Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pretty in Pastel Pink Wedding Cake. Fruit Cake Recipe + NEW BLOG NEWS!!!

Summer is well and truly here (although someone should really tell the temperature to keep up!) but the wedding season has been going for a few months longer. I'm playing catch-up with posting about this cake which I made in November for a lovely couple - an engineer and an architect. 


For those not familiar with the irony of such a pairing, it's an unwritten expectation in the industry that engineers and architects don't get along! Engineers often get annoyed with what they see as the 'impractical' plans of an architect. I'm sure you can imagine that architects would be frustrated by what they perceive to be an engineer's desire to suppress their creativity in design by emphasising only practical/safety needs and not aesthetics.

I've enhanced the colour here a bit as most of the images didn't show the pink ombré effect so well
But this couple knew what they were getting into and worked superbly to design this gorgeous cake - structurally sound (putting my engineering skills to practice!) while looking delicate and pretty :-)


The bride has kindly allowed me to share their profesh photos taken by the talented Peanut Productions - click on their name to see their work and get in touch. I've credited their images amongst those below, and the rest are by yours truly!
 
 
Love those sparkly fairylights! Photograph credit: Peanut Productions

Photograph by Peanut Productions
 
I love this shot of the roses posy - so romantic! Photograph by Peanut Productions
 
This shot makes me so happy - a beautiful, happy couple. Photograph by Peanut Productions
The cakey details were...
  • Bottom tier: three layers of 12" chocolate cake made using pastry chef Jenny McCoy's recipe from this Craftsy class. I can't find it available anywhere on the intertubes, and in the past I've used this one from Sweetapolita (re-blog) but I needed a slightly firmer cake to hold up with that many layers and Jenny's recipe does the trick. The layers were filled with chocolate buttercream from i am baker's recipe (there's another, similar choc cake recipe at that link, too).
  • Middle tier: three layers of 9" lemon yoghurt cake √† la Chelsea Sugar's recipe, which I tested along with a couple of others and came out trumps in terms of texture and stability for holding up in a big cake like this. I 'soak' the cooked cake layers in lemon syrup (also from recipe) by poking holes in the cake while it was still hot and squirting the syrup all over it. Paired with lemon curd mixed through basic buttercream, what's not to love for the lemon lover?!
Photograph credit: Peanut Productions
  • Top tier: three layers of 6" fruit cake filled and covered with white chocolate ganache, to seal the cake for later, when the bride and groom could enjoy it at their one year anniversary.
Now here's the thing... this was the first time I've been asked to make a rich, solid, like-your-gran-makes-at-Christmas fruit cake. Fortunately my lovely MIL (Mrs Adams) was happy to share with me the fruit cake recipe she had, which had been given to her by her MIL (also Mrs Adams) who had probably gotten it through her Cake Decorators Guild. 

After a trial run it was clear that it did the trick deliciously. Now I am able to continue the sharing of this recipe by posting it here for the benefit of the blogsphere.

Mrs Adams' Fruit Cake

The quantities below make sufficient batter for a 10 inch square cake, but I only needed a wee 6" round cake for this wedding. So I multiplied the ingredients by 0.4 to make 4 eggs' worth of the recipe and split it evenly between two tins, and it cooked in 3 hours to produce 2"-high cakes.

450g butter at room temperature
450g brown sugar
680g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c golden syrup
10 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp almond essence
1.8kg fruit mix (store-bought or of your own concoction: raisins, glace cherries, peel, ginger... whatever you like!)
1 & 1/2 c sherry or ginger ale
3/4 c orange juice

Soak the fruit in the sherry/ginger ale and orange juice for 8 hours or overnight.
 
Lin your tin(s) with baking paper. Place a thin sheet of cardboard onto an oven tray and put your tin(s) on top. Cut a narrow strip of cardboard and wrap around each tin, securing with masking tape. Roll up sheets of newspaper into flat strips that reach around each tin, securing with masking tape (over top of the cardboard strips) then tie cooking twine (e.g. cotton, not plastic!) around each tin - see image below.


 Pre-heat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius (yes, really that low!!).

Place the butter and sugar into a stand mixer (or use a handheld one) and cream until combined and lighter in colour.

Add golden syrup and eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and lastly beat in essences.

Sift flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, then fold into the batter.

Lastly fold in the fruit mix with its 'juices'.


Fill cake tin(s) with batter, making sure to press batter right into corners and edges of tin(s). Level with a spoon or off-set palette knife and tap the tin(s) against your kitchen bench to knock out any air spaces.


Bake for five (5!) hours until a skewer comes out clean.

~ // ~

Given the veritable 'institution' that is the making of fruit/Christmas cake, I was surprised at how easy the whole process was: cream butter & sugar, fold in flour and fruit, nothing unmanageable. The only bit to really worry about is not rushing the baking - it really does take that long to cook, so patience is the virtue in question.

Now, there was something else.... ah yes, the NEW BLOG NEWS!!!

After considering my options on Blogger (who currently host this blog) compared to Wordpress, I've decided to make the jump to the latter.

I'm also taking this opportunity to do a little 're-branding' (if that's even what my little baking-dom qualifies for!!). As much as I resonate with this irrepressible baking syndrome that happily ails me... it isn't the easiest title to plug into a search bar, and doesn't give me the scope that I'd like. 

So I've chosen something that reflects my desire for desserts and all things sugary/baked, with a bit of a tip-of-the-hat to my inspirational locale in Canterbury, New Zealand, where the warm northwesterly wind heralds the summer here (and many a cakey thought!).

From February, this blog site will therefore redirect to sweetnorwesterly.com where all my original posts will (hopefully) be presented in an easier-to-follow layout! Bear with me as I organise everything, it will be a bit of a mission to sort out the past couple of years of blogging...

Thanks for checking out this post, and happy summer (or summery thoughts at least!) to you wherever you are!