And so it begins. My friends are starting to get married. I am invited to the first two weddings of my life this year (I should perhaps say that I was invited to my mum’s second wedding as well as to my stepsister’s wedding, but those are family business, and I mean “actual“ weddings here: of friends, colleagues and such). In addition to the fact that I have no idea what to wear and how to behave, I decided to challenge myself on yet another level: I offered to make the wedding cake! I mean, what did I think?
I guess I thought what I usually think: There’s always a way. Everything is possible. After all, what would life be without any challenges? And do you know what: I was right. The cake was totally possible to make. It actually turned out goddamn good (sorry – it sounds quite awkward that I am saying this about my own recipe).
Of course I had my ups and downs during the process. I should probably tell you one little detail first: The wedding will take place near Pisa in Italy. I am flying in on an airplane, so have to bring my baking tins with me from Germany. I hope there is a hand mixer available – if not, I have to bring my own mixer, too. So, I have no idea how the kitchen, in which I will be baking the “final“ “ultimate“ wedding cake, will be like. Urgh! But, hey, of course I thought: Everything is possible!
So, I sat down and designed the cake. I wanted it to be somewhat colourful like all of my recipes tend to be. And I wanted to bake three different cakes, which all explain a little about Marco and Karin, the happy couple, and about our story: how and where we met, and what connects me with them. I got to know both of them in London at HEJ Coffee, where I used to work – so you may guess why I chose a coffee (and walnut) cake as one of the options! By the way: Karin is the producer of this Youtube video as well as of this one and this one, for instance.
Believe me when I say that I was so, SO nervous before and while making this three-layered wedding cake. My hands were shaking so much that I could barely decorate it! So far I have only made one wedding cake in my life, so this attempt could have gone entirely wrong. But it didn’t. Funnily, I believe that this cake is one of the most perfect cakes I have ever made.
The batters are simple to make, and if you work concentrated you will be granted with a “bulletproof“ beautiful wedding cake that tastes amazing, too! My family tested it, and believe me when I say that my mom is a rather critical person (which, by the way, am I, too) – so it means a lot when both of us say that this cake is d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
Now, the real challenge for me will be to make it again for the actual wedding, fingers crossed that it will turn as as pretty as the first attempt.
Wish me luck, and please send Marco & Karin all your love!
Three-layered wedding cake with mascarpone icing
Ok, so here are the instructions to make the three layer wedding cake. Obviously, you could simply choose your favorite one and make it, whether it is for a wedding, a summer party or… I don’t know, yourself.
I started with the chocolate cake, then made the coffee walnut cake and eventually made the elderflower lemon cake (all on one day). I let them cool overnight, cut and spread them with their fillings the next day, to then cover them all with the mascarpone frosting and stack the three cakes eventually. I recommend you divide the work over two days at least, too.
**Please note: I had some leftover batter from the coffee and walnut cake as well as from the elderflower lemon cake. Do not overfill the cake tins, as the cakes will rise while they bake. I normally stick to the rule to just fill my baking tins 3/4 full. I did not want to change the recipes though without trying them again, so simply follow the quantities below and use the remaining batter to make some additional muffins, for example. Obviously, you could also just chuck the batter, but none of us should be wasting any food, I believe.
Chocolate cake with apricot and ganache filling
For one 24-cm cake.
60 g cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
4 eggs, organic preferably
250 g butter, plus more for greasing
250 g caster sugar
225 g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
For the filling:
75 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)
75 ml double cream
2 tbsp apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 24-cm-baking tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and boiling water until creamy. Add the eggs, butter and sugar and mix well until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix again until combined.
Transfer the cake batter to the baking tin and bake for 60 minutes until well risen and done. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
In the meantime (or on the next day), make the cake filling. Roughly chop the chocolate and add it to a small saucepan. Add the double cream and allow to melt over medium heat, stirring. Set the filling aside and allow cool (it will set as soon as the chocolate hardens, don’t spread it on the cake when it’s too wet).
Once cooled completely, cut the cake in halves. Spread the bottom half with the apricot jam first and then carefully cover it with the chocolate filling. Put the cake back together and set it aside until needed.
Coffee and walnut cake
For one 18-cm cake.**
200 g soft butter, plus more for greasing
200 g caster sugar
3 eggs, organic preferably
40 ml strong espresso
200 g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
70 g walnuts
For the filling:
90 g soft butter
125 g icing sugar, sifted
1,5 tbsp strong cold espresso coffee
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 18-cm baking tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and espresso and whisk until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the batter with a metal spoon until just combined.
Roughly chop the walnuts and carefully fold them into the batter.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking tin and bake for 50–55 minutes until well risen and done. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool entirely in the tin.
In the meantime (or on the next day), make the filling. Whisk the butter and icing sugar until fluffy, then slowly pour in the espresso.
Cut the cake in halves and spread the bottom cake with the butter cream. Put the bake back together and refrigerate until needed.
Elderflower lemon and mascarpone cake
For one 12-cm cake.**
100 g soft butter, plus more for greasing
100 g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest (from an organic lemon)
2 eggs, organic preferably
100 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the elderflower syrup:
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp caster sugar
For the mascarpone frosting (makes enough to cover the entire cake):
500 g mascarpone
500 g icing sugar, sifted
150 ml whipping cream
To decorate the cake:
Handful of berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries
Flower petals (real, edible or paper / plastic)
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 12-cm baking tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the lemon zest and eggs and whisk again until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the batter, then stir in the elderflower cordial.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes until well risen and until a wooden skewer inserted to the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool entirely in the tin.
To make the elderflower syrup, whisk the elderflower cordial, lemon juice and sugar until dissolved.
Remove the cake from the tin and cut it in halves. With a wooden skewer, prick both cake halves several times, then drizzle the elderflower syrup onto both halves and allow it to “soak“ the cake.
To make the frosting, whisk the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth. Whip the whipping cream until semi-hardenend, it should be fluffy, but still runny. Whisk the mascarpone mixture and whipping cream with a hand mixer until fluffy and creamy. Spread 3 tablespoons of the frosting on the bottom elderflower lemon cake half, then put the cake back together.
Now spread the outsides of all three cakes with the mascarpone frosting and then carefully stack the cakes on top of each other – starting with the chocolate cake, followed by the coffee and walnut cake, and finishing off with the elderflower lemon cake on top.
Garnish the three layer wedding cake with fresh berries, (edible) flowers and any other decoration you fancy, and chill the cake until served.