Welcome to my new blog feature where I talk you through the good, the bad and the ugly of cakes I've created. My first feature is the wedding cake of the lovely Linda and David, who chose a 4-tier Black Forest Naked Wedding Cake for their special day. Here I give you a brief run-down of how to bake, torte, fill, stack and decorate a tiered naked cake.
Naked cakes are a gorgeous, rustic trend that can be decorated with fruit, flowers, macarons or semi-iced with buttercream (known as the semi-naked cake) to complement any wedding style. The first rule of a naked cake is to ensure the cake is structurally sound as there isn't any fondant, ganache or other decoration holding it together. There really is nowhere to hide... As they are naked, any flaws are going to be obvious straight away. If those layers aren't uniform, if the filling isn't piped perfectly - that can all ruin the effect of what should be a showstopper.
So first, when I baked my cakes, I measured the batter into the tins in grams so I knew I was getting layers that were exactly the same size. I used a cake leveller to ensure they were perfectly flat. I only used matching tins for the layers for each tier as even cake tins which are allegedly the same size are never quite the same!
The filling was to be Swiss Meringue buttercream to achieve the creamy effect of a Black Forest filling without running the health & hygiene risks of leaving fresh cream out in a warm venue all day. This was piped out onto each layer to ensure it looked neat. I spread the black cherry conserve (which 'd mixed with chopped morello cherries) on top, leaving an inch border all round as I've previously learnt the hard way what happens when you get 3-layer tiers sliding around on top of each other due to excess jam content! The 'spilling' cherry jam was then carefully spooned on afterwards to achieve the rustic effect the couple wanted.
Then each of the tiers was dowelled. I use a maximum of 5 dowels in each tier so as not to compromise the structure of the cake. Each tier was then chilled in the fridge overnight.
When I got to the venue I brought a tub of ganache with me, and carefully stacked each tier spreading ganache in between to secure them tightly. The fresh cherries were then stuck on with ganache and the flowers were inserted into straws which I then inserted into the cake for food safety. I loved the log slice Linda & David had supplied to put the cake on; it went perfectly with the theme, and the venue, The Alma Inn at Laneshawbridge, looked stunning.
It wasn't all plain sailing so here's my brief summary of the ups and downs:
- The cakes all baked perfectly and the cake was totally stable and didn't collapse! The tiers all looked neat and apparently tasted great. Putting the cake together at the venue means you really get to see how 'wow' it looks when all your hard work finally comes together in the last 30 minutes!
- When I went to buy the punnets of fresh cherries, loads of shops had stopped stocking them (having all had them in the week before). After visiting 3 different shops and my heart racing for an uncomfortable few minutes, I finally found them in Aldi... PHEW!
- When making my jam and cherry mixture, the bowl I was using hit my mason cash mixing bowl and chipped a bit of it. The chips and china dust went into... you guessed it... my beautiful filling. So that had to go in the bin and was followed by a swift trip to the shops for more ingredients!
Congratulations to Linda and David and thank you once again for choosing Three Little Birds Bakery!
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All photos are courtesy of Paul Joseph Photography - www.pauljosephphotography.co.uk