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Just before I leave this topic for a while (I don’t think any of my other sons will be getting married soon) I thought I would post a couple more photos.


These are photos of the cupcakes I made for the flowergirls (packed for the journey). I used the Chelsea Eggless Chocolate Cake recipe. The icing is bought fondant icing which I rolled out and cut using a fluted cutter. The rosebuds and leaves are smaller versions of the ones I made for the main cake and the butterflies were also made from the white chocolate plastic. I rolled it out and cut with little butterfly cutters. I put the cut-out butterflies into a V-shaped length of cardboard to set.

And these are buttonholes I made for my sons. I got some spray roses from the supermarket and raided my rosemary bush for the foliage. Because the rosemary was new growth it was fairly soft and wilted pretty quickly but they lasted through the ceremony.


After all the preparations, the time finally came to make the final version of the cake. I picked up the tins on Thursday – a 6″ and a 10″. I made 1 batch of the recipe and divided it between the 2 tins and when those were baked I made a second batch so I ended up with two 10″ cakes and two 6″ cakes. On Friday I levelled the cakes then split each of the cakes in half. I stacked all 4 layers of each sized tier with boysenberry filling in-between.

                                 Berry Filling

   1  1/2  kg               boysenberries
   2  1/4  cup           water
   1  1/2  cup           sugar
   9      Tbs                cornflour

1. Add the berries and  water to a pot. Cook for 5 minutes
over medium-high heat.
2. Sift together the sugar and cornstarch and then stir into the berry
mixture. Cook until the mixture is thick and the berries have broken
down, about 15 minutes.
3. Let cool before using

This recipe made enough for all the layers with quite a bit left over.

Before putting the filling on I piped white chocolate ganache around the edge to stop the berry filling bleeding into the covering ganache.

Once I had both tiers individually stacked I put the first coating of ganache on.

                        White Chocolate Ganache

1.2      kg             white chocolate
 400   ml            cream

1. Melt together using a bain marie or the microwave. Let cool before using.

I warmed the ganache till it was quite runny and poured it over. This worked reasonably well but I needed to add extra on the sides. Once they were done they were put in the fridge till Saturday.

On Saturday I put a second coat of ganache on and got it as smooth as I could. Putting the cakes on a Lazy Susan made this step much easier. After a further spell in the fridge I used the 6″ tin to mark the top of the 10″ cake so I knew where to put the smaller tier. I sunk 4 sharpened dowels into the cake just inside the mark I had made – these were to support the 2nd tier. I had already inserted a longer dowel through the top tier and the foil-covered cardboard base it was sitting on. Once I had positioned the top tier correctly I pushed this dowel through the bottom cake to hold them securely together. I piped some ganache around the join and to fill the hole in the top, then it was back into the fridge till Sunday – the wedding day.

On Sunday I put the cake onto the presentation base using a liberal application of buttercream icing as glue. I then put the cake into a large box with a thin piece of foam in the bottom. The box was then put on another piece of foam in the car and I proceeded to drive very carefully the 20km to the church. I had put a sign in the rear windscreen – “Caution: Wedding cake on board!”. Once at the church the cake was put on the table and I added the flowers, leaves and tendrils. Voila!



When I got to work yesterday I discovered several large piles of new books on the counter for me to use to top up the new book display. One was Divine Cupcakes by Tamara Jane. On the front was a picture of a beautiful cupcake with a rose on top. Given my current obsession with cake and roses, I had to have a look. The book starts with the cupcake recipes (all yummy-sounding and beautifully illustrated), then moves onto toppings and frostings (a great selection) and finally decorations (easy and beautiful). It was while I was reading the ‘toppings’ section that I had a eureka moment (or should that be ‘an eureka’?). The recipe for ganache had 2 variations – one for dark chocolate ganache and one for white chocolate ganache. And, surprise, surprise – the white chocolate ganache had a much higher ratio of  chocolate to cream. No wonder I always have trouble with my white chocolate ganache being too runny. I have been using the wrong recipe!

