June 17, 2010

A very important wedding cake

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I have an announcement to make: I am baking a wedding cake!

Not just any wedding cake. The cake for my sister Claire’s wedding. The same sister who is as obsessed with food as I am. The same one who is a passionate vegan and baker extraordinaire. That sister.

There might be a wee bit of pressure involved in this project.

But the prospect of fun and excitement far outweigh any nerves I may have. I’m no professional baker, and most cakes I bake aren’t even frosted, but I want this to be the best. wedding. cake. ever. Which is partly why I’m sharing this news here.

First up, the details:

- the wedding is on July 10 in Halifax.
- the cake will have to serve about 175 guests (eep!). This means at least three tiers, possibly four.
- there is to be no chocolate involved (groom’s request) and also no nuts (just in case people have allergies). Flavours such as coconut and mocha have also been vetoed. For now, the flavour palette involves some kind of fruit, most likely citrus.
- of course, it must be vegan!

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The fondant/buttercream debate continues. We are thinking fondant would be a neater, cleaner-looking cake (see above about not being a professional cake baker), and there is no risk of melting frosting (the reception is indoors, but you never know). The downside is it doesn’t taste so hot, and doesn’t look so natural. I’ve never worked with it and don’t remember ever eating it either.

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So far I’ve baked one test cake – the one you see here in the photos. It was an orange cake with lemon buttercream (both recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – a must-have book in vegan baking circles). J took it to a party where it was a huge hit. I like it too, but I’m not convinced it’s the one. I used the buttercream to fill and frost it, but I thought that made it too sweet – this was likely also because I made the filling too thick. Ideally I’d like to have a filling different from the frosting (if we end up using frosting and not fondant).

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There’s a lot I need to learn about construction and decorating a cake this big, and a lot of supplies to buy – dowels, cardboard cake rounds, a turntable, tinting colours, and if the frosting option prevails, palette knives and tinting colours. For preparation, I plan on baking the cake once I get to Halifax and freezing the layers. The morning of the wedding I’ll frost and fill each tier, then transport them to the venue to assemble and add final decorations. Did I mention I’m also the maid of honour? It’s going to be quite the day.

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Tomorrow I’m going to buy a vegan desserts cookbook that looks promising, and I’m hoping it has some inspiring cake and filling recipes in it. I’m thinking of testing a lemon cake or vanilla cake next, and possibly experimenting with some kind of strawberry filling. I’m planning for several more test cakes before I head to Halifax July 1st.

So now I appeal to you, dear readers. Any advice for the first-time wedding cake baker? Fondant or buttercream? Flavours, decorating techniques, words of wisdom?? I am beyond excited about this, but a little guidance would not hurt at all.

5 comments:

Court said...

Wow! Good for you! Brooke (my co-blogger) did my wedding cake as well as her aunt's. They were delicious and she used a butter cream that was not as sweet (http://takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/2009/05/worlds-greatest-buttercream.html) but that is not the cake. Homemade and delicious is totally the way to go rather than paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for something that looks great but maybe is not as tasty.

Sharon said...

No advice, Isabelle, but like Court, I applaud your efforts! Sounds like your reading will lead you in the right direction - good luck!

Emily said...

sudude, you obviously need to read deb's posts on wedding cakes. and is vegan lemon curd possible? because that would be an amazingly yummy filling. i also agree that fondant is pretty, but i really don't think it tastes so hot. can you make italian meringue buttercream vegan? i think that's a lighter, less sweet version of icing. and as long as you do a solid crumb layer, i'm sure the icing will manage to look sophisticated. of course, you could always try fondant with buttercream roses, or something like that.

Maki said...

I suggest you go with what your comfortable with, as this will yield the best looking and tasting results.

You have great piping skills so stick with buttercream. I tried a marshmallow fondant for the first time and it turned out really well, was easy to use and it was tasty but I don't think marshmallow's are vegan.

I usually fill my cake layers with a mixture of icing and some delicious jam. Always get compliments on it.

Good luck. After seeing this cake, I'm sure the wedding cake will turn out fantastic!

A Canadian Foodie said...

I agree with what every one has said. But, under NO circumstances should you ice the cake on the day of the wedding. Buttercreams freeze beautifully and one day will be fine - even in the fridge. Perfect - and the cake will taste better after sitting a day with the icing. The stress will be greatly reduced. Even TWO days prior makes more sense. Make the cake one day, and freeze it. Then cut it and organize the layers and make and add the filling day 2. Freeze again. Day three, make the icing and decorate the cake. Make sure there is room in a fridge. Use fresh flowers on top of your butter cream for a beautiful soft finishing touch. I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see the final photos and hear about it...but do not leave it until the day of the wedding. Big hugs!
Valerie