Sunday, 11 May 2014

Black Sheep Riggwelter Ale Fruit Wedding Cake

I recently completed my second wedding cake, this time for our good friends Toby and Emily.

This was the fruit cake that I blogged about about a year ago.  I practiced the cake again at Christmas as well.  Its a traditional Ale fruit cake (made with Black Sheep Riggwelter Ale).  I'm not a big fruit cake fan if I'm honest, but there is something about this cake that is really quite nice.  I tried it on some people at work as well, some of who also said they weren't big fruit cake fans and they lapped it up.  Maybe they were humouring me... I don't know... but either way I'm just saying, even if you think you don't like fruit cake, don't give up on it until you have tried an ale fruit cake!

I made a 6", 9" and 12" round cake.  It will serve at least 150.

The ingredients for the 9" cake is as follows:
275g sultanas
275g currants
275g raisins
150g chopped peel
315ml Riggwelter Black Sheep Ale
275g plain flour
70g ground almonds
1 1/4 tsp mixed spice
275g butter
275g dark brown muscovado sugar
5 large eggs
4 tsp treacle
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
150g glacé cherries
70g chopped almonds
1 1/4 lemons rind and juice

For the 6" cake I used 125ml of ale with the appropriate amount of other ingredients, and 625ml of ale in the 12" cake.

The general ingredients are the proportions taken from Lindy Smith's book.  I have replaced the brandy with a much larger amount of ale.  Rather than feeding the cake later, you put all the moisture in at the start.  That's my theory anyway...  It takes about 48hrs for all the fruit to soak up the ale so make sure you leave enough time for this.

I let the cakes mature untouched for 2 months - I'm not how much longer I would leave them, as I have yet to investigate the effects.  2 months give a nicely flavoured moist cake though so I'm happy with that.  I tried eating one sample after 1 week but it was a bit "crumby".

The cakes were about 3 inches deep once baked, but to really get the proportions right, I built up each cake with two cake drums.  I then marzipanned the cakes and covered with ivory sugarpaste.

Mock up of proportions 

Filling in holes with marzipan


Sugarpaste and stacked

The decoration was the "fun" bit!  I was given a photo of what the couple wanted, and it was quite involved!  I'm not really sure how to describe them, I think they were like cotton trees...?  Here is the step by step process:

Twisting the wires together.  Doing slightly different lengths for variation.

Cutting the branches off at different heights.

Making the flowers

Putting them together was time consuming, plus a lot of edible glue!  The tricky bit was sticking them to the cake!  I glued the back of each tree and pressed it lightly into the sugarpaste; however it takes some time for the glue to set, so until they had set, any slight movement or knock sent them all tumbling!  Dominos spring to mind!  Once I had completed a tier I secured them with two pieces of string and that seemed to do the trick. 

The final step was adding some leaves at the bottom.  I just used a small leaf plunger cutter which also embossed veins on the leaf.

I also made the toppers, more details on that in another post.

It was terrifying driving the cake up through the peak district already assembled, but it was absolutely fine - speed bumps, country roads and all!

The wedding day itself was beautiful - such a lovely couple and such a lovely day :)

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