Firstly, can I say an enormous thank you to everyone who has given me baking advice in the last few days. It has been greatly appreciated and will, undoubtably, come in very useful in the next couple of months. I’ve made a wee bit of progress this weekend in that I’ve become more organised and have also been clearly reminded of what my cake baking abilities are at present.
Firstly, D’s mum has very kindly lent me her rather cool 1970’s Kenwood Chef. I can now experiment with both hand and electrical mixing. Some people swear by mixers, others think they create more problems than they solve. Joy from Almanzo’s Belly suggested I stick with the manual approach and “use a wooden spoon for [my] creaming and really beat the air in, and a metal spoon for [my] flour folding.”
Secondly, on Lucy’s advice I’ve ordered The Cake Bible from Amazon U.S. (it’s not available over here). Eagerly awaiting its arrival and wondering what Ms Levy Beranbaum thinks about mixers.
Thirdly, the happy couple have given me a clearer idea of what they’d like: a square cake, with royal icing, not fruit cake, decorated with gold ribbon and fresh flowers. The above picture is from their wedding invitations and was painted by Faye Anderson, the same artist who designed my banner. 🙂
And finally, I had another go at making the stunning vanilla sponge that I’d spotted on Confections of a Foodie Bride a few months ago and, yet again, I failed miserably to produce anything edible. Not only did it in no way visually resemble Shawda’s beautiful cake, it wasn’t cooked through and it had an odd greasy texture when cooled. I’m not fazed by this disaster though. This cake is my public starting point. I have eight weeks to become a more confident, more successful cake baker.
I can do it, I can do it, I can do it…. 😀
You can do it, Wendy! We are all rooting for you! All the advice looks good and I’m sure you’ll do a great job with all the effort you are putting in.
I have no advice for you as I have never made that kind of cake. I will say, however, that stand mixers make all the difference. If you are going to spend this much time experimenting, you might as well keep yourself from miserably hand-beating things in the process. After I received my stand mixer a year ago as a gift, I have become a much more frequent baker.
Sharing your experimentation here is such a great way for you to reflect on your progress and allow your readership to learn from your experience. Thank you for doing this.
And, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it.
Looks like a good start to me! Being a non-baker, I must say I give you all the credit in the world for taking on this task! But knowing you Wendy, it will be absolutely beautiful! And thank you for sharing your experiences in wedding cake baking! You should make a little book with your photos from start to end and put cute little notes in it. You could give it to your friend for an extra little gift showing her how much you think of her:)
Good for you Wendy, keep at it! Although I do seem to remember you did some pretty good baking for the highland games cake stall! My baking doesn’t always turn out quite the way I had hoped either. I think it all comes down to practise!
You can do it! I’m a firm believer in the power of persistence. It might be a good idea to use the electric mixer though, can you imagine having one arm like Popeye?!
You can do, oh yes you can. The mixer should be a huge help with experimenting. I think it’s a much better choice of theirs to go with a yellow cake than a fruit cake. Have you thought about colors and decorations for the icing (and if not…er, sorry if I scared you there).
You can, and you will.
Gosh, seeing your Kenwood mixer has suddenly plunged me straight back to mum’s orange kitchen in the 70’s. I loved that mixer – it’s a real beauty. Perfect for the task at hand.
Gold ribbon an fresh flowers – nothing could be more wonderful!
Best of luck with the cake! I’m still trying to figure out how to make one myself. (umm, not for a wedding of course)
What a gorgeous invitation and I always loved your banner!
(oh and I’m confused about you being confused -marmite comment; i love both marmite and twiglets-hope that clears it up?)
Antonia – Thanks for the support!
Christina – Even if I end up having to order a cake from the local bakery, I know I’ll have learnt lots anyway!
Deb – Oh, that’s a really cute idea. Going to do just that. 🙂
Holler – Think you’re right. Practise is what’s required.
Helen – Hee hee. Yes, don’t think I’d look great in my dress with one massive arm!
Annemarie – The bride wants a simple white cake with a gold ribbon and fresh flowers. Just as well, I’m not very neat.
Lucy – I love the sound of the gold and the flowers too. And the mixer? I don’t want to return it!
Pixie – I meant me! I hate marmite but love twiglets.
Have you tested the temperature of your oven? From your description, your oven might be running cold.
On the off chance you don’t know how to check: you can buy an oven thermometer at any cookware shop (I also see them at large grocery stores). Set the thermometer in your oven and set a temperature. Wait for it to preheat, then check the thermometer.
A good friend of mine thought she was hopeless at baking, but it turned out that her oven was simply running 75F cool.
I think you should buy the cake tin now. They have a good selection of cake tins in Farm and Household across from Morrison’s petrol station, as well as plastic tubs for storing the cake and baking parchment. I also think you should start practising with the right quantities for 25 people. This way you know that you will actually get it right rather than having to scale up the quantities and then get it wrong. Also, consider being consistent with the type of butter, flour, eggs etc each time you have a go. Are you buying organic? Is this too much detail?!
Virginia – Thank you for the advice. Will check that out immediately!
Shona – You have such an organised mind! Aw, I miss you. 🙂 Had a look in Farm and Household at the weekend and they have a huge selection of tins. Just waiting for “The Cake Bible” to arrive to tell me how big a tin I need. And I’ll be using Organic eggs and butter. Not sure about flour. Will see what the bible says.
Of course you can do it – with a cool mixer, good instructions and a test cake that looks very edible, I think you are on track!
Great mixer and I love Faye’s paintings. Looking forward to hearing about the wedding cake adventures!
Wendy, I’ve baked a few wedding cakes in my lifetime and there is always a moment when you deeply regret having offered to do it in the first place. Then it all turns out and you feel incredibly proud. Definitely go with the mixer, though – what’s this about beating by hand??
Johanna – The cool blender is definitely going to be a key element, I reckon.
David – Well, I’m sure there will be a few tales to tell. I’ve got a long way to go!
Rosa – Thanks for the encouragement. Heartened to hear my panic is not unusual. 🙂
I have faith in you Wendy I know you can do it. Can’t wait to hear what you think of your new book 😀