The Wedding Cake Challenge of the Century
Six months ago, my brother approached me with a solemn wish: Would I make a cake for his summer wedding in Stockholm? Not THE three-tiered wedding cake monster, but something for coffee after dessert? Both flattered and excited I said yes and started plotting right away: What should I make? Sponge, meringue, choux, tart, mousse? Chocolate, berries, nuts, or what? But then I realised the amount of obstacles reducing my options and everything changed….
So let’s start again: Six months ago, my brother asked me to make a cake for his wedding, not THE cake, but the centre piece that they would both be slicing after dessert with an audience of 80 guests. The wedding was to be held not only in a city several hundred kilometers north of Copenhagen, but also on a tiny island in the archipelago there, a couple of boat rides and transfers away from the main land. So the new question was: What could I make? It was a case of “the art of the possible” as we say here. And that’s when my plotting turned into serious preparation.
After consulting with the beaming couple, I had a few instructions to go on regarding the cake design: No chocolate flavour (first option gone), something light and preferably fruit or seasonal berries on top. After some further consultation and tos and fros, I decided: A lemon mousse cake with hazelnut genoise layers drizzled with lemon syrup and topped with blueberries.
I made a couple of testers at home and ended up pre-producing 2,4 litres of lemon curd (the mousse base) and five genoises from home (which I am happy to say went right through airport security in their metal moulds, my heart pounding madly like Animal on his drums). Then there was the matter of decoration – how to cover the sides of the mousse without having to bring fragile bits of meringue or chocolate or depend on making them on site? My last resort was the easy solution: Cover with lady fingers and add silk ribbon to keep them in place. Done. Not the design I’d chose at home, but also not a bad solution for this event. I still ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen on the island, along with T who patiently played the sorcerer’s apprentice for the weekend.
Anyway, here’s the result: A Frankenstein monster constructed from three different recipes that I tweaked for the occasion: A lemon curd recipe from my old job at Tante T (600 ml curd per mousse recipe – for five cakes I made 2400 ml because I only made four mousse batches – use any curd recipe you like as long as it uses both lemon juice and zest), a genoise recipe by Tish Boyle (I exchanged 50 grams of flower with 50 grams of very finely ground hazelnuts, made lemon syrup instead of ginger syrup, and skipped the part with the bain marie which I wouldn’t recommend if you have the time to do it properly and are only making one or two cakes) and finally the lemon mousse from Epicurious (I used 4 gelatine sheets instead of the powdered kind and only multiplied the recipe by four for five cakes as there would otherwise be waaay too much for my purpose.)
It was damn delicious if I may say so myself. And now I feel I can do anything. Next up: Croquembouche or a coconut-meringue and passion fruit mousse cake I tried in Iceland last week…
Finally: A big thank you goes out to Cenk of Cafe Fernando (truly my favourite food blog these days), who took the time to give me help and suggestions – even if I ended up doing my own thing for convenience reasons only. That’s what I like about the food blogger brotherhood – always eager to help and talk deliciousness on a plate.