Monday, 27 August 2012

Bridal shower cake finally made!

The day of the secret bridal shower was around the corner and 5 hours later, on Friday evening, I was almost finished with what had become a mammoth cake!

When I first decided to embark on making this cake I don't think I was fully aware of the time and effort one has to put in. I decided to make a sponge cake with three layers and have two different fillings. I also wanted the icing to be pink with mini doughnuts around it for the decoration and added cuteness.

So here we go, there will be lots to read so you have been warned!

I started by making the doughnuts, as I thought they need to be cooled and iced before assembling the cake:

I made the doughnuts by using a recipe from one of my favourite websites Sprinkle Bakes. Heather Baird is one amazing cake maker.

I adapted the recipe slightly;
Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees, as ovens vary and I had a silicone mould I turned it down slightly from Heather's recipe and left them in for longer.

220g all purposes flour (sifted)
150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
180 ml buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp melted butter (15g pre- melted)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
The zest of one lemon

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones. I buttered the doughnut cavities and then poured the mixture into a normal freezer bag.
I normally use a piping bag but I decided to opt for a freezer bag instead, putting the bag in a glass helps a lot but make sure the glass is tall enough. Mine just about was! Then pipe the cavities just half way.
I set the oven timer to five minutes and checked them periodically. Mine were done after 10 minutes, but do watch them so they don't go brown and hard. They will be fairly soft but they will be done.
Once they had cooled down I melted white chocolate flavoured buttons, I used Renshaw's Simply Melt. I used the bain marie method because I don't own a microwave unfortunately. I used pink, white and red dragees on top.

When that was done, I started with the sponges. I researched several favourite websites but a lot of them are from the US and they call for cake flour. I tried to find it over here in the UK and even thought about making my own but I decided to stick with what I know. I wanted to use milk in the recipe as it gives the sponge a nicer texture.

Preheat the oven to 160c (I have a fan oven, 180c for none fan assisted)

The recipe:
300g self raising flour ( I tested Mcdougall's supreme sponge flour)
300g sugar
200g butter (softened)
4 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla paste
6 tbsp of milk

First layer; lemon curd (shop bought)
Second layer; fresh raspberries
both mixed with the buttercream

I didn't use my Kitchenaid for this, so I creamed the butter and sugar by hand then added the eggs one by one. I then added the vanilla paste and milk. Finally I gently folded in the self raising flour, I find that the sponges come out lighter if you take it easy with the flour rather than beating it in.
I filled three sandwich tins and weighed them so they were equal in weight, roughly 310g-320g each. They went into the oven for circa 20- 25 minutes. Once they have cooled or even while they are cooling, start the buttercream.
I have never been a big fan of the usually just butter and icing sugar buttercream, though it's more than ok for cupcakes I find it too sweet for big cakes. I came across an excellent Swiss meringue buttercream when I first made this cake;
You have to excuse the state of the cake, it was my first big cake and I went overboard with the colouring. I stumbled across the recipe on the Whisk Kid's website and I had to make it for my colleague's birthday. He loved it despite the slight shabby look it had. Now on to the Swiss meringue butter cream, which some might find daunting but I love making it.

My cake was huge so I had to make quite a bit of buttercream and luckily there is Two Chicks' free egg whites carton so I don't have loads of egg yolks sitting in my fridge because of this recipe.

18 egg whites
600g sugar
678g butter (softened and cubed)
3 tsp of vanilla extract

In a bain marie (once the water is simmering) whisk the egg whites and sugar until all the sugar has dissolved. These egg whites are pasturised but if yours are fresh the temperature needs to be circa 70c and this should take about five minutes. I definitely recommend using the Two Chicks egg whites though.
Once it's all disolved (you can check this by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers occasionally), remove it from the stove and start whisking with an eletric whisk.

I can't express how brilliant Kitchenaid is, especially when making gallons of buttercream!

I poured mine into my Kitchenaid bowl, if you do the same then make sure that the bottom of the egg mixture bowl is wiped so no water drips into the new bowl when you are transferring the liquid.
Beat the mixture until you reach the same texture as a meringue, quite stiff and peaks form easily. The bottom of your bowl should be cool now as well when you touch it. At this point start adding the butter, one cube at the time and make sure each cube is incorporated properly before adding the next.
Quite a few things can happen along the way when you are making this, the mixture can become runny but that's ok and you can save this by either adding more butter or fridge it for a short while.
The scariest part is once you have added all the butter and the mixture will look soupy and curdled....This is were I freaked out the first time I made it but then you whisk through it and keep whisking until finally you have a beautifully soft Swiss meringue buttercream. This is the stage were you can add flavouring and/or colouring. I wish I had rememberd to take a picture but definitely will do next time. I then crumb iced the cake and went to bed!
In the morning I finished assembling the cake and added the mini doughnuts, it looked cute, pink and it was BIG. Any excess buttercream can be frozen if wanted.

I was pleased as the cake went down a treat at the party although the bride to be's mother had made a gorgeous cupcake tower as well.

I must say a BIG thanks to my boyfriend for his 6am butter run to the shop.

I'm off to enjoy the extra mini doughnuts with some coffee, it will be a good old Swedish fika for us!

Ciao! x

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