Good Food Blog
Kitchen bravadoPosted at 11:40AM, 11 July 2008 by Caroline Hire - Food editor, bbcgoodfood.com
Have you ever agreed to cook for an occasion and realised you may have bitten off more than you can chew?
Perhaps you set your sights at winning over a loved one with a meal of the finest ingredients, only to realise that a starry-eyed episode in the fishmongers would inevitably lead to a stand-off with a lobster. Or maybe you kindly said you'd throw a birthday party and watched with horror as the guest list burgeoned from 14 to 40?
Well I had just such an episode recently.
All wide-eyed and enthusiastic after a cake decorating course - I agreed to do a four-tier lemon drizzle extravaganza for a wedding. Unconcerned was I that the couple in question have impeccable taste, that extensive planning had gone right into the last confetti rose petal and that the cake they'd chosen (a sponge) would certainly need to be made last minute. No, I ploughed on in, carefully plotting and trialling different recipes, designs, cake sizes and decorations, every spare minute I had.
perhaps a wedding wasn't the best place to showcase my skill (or lack of)...
But weeks and various less than successful trials later, I started to get nervous - I'd never done a tiered cake before and really when I thought about it, only decorated three cakes in my life. Hmm, perhaps a wedding wasn't the best place to showcase my skill (or lack of) but by this stage the Big Day was weeks away.
The weekend before the wedding I began the epic that was the four-tier cake. Six cakes needed to be baked (the two bottom layers comprised two cakes each). I ended up making eight as two did not pass the test and had to be sacrificed (err, eaten), the other six went into the freezer.
Two days later, the process of buttercreaming, marzipanning and sugarpasting began. On the Thursday, my mum showed up to provide much needed moral support. She would not be getting her hands dirty even for a daughter in dire need but the constant encouragement helped to assuage rising nerves. By late evening and after a last-minute dash to the shops in search of the perfect ribbon, the cake was ready for the wedding the next day.
I drove down from London to Farnham at around 20 mph, with the tiers in fours boxes, my boot padded out with non-slip matting and fluffy towels. On arrival, the photographer swooped in on the assembly process - fortunately, the cake had survived the journey and stacked without drama. A few adjustments here and there and it was done. And quite nice it looked too.
The bride and groom loved the cake and I felt really proud to have been part of such a beautiful occasion. I think cake decorating may be like childbirth - was it hard? I don't remember, I'm just itching to do it all over again...
Have you fallen victim to a case of culinary bravado? Committed to an occasion that sent your pulse racing? Let us know...