The weather has been lovely this weekend in my corner of the world. But despite blue skies and warm temperatures, it is clear summer is coming to an end. Fall is practically knocking on the door – but, lucky for me, this season of gold brings fantastic baking opportunities. Since I’m not prepared to let summer go just yet I thought I should summarize my best baking moments these passed couple of months. And of course, let’s start with one of the high lights: The London Wedding Cake.
Did it stand or did it fall?
Four layers of cake, five layers of filling, assembled into three single cakes before building a three tiered wedding cake. Yes it did stand! Adding to this the beautiful location, the awesome people, the good food and the good music – the wedding of A & D was magnificent. And looking back, the time I spent in the kitchen at Boulevard Catering was one of the most inspiring moments in my life so far. Even if it was hard work I just loved every second if it. Making something with your own hands is, with out a doubt, one of the most rewarding things you can do. And there are so many things you can do. Like baking a wedding cake in London.
Can you bake organic wedding cakes in London?
Yes it is possible, and why not try to use locally produced ingredients as well. In fact I found the british organic market to be very well developed. The caterers helped me get all the ingredients for the cake and I asked them to try to get as much organic and british products as possible: flour, butter, strawberries, vanilla and eggs.
Lessons learned – spreading the word
If you are about to bake a cake for larger functions – you definitely should – here are a few tips:
- Planning! Everything need to be well planned and scheduled. Knowing your whens-wheres-and-whats is crucial for even the tiniest projects. I think time is the most difficult part to estimate. If you run out of it, you may not get everything done and this can ruin the whole project. And some things need to take time so make sure you have enough. Of course, it will be easier with time and experience, but making lists and going over all the steps in the process is highly recommended even by professionals.
- Less is more. Make small batches in stead of big ones’. You can double, but that’s the furthest I usually go. Then you don’t risk waisting to much of the ingredients at the same time if something goes wrong. And things can take another turn than you have planned. So, plan for the unexpected.
- Be sure you know your recipe and test bake the cake before you “go live”. That counts for the whole recipe, even when it comes to melting chocolate, especially white chocolate, which does not take as much heat as regular chocolate.
- Ask for help and assistance if you make cakes for larger functions. It makes the whole process easier and more fun. I got some lifesaving help which I couldn’t have been without from the bride – thank you for wrapping those cake layers – and my C – you really whipped that merengue butter cream, honey.
- When decorating with fresh flowers (please, do!), make sure they’re edible and not heavily sprayed with toxics. Organic flowers and plants are recommended. And you can grow your own if you want to take it even further.
A & D Wedding Cake
3 tiers with 5 layers in each cake tier
Cake base: Lemon cake
Filling: Strawberry merengue butter cream
Cover: Merengue butter cream with a hint of lemon
Garnish: Fresh strawberries and fresh Santini Chrysanthemums, Avalanche Rose and Spray Rose
A day in the archipelago
In june BJ and I spent a week in Stockholm, visiting C. I love traveling with BJ and taking him to places where I went as a child. As for most parents, it’s something really special showing your children things that is a part of you. And yes, I was the one who was bursting with excitement, jumping up and down while walking down memory lane.
One day we got on the boat and went out in the archipelago to visit my cousin and her family on one of the islands. This side of my family has a beautiful little summer house, placed perfectly on a small hill looking out over the sea. The scene out here is just breathtaking! It’s been over ten years since my last visit but nothing had changed. I came here a few times when I was a little girl so it was really special to bring BJ this time. My cousin is an amazing photographer and since I – of course – had brought a cake, I asked her to take some photos in this heavenly setting. I had made a brownie cake, using the recipe I found through Pinterest a couple of months ago. Instead of making squares I just baked it in a round pan. The decorations wasn’t a problem. There were loads of fresh flowers in the garden and on the hills to pick from.
Going on a flour quest
After the London trip we went to the summer house of C and his family to spend the rest of the vacation here. The house was build during the 1940’s and as the vintage junkie I am – now you know – this is heaven for me. For some reason I just want to hang out in the kitchen all day, baking and cooking, when I’m here. I don’t know it if’s the air or what? Ir simply just me.
Flour is one crucial ingredient when baking (!) and I have started a quest on which I look for alternatives to the industrial flours you buy at the general supermarket. Not for from the summer house lies Vänga Kvarn, a local mill that produces good quality flour using the same methods since the mill was founded in the late 1880s. The nature out here is spectacular and the mill is located by a small river, where you can visit a café situated by the river bank. The river is surrounded by tall trees, very “swedish-like”, and you can take a walk, following the rippling water following on paths that have been there for centuries. In the little shop you can buy handcrafted goods, candies, honey – and flour. I “only” got 8 pounds, for what reason I don’t know. But since the flour quest will go on, I guess it’s best to just get samples until I find the “one”.