Boho Chic Two Tiered Wedding Cake

July 21, 2019

I know I've been very quiet on the blog lately. Part of that has been me catching up with some life admin and making summer plans with friends. But I have still been busy in the kitchen, because... I only went and made a WEDDING CAKE!

 

 

So, when I was first asked to make this wedding cake by the bride and groom Alice and Sam, I was rather unsure of myself. I didn't think I had the skills or knowledge to construct a wedding cake. Plus I thought I would find it all rather stressful. However, Google, YouTube and Pinterest are beautiful things, and can teach you to do things you did not think you were capable of. 

 

 

Was it stressful? Yes. Was it challenging? Double yes. Did I have all of the possible things that could go wrong at any one time going round in my head as I was making it? Just a little. But was it satisfying? YES. YES. YES. And most of all, it was delicious.

 

An extra bonus was that I was a guest at the wedding as well as the cake baker. So, I got to have a wonderful time at a beautiful venue (Notley Tythe Barn - www.notleyfarm.co.uk) on one of the hottest days of the year so far, celebrating a couple very much in love. Here's some photos of us enjoying the day. Also shout out to the chef of Notley Tythe Barn who produced an incredible wedding breakfast AND gave me a taste of his very moreish home-made ice creams (raspberry ripple, jack daniels and coke) and sorbets (prosecco) as the cake and I were melting in the kitchen during its final construction! 

 

 

 

p.s. Sorry if there are any typos in this recipe. It took a long time to write up and I got sick of looking at it.

 

Utensils:

  • Macarons: 3 baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper, pencil, small circular object around 3cm in diameter to draw circles with, food processor, sieve, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, small saucepan, electric stand mixer with whisk attachment, cooking thermometer, large piping bag, round piping tip, cooling rack, large airtight container. 

  • Caramel: Medium heavy-based saucepan, cooking thermometer, spatula, glass jar for storage.

  • Cakes: 4 x 7 inch cake tins, 4 x 9 inch cake tins, sieve, small saucepan, mixing bowl, non-stick baking paper, electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, cooling racks, cling film, large serrated knife, ruler.

  • Buttercream: Electric stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments, medium heavy-based saucepan, cooking thermometer, mixing bowl.

  • Filling, Icing & Storage: Cake turntable, 1 x 7 inch hardboard cake card, 1 x 9 inch cake drum, 1 x 10 inch square cake box (at least 6 inches in height), 1 x 9 inch hardboard cake card, 1 x 11 inch cake drum, 1 x 12 inch square cake box (at least 6 inches in height) - I bought my cake cards, drums and boxes from www.cakecraftshop.co.uk - ruler, scissors, metal cake scraper, palette knife.

  • Dowelling, Stacking & Decorating: Pack of at least 7 bamboo dowel rods, pencil, small piece of sandpaper, baking paper, scissors, flower cake topper or artificial flowers and florist wire, 'Mr & Mrs' cake bunting, cake presentation board or plate. 

INGREDIENTS

 

Macarons

175g ground almonds

175g icing sugar

130g egg whites, at room temperature

175g caster sugar

Green gel food colouring

 

Caramel

100g granulated sugar

45g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and at room temperature

60ml double cream 

 

Coffee & Walnut Cake

225g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

20g fine ground coffee powder

4 large eggs

225g gluten-free self-raising flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

100g chopped walnuts

 

White Chocolate Cake 

600ml whole milk

210g good quality white chocolate

2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract

280g unsalted butter

500g granulated sugar

5 large eggs

525g gluten-free self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

 

Italian Meringue Buttercream & Cake Fillings

300g unsalted butter, at room temperature

100g solid vegetable fat (e.g. Trex)

6 egg whites

350g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

10g fine ground coffee powder

Homemade caramel

100g good quality white chocolate

1 jar (370g) raspberry conserve

 

Italian Meringue Buttercream for Semi-Naked Decoration

300g unsalted butter, at room temperature

100g solid vegetable fat (e.g. Trex)

6 egg whites

350g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract

 

Makes: one 4-layer 9 inch cake, one 4-layer 7 inch cake, fillings and "semi-naked" decoration for both cakes, macarons for decoration.

METHOD

 

1. Make the macarons (2 days before wedding): Follow steps 6-13 of this recipe (ignore any references to adding pistachio paste to the macaron mixture and I recommend making your macarons no more than 3cm in diameter). 