Armed with this new information I set to work to make another trial wedding cake tier. Following the recipe in the book resulted in a ganache of just the right texture and I was very pleased with the final result.

On Saturday it will be the real thing and I am feeling much more confident now. Watch this space!

Chocolate plastic roses

Chocolate plastic roses

Having trialed the top tier of my son’s wedding cake I thought it was time to start making the roses that will decorate it. I found a site that made it sound very easy [] and with my recent experience making rose buds from fondant, I thought I was set – I even have the proper cutters.

I made my chocolate plastic and put it in the fridge as specified. After 3 hours I took it out and let it sit on the bench for an hour before trying to knead it. It was quite hard and when I tried to knead it, it just crumbled. The only departure from the recipe was the addition of some powdered colouring as the bride wanted red roses. I wondered if that had mucked things up. Or perhaps my ingredients weren’t quite right. I used corn syrup but wasn’t sure whether it was ‘light” or not.  I did a bit of googling and found a site that recommended zapping the chocolate plastic in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm it up. I did that a couple of times and was then able to knead it.

Chocolate plastic roses

Chocolate plastic roses

As I suspected the finished product was pink rather than red but the bride and groom are quite happy to have a mix of pink and white roses.  I made 5 roses before heading to bed and will make the rest tonight and tomorrow. I was quite happy with how they turned out but I think they look more like camellias than roses. The book recommends having a total of 20 roses in various sizes – I think I will make slightly more white than pink roses and will make more than 20 so I can use some on a second practice cake.

trial wedding cake

trial wedding cake

The date of the wedding is approaching much too fast but I have been working on some things.

ringbearer's cushion

ringbearer's cushion

 Having been asked to make the ringbearer’s cushion, I headed to the library (of course) and found a book with a suitable design but then had trouble finding the right laces and ribbons or even some red satin. In the end I sewed 3 strips of wide satin ribbon together and place the lace so it covered the seams.

I decided it was time for a trial run of the wedding cake – the top tier at least. The bride is now on a low-fat diet due to gall stone problems which creates a bit of a problem with the plan of using a white chocolate ganache for the icing. After a bit of lateral thinking, I suggested that I make egg-free, low-fat, beautifully decorated cupcakes for the bride and groom and the flower-girls. This would mean that I could use my tried and true chocolate cake recipe for the main cake and ice it with chocolate ganache.

I should have remembered the last time I tried to make white chocolate ganache! I followed the recipe in the wedding cake book only to find that it was far too runny – deja vue! Even refrigerating it overnight  didn’t thicken it enough. I added the rest of white chocolate and then some icing sugar until finally it was thick enough. I had used all the white chocolate so I couldn’t try making the roses. I think I need a bit more practise with the icing and you couldn’t really taste the raspberry jam I used between some of the layers. One of my Foodlover friends pointed me to a recipe for a filling using fresh (or frozen) berries so I think I will try another cake using that and see if I can do a bit better with the icing.

trial wedding cake - cut

trial wedding cake - cut


This week I tried out the DivineTaste Eggless Chocolate Cake. It was certainly very easy to make and the batter was a much better consistency than the last recipe I tried. The cooking temperature seemed quite low but the cake was cooked after the specified length of time. Something in the recipe puzzeled me – the instruction to preheat the oven at a lower temperature than the cake was baked at. I usually preheat at a higher temperature to allow for the temperature dropping when the cake is put in. I must admit I followed my usual practice rather than the recipe. When it was cooked I put the cake on a rack on the bench to cool while I went to feed the animals. When I came back there was no sign of the cake – my son’s dog had wolfed down the entire thing! Here he is looking as though butter (or cake) wouldn’t melt in his mouth.



Luckily I had another tin of sweetened condensed milk so, the next day, I made another cake. Althou this was described as a sponge cake it didn’t have a sponge cake texture but was instead a reasonably dense cake with definite chocolaty taste. I think this is the best cake so far although my son prefers the first one. One more recipe to try – I must remember to but a can of sprite next week. My rose cutters and icing spatulas have arrived and I have found and bought a great Lazy Susan to use as an icing turntable. I will try to get to the cake decorating shop this week to get some decent white chocolate and some corn syrup to make the plastic white chocolate so I can start practising the roses.


