The last month has seen both Mr W and I being a baking duo, baking cakes for Mr W’s Dad’s 65th birthday. Now, I like to bake but I have never made a mammoth amount of cakes for an important occasions. I’ll bake for work, family, friends and charity sales but never for a party. Last month I was asked if I would like to bake a cake for his birthday party. Mr W quickly answered with a yes whereas I was sat there waiting to ask the most important question, how many will it be for? …..100…I’ve never made more than enough cakes for 16 people (not including when I’ve had to bake for work) so that number was a bit of a shock. Whilst I had witnesses (Mr W’s mum and dad) I confirmed that he was going to be helping. To be fair, he did.
I’m not the most creative when it comes to cake decorating and managed to find some fairly simple cricket themed birthday cakes on the internet. I was also able to find a cake and buttercream recipe that was for 50 servings. Mr W said he would make cupcakes so we settled on carrot cake cupcakes and madeira sponge for the actual cake. My sister was going to help and make some lemon cupcakes but the weekend before the party, we were told less cake was needed.
The week before the party was a busy week for me and not an ideal time for a mammoth baking session but with Mr Ws help and a plan, we managed it (it did mean leaving my works Christmas party early to finish decorating). Mr W made the cupcakes (with very little assistance from me) and helped me assemble the main birthday cake and check my cricket decorations were up to standard. We managed to get all the cakes over to the venue in one piece. I would hate to be a professional cake decorator and having to transport multi tiered cakes, just transporting 24 cupcakes and a single tier cake was nerve-racking enough.
Mr W’s dad liked the cricket theme and everybody seemed to enjoy the cakes. I feared it would be heavy on the buttercream due to a lot of patching up to try and fill the gaps but when it was cut, you couldn’t tell. Although the feedback was good, I won’t be rushing to make such a big cake again anytime soon.
However, a normal sized Christmas cake is perfectly fine to be getting on with. I took over this job for Christmas (my sister has been making it for past two years). We normally use a simple cake recipe that has no alcohol in it and can be made days before you want it. This year, I wanted to make a ginger fruit cake and found a recipe that used ginger wine. I made it the week before stir-up Sunday and fed the cake every two weeks with two tablespoons of ginger wine. Mr W wanted the cake for Christmas Eve (we were visiting both sets of parents so could leave them some of it for the Christmas period) so I covered it with marzipan, icing and decorations on the run up before.
After trying a slice on Boxing Day, this is now my new Christmas cake recipe. The texture was moist and the dried fruit remained juicy. It wasn’t heavy like some of your standard Christmas fruit cakes. Although the flavour was good and without the alcohol hit that I dislike about alcohol infused fruit cakes, it just wasn’t gingery enough for me. Next year, I’m going to have to at least double the amount of ginger or add some chopped stem ginger. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go.