In April one of our WI ladies got engaged, it was rather special as she was getting married for the first time in her 70’s. She’s an amazing lady, always laughing and smiling. In a rash moment I offered to make the wedding cake, if anyone hears me do that again, feel free to kick my shins sharply! She accepted my offer!
When we discussed what she wanted, it was royal icing and figures on the top. I said from the start, I don’t do figures, I do flowers, if you want figures then you’ll have to buy them ready made to put on top. Royal icing…I’ve done it before, stressful but I did it, deep breath, I can do this!
Lucky for me her fiance didn’t like the idea of figures, so she was then in a quandary. She wanted something personal so I suggested something along the lines of the wedding cake I did for friends last year with a flower to represent each of them. Her fiance is a professor in Japanese culture, so I suggested cherry blossom to represent him along the bottom tier, white roses (of Yorkshire) to represent the bride along the middle, and both united in an arrangement on the top.
She loved the idea so we were all happy!
I made about ten white roses. I use flowerpaste to get the delicate look of flowers. It should be rolled out thin enough to read print through. The centre is slightly creamier to give a bit of depth. I wrapped the stems in green florist tape and made a few rose leaves to add a bit of colour to the arrangements.
I’d not made cherry blossom before but I found a good video on u-tube, they’re pretty similar to primroses really and I’ve done a few of those. I used micro-stamens for the centre and gently dusted the edges in a light purply-pink. The buds were very easy to make, I wrapped all the stems in brown florist tape to make it look like a twig.
I’d made the rich fruit cakes earlier in the summer as they need at least 6 weeks to mature. There was a 9″ cake and a 6″ cake which should provide plenty for their fifty guests. I marzipanned the cakes in August, all I had to do was flat ice them!
What I hadn’t bargained on was the effect the weather would have. The week I chose to royal ice the cakes it was really humid and the icing took forever to dry!With royal icing you have to ice the sides one day, let it dry, ice the top the next day, then second coats….as you can see it’s 4-6 evenings work depending on how many coats you need. My icing was taking a couple of days to get even vaguely dry! My second coat on the sides looked pretty good when I put it on…the next morning it was a disaster zone!! The icing had sunk into a puddle round the bottom!
After more than a few minutes panic I decided to cut the puddle off and I would basically cover the bottom edge with ribbon. I managed to get a neat enough finish on the tops of the cakes, especially as one would be mainly covered by the top cake, and there would be flowers on the top!
Once everything was dry (after about a week!!) I used a fine nozzle to pipe filigree over the sides of the cake, it’s great is filigree, it covers a multitude of sins and is actually quite easy to do! I piped shells round the top edges to neaten that bit up. I decided I needed a bigger base than the 12″ board it was on so I ‘double-mounted’ it with a 14″ board, I used mauve ribbon around the boards and piped a fine line of shells round the 12″ one. I really like the double board effect.
This week I just had to put the arrangements together and ‘finish’ the cakes. I taped three roses together with a couple of leaves and sprigs of filler flowers. I did it a bit like a button-hole, I wrapped the stems in ribbon and tied a bow with long dangling ends. This sat on the middle ledge, secured with a wire hook.
The cherry blossom needed to be a bit longer so it would curve around the cake. I used quite a few buds and flowers to get the effect I wanted. It nicely draped over the two tiered base boards.
On the top of the cake the bride didn’t want too many flowers so I did a ‘corsage’ style arrangement with about five roses and several sprigs of cherry blossom. A couple of sprigs of filler flowers just helped to soften it. Again I trimmed the wires and wrapped them in ribbon with a nice bow at the top.
I still had to sort out the bottom half inch of the cakes where the icing had puddled. My plan was to cover it with a nice, wide ribbon. I pinned it on only to find that because the cake wasn’t perfectly flat with perfectly straight sides, the ribbon wouldn’t lie flat, it looked awful. I tried the little diamond pins like I used on the diamond wedding cake…it still looked like a dogs dinner! In the end I piped a line of shells big enough to cover the offending area. I was happy again!
The final touch was a request from the bride, she wanted a ‘cherry on the cake’, a reference I think to conversations with her close friends about the relationship and the forthcoming wedding. It was ‘the cherry on the cake’
I could only pipe round the bottom layer in advance. The top layer had to wait until I was at the venue! I took the cakes to the venue yesterday afternoon, stacked them, piped round the top layer and pinned on the arrangements. It was the first time it had all been together so I was pleased to see it looked fine, ok I could see all the faults in it, but I’m happy with the overall effect.
It was the wedding today, the sun shone, the bride looked beautiful and they both looked so happy, it was a beautiful service and I was glad to have been part of their day.