9. Place in the fridge to ‘set’

Repeat this for the other sponge cakes. For the chocolate cake I didn’t use jam but instead added cocoa powder to the buttercream mixture.

For the fruit cake – cover in melted apricot Jam – this will help to create a sticky surface so the fondant will stay in place.

Crumb coated cakes in the fridge
The sponge layers with their crumb coating setting in the fridge

Fodant

This was my nemesis, and was always a bit of an ordeal when practising however bizarrely everything went smoothly (excuse the pun) when I was doing the real thing. Practice, experiment, enjoy it! I would advise starting with the 6 inch layer as it’s the easiest and work your way up to the 10 inch layer!

  1. Sit your cake on the turntable, lightly coat with sugar syrup using a pastry brush so the cake feels tacky to touch, set aside
  2. Lightly dust a clean surface with icing sugar
  3. Open a packet of ready-to-roll icing and begin needing. Do this for a few minutes until it becomes soft and malleable
  4. Shape into a ball and begin to roll out the icing, keep turning it as you do so it doesn’t stick to the worktop
  5. Roll it as big as you can until it’s as thin as you can get it before it starts breaking
  6. BE BRAVE – roll the icing onto the rolling pin, pick it up and drape over your cake
  7. Working from the bottom pull the icing down and out then smooth (I founds hands easier than a smoother at this point), keep going until you have a pristine white surface, as long as it doesn’t tear it can be saved so don’t give up.
  8. Trim the excess
  9. You’re done!

Cakes iced and ready to go!

Decoration

Now the fun part! At this point I decided I was done, and that I would just add ribbon and paper flowers for the final flourish.

I think if I was making it now I  might have gone for something more complicated but at this point I thought that baking and icing 4 cakes was quite enough to be getting on with. My lovely bridesmaids went to the local florist and blagged some decorative pins which helped to hold the ribbon in place.

I then used three small paper flowers as the cake topper to tie in with the rest of the theme – check out the blog on making your own paper flowers for inspiration.

Put your layers safely in Tupperware or cake tins and transport the the venue, then your job is over! the venue will assemble on the day and the next time you see the cake it should be erected in all it’s 4 tier glory.

via GIPHY

 

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