Thursday, 28 April 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Vintage Weddings

Fifties Wedding Cakes
The 1950’s was a decade of iconic society weddings. Princess Elizabeth married in 1951, John F Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III of Monaco in 1956 and Paul Newman married Joanne Woodward in 1958 so it was an iconic decade of royal and society weddings.
Princess Elizabeth's (the Queen's) 3 tier cake with pillars was copied by 1950's brides in UK

And my Mum and Dad married in 1956 so I have first hand knowledge of how a traditional wedding cake was made in the UK back then.
It was the norm was to have a three tier fruit cake as this was the current fashion and copied the Royal wedding in 1951. I’m told the cake was often made by the bride or a close female relative. My Mum made her own cake from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (see appendix for recipe). Sadly no picture of this cake remains but even the marzipan was homemade.  It was a tall round cake, separated with pillars for elegance and decoratively piped with swags and swirls of royal icing. Sugar roses and silver paper horseshoes were purchased from the bakers to add to the crisp white piping and a small vase with artificial flowers  stood on the top.
Princess Grace of Monaco had a six tier wedding cake which they cut with Prince Ranier’s sword
It’s hard for us to comprehend now but after the Second World War food was rationed and it wasn’t until February 1953 that sugar rationing ended making the possibility of large lavish and highly decorated luxury cakes a reality. So the majority of fifties brides were lavish with the icing using thick marzipan to seal the rich fruit cake and covering it all with several layers of royal icing – sugar was now available and they were going to use it. All this sugar also had the effect of preserving the fruit cake so it could be used for the first child’s christening (that’s me – and it was).
 Elvis Presley married in the early 60's and tall cakes with pillars were then popular in USA
However it was still an age of waste not want not and thrift was a much prized attribute. My Mum still has the baking tin for the 8 inch middle tier of her cake, and she tells me the 10 inch base tier was baked in a biscuit tin, double wrapped with brown paper to protect the cake during its long slow cooking as she thought it too extravagant to buy a 10 inch tin that wouldn’t be used again.
The Kennedy wedding cake was a stacked 4 tier cake
When looking for photos of 50’s wedding cakes I was surprised to find many for very large round cakes, 3 tiers but stacked so they were wide and low rather than tall and elegantly separated.  Further searching has identified that many American cakes were larger and flatter but the celebrities of the time went for very tall, many tiered, highly decorated confections. As now, the perfectly decorated cake provided the photo opportunity of the bride’s first duty as a married woman – cutting the cake.
I use my own recipes to ensure if you have a WeddingDelicakes cake its the most wonderful cake of your life

 To enquire about an order email Janet

Good Housekeeping Cookery Book Recipe for Three Tier Wedding Cake
5 ½ pounds currants
5 ½ pounds sultanas
2 pounds stoned raisins
1 pound sweet almonds
1 ½ pounds glace cherries
1 pound mixed peel
1 lemon
3 pounds flour
3 tea spoons cinnamon
1 ½ tea spoons mace
Pinch salt
3 pounds butter
3 pounds sugar
24 large eggs
1/3 pint rum or brandy
A little caramel or browning
1 ½ pound ground almonds
10 ounces caster sugar
10 ounces sieved icing sugar
Juice small lemon
1 ½ tea spoon vanilla essence
1 ½ tea spoons orange flower water
Egg white to mix

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Anniversaries

As my 5th wedding anniversary will be celebrated soon it got me thinking that its time to make a special effort - getting married late in life means waiting for that big celebration after 40, 50 or 60 years is a little optimistic! So we are going to do something special this year and I will make a special cake, probably heart shaped because I love him very much. And the traditional gift for 5 years married is Tin and I dont think a can of beans will cut it.
The most popular cakes now for weddings are anything but fruit cake and some cupcake towers dont even have a cutting cake so its unlikely you'll have a cake saved for your first anniversay.
Top tiers can make very nice cakes on their own - like this Ivory Carnation Cake

Wedding Delicakes can make you an 'Anniversary Top' even if they didn't supply your original wedding cake - this is a cake that replicates your top tier so you have a very tasty reminder of your wedding day. Email your enquiries to

Best wishes, Janet

And here is a pictue of the delightful couple enjoying there 50th Wedding Anniversary cake.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Puddings

There are few men who do not have a sweet tooth - Greg Wallace from @Masterchef even uses @Puddingface as his twitter name so why do so many of us offer a shop bought sweet but virtually taste and texture free desert to end a meal we have spent masses of time and money on? Sometimes its not knowing how to make a pudding that will do justice to the other courses.

These are luscious lemon velvet cakes; juicy lemon sponge, lemon curd filled and topped with a swirl of the most seductive of frostings - Its based on an Italian Meringue and 4 / 5
tasters believe its whipped fresh cream with flavour!! You could serve these as individual portions or order the same recipe as a large pudding and serve with a jug of lemon sauce. £3 per portion from Delicakes including the lemon sauce. This is part of the  "I made it myself" range you will see introduced this summer for the lucky hostesses of Kings Hill.

If you are serving a two course supper or lunch then make sure each course does you justice. There are so many good main course ideas I won't dwell on those but aahh the sweet bit we are allowed if we eat up all our veg.
Cold souffles are really impressive and a perfect taste of Summer - these chocolate and lemon souffles were served to guests at a recent Hever Castle Wedding where the bride wanted a non traditonal cake. Each souffle has a light sponge base and toasted chopped nuts for crunch  - although I am working on a caramel souffle with cinder toffee for those with nut allergies.

I dont share my special recipes but if you have any questions about how to? ask me via a comment below or

Best wishes Janet

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Tea and Cake

I know that we can't move for coffee bars in every high street but what I long for mid afternoon is a nice cup of Earl Gey Tea - Actually I love a cup to start the day too, but that's beside the point as I really want to tell you what teas go best with cake.
Underneath this wedgewood blue and white rose teapot is a firm and fruity cherry genoa cake. Its a light fruit cake made with orange juice, glace cherries and sultanas and covered in marzipan it keeps very well. A thick slice of this cake goes perfectly with the aforementioned Earl Grey tea or maybe a glass of champagne to celebrate something special. I made this cake for Mothers Day but it would be a fantastic cutting cake for a tower of Rose topped Cupcakes especially if you are having a tea party or vintage theme for your wedding.
For those rich flavours like caramel, chocolate and even coffee walnut cake try Darjeeling as it has a strong clean flavour and quite a lot of tanin which works with the rich creaminess of buttercream. So it would be ideal to serve with this box of 18th Birthday Cupcakes
A cup of slightly floral Lapsang Souchong would be perfect with a raspberry macaroon, in fact any macaroon that lets the almond flavour through so probably not too good with chocolate or coffee or caramel.
All the above featured cakes can be found on the BirthdayDelicakes website or just email to place an order now. Leave a comment to tell me what your favouite combination of Tea & Cake.
Best wishes, Janet