This is the first of my wedding cake showcases, and I decided to start with a simple yet elegant vegan semi-naked wedding cake from last spring at the Eden Project.
I had the joy of creating this wonderful three-tier beauty last April for Sisi & Hamish, it fit perfectly with their Eden Project Wedding Reception. As the Eden Project open their doors to guests at the same time as letting in suppliers, I had the fun task of stacking and decorating this cake in amongst all of Sisi & Hamish's guests. Unluckily for me, the photographer, found that the spot for the wedding cake was a particularly good spot for a few wedding party photos. I always get a little nervous when setting up cakes when members of the wedding party are around. With naked and semi-naked cakes they arrive very much a work in progress, and I'm always afraid that they will be a little disappointed at this stage! Can you tell I'm a bit of a perfectionist? Well, that's what you want in a wedding cake designer, don't you! I spent at least an hour in the Mederteranian Biome surrounded by interested aunts and uncles, curious children, and many more inquisitive guests, all with so many questions, asking if I had made the cake and then proceeding to tell me just how clever I am! One of the drawbacks of looking much younger than I actually am I think! They were all so interested in the flavours, the decoration and how the cake was put together, a few of the gentlemen found the doweling of the cake particularly interesting. Even so, I'm very glad that this a fairly uncommon occurrence, and usually, it's just the final finished article that they see.
I'm of the opinion that it's what's inside the cake that is really the most important part of creating the perfect wedding cake. If it doesn't leave you in a state of utter bliss then I've not done my job properly. Just because a cake is vegan or gluten-free it should be no different. So let's start from the top, shall we?
Top:- Vegan lime & coconut, with vegan lime curd & vegan Italian meringue buttercream. This flavour has been a staple of my repertoire for quite some time and became a firm favourite (though not in this vegan incarnation but normally as a gluten-free option) back in my days of baking for tearooms. A deliciously zesty sponge with toasted coconut and finished with a lime drizzle, it's so lovely and refreshing and a great option for the summer. I do love a curd, they are by far my favourite preserves and this lime curd whether it's vegan or not is just wonderful with a coconut flavoured buttercream, though a little vanilla works too.
Middle:- Vegan gin & elderflower drizzle with vegan vanilla Italian meringue buttercream & blackcurrant conserve. I have to say, I am quite the gin girl, which may show as I also make a gin white chocolate truffle with pink peppercorns, so this is probably one of my favourites, a light lemon sponge drizzled with local cornish gin and elderflower cordial. I always pair it with a vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, but to be honest, I needn't bother as the botanicals of the gin and the elderflower always permeate the buttercream, which I rather like. It goes just perfectly with the blackcurrant conserve. Oh, I could really eat that right now. Yum!!
Bottom:- Vegan lemon & ginger with vegan lemon curd and vegan Italian meringue buttercream. I do love lemon and ginger together, they just compliment each other so well. My ginger cake is on the sticky side, as it should be. Plenty of treacle and dark brown muscovado sugar, that extra molasses makes all the difference, finished with a lemon drizzle, and filled with yet more homemade lemon curd.
Cupcakes: The green-topped cupcakes were yet more vegan lime & coconut and the yellow were vegan gin & elderflower, however there were a few gluten-free guests also so Sisi & Hamish opted for vanilla & almond cupcakes with raspberry & vanilla Italian meringue buttercream. The last of which were not vegan, I'm still working on perfecting a vegan/gluten-free cake that does not just come out like an inedible pancake! Though I'm trailing a new idea later this week, so fingers crossed!
This was in fact the third design that I created for Sisi & Hamish. The first of which was a painted floral cake that would have been a recreation of their wedding invites, which is a common theme for painted cakes. The Mediterranian inspired leaves and flowers were to spiral down the cake, however, alas they had a lot of mouths to feed, so a naked cake was a more economic option. The second version was to dressed with herbs, edible leaves & dried lemon. For anyone looking to have a wedding reception at the Eden Project outside foliage is not allowed in the biomes, as they have to be very careful with what is brought in. So, in the end, it would have to be fruit. I'm not a big fan of the classic naked cake with fruit, it's always strawberries and raspberries and fruit of that nature. Yes it tastes great, but I'm always left a little unenthused by the finished result. So I went back to Sisi & Hamish with the idea of a cornucopia in my mind. I wanted to create a cake for the gods! This was going to be showcased in the Mederteranian Biome after all. I think when I said this they didn't really know what to expect. Though I think the dark cherries, blackberries, grapes, figs & pomegranates, in the end, were perfect alongside the copper highlights and dried lemon slices!
Vegan Doesn't Have to Taste Vegan
I have to admit vegan Italian meringue buttercream is a lot of hard work; it takes longer to make and is much more difficult to work with than an Italian meringue buttercream made using butter and eggs, it never looks as clean and pristine much to my perpetual annoyance. It took me quite a while and lots of test batches to get it right. Test batch after test batch was made, many all at the same time to I could evaluate and compare all the different versions before I finally worked out how to make a stable vegan meringue buttercream that not only stood the test of time out on display all day but also tasted great. And by great, I meant to those of us who do actually eat dairy and eggs. As that's the true test isn't it! Now I can tell the difference, but after all, I'm my second harshest critic, the first being my sister - I think she just wants to inspire me to greatness! But most have no idea that they are in fact eating a vegan cake, unless they read the information card that is! And from my experience of watching unsuspecting couples at wedding fairs (I always take vegan samples with me too) they very rarely look at the information cake for the flavours. When there's a pretty little cupcake waiting to be tasted, who has time to read what's in it? So they are often in shock when I tell them they have just eaten a vegan cake.
This is something that is so important for a wedding cake, and it's the same if you choose to have a gluten-free cake or any cake that must cater for an intolerance, it needs to taste good to everyone. Well, we can't win every one, my dad, for instance, hates ginger and coconut, so he would hate most of this cake. Which is why it's so important to really think about who you get to make your cake if it needs to cater to special diets. Afterall there's more to making an exquisite vegan cake than just swapping out a few ingredients.
If you'd like to learn more about Red Robin Pantry wedding cakes or about our vegan cakes head to our main wedding home page where you can learn about everything that we offer. If you are getting married in Cornwall and are thinking about enquiring about our wedding cakes we now offer wedding cake sample boxes that you can order online for delivery straight to your door. So you can try out our regular flavours or vegan cake flavours in the comfort of your own home. If you have any questions or if you would like to contact us about your wedding in Cornwall you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org