Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Operation: Wedding Cake

As much as I boldly say “I don’t bake wedding cakes anymore”, I am trying unsuccessfully, to put that phase of my career behind me. You see, there are a few opportunities that I simply can’t resist – like my brother’s wedding day! And frankly, what makes a more apt wedding gift to a sibling than the wedding cake itself! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t enjoy making wedding cakes…

So, years after O My Darling Cakes has been shelved and my piping bag and pallet knife are by far the least used tools in my kitchen, I find myself phoning a friend to ask her which is the best butter to use for butter cream icing. The problem is that most of the butters available in the stores are so yellow that is would definitely not give me pure white butter cream – crucial for a wedding cake.

Like most wedding cakes I’ve baked, this one was a journey. From high points like eating warm buttermilk sponge off-cuts late at night, to the general low point of piping for 6 and a half hours...What a great thing to blog about I thought, share my ups and downs with you…The idea was to take some pictures as I went, which didn’t transpire in the least (I think I snapped some on the first day) So, this comes a little outdated, three weeks after the wedding, but better late than never, they say.

I thought I’d share the very easy butter cream icing recipe I used. I did make about 6 batches so feel like a little bit of a butter cream snob (expert). But first, let me tell you a little more about the cake itself...My new sister-in-law had some adventurous ideas, first being to make a 'rainbow cake' for her wedding – a huge trend at the moment. Being very diplomatic, I convinced her to instead have three colours of a hot pink, lighter peach and white vanilla sponge. (After the first blue-coloured sponge came out the oven green, I knew it was time for drastic measures to be taken) The second obstacle was the fact that the icing technique was something I’d never seen or done before. Thanks for nothing, Pinterest.

I’d would like to report that considering the obstacles, this wedding cake was a breeze and one of the cakes I am the most proud of for sure, but I am rather relieved that my next one isn’t for another 4 months!

Vanilla Buttercream (Swiss Method)

600g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 recipe Swiss Meringue
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g good quality white chocolate, melted

Swiss Meringue Recipe
240ml egg white
400g castor sugar


Combine the egg whites and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Place the bowl over simmering water and heat to 60 degrees Celsius, whipping constantly to avoid cooking the egg whites.
Remove from the heat and whip the mixture on a high speed to lukewarm.
Cut all the butter into evenly sized blocks.
Lower the speed on the mixer and add the vanilla.
Gradually whip in the butter until everything is combined and the icing has a soft whipped butter consistency.
Slowly mix in the melted white chocolate when all the butter is mixed in.

Note: This icing will set hard in the fridge. It is ideal for wedding cakes or cupcakes. Add flavouring like orange zest, 2 tbsp of strong coffee or liqueurs.
It also freezes very well. Simply thaw and whip to the right consistency!


  1. Beautiful cake! It looks like A LOT of work. Good job, Nelleke! :-)

    Liesl xxx

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