I was showing a patron where to find the books on birthday cakes when I spotted an useful looking title – Wedding Cakes You Can Make by Dede Wilson.

076455719x_01__sx140_sclzzzzzzz_I took it home and read it that evening. The first half of the book, entitled Everything You Need to Know about Making a Wedding Cake, contains all sorts of useful information – equipment needed, how many people a particular sized cake serves, how much batter is needed to fill each size pan, ingredient tips, cooking tips, how to assemble your cake, how to support tiers of cake, how much filling and icing you need, how to ice the cake, how to transport it and how to cut it. This section really lived to its title with very clear, comprehensive instructions and handy charts and easy-to-refer-to coloured blocks of text.

The second half of the book contains the recipes. Whilst traditionally New Zealand wedding cakes have been similar to Christmas cakes i.e. fruit cakes with royal icing, American wedding cakes are obvious;y very different. There is not a single fruit cake recipes and most of the cakes are iced with buttercream. Instead these wedding cakes are made up of several tiers of cake with each tier consisting of 4 cake halves layered with a filling of some sort. They sound delicious – Lemon Blackberry cake, Marzipan and Orange Essensia cake, Hazelnut Praline and Apricot cake, Brown Sugar, Pecan and Peaches cake . . .  Unfortunately none of the recipes were egg-free and even the buttercream contained some egg white.

I gave the book to the happy couple to look at for some design ideas and, of course, they liked the most difficult cake in the book that has white chocolate plastic roses on it.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake from Wedding Cakes You can Make

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake from Wedding Cakes You can Make

I won’t use Dede’s cake or icing recipes since they contain egg, instead I will use an eggless chocolate recipe  and use white chocolate ganache for the filling and the icing. The good thing about the chocolate roses is that they can be made in advance so I will have plenty of time to practise making them. Today I ordered some of the essential equipment – 2 icing spatulas, a rose petal/leaf cutter and a leaf veiner. I am also watching an auction for a Lazy Susan which will hopefully work out cheaper than the cake decorating turntables that are available.

My son and his fiance are starting to plan their wedding, which will probably be this September. They have looked on-line and visited the library looking for information. They have chosen flower-girls, a ring bearer and ushers. They have investigated venues and drawn up a guest list. And when it came to thinking about the cake, they asked if I could make it. I said ‘yes’, of course. Then they told me they wanted a chocolate cake and that it had to be egg-free as one of the flower-girls is allergic to egg.

At least I have a little while to find, test and perfect a suitable recipe. I started by asking for help from my friends on the Foodlovers Forum. No one posted any personal experience with making egg-free chocolate cakes but Irene did post links to 3 different New Zealand sites that had recipes. Yesterday I decided to give the first one a go. It was a recipe that had been submitted to the Chelsea Sugar website and contained some spice along with the cocoa. It didn’t say what size tin to use so I put it in my expanding tin and ended up making it as small as it would go – 19.5cm X 15cm. Instead of the 25 minutes cooking time recommended I ended up cooking it for 50 minutes. Although it peaked and cracked while it was cooking, once it was cool it was pretty flat but only about 2.5cm high.

Chelsea Eggfree chocolate cake 
When I cut it the texture seemed quite soft and it didn’t have a very strong chocolate flavour. The next day, it seemed more chocolaty and the texture was a bit firmer. This cake could be a possibility but I would prefer something a bit denser. I would also need to at least quadruple the recipe. Maybe the next recipe will be better – I will try it next week. The third recipe is almost the same as this one so I will probably give that one a miss. I searched the net for “eggless chocolate cake” and “eggless mudcake” and found these recipes that are all different and worth trying

Fun and Food Eggless Chocolate Cake

Eggless Chocolate Mudcake

Radience Eggless Chocolate cake

Divinetaste Eggless Chocolate CakeChelsea eggless chocolate cake



As I will be making the trial cakes  on a weekly basis, I thought I would freeze some of each one so the happy couple can do a comparison test when I have made them all.

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