Inspiration for my cake is probably down to one lady : Nikki McWilliams. I’ve loved Nikki’s biscuity goodies since I found her on Folksy several years ago. Since then she’s gone pro with the biscuit empire and her range of goodies has increased, tempting me each time.
I love her range because it takes me back to a time when a custard cream could solve most any problem. Grazed knee? I prescribe a Bourbon biscuit. Wasp sting? Jammie Dodger. And so on.
People pay crazy money for wedding cakes, so as a keen baker I pretty soon began trying to figure out if I was up to making my own. Mother in Law Barbara – who’s an amazing baker – was knocking up a three tiered beauty for her neighbour’s daughter when we were up North at Christmas and she assured me I could definitely make my own. She lent me a cake tin, gave me an icing smoothing tool and talked me through the finer points of buttercream.
I found this recipe on BBC Good Food and it had lots of good ratings and tips on how to make it. I felt confident I could make and ice three cakes – but what about the decoration?
Then comes my friend Becca, who bought me these British biscuit cutters for Christmas because they “Screamed Polly at me!”
The minute I saw them I knew my design was ready to go!
I think I found the cake the most stressful part of the wedding! It had to be left until close to the day and I am not a last minute person. The bottom tier chocolate cake was an enormous mixture and climbed out of the tin, the middle lemon layer did not rise anywhere near enough to be sliced into three and the little top layer fruit cake seemed a bit stodgy despite extra time in the oven. Then I had to ice all three layers and hope I didn’t mess it up too much.
The cookie cutters were great and the detailing was perfect. I used Renshaw’s icing for the bourbons and it had a lovely rich chocolatey taste.
The design in my head was very simple, just a layer of biscuit shapes around the bottom of each tier and a specially customised cushion from Nikki McWilliams on the top.
That bottom layer of chocolate cake was so dense that those two tiers alone weighed a tonne! I had to enlist help to carry it to the car…
I delivered it to the venue, explained how to fit it together and handed over my special topper.
Here it is, beautifully captured by Flora Westbrook! That one wonky Bourbon upsets me – it wasn’t wonky when it left my house, it’s a good job I’m not a perfectionist! I finished my top tier with little hearts and a gold bourbon. I love Nikki’s cushion – it sets it off perfectly and brings in our new surname perfectly!
We chopped it up and it was served as dessert – I was determined it was going to get eaten given all the headaches it had caused me! Wedding cake is so expensive and seems so often to go to waste. I had good reviews and the fruit cake in particular had a beautiful flavour. I’m proud of it and for a first attempt at anything like that I think it went pretty well.
It is with a grateful nod to the cake Gods I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!