 

2. Make the caramel (2 days before): Spread the granulated sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a medium heavy-based saucepan and add a few tablespoons of water to form a thick paste. Weigh out the butter and cut into small cubes. Measure out the double cream. Heat the sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan gently as the sugar melts. Cook the sugar until it reaches a deep amber colour and just reaches 175°C.  It should have a slight toasted aroma. Add the butter and stir with a spatula. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream in. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in the fridge to set. 

 

3. Make the coffee and walnut cake (2 days before): Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C). Grease and line 4 x 7 inch cake tins with baking paper. In an electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix the coffee powder with a few teaspoons of boiling water to form a smooth paste. 

 

4. Add the eggs to the mixer one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the coffee paste and beat well. Sift in the self-raising flour and baking powder in 3 additions, beating well after each. Finally, add the chopped walnuts and carefully stir in. Divide the mixture evenly between the 4 cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown and a skewer comes out with a few sticky crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins on a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the cakes in the tins in cling film and refrigerate overnight. 

 

5. Make the white chocolate cake (2 days before): In a small saucepan, combine the whole milk, white chocolate and vanilla extract. Melt over a low heat, stirring regularly. Once the chocolate has melted, take off the heat and set to one side to cool to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C). Grease and line 4 x 9 inch cake tins.

 

6. In an electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. In a separate mixing bowl, combine self-raising flour, baking powder and salt. Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture into the batter and beat well. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat well. Repeat adding the same proportions of flour and milk mixtures until everything has been added.

 

7. Divide the mixture evenly between the 4 cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until well risen, golden brown and a skewer comes out with a few sticky crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins on a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the cakes in the tins in cling film and refrigerate overnight. 

 

8. Level the cake layers (1 day before): Remove the coffee and walnut cake layers from the tins and place on a flat surface. Using a large serrated knife and ensuring it is held parallel to your work surface, slice the top off each layer so that it is flat. Using a ruler, measure the height of each layer to ensure they are roughly equal in height. If needed, carefully slice small amounts off a layer until it matches the rest of the cake layers. Stack the layers on top of each other to ensure they are level. Return to the tins and place back in the fridge. Repeat with the white chocolate cake.

 

9. Make a hole in the top tier cake card (1 day before): Take your 7 inch hardboard cake card and use a ruler to mark the centre of the card. Use a drill and / or pair of scissors to make a small hole in the middle of the cake card. The hole will need to be large enough so that a cake dowel can fit through the hole. Set to one side.

 

10. Make buttercream for filling the cakes (1 day before): Cut the butter and vegetable fat into cubes and place in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Cream the butter and fat for a couple of minutes until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and set to one side. If your kitchen is very warm, place the butter in a cooler place until ready to use (the fat needs to stay at room temperature but not be too warm). Thoroughly wash and dry the bowl of your stand mixer, ensuring no grease remains, then place the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer with whisk attachment.

 

11. In a medium saucepan add the sugar and 75ml water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Do not stir, just swirl the pan gently if needed. Boil until the syrup reaches 120°C on a cooking thermometer. In the meantime, start beating the egg whites on a low speed until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat on a medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

 

12. With the mixer running at medium speed, pour the boiling sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Then, on high speed, beat the egg whites until they cool down to room temperature (around 10-15 minutes). Once at room temperature, switch to the paddle attachment, turn the mixer down to medium speed and add the butter, one teaspoon at a time, beating until well incorporated. If the mixture looks curdled at any point, continue beating until smooth.

 

13. Transfer just less than half of the buttercream to another mixing bowl. In the larger bowl of buttercream add 100g of melted and cooled white chocolate and fold in. In the smaller bowl of buttercream add the coffee powder mixed with a teaspoon of water to form a smooth paste, and your homemade caramel. Taste to decide if you want to add more coffee.

 

14. Fill the cakes (1 day before): Place the 9 inch cake drum on your turntable. Use a little coffee-caramel buttercream to stick the 7 inch cake card in the middle of the drum. Then use buttercream to stick the first layer of the coffee and walnut cake in the middle of the cake card. Spread 1/3 of the buttercream over the cake layer. Place the next cake layer on top and repeat until you have used all the cake layers. Ensure you place the final cake layer on cut-side down. Press down firmly on the cake to ensure it is level. Use a cake scraper to smooth any buttercream coming out of the sides. Place the cake in the fridge to chill. 

