My darling little sister’s recent wedding (and the hullabaloo of festivities accompanying the wedding celebrations) are to thank for this post.
Over the past few months, I’ve had to alternate between my chef’s hat and my newly ordained “wedding-planner” hat – a feat far less simple than whipping up something sweet #inthemidnightkitchen. Every so often, we get thrown into the mixing bowl of Life and we become predisposed with tasks that are not ordinarily our speciality. But, when all’s said and done, and through the lens of hindsight we appreciate that that’s exactly where we were meant to be at that time.
Throughout the wedding hullabaloo, family and friends (unsurprisingly) continuously battered me with questions regarding my “chef hat’s worth” contribution. Much to their dismay, the “wedding-planner hat” had taken precedence, resulting in an almost absent “chef hat’s worth” contribution (saved solely by this cake)!
So as a personal wedding gift to my sister and her new husband, I dedicated this past Saturday (and a bit of Sunday morning) to making a most memorable three tier wedding cake for the esteemed couple. The main wedding reception was held a few weeks prior, and this past Sunday’sevent was just a reception for family and friends who couldn’t attend the main event – nevertheless a perfect opportunity to “let them eat cake”.
Given the time of year (Autumn/ winter in South Africa), I chose a more rustic and romantic look for the wedding cake (as opposed to your typical fondant covered cake). The first layer was a soft vanilla Victoria sponge cake, filled with strawberry jam infused buttercream. This infusion both enhanced the strawberry flavour and added a rosy pink colour to the buttercream. The second layer was based on what my life revolves around- coffee! This layer consisted of a coffee flavoured sponge and buttercream. As, arguably my favourite layer, I used authentic espresso all respects – which made all the difference in flavour (the alternative being the use of coffee essence, which you may prefer depending on your stance toward coffee in general). As for the last layer, as I’m sure you’ll agree, nothing short of a dark chocolate sponge filled with a dark chocolate ganache would do. Ganache is a simple yet tricky concept – the obvious catch being mastering its consistency. Depending on your pallet (and your baking fingers), Ganache could be very rich – if you’re using a high cocoa percentage chocolate – or the texture can be less than smooth when using a cocoa percentage that’s too low. Personally, I’ve found that a 75-80% cocoa percentage to work best… and, if I’m being honest, a little more dark chocolate arguably does more good than bad – or so I’ll have you believe.