Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wedding cake

My family has been in a state of high excitement as we've celebrated the first family wedding in ten years. My sister Lucy became Mrs Mark Wright at the weekend and we are all delighted.

I set about making the cake several weeks ago, baking a 12 inch fruit cake that would have time to mature. I forgot to make a wish when I mixed it, unless you count "I hope I get a slice". I was more careful with the next two tiers - chocolate orange, then lemon - and took requests. Lucy suggested a win on the lottery, my mum hoped for a baby girl, and I plumped for health, happiness, holidays and a kitten.

Lucy had asked for a plain white iced cake with pink ribbon and wedding toppers of her, Mark and baby Alex. This sounds simple but plain is hard to do - there are no flowers or decoration to patch up uneven covering. 

I made the wedding toppers referring to the notes I'd made at Cakes4Fun when Pen taught us modelling, chuckling at the instruction "make groom's trousers HIGH for support. Think Simon Cowell". I attached Alex to Mark's lap by sliding a piece of spaghetti into his stomach, completing hiding the waistcoat I'd carefully embossed and shimmered. The naked lump behind him is the bride's torso waiting for its dress. When I attached the toppers to the cake on the wedding day and turned the bride upside down to apply glue, she had a shamefully bare flesh-coloured bottom. I felt that I should have made some bridal pantaloons.
While I'm on the subject of flesh: when I was seven, I had a set of crayons with names like 'poppy red' and 'ocean blue'. Even in the late 70s, it was becoming unfashionable to describe the beige-y pink as 'flesh' and it was renamed 'salmon pink' as the crayon world woke up to the fact that beige-y pink is not the flesh tone for everyone. Yet in the 21st century world of modelling paste, I'm surprised to find this colour is still referred to as 'flesh'. Perhaps because it's the base for other skin tones too, or perhaps they're just a big bunch of racialists.

I carefully copied the belt design on Lucy's wedding dress, then cursed myself as I covered most of it up with the bouquet. The last thing to add was the hair, for which I used a craft gun and a slimy mix of brown sugar paste and Trex. It goes into the gun in a slippery brown sausage that looks disgusting. Having carefully modelled tiny little ears on the bride, I cursed myself again that I was about to cover them completely with hair, and toyed with the idea of leaving a bit of ear poking out between the locks of hair, an effect known in my family as 'monkey ear' and utterly reviled. I have done many horrible things to my sister over the years, from trying to convince her that she was growing a moustache when she was 12 (she wasn't) to telling her and her friends during school lunch break that the kitchen freezer had broken and they were giving away all the ice creams (they weren't). However, giving her monkey ear on her wedding cake would have been a step too far. The ears were covered up.

I stacked the cake on the wedding day at Bramall Hall, a beautiful Tudor building set in its own park, and the cake sat on a Jacobean dresser carved with wooden foxes.
The ceremony was beautiful, though the bride and groom were each flanked by a man with a noose around his neck. 
If there was a hidden warning, Mark chose to ignore it and happily signed the register, watched over by a small toy owl nestling on a light fitting.

The official photographer Sam Ryley made sure that the photographs were fun to do and very kindly took this photo of me, the cake, and Lucy reflected in the mirror. I like it and so must our mother, who described it as "a good photo of a scrawny lady. No offence intended". I hope she enjoys the official wedding portraits just as much.

We had a lovely wedding breakfast; the speeches were funny, the cake was cut and the first dance was danced. It was a very happy occasion. I got my wish for a slice of fruit cake twice over and I hope that Lucy and Mark get all their wedding wishes too - health, happiness, perhaps someone I can buy cute little dresses for, and a kitten. Possibly twice over.


  1. The cake is gorgeous, really simple and effective. What is Trex please? I am always stuck on how to do hair, but just do cakes as a hobby so don't know all the tricks of the trade, modelling gun had me stumped as well, can it be used for other things as well?

  2. What a fantastic cake and thank you for posting on Cake of the week. Your models are great - I too have spent many an hour agonsing over bridal knickers. Hx

  3. Trex is vegetable fat, it stops sugar paste and florist paste from sticking. The craft gun makes long thin strips. For hair, you can use flower cutters for short hair (that's what I did for the groom and the baby) and or for long curls, try wrapping a ribbon of florist paste around a paintbrush. Thanks for your comment!