Rumour has it that the people of 18th century France were putting words into Marie Antoinette’s mouth so that they could turn her into a scapegoat. At the heart of it, I think the French were, and still are, just obsessed with cake.
I can’t say I blame them. I’ve just got back from a most appetising meeting with Chris, the owner of Belper’s Beaurepaire Patisserie and the man who is making our delectable wedding cake.
Steve and I both love a trusty old Victoria sponge so it may not surprise you to learn that we’re having a naked wedding cake.
Chris offered to let us sample a variety of exciting sponge flavours such as lemon, strawberry and mojito. But why mess with success? As I mentioned, we love the trusty old Victoria, so we’re having a sweet sponge flavoured with a hint of vanilla bean and filled with orangey buttercream and raspberry compote. Perfection.
Chris says we have to pipe the icing inside so the cake doesn’t collapse but that he’ll evoke feeling of the village-fete by spreading all visible filling.
Icing sugar quantities are also important. Not too much and not too little. I think this image (by Sainsbury’s Magazine) captures the perfect icing sugar distribution. I also like the informality of the icing and the jam. And I like the bunting topper. We’re hoping to get one made that says ‘Just Married’ or ‘Mr and Mrs Bell’ or something.
I, personally, prefer a round, squat cake to the more upright, formal ones (Steve doesn’t mind as long as he can eat it the majority of it).
So, we’re having three tiered layers instead of four and Chris is being strategic with the diameter of each layer so that, for each tier, a generous ‘lip’ is created. This ‘lip’ will create a flat surface area on which we can adorn the cake with an abundance of lovely flowers and fruit.
I like the idea of draped redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries tumbling languorously over the cake. And then lots of enormous, frilly, English roses in the mix. Kind of like a Robert Spear Dunning still-life.
Chris totally gets my vision but, with the benefit of experience, has suggested that we skip the raspberries because they get mushy fast.
I’ll pick the roses from our garden and pop down to the patisserie with them the day before the wedding. We’ve got about eight David Austin varieties to choose from, so I’ll just see what’s in bloom when the time comes. Chris says we’ll need about eight but I’m also hoping to include one or two in my bridal posy.
Chris has rosemary growing in his garden and he’s suggested that using this as our foliage would work well. Woody herbs are a better alternative to other non-edible foliage. Ivy has delightful Secret Garden vibes but it’s also poisonous and we all agree whole-heartedly that it is a bit weird that so many people are happy to have it sitting on their cake.
I’ve talked a lot about cake and now I’m feeling peckish. Off to raid the biscuit tin.
Read more about Beaurepaire Patisserie here.
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