Tala Royal Wedding Cake

Tala Royal Wedding Cake

Tala Royal Wedding Cake

 

 Wedding fever is once again reaching fever pitch this spring with the forthcoming royal marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. Word is out that the royal wedding cake will be a buttercream covered elderflower and lemon cake dressed with fresh flowers, so this is sure to be a hot wedding trend for the summer.

 

Follow my simple instructions to make your own stunning wedding cake: moist elderflower drizzle sponge covered with vanilla buttercream and dress with beautiful fresh flowers. A wedding cake fit for a princess!

 

Ask a florist for flowers that are appropriate to your theme and colours, and which are non-toxic. If you prefer, your greengrocer may be able to source edible flowers and herbs, which will create a beautiful unstructured, 'undone' look. You will need large, statement flowers (I've chosen light pink roses), smaller flowers (ranunculus and white roses) filler flowers (spray roses, astrantia and wax flowers) and some greenery (any leaves or fronts that are food-safe and attractive). Ask your florist for flowers that won't wilt quickly and be open to suggestions if they have other good ideas!

 

 

Equipment

Cooks measure

Tsp measure

Ladle

Silicone headed spatula

Cooling rack

4 inch Tala cake tin

6 inch Tala cake tin

8 inch Tala cake tin

Greaseproof paper circles: 3 x 4 inch diameter, 4 x 6 inch diameter, 4 x 8 inch diameter, 1 x 10 inch

Round foil covered cake cards: 1 x 4 inch diameter, 1 x 6 inch diameter, 1 x 8 inch diameter

Cake tester

Turntable

Wooden cake dowels x 10

Secateurs

Mini palette knife

Flat-edge cake scraper

Cake stand

Sharp scissors

Plastic drinking straws

 

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

15 free-range eggs

780g caster sugar

780g margarine

780g self-rising flour

Zest of 1 lemon

 

Or:

 

Three batches of the following cake mixture:

5 free-range eggs

260g caster sugar

260g margarine

260g self-raising flour

Zest one third of a lemon

 

For the syrup:

150g sugar

150ml water

Elderflower cordial to taste

 

For the buttercream:

1.125kg butter

1.5 kg icing sugar

2tsp vanilla paste (with seeds)

 

 

Baking the cakes

 

Each of the three tiers of the cake will have three layers, which calls for quite a lot of cake mixture. My method calls for the making of three smallish manageable batches - each batch comprising one layer of each tier. You will find it easiest to use a counter-top mixer, but if you don't have one, a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon will get the job done and burn off a few calories at the same time!

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Set out the cake tins and line each with a greaseproof paper circle.
  3. Cream sugar and margarine thoroughly, add eggs and lemon zest, mixing to as smooth a consistency as possible (don't worry if it seems lumpy) and finally add the flour. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture between the tins, trying to ensure that the mixture reaches roughly the same height in each tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the tins and bake for a further 20 minutes. After this, check the cakes every 5 minutes until they are risen, spring back in the centre when pressed or a cake tester inserted into the middle appears to be clean when removed from the cake.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack. Peel off the greaseproof paper circles when the cakes have cooled.
  7. When cool, level the tops of the cakes, keeping the level the same so that each cut slice of cake will look the same. The Tala cake measure should be set to, or close to, level 7. 

 

Making the sugar syrup

 

  1. Half fill the Cooks' Measure with sugar (150g if you are using scales) and empty into a saucepan. Fill the Cooks' Measure with water to the same level (150ml if you are using a measuring jug) and place in the pan with the sugar.
  2. Heat gently until the crystals dissolve.
  3. When cool, add elderflower cordial to taste.
  4. Ladle over the cut surface of each cake. Try to make sure the whole surface of each cake is covered. 

5.While the cakes are cooling, soften the butter in the microwave (or keep in a warm place) until very soft and cream with the icing sugar and vanilla in a counter-top mixer until smooth and pale. Cover until needed.

 

Constructing each tier

 

This process will be done upside down so that each cake has a nice flat top. When the cakes are firm after chilling they will be flipped right side up.

