As some of you may know, I recently got married. It wasn't a flashy, expensive wedding so the organisation wasn't too onerous. But there was one thing that I really wanted to do and that was make my own cake. Are you crazy? What were you thinking? Yes, I know, with all the other things to organise why would I want to put myself through this? Many of my friends thought the same thing but then they realised that I was going to do it whatever. You see for me this wasn't a huge stressful thing, it was the one thing that I knew I could do the way I wanted. Baking isn't stressful, in fact it helps me to de-stress. Once I'm in the kitchen with flour, butter, eggs and sugar I'm happy.
It would take a lot of thinking, planning and head scratching but I knew that I had to do it. I didn't know anything about this sort of cake making, the big presentation, iced, be-ribboned creation so I needed to do some learning. I chose to do a short cake decorating course, it was five weeks and gave me the basics that I needed. Then a couple of books were donated by two friends (The Cake Decorating Bible and Cake Decorating for Every Occasion) which helped with ideas and techniques. I didn't want anything too fancy, not least because this was my first foray into the celebration cake but it was good to get some ideas.
The main decision was what sort of cake it would be and for me chocolate is the best and so I went with Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness cake. I hava made this many times and it is a rich, moist and earthy cake that is easy to make because everything is melted together. I also had to decide on the size, layers etc and decided on three layers. I found a cake stand that I liked, a Wilton floating cake stand, each layer sits on a base with a back support (the picture will give you a better idea) so the cakes look like they are floating. This way there wouldn't be any need for dowels. The stand then dictated the sizes, they would be 14in, 10in and 6in.
Every decision then lead to another one, now for the cake tins. I wanted something foolproof, loose-bottomed and easy to use. I found these brilliant tins on Lakeland, endorsed by Mary Berry and after much research chose these Pushpans. They proved to be as good as advertised.
Now I had to decide on the decoration. The Guinness cake is usually topped with a creamy head of butter icing but that would be impractical for a wedding cake what with the layers. Having done the cake decorating course I chose to go with simple and elegant, white sugarpaste with red ribbons on the bottom two layers (my husband is English) and green ribbon for the top layer (I am Irish). I wanted to add a little detail, a spray of calla lilies make from sugarpaste for the bottom two layers and a perspex cake topper in red that read Mr & Mrs.
That was all the planning, research and decisions made, tune in to volume 2 for the making and decorating (and some pictures!).