Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Wedding Cake Saga - Part 3 - Filling

This was one of my favourite parts of the whole process. As I had three different cake flavours, I needed three different fillings. Making large quantities of these and using them to fill massive cakes was a blast and I felt pro spreading the fillings around with my big icing spatula and spinning the cakes on a makeshift cake turntable (an old lazy susan).

I've already posted a 'recipe' for the Baileys buttercream I made for the chocolate tier. I also made a white chocolate buttercream for the vanilla tier which I partnered with a spread of home made berry jam. The white chocolate really helped solidify the middle tier (especially when it had been in the fridge) which made me hopeful that the stacking of the cakes would go off without a hitch and without any bulges or cracks. As with the Baileys recipe, my quantities were very vague. I learned from this project that you should always start with less butter than you think you need - once you start adding icing sugar that seemingly small amount of butter will fluff up into quite an impressive amount. You can always add more butter later if you want to increase the volume of your buttercream further, but if you start with too much you'll end up with piles and piles of the stuff that you have no use for. That said, buttercream freezes incredibly well, and is as good as new when thawed and given a quick re-whip.

White Chocolate Buttercream
To generously fill a 10'' sponge

I must have started with maybe a quarter of a packet of butter
About 3/4?! of a box of icing sugar
The beans of a vanilla pod
75g of melted white chocolate (you could add more if you want, I was just trialing)

1. Blend softened butter until smooth, gradually add sifted icing sugar, a couple of spoonfuls at a time.
2. Drizzle in melted chocolate, add vanilla beans if using, you could also use vanilla extract. The chocolate will thin the buttercream a but, but remember, if you're refrigerating the icing at any point, the chocolate will make it set near solid so I'd advise thinning a bit more than you think you need to with milk.

Will keep well in the fridge for a few weeks or will freeze in a container for a few months.

I love the raspberry ripple effect!
The last (lemon) tier was filled with a buttercream that had been spiked with a few tablespoons of homemade lemon curd (maybe I'll do a recipe at some point!) This was just the standard butter/icing sugar combo, with the curd, which thinned the filling quite a bit so you'll need extra icing sugar for this one. I also added a bit of lemon zest to give a stronger lemon flavour.

I had some issues with getting the tiers level after they had been filled. I tried squashing them down, but the fillings were so robust (especially on the bottom tier) that this proved quite difficult, and even started to crack the chocolate cake.

I was also worried that when the tiers were stacked they'd buckle under the weight of the cakes on top, especially since the fillings of the top two tiers were not as sturdy as the Baileys buttercream filling of the bottom tier. Luckily, a brief stint in the fridge cleared these concerns up.

Next step - Icing!

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