 

  1. Place a greaseproof paper circle larger than the cake you are about to work on on a flat surface, the removable base of a cake tin makes a good base. (If you are working on the top tier, use a 6-inch diameter paper circle and so on). Use a mini palette knife to spread a circle just larger than the top of the cake onto the greaseproof circle.
  2. Place one of the trimmed cakes on top, spread with buttercream, place another cake on top and repeat until all three layers are stacked on top of each other, finishing with a silver cake card 'glued' on top with a scraping of buttercream. 

3.Use a mini palette knife to neaten any excess buttercream by scraping it upwards onto the cake (this will be very difficult to do when the icing is solid) . Chill until firm (about an hour).

4.Place each cake on a cake turntable and use a mini palette knife to spread buttercream on the sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper to smooth the icing, so that the 'walls' of the cake are nice and straight. Chill again.

 

.Repeat twice so that the sponge cake is barely visible and the buttercream 'walls' have become quite thick. Return the cakes to the fridge. 

6.Turn the cakes the right way round and peel off the paper circles. Then put the paper circle on the circular base and sit the cake on top, right way round. (The paper will stop the cake sticking to the base.)

7.Use the palette knife to apply a generous load of buttercream to the sides of the cake and use the cake scraper to scrape and drag the icing into lots of vertical crags and crannies. Return the cakes to the fridge. 

Building the cake

The middle and bottom tiers will need to be dowelled to support the weight of the cake. You will need four dowels in the top tier and 6 in the bottom tier. Clean garden secateurs make short work of cutting the dowels.

 

  1. Remove the two bigger cakes from the fridge and, taking each cake in turn, sink one dowel into the cake until it hits the flat surface at the bottom. 

2.Mark the point where the dowel emerges from the cake and cut each dowel to exactly the same length. Sink all of the dowels into the cake and return to the fridge until you are ready to finally put it all together. 

3.Place the bottom cake on the cake stand and carefully life the medium size cake onto it as centrally as possible (if the cake is cold enough, you can quickly do this with your hands. If not, use a large palette knife or cake lifter). Place the smallest cake on top. 

4.If you have plenty of vertical fridge space, you might want to return the cake to the fridge at this stage.

 

 

Decorating the cake

Avoid sticking plant stems directly into the cake with my little trick for making home-made flower 'picks'. All that is needed is a pair of sharp scissors and some drinking straws. You can, of course, buy ready-made flower picks if you prefer.

 

  1. Cut several short lengths of drinking straw, making sure that each has a pointed end and a flat end. 

2.Use uncut straws to gouge out sections of cake wherever you would like a pick (simply push the straw into the cake and remove it, so that a small cylinder of cake is removed, leaving a hole for the pick). Sink the picks into the holes you have made on alternating sides at the base each tier so that you can place the stems of the flowers inside. You may need to use several in the same spot, so place them as you go, so you don't end up with unnecessary holes in the cake. 

3.Take each flower and snip off its head, leaving at least 2cm of stem. Lay them out in groups so that you can easily see which flowers you have to work with. 

4.Starting at the very top of the cake, use flower picks to arrange the biggest flowers all over the cake. 

5.Then add smaller or medium flowers next to them  and then finally soften and fill out the arrangement with filler flowers and foliage. 

6.Check the final arrangement and view from the sides to make sure there aren't any gaps and display out of direct sunlight if possible.

 

Tips:

 

  • You do not need to line the tins other than with a circle of greaseproof paper in the base of each tin. You can buy these pre-cut or cut them yourself if you prefer.
  • You can make your own elderflower syrup from scratch if you wish, but if elderflowers are not ready in your area, buy a good quality elderflower cordial. Bear in mind that you may need to add quite a lot of cordial to ensure that the taste comes through.
  • Keep your buttercream as soft as you can – easy in warm weather, but if it's a cold day, you may need to loosen it by heating gently in the microwave on 'low' for 5 seconds at a time.
  • If you don't have a cake stand, consider a log slice for that rustic look! Make sure the slice is cut carefully and a spirit level used to ensure it is perfectly level.

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