Monday, September 28, 2015

Wedding cakes and adventures

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of working on the wedding cake of some amazing people. This was a process that took a lot longer than a week. Months of planning and trial runs and classes and fretting culminated in one week of intense baking and execution. How did all of this turn out??

I'm quite happy about it! The bride and groom were too and it was so amazing to watch them cutting into it on the night! People around me were asking if it hurt to watch all my hard work being sliced up but I couldn't have been happier. You see, the real work in this cake had gone into the inside; the combination of flavours and cakes that met the bride and groom's desires, provided an awesome tasting experience and would present perfectly. Well let me tell you that was the challenge! So watching the cake cutting to me represented a moment of pure anticipation on the cusp of knowing whether I had succeeded or not.

So what were the cakes?

Bottom tier - Victoria sponge with a balsamic strawberry preserve and buttercream center covered in a dark chocolate ganache

The middle tier? Light and fluffy carrot cake with a cream cheese filling, covered in a white chocolate ganache and fondant

Herein lay the biggest challenge!! When I attended the wedding cake course this summer I was told unequivocally that I could not do a carrot cake in a wedding cake. However when I presented this idea to the bride she was crestfallen and I just could not accept that so ..........  I figured it out!  

The top tier was traditional fruit cake, covered in marzipan, and I used a traditional family recipe that's a bit lighter than old fashioned fruit cake and keeps all those traditionalists happy.

So three tiers, three different cakes and so so much flavour....

So how was the experience of making a wedding cake? Absolutely amazing!!! I enjoyed every minute of it and apart from one particularly panicked night 2 weeks before the big day, I felt relatively calm and prepared as much as possible, then put it together. The look on the grooms face when he saw the final product and applied the figurines was amazing and seeing the bride so happy about it was all the thanks I needed. They were extremely appreciative, but all I needed was their smiles.

I will definitely hope to make more wedding cakes and am considering going into the cake business officially but until then I will cherish the memories of this bake =)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Trying and failing to get onto Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice

Today we got up at the crack of dawn, well crack of dawn for a Sunday. The bright and early 8am!! This was more difficult than it really should have been as we were up quite late with some unexpected visitors the night before! Then the prep, that had started the night before, continued.

I should rewind a little and start from the conception of this idea. A few months back we had a visit from friends who told us that it's possible to be in the audience of television shows with seemingly little effort and for free!! Then, while watching an episode of GBBO:An extra slice, it occured to me that we could go on this show in the audience. GBBO: An extra slice is a spin off from the Great British Bake Off, that goes over this weeks episode while Jo Brand draws together some amusing moments and she, with a panel of chefs and comedians, jokes about what happened. The audience is an important part of the show. In particular, there is part of the audience that sits visibly in front of the stage and have 'brought a bake.' Jo Brand highlights a couple of the audience bakes and the panel taste one selected bake per week.

As a massive fan of the Great British Bake Off, the concept of going on 'An Extra Slice,' really appealed to me and so I applied for tickets to be in the audience. The next task was to plan a bake. The specify that you have to bake something relevant to this weeks episode of GBBo, this week will be Patisserie. They also encourage audience members to try to make something interesting orr a statue. I decided to make a patisserie scene out of patisserie items and to make it theme appropriate I pretended that this was Paul Hollywood's table at a french patisserie while he planned for the upcoming episode.

So what have we got here. To mimick a creamy creamy latte I used a Mary Berry recipe for chocolate mousse, flavoured it with a coffee liquor and set this in a tall glass. Latte's have a foamy head and so I decided to substitute this with tiny little mocharons filled with nutella.

This coffee would need to be served with a traditional patisserie treat and so I made a delicious tarte aux fraise, filled with delicious creme patissiere and topped with fresh strawberries

Wouldn't you love a little bite?

So I took these beautiful bakes and headed in to the studios to go to the show. We turned up an hour early and got wrist bands. We queued for that hour but unfortunately the audience was over-booked and we never got to go in. We were disappointed but the experience was so exciting and the energy in the queue was very positive so we were far from alone in being turned away. It seems that there is a lot of love for GBBO!!

The best part was that we got to take our bakes home to enjoy and share here with you. I would definitely try again as this was such an exciting experience and if anyone else is trying to get into an audience I would definitely suggest going 2 hours early!!

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...