Thursday, September 01, 2011

the wedding cake:: decoration

Decorating the cake was both the easiest and the most challenging element of the whole process. Amy had shown me a picture of a cake that she liked, which made it very straightforward for me to know what it needed to look like. We decided to hire a cake stand that would allow each of the tiers to sit separately from one another, rather than facing the challenge of balancing each tier using doweling rods to support them. 

A friend had recommended a catering supplier called Squires Kitchen where I might be able to source various useful items from, and I ended up ordering the white chocolate cigarillos from them. They were brilliant - very speedy delivery, carefully & beautifully packaged items, and juts altogether efficient. 

I did a fair bit of research into making white chocolate ganache, and working out what the best kind of chocolate would be. Another friend (who was the caterer for our wedding) assured me of the quality of callebaut couverture chocolate for making the ganache that would cloak each cake. He knew what he was talking about - I bought 2.5kg of callebaut white chocolate chips for £15, which was enough for the trial cake and each of the 3 tiers, and I still have plenty leftover! 

Making the ganache:
To cover all 3 tiers...
1.1kg white chocolate
600ml double cream
approx. 80g butter (at room temperature)

Place cream in a heavy based saucepan and gently heat until on the verge of boiling - as soon as you start to see tiny bubbles emerging around the edges of the pan, remove from the heat. 

Pour cream over the chocolate & butter, agitate the bowl to help the cream migle with the chocolate, then stir gently until the chocolate has completely melted.

I deliberately used a very small amount of butter, as I had found before that a higher ratio made the ganache too thin & runny. While it felt like a slight risk to just put a small amount in & hope for the best, the consistency was perfect. 

It was so helpful to have Rebekah on my cake decorating team, as the distribution of ganache can be a messy old process. We put each cake in turn on a wire rack inside a very large roasting tin to catch all of the run off. I ladeled the ganache & Rebekah ensured it covered the sides beautifully with the aid of a pallette knife & a steady hand.

We put the chocolate cigarillos on each tier after cloaking in ganache, while the ganache was still sticky. My caterer friend gave me a useful tip that if the ganache hardens before applying the cigarillos, you can just soften it with a hairdryer!

We saved the excess ganache which came in very handy for sticking each strawberry securely in place on top of each tier.

Rebekah had the great idea of filling the little gaps that were too small for strawberries with blueberries. We loved the splash of colour they added.

Amy had requested the strawberries to be sprinkled with gold glitter. I learned a few lessons about all things edibly gold in a very short space of time. Having purchased five pots of lovely gold glitter, I realised on the night before the wedding that it was not actually edible! Oops! So on the morning of the wedding, we took an early trip to Kitchens and bought a can of gold lustre spray & some gold lustre powder to cover our bases.

Lesson 1: Gold lustre spray on strawberries doesn't work so well because of the natural moisture of the strawberries

Lesson 2: Gold lustre dust will go everywhere & clashes a little with white chocolate, but when carefully applied with a fine brush, it glows!

The final stage of decoration was to add lace & ribbon to the middle of each tier. I loved this twist on the traditional ribbon decor often added to wedding cakes.


snailsnail said...

Ooof, I hate making ganache always a nightmare - I can't
imagine making and spreading three tiers worth, and white chocolate moreover. Ridiculous.

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Fabulous! Love it! Although I wouldn't go as far as 'gilding the strawberry'....