Sunday, 27 September 2009

Wedding Cake

My elder son and his fiancee have set their wedding date for late December and part of my contribution to the event is the wedding cake. So, after much trepidation - how on earth will I ice and decorate this cake! - consideration - what size of cake? how many tiers? - and preparation - gather together all the ingredients, ensure I have the right size cake tins - I'm ready to make a start.

Again, Good Housekeeping Cookery Book has come to the rescue with quantities of ingredients for various sizes of cake and advice on what sizes to combine in tiers. I'm going to make a two tier round cake, 10" and 6" with a second 6" cake in reserve to produce extra portions as required. I've used my Christmas cake recipe as that's tried and tested and beautifully rich and the Handyman assures me that it is fruity and delicious. I'll leave the nuts out of the 6" cakes to cater for anyone with a nut allergy or who simply doesn't like nuts.

Today I've begun with the largest tier. The first thing to do was prepare the baking tin by lining it with 2 layers of greaseproof paper and placing a double band of newspaper lined with greaseproof paper around the tin. It really should be brown paper round the tin but my preparation went astray here and I forgot to buy some...oops!

Next thing to do is measure out all the ingredients (I've given the quantities for the 10" cake with the quantities for the 6" cake in brackets) starting with the fruit and nuts:

1lb 12oz (8oz) currants
13oz (4oz) sultanas
13oz (4oz) raisins
9oz (2oz) glace cherries
(washed, dried and quarter
5oz (1oz) mixed peel
5oz (1oz) flaked almonds

Then weigh the butter, sugar and lemon rind into a bowl:

1lb 2oz (5oz) softened butter
1lb 2oz (5oz) golden castor sugar
lemon rind, a little

and sieve the flour and spices into another bowl:

1lb 5oz (6oz) plain flour
1 level tsp (quarter level tsp) mixed spice
1 level tsp (quarter level tsp) cinnamon

finally beat the eggs together in another bowl and measure out the brandy into a cup:

9 (2½) large eggs
3 tbsp (1 tbsp) brandy

Now the fun begins...

Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition of egg. Gradually fold in the flour with a metal spoon, then fold in the brandy. Finally fold in the fruit and nuts.

I had to use my preserving pan to fit all the butter mixture, flour and fruit in. I also used by food processor to cream the butter and sugar together in batches and then mixed in the eggs using an electric whisk. The folding in of the flour and fruit I did by hand and it has done wonders for the muscle tone in my upper arms! A final stir of the cake for luck using a wooden spoon bought by G as a gift for Mum from a school trip to Wales many moons ago, lots of memories and love in this cake.

When everything is thoroughly mixed together, spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin making sure that there are no air pockets and make a slight hollow in the centre to ensure an even top when cooked.

Place in a preheated oven 150C for 6hrs (2½-3hrs)until a fine skewer in the centre comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper after 1½ hrs and for the 10" cake reduce the heat of the oven to 130C after 4 hrs. When cooked leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack. Wrap the cool cake in a double thickness of greaseproof paper and place upside down in an airtight tin. Cover the tin with foil to store.

All that's left to do now is wash up and wait 6 hours to see the results!

As for the icing and decoration, well I'll be building myself up to that over the coming weeks and have engaged the help and artistic talents of my niece, O. No doubt I'll provide further news on progress in later posts - wish me luck!

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