Saturday, 8 September 2012

Recipe: Victoria sponge rosewater wedding cake

Tiered rose wedding cake, as baked by EJ
Two of my great friends got married last weekend, as two very talented illustrators, their wedding was without doubt the coolest, most beautifully designed wedding I've ever been to. So when they asked me to make a cake for their cake table, I wanted to be sure it didn't disappoint....

I spoke to Harry & Matt about the kind of cake they wanted and we decided on a layered un-iced sponge cake, kind of like a giant Victoria sponge. I baked a couple of test cakes in two flavours for Harry and Matt to try - pistachio and rose, they decided on rose for all three tiers (I was quite pleased about this, as rose is one of my favourite cake flavours). Then came the challenge of adjusting my recipe for all three cake tins - I used this table as a guide to calculate the ingredients needed for the different tiers - and it seemed to work fairly well.

The final cake was made up of three rose flavoured sponges, glued together with rose water buttercream.

To bake a three tiered un-iced wedding cake, per tier - you will need....

18cm tin:
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs (separated)
200g self raising flour
1.5tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp rosewater
75ml oil
3tbsp milk

22cm tin:
200g caster sugar
4 medium eggs (separated)
275g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp rosewater
100ml rapeseed oil
4tbsp milk

26cm tin:
300g caster sugar
6 medium eggs (separated)
400g self raising flour
3tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp rosewater
150ml rapeseed oil
6tbsp milk

Buttercream icing:
300g softened butter
1 1/2 tsp water
1/4 tsp rose water
350g icing sugar

When it comes to mixing the cake batter, I've found that having all of the ingredients ready measured and prepared not only saves you a lot of time, it can improve the cake (as this method involved whisking the egg whites first). Remember to sift the flour and baking powder and separate the eggs before you begin. This method is best done with an electric hand mixer, as the egg whites need to be whipped to meringue consistency before the other ingredients are added.

Pre-heat the oven to 130C
Line and lightly oil the cake tin

Method (follow these directions for each cake):

While combining the ingredients, try to keep the mixture light and fluffy, without large air bubbles. Use a slower setting on your electric mixer when more liquid is added to the recipe to avoid whipping in too much additional air - the volume of the mixture should come from the whipped egg whites.

Using an electric hand mixer with whisk attachments, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually pour in the caster sugar while whipping (on a slower setting), then add the egg yolks and rosewater. When these are all combined, turn off the mixer and pour in the oil and milk slowly while stirring until combined. Then slowly sift in the flour, using the electric hand mixer to combine into the mixture until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake as follows:

18cm tin: 52 minutes approx
22cm tin: 55 minutes approx
26cm tin: 57 minutes approx

Please keep an eye on the cake towards the end of it's cooking time - cooking times do vary, depending very much on your oven and the precise measurement of ingredients. Test each cake by gently pushing down on the top with you finger - if the sponge bounces back up into place the cake is ready.

When each cake is done, leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Icing, assembling and decorating:

Combine the softened butter, rose water, water and icing sugar to create a smooth buttercream icing, if necessary add a little more water to soften up.

When the cakes are cool, slice each one into two layers using a wire cake slicer.

Glue each individual cake together by spreading a generous amount of buttercream between each layer.

To assemble and preserve the structural integrity of the cake, it's a good idea to use dowel rods and cake boards to support each layer. I found this video tutorial describing how to stack a contemporary wedding cake very useful:

To finish the cake, I piped buttercream icing around the base of each layer (hiding the sliver board) and pressed pink and amber raspberries and red currants into the buttercream around the edge of each cake. I circled the top of the cake with alternating amber and pink raspberries and piled strings of red currants onto the top tier, the finishing touch was a sprinkling of icing sugar.

EJ assembling the wedding cake

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