 

15. Place the 11 inch cake drum on your turntable. Use a little white chocolate buttercream to stick the 9 inch cake card in the middle of the drum. Use buttercream to stick the first layer of the white chocolate cake in the middle of the cake card. Spread 1/3 of the buttercream over the cake layer. Spread 1/3 of the raspberry conserve on the underside of the next layer before placing on top of the first layer. Repeat until you have used all the cake layers. Ensure you place the final cake layer on cut-side down. Press down firmly on the cake to ensure it is level. Use a cake scraper to smooth any buttercream coming out of the sides. Place the cake in the fridge to chill. 

 

16. Semi-naked decorate the cakes (1 day before): Repeat steps 10 - 12 to make the buttercream. Once the buttercream has come together, add the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated. Working on one cake at a time, place the cake on your turntable and spread a layer of buttercream first around the sides of the cake and then the top using a palette knife. Use a metal cake scraper to scrape most of the icing off around the sides of the cake to create a semi-naked effect. Smooth the top of the cake with a palette knife. Once you are happy with the semi-naked effect of each cake, I recommend placing the cakes in their cake boxes straight away before placing them back in the fridge to chill overnight. 

 

17. Finalise your decorations (1 day before): Transfer most of the remaining buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip. Sandwich together the macarons with the buttercream and then store in the fridge overnight. Place the leftover buttercream in a small airtight container next to macarons in the fridge. If you need to create your flower toppers using artificial flowers and florist wire, do so now. Gather all of the things you will need to stack and decorate the cake at the venue. This will include your flower cake topper or artificial flowers, florist wire and scissors, 'Mr & Mrs' cake bunting, cake presentation board or plate, palette knife and metal cake scraper (for any icing touch ups) and any extras. 

 

18. Insert dowels (morning of): Carefully remove the 9 inch raspberry and white chocolate cake from the fridge and from its box. Using a ruler, find the middle of the cake and use a bamboo dowel rod to mark the middle. Insert the rod straight down into the cake until it hits the cake card underneath. Using a pencil, mark on the rod where it meets the top of the cake. Remove the rod and cut 6 rods to the size you measured on the first rod. Sand the cut ends of the rods to ensure they are smooth, then wash and dry them. Use a 7-inch cake tin to cut a circle of baking paper the same size as your top cake tier.

 

19. Place the circle of baking paper on the top of the 9 inch cake, ensuring that the middle of the paper lines up with the middle of the cake you have already marked out. Using a ruler and a rod, measure and mark out an inch in from the edge of the circle at 4 equal points (think of it like a compass: mark out points at N, S, E and W). At NW and SE points, measure and mark out 2 more points about 2-3 inches from the edge of the circle. Once measured, insert a rod into each of the marked out points straight down until they hit the cake card underneath. The final rod you'll need to measure will be the middle rod, which needs to go through the cake card of the top tier to ensure it all remains in place. Make this rod about 2 inches higher than the top of the cake. Sand the cut end of the rod before washing, drying and inserting. Place the cake back in its box in the fridge until you need to take it to the venue. 

 

20. Transport the cakes (morning of): Carefully transport your cakes, macarons, small container of icing and various utensils/decorations to the venue. It's a good idea to check with the venue what the usual arrangements for wedding cakes are and if there is space for you to assemble the cake there. If it is a hot and humid day, you will need to try and find some fridge space for the cake until it needs to be presented.

 

21. Assemble the cake (at the venue): Before assembling, try to ensure the cakes are cold. If the car ride has been hot, place the cakes in a fridge at the venue for at least 15 minutes before doing anything. For assembly, you'll need to remove the 9 inch cake from its box and from the larger cake drum, placing just the cake on its 9 inch cake card on the presentation board / plate. Secure it with a little icing. Also spread a little icing in the middle of the top of the cake, where you are about to place the top tier.

 

22. Remove the 7 inch cake from its box and from the larger cake drum, so that you are holding the cake by its 7 inch cake card from underneath. Use your fingers to find the hole you made in the cake card and guide the rod inserted into the bottom tier through it. Carefully lower the cake down until it is supported by the rods underneath. This is now a good time to do any icing touch ups if needed. Finally, add your decorations (macarons, artificial flowers, 'Mr & Mrs' bunting) and for the love of God, take some photos of your masterpiece!!!

 

Storage: Any cake that is not eaten during the wedding is best stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Take out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before eating to allow the buttercream to warm up. It tastes much better this way. 

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