I have delightful dreams about perfectly covered cakes with smooth shiny white icing, glittering decorations and all with effortless ease. Then I wake up in a cold sweat, realising it was only a dream… not only do I not like eating icing but I also find covering cakes very stressful. I don’t know why really, it isn’t hugely logical; I know it’s just a matter of practice and yet it does not fill me with joy.
It is true that I did spend two terms at Bromley Adult Education College attending Sugarcraft courses, learning how to cut, shape, cover and ice cakes AND learning the delicate art of creating flowers from paste (I find roses enormously relaxing), piping very twee baskets for them to sit in and generally annoying the sugarcraft guru Yvonne with my non-WI colour sensibilities; the fact that I deigned to pipe a pale blue basket for my (pale yellow) roses, rather than the prescribed brown was met with a sharp intake of breath and slightly raised eyebrows. It hadn’t occurred to me to be controversial, I just thought it was a nice contrast to the yellow. However, I remain in absolute awe of such great cake superstars as Mich Turner and May Clee-Cadman and of course the US legend Duff Goldman and his team who star on the TV show Ace of Cakes (filmed at Charm City Cakes, Baltimore, USA).
That said, when my friends and family are in cake need, I find it impossible not to step up to the challenge (you might call it selfless, I think of it as damn right bloody mindedness) of creating something as fabulous as they are and always say yes! I am seized by battle cry within me screaming “I will NOT be beaten by some sponge and icing!”, this is much to the frustration (and occasional disgust) of my boyfriend Warmtoes, as he knows how stressful I find it and that inevitably he will be required to provide the hundreds of cups of tea and shoulder rubs that get my through such a trauma as will inevitably ensue. I love nothing more than a challenge (is that a lie? possibly chocolate?) so I get stuck in.
When my fabulous friend Laura married her partner Adam on 10th August 2012 I couldn’t help myself and I began researching via Pinterest. As such I came across the most wonderful cake designs I had every seen courtesy of up and coming Wedding cake designer Zoe Clark. I loved her evocative modern romance achieved through simple, beautiful cakes provided endless inspiration when I was putting together ideas for Laura and Adam’s cake. I met Zoe at the Cake International Show at Excel Centre in London this year and told her about the cake and like the sad super-fan I am, purchased I signed book which took pride of place on my bookshelf until I set it down excitedly, ready to read it for the first time. I put the kettle onto boil, opened it gently smoothing down the pages, turned my back to make my tea, in the intervening moment my cat Jynx dashed in from a wet garden and walked his muddy paws across the beautiful glossy pages for my brand new and signed cake book! Of course I was somewhat upset (read furious) at the time… but I can never be mad with him for long. Could you be with a nose like that?
So I sought to keep calm with military planning and the support of the ever valiant and reassuring Mrs P who gave up a Sunday afternoon to make flowerpaste roses with me well in advance of the big day and help me with planning the below Timetable of Success:
Tuesday – Bake cakes
Vanilla 12″ cake – 16 eggs batter
Lemon & Poppyseed – 10″ cake 12 eggs batter
Chocolate 8″ cake – 4 eggs batter
Wednesday – Cover / Ice cakes
Thursday – Decorate cake
Friday – Wedding Day
As you can see it was actually a Time Table of Success, because it did turn out very well indeed; looking the part and tasting pretty damn scrummy too. It was a huge relief and an enormous pleasure to be part of Laura and Adam’s day.
However, I certainly approach Wedding Cakes with caution and will not be rushing into my next matrimonial baking session any time soon!
I did have the pleasure of producing some muffin sized cupcakes for Warmtoes’ sister’s wedding on 2nd April 2011 and found these infinitely less demanding, after all they’re only a few cupcakes right?