Wedding number 3 was my sister Sarah’s wedding to Andrew in Cornwall in autumn 2012. Sarah and Andrew met in Cornwall with their shared love of surfing and she was inspired by this birthday cake that I had made for my friend Laura earlier in the year.
The shell theme was therefore decided but there was much deliberation on the rest of the cake and how it should look – what would we do without google search images?! We decided to take an alternative approach and the wedding cake was going to be pastel blue!
Sarah also wanted a tiered cake – I was a little nervous at having a 4 tier cake all on pillars – I had imaginings of leaning tower of wedding cake so we went for the bottom three layers as being stacked and the top cake was on pillars – but these clear pillars that from a distance almost made it look like the top cake was floating.
Sarah had another requirement too. She wanted a wedding topper of her and Andrew on the top cake with a surf board (naturally). Modelling figures is not my strong point but I was encouraged after my first effort that they may not be an exact likeness but would be almost there (with a few proportion issues being resolved!).
The bottom layer of the cake was to be a fruit cake so as my mum is a great baker too she made the bottom layer and handed it over to me for decoration. Layer number 2 was chocolate fudge and layer 3 was red velvet with the top layer being another fruit cake for Sarah and Andrew to keep.
With the two middle layers being sponge cakes these needed to be made only a day or two before the event, however the shell needed to be made well in advance so that they would harden and be easy to add to the cake. Several evenings after work were spent creating the shells, and then painting them – but how many did we need?! We had not decided on the exact design and I was worried there might not be enough so in the end there were over 200 shells moulded and painted out of modelling paste and carefully packaged for the trip down to Cornwall where the cake was to be assembled.
Assembling the cake!
Step one – layer the sponge cakes together – 3 layers each with butter cream and then crumb coat them – 2 layers of finely spread butter cream, and then placed in the fridge for up to an hour to give a nice firm base to apply the fondant.
Step two – apply the fondant icing. Here is where I cheated slightly – I bought pre-coloured fondant icing to ensure that all the cakes were the same colour – definitely worth the cheat although it did limit the options of the shade of blue.
Step three – apply the sheen. The blue fondant was quite ‘blue’ but Sarah wanted a softer, more magical appearance and by lightly spraying some edible pearl lustre spray or silver spray it transformed them from a matt a blue to a beautiful gleaming pastel shade.
Step four – stack the cakes! Due to the number of layers and the weight of the cakes they needed to have dowelling rods in each layer – cut to the perfect height so the cake above would be supported by the dowelling and not squash the cake below – not as easy as it sounds!
Step five – another cheat, I bought a string of small pearls and applied these around the based of each cake to hide the join and the board – it wasn’t edible but it did add to the effect and was very neat and quick to do.
Step six – this was definitely the most fun and the most difficult – adding the shells to the bottom three layers in a cascading design. I lay out all the shells and stuck them on to the cake with royal icing starting with the skeleton shape and then slowly building it up until we were happy with it. It was amazing how it transformed the cake.
Step seven – the final steps were to sit mini Sarah and Andrew on the top cake and sit the top cake on top of the pillars.
Complete! The most nerve-wracking part to come – getting the cake to the Headland Hotel! Some safe driving (thank you Gareth) got it there first thing in the morning and the rest of the day I was able to enjoy the lovely wedding as a bridesmaid. The cake looked wonderful with the beach and sea as the back drop and even got some compliments from the hotel chef that it was one of the best cakes he has seen!