Thursday, September 12, 2013

White Wedding Cake

Sorry I haven't been around much.

I feel guilty.

But I have a valid excuse because I have been busy. Busy baking of course!

My sister got married over the weekend.

She asked me to make the wedding cake.

I had one week to prepare and no time to recover from jet lag. Flying across the world does some damage... In wedding cake world, one week in a new kitchen without your tools is a bit scary.

But, I was more than happy to do it. Congrats Dee Dee!

The theme? Colourful! Corals, reds and orange.
The flavours? Vanilla, lemon, raspberry and white chocolate.
The party? FUN.

I decided to do something fresh and light but still decadent, so I went with vanilla buttercake with fresh raspberry compote filling and white chocolate Swiss Meringe Buttercream.

The cupcakes were a mix of Bourbon Vanilla and Very Lemon.

No fondant in sight. I don't do fondant. Just buttercream - stuff you really want to eat. That's a thing with me.

It all started with a big bag of flour, 8 lbs of butter, a few kilos of sugar, several pints of fresh raspberries and many bars of Lindt white chocolate.

Cake decorating 101: must have an offset spatula/palette knife. This is your friend. I cannot make a wedding-perfect cake without one. It helps you have control when applying frosting. It gives you smooth edges or lets you create fun swooshes. I went for smooth this time.

First thing's first - build a crumb coat. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to cover, not worrying about lifting up any crumbs at this point. Then, chill the cake in the icebox for 15 minutes. This will set the crumbs in the frosting so that when you apply the next layer, it will be crumb-free and white as snow.

Meringue buttercreams, like this Swiss Meringue Buttercream, are the caviar of frostings. Their's nothing else like 'em. Silky... and I mean SILKY smooth, light, creamy and glossy. Oh so glossy.

Once you go buttercream, you never go back. Icing sugar? What's that? Grit? - none here.

It starts with egg whites, because we are making a meringue after all. Egg whites get thoughtfully separated into the mixer bowl and whisked with sugar over simmering water until it reaches 160 degrees F.

This does two things: makes the egg whites safe to eat and makes the egg white proteins more ready to whip.

After attaching the bowl to the mixer, we turbo whip on high speed until the bowl feels completely cool. This will take nearly 10 minutes and the whites will be thick, full, and bright white. You'll mistake it for shaving cream.

That's when you add the butter little by little until it gets emulsified.

Sounds easy... and it is easy if you follow through! The biggest problem with meringue buttercreams going wrong is when you change the recipe. Yes it requires that much sugar, and YES it requires that much butter. Don't mess with a good thing. Also... it will go through a stage where it looks like curdled soup. Stay strong and keep whipping. It will come together. Have faith.

In addition to cake, there were 120 cupcakes: 60 lemon and 60 bourbon vanilla.

For a jewel of a surprise, fresh raspberry compote gets buried right in the center. Magic.

Eventually cupcakes took over my kitchen. Counter space was at a premium.

A bit of colour to interrupt the white and give direction to your eyes.

Enough with the cupcakes? Ok, back to the cake.

This is the top tier of the little wedding cake. A tiny 4-inch cake will do.

Three layers of vanilla buttercake and two layers of raspberry compote.

Tiny pink rosettes and fire orange rosebuds.

Frosting tip alert: those streaks can be smoothed out with a warm small offset spatula over a chilled cake (dip in warm water and wipe dry before gently going once over the frosting).

Some last minute assembling to get the little cake on the big cake, and a bride and groom on top.

It was a delicious night.

A far cry from the syrup soaked sponges of many wedding cakes I've had before.

I don't believe in syrup soaked cakes, except maybe Caribbean rum cake. But, maybe that's just because of the rum...

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