Tracy & Anthony's Wedding Cake Story
Written By Gill
I first met Tracy, her Fiance Anthony and Tracy's parents; Karen & David, in the Autumn of 2015, a good twelve months prior to Tracy & Anthony's planned nuptials.
.It was delightful to meet such a warm and friendly family..
Karen, a regular visitor to The Walton Lea Project, had 'sampled' many of Gill's Cakes in their Tea Rooms.. So, as quoted by Karen; "I knew I was onto a winner with Gill's Cakes"!
Tracy was very clear from the onset about what she wanted. She had found this pretty understated cake
design on the internet, It was quite plain with a cascading sprinkle of blossom.
Having this picture made it fairly straightforward and meant It wasn't necessary to sketch how the finished cake would look
However, Tracy was keen on a three-tier 'sponge' wedding cake with a textured buttercream, rather than the fondant in the picture,. and the blossom would be colour-toned to the final choice for the bridesmaids.
So; with a date in the diary at Gill's Cakes, over the coming months the rest of the plans started to take shape
A beautiful Venue was chosen, A romantic and dramatic choice................
Arley Hall, near Northwich in Cheshire
A stunning Country House with enormous character and a magical charm.........
A private estate, Arley Hall is the ancestral home of Viscount Ashbrook and his family.. The present Arley Hall dates from 1840.
Early in 2016 I took The family some flavoured sponge cake samples for them to try;. It was a fairly easy decision. The 3-tier cake would comprise:
A 10" Chocolate Truffle Cake with a Chocolate Ganache filling,
An 8" Zesty Lemon Sponge with Lemon Buttercream & Sicilian Lemon Curd
And a 6" top tier of Raspberry & White Chocolate with Raspberry Buttercream.
Karen was slightly worried that the 'traditions' of a Rich Fruit Wedding Cake may be lost and leave the older members of the family somewhat bereft - after all what's a wedding without a slice of tradition?
This was however soon rectified with the addition of a 10" Rich Fruit Brandy-Soaked Cutting Cake, so in effect the cake was portioned ready for cutting into 50 fairly decent sized 1" x 2" pieces.
Add a Little Tradition
The bridesmaids dresses were selected - a beautiful Turquoise Chiffon, Karen provided me with a swatch of fabric which meant I could press on with making a few hundred blossoms in differing shapes and sizes ..... with the addition of some butterflies to add dimension.
Tracy was so looking forward to a great big fat piece of Raspberry & White Chocolate
Cake but she started to get anxious that with just a small 6" round top tier in this flavour - she might not get a chance to get her rightful fair portion!!
So... an easy answer was 'up the order' with the addition of 50 cupcakes!
After a brief debate with Tracy it was agreed there should be 20 Lemon cupcakes and 30 Raspberry & White Chocolate.
I decided to tint the buttercream to reflect these flavours - not that any appetites needed to be tempted- Karen said the cupcakes just disappeared!
The Lemon Cupcakes had a Zingy Sicilian Lemon Curd Filling.
All the cupcakes were decorated with the same Turquoise Blossom chosen for the wedding cake.
And so to the Main Event.......
I started baking the three tiers on the Tuesday before the Saturday wedding - so they would be very fresh, they usually keep quite well up to two weeks once iced..
I I always choose my ingredients with great care, for this reason and to make every effort to make a pale base buttercream, without adding loads of e-numbers with gallons of white colouring, I decided to use Lurpak butter, it is one of the palest butters available in the UK. In the US, they use pure white vegetable fat for their buttercream, yes! just a load of trex! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Sorry but I just can't go there on that one!
When the cakes were made and cooled and left overnight to settle properly and to bring out the flavours., they were split twice and filled with their chosen ganache, cream
and/or curd and then covered with a very thin layer of buttercream, this is called the 'crumb - coat'.
All work areas are kept spotlessly clean and are well organised to minimise any errors.
After leaving in a cool place for a minimum of four hours the 'top-coat' of buttercream is applied onto the crumb-coat which by now is crusted over and is a fairly firm base to cover.
The 10" and 8" tiers are then 'dowelled' with four plastic tubes each, these tubes are measured and cut to equal size and sterilised before use.
They will ensure that the cake is stable and very level!
If your cake collapses - whether it be fruit or sponge, then it's because it has not been stabilised. This step is essential!
Tracy wanted a textured buttercream, I did however
need to be aware that the blossom would need to be able to flow down the cake and not become 'stuck' in any deep crevices in the design. For this reason the texture was fairly light.
Then I made a colour co-0rdinated fondant ribbon, for two reasons, the first was to ensure an exact colour match with the blossom and also if I used silk ribbon it was likely the grease would soak through from the buttercream..
Lastly a sprinkling of Love.........Blossom
The cake was then lovingly finished with a horseshoe that Mum Karen had ordered for the happy couple and I added some extra blossom so it would co-ordinate with the cake.
Many Congratulations to newlyweds Mr & Mrs Anthony Hallwood and Many Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to make your Wedding Cakes and to write the story of your very special day -. 8th October 2016.
Tracy's mum, Karen, made the following comments about 'The Big Day' :
"As there was so much to organise for the wedding, I was grateful Gill was in charge of making the cake. She instinctively knew what was needed, from the initial consultation she listened, advised, and worked hard with us to produce what became a first-class creation"..
Tracy was very clear about what she wanted and |Gill did everything to accomodate her wishes. She kept in contact with us throughout the process and brought over samples and tasters for us to approve & try.
On the day of the wedding she delivered and set-up the cake display (which looked spectacular) and both Tracy and Anthony were really pleased with it.
However, as the saying goes.... 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'! and those cakes certainly got ate!!
The cupcakes did a fast disappearing act followed not long after by the rest and every slice was accompanied by some lovely comments from our wedding guests.
We have many good memories of that day and on question that frequently pops up is...
'What about that cake"!
Many thanks Karen Hopley