The (Practice) Wedding Cake

I’ve always said I would like to make my own wedding cake.  I’d have full control over flavors, size, shape, decoration, and everything else.  The cake I’d always imagined had perhaps three tiers and lots of fresh flowers.  But it wasn’t so much outside as inside where I wanted to wow people.  I was thinking meringue layers, mousse, curds, perhaps some cheesecake, and fresh berries and fruit in plenty.  Yup…no.  Someone else will be making my wedding cake when the time comes.

3 layers down!

All four layers!

Well, that was at least how I felt two days ago, before everything came together and the kitchen finally got cleaned up.  Now it’s all done, and I must say I’m glad I finished one of the items on my bucket list.  I would do it again.  Actually, I have to do it again.  This is my practice wedding cake.  I’m going to make the real wedding cake for September 1st.

Now that it’s finally finished I would like to tell you what exactly this cake is.  The first tier is alternating chocolate and vanilla buttermilk layers for four layers.  They are soaked in a Chambord liqueur syrup (Chambord is French black raspberry liqueur: combination of blackberries and raspberries) and filled with a vibrant blackberry mousse.  The bottom and top tiers are frosted with a vanilla buttercream made with whole eggs.  The top tier has a similar construction, and though still soaked in Chambord has a chocolate sour cream filling.  The gold dragees on the sides are part of the purple and gold color scheme to the wedding.

Isn’t the cake stand beautiful?

The cake took this whole week to make.  I started baking on Monday and put the final touches on last night.  I’m kinda worried about the mousse which has been frozen and thawed multiple times now.  Hopefully after all this it will still taste good.  Now, I think I’ll be downsizing this cake when I make it later this month.  The bottom tier turned out to be seven inches tall.  This wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t actually have to eat the cake.  If I tried to cut into it the pieces would topple over.

Now, I must admit, my decorating skills are certainly not the best.  I like to decorate cakes, and I would like some practice to improve my skills, but I care one-hundred times more about how the flavor and texture work out.

So that’s it.  In two weeks I’ll be doing this again, and will post pictures of how that all goes.    I must say that the whole experience has been fun and I’ve learned a lot about planning ahead and staying calm.  Maybe I’ll even be able to tackle my own wedding cake someday.

*Oh, and I should also add that having just now tried the cake (five hours after posting this),  it was wonderful.  Though a bit tall and in need of downsizing, it was incredibly moist, and the mousse was still fluffy and beautiful.  All I’ll change next time is removing a layer from both the top and bottom tiers, and adding in a chocolate sour cream layer (instead of or with a mousse layer) to the bottom tier.  Giving it a full–let’s see here, how many hours—12 hours to thaw after about that many hours in the freezer overnight left it entirely thawed but still cold in the center.  Hopefully the real wedding cake will turn out so nice! (Pictures of the inside bottom tier will come tomorrow)

The recipes that I used for the cake layers are here, at Smitten Kitchen.

Blackberry Mousse
I’m not really sure to whom credit is due
Makes enough filling for a four-layer, 10-inch cake

3 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
9 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites
2 1/4 cups heavy cream

Sprinkle gelatin over 3 Tablespoons water so that it may soften for five minutes or so (I actually found myself adding some extra water).  Puree the blackberries and remaining water in a food processor.  Over a medium saucepan set a fine mesh strainer.  Press the puree through the strainer until you have about 2 1/4 cups juice.  Add the sugar and simmer the mixture over medium heat so that the mixture thickens.  This should only take about 5 minutes once brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin.  Allow to cool to room temperature

Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Pour the puree into a large bowl.  Fold in the egg whites fully.

Beat the heavy cream in a standing mixer with chilled bowl and beaters.  Once stiff, fold the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.  I found that it took quite a while to make sure ALL of the blackberry mixture was folded in.  It’s really important though that you do, otherwise after you chill the mousse the part that didn’t get fully folded in will be jelly-like and awful. Thankfully this happened to only a small part of the mousse.  The recipe I read said to chill the mousse for 1 hour, but I chilled it for probably 3 or 4 because I was using it as a cake filling.

Black Raspberry Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup Chambord (I’ll probably use more next time)

Stir all together in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until the mixture is clear and beginning to thicken.






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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!