Tuesday, 21 August 2012

An English Countryside Wedding!

Beautiful Crystallised Flowers for West Country style Cupcakes

Wow, where on earth has 2012 gone?

Looking back at my early January posts I was so full of blogging enthusiasm...but seeing as I haven't blogged since January, I think it's fair to say that I definitely have some ground to make up! Excuses excuses but it has been a busy year...firstly moving house, secondly Kenny the K-Mix sadly went to the big mixer heaven in the sky (RIP)...my boyfriend says that I killed him with a slightly too stodgy cake mix but if the truth be told, I think Kenny always was on his last legs. There is a lesson to be learned here: by all means do make as much use of old mixers as you can, especially those such as Kenwoods as they are built to last and they do keep going on for years. But buy a second-hand machine carefully; even if you purchase it from a lovely old granny, it could last another 50 years or 50 days as in my case...and they are so big and heavy to get rid of (unless like me you live in south London where we all know the unwritten rule of leave *anything* on your doorstep and it will be gone in less than 5 minutes).

So the third, and possibly most important event of this year so far was our first family wedding in about 15 years! This wasn't just any old wedding either, it was my sisters wedding where I was to be bridesmaid-in-chief and cake maker to boot!  This wasn't to make the wedding cake which would have been tricky with bridesmaid duties, but just some additional cupcakes and cakepops for the 30 junior members of the congregation.

The wedding itself was to be traditional one with a Somerset countryside feel; held in a local church near to where we grew up, with the reception at a gorgeous organic farm called Huntstile www.huntstileorganicfarm.co.uk. There wasn't a strict theme or colour scheme to the day, the main colours used throughout were various shades of green, with everything being very natural and lots of real fresh flowers decorating everywhere from tables to the pews in the church.

I had a free rein with regards to cupcake flavours, so I just decided to keep it super simple stylistically - lemon and vanilla cupcakes, both with lemon and vanilla frosting respectively. The question was - how to decorate! For an event like this they truly do need to both look and taste good. I wanted to tie the cakes into the wedding so that they looked a part of the day too, so after scouring lots of wedding pictures and sites for ideas, I decided to include edible crystalised flowers into my cupcakes. To be honest, I was never too sure on doing this before as I always thought a) it would be a massive faff, b) where could I get edible flowers from in zone 2 and c) would they taste really weird? Days before the wedding I found a recipe from 'Eat My Flowers' http://eatmyflowers.co.uk/home/recipes/ and went for it.

In answer to point a) they are easy to make and a massive faff all at the same time. It's not hard work but it's fiddly and very time consuming - I now completely understand why they are fairly expensive to buy! Firstly you pick your edible flowers - do be careful on this one as not all flowers are edible - I went for pansies, violas and rose petals. I would not use any shop bought flowers as who knows what they might have had sprayed on them. Get them from someones garden who doesn't cover their flowers in slug killer or any other nasties!

I was unsure as to how to prepare the flowers, so I washed and dried them, then took off as much greenage as possible on the pansies and violas. I found that you have to leave a teeny bit at the back of the flower, as the petals are attached here and if you cut too much off then your petals fall away too - you can still use them individually though. With roses just carefully pick each petal off, you'll be amazed at how many one rose has!

To prepare the flowers, whisk some egg white - I also used a touch of vodka which apparently makes the egg dry faster (and probably kills off any tiny bugs - ha!) and with a small paintbrush paint *both* sides of each petal leaving no part uncovered. Then you need to cover both sides with a good amount of fine caster sugar - my technique was to drop one side of the petal into a small bowl of sugar so that it's all covered and then sprinkle the side facing you. Place all of these petals on a tray covered in greaseproof paper and place in an airing cupboard to dry out (I believe you can do this in a very low heat oven too) overnight is fine but I left mine for 24 hours until they were all crispy and sparkling with the sugar!

So pretty - what do you think?

As the flowers were so pretty I kept the cupcake icing simple, opting for white, pale green and lemon icing with white non pareils sprinkles and a touch of irridescent glitter. I used silver foil and green greaseproof cases and we displayed them on a selection of beautiful and shabby chic cake stands (mostly cheaply picked up from car boot sales).

Even though I was up until the early hours of the morning making these I was so pleased with the end result, it really is worth it. If you've ever thought about giving these a go, this is proof that it can be done, and for the record they don't taste weird whatsoever, just like crispy bits of sugar! Make them ahead of when you need them - on a rainy day when there is nothing else to do other than to be a bit crafty. If kept in an airtight container with greaseproof paper they should keep for a couple of months at least :).

Wedding baking part two with cake pops to follow! x


Miss Cakeaholic said...

Louise, you're back! And with such a fantastic post too :-) love your cakes, the flowers are so lovely. I was very much like you with flowers but seeing this, I think I'll give them a go! Xx

Louise Dolding said...

Thank you so much Miss Cakeaholic! I have been so bad at blogging this year but I am determined to get going again! I am loving your recent posts, your cakes are fab and loving Paris - it's been such a while since I was there! Do give the flowers a go and shout if you have any questions, I was really pleased that I tried it out as despite being a bit messy they look so effective :-) x

Miss Cakeaholic said...

Aw bless you, don't feel bad about not blogging as much wa you'd like! Just do it as and when you when you have the time and rest assured I will be looking forward to your next post! Your posts are such a joy to read. When did you go to Paris last? I could go back now because there's so much to see and eat! I will definitely call on you with the flowers.

Heather Xx

Miss Cakeaholic said...

Some of that post is non-sensical! Sorry, Haha. Xx

Louise Dolding said...

Haha, no it all made sense to me :) I haven't been to Paris in forever, I went a few times when I was younger but the last time was 2007! I would so love to go back as I am sure that so much has changed by now and I think I'd appreciate it so much more! Xx

Alida said...

simply wonderful!

Alida said...

I love your blog. You do create beautiful cakes. They look like they come from wonderland! Following you now.

Louise Dolding said...

Hi Alida! Thanks so much for your lovely comments, *so* kind of you! I am very much a beginner but having new followers inspires me to keep going!! I just found your blog yesterday, it's wonderful! I have a ton of tomatoes to use up so your risotto recipe could be a winner this weekend! :) x

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