Phewwww! Finally I have some time; the last 3 weeks have been manically busy with wedding cakes flying out the door. The season for weddings is coming to a close now, although of course I still have wedding cakes but the pace is much more sedate, I can really enjoy making each and every cake with all its fine detail. I love my work, the flowers take hours and hours but it is so rewarding to see the finished product and the joy on the faces of the bride and groom (plus the guests).
The cakes this year have been very varied and also lots of big weddings, frequently being over 100. Considering that all my decoration is hand crafted sugar work, you can imagine just how much time it has taken making those cala lilies, roses (thousands!), orchids, peonies, hydrangea’s etc etc. As I have posted before I rarely add fresh flowers, because traditionally wedding cakes do not have them ‘stuck on top’, fresh flowers are for display on tables around the venue and of course the brides bouquet.
The fortunate thing is that now venues realize that the work is ‘sugar craft’ so cannot go into a fridge, in the early days here on Ibiza I had frequent ‘debates’ with wedding planners, and venue owners as to how the cake was displayed generally they insisted on putting the cake in a fridge or only displaying for 15 minutes or so. Now of course sugar-craft is known on the Island and therefore these same people do understand that the cake can be put on display throughout the wedding breakfast, and more importantly the good places also know not to store the remainder of the cake in a fridge as most couples collect the cake the following day to enjoy with coffee etc. Let’s face it we never store our cakes in a fridge neither are they in a fridge at a local bakery or coffee shop. The tradition on this Island used to be the local ‘fresh cream’ cake decorated for a wedding therefore it was always displayed for the cutting ceremony only so that it could be cut and served immediately, I am not sure why this tradition started here possibly because of the lack of ingredients (or knowledge). If you travel just across the water to Mainland Spain they have been making the tiered wedding cakes with the sugar craft art work the same as the UK for generations. But of course we know that Ibiza has to be different!
Last week I gave a recipe for caramel cakes, I hope some of you out there tried them; they are quite delicious and relatively easy to make. Something that also needs to be considered when cooking cakes is the length of cooking; oven temperature technology has meant vast improvements in our ovens so therefore they are more reliable and cook more evenly. Anyone who has lived here over 25 years will be aware of the necessary broom handle in the past. The days when unless you propped the broom handle against the ‘on’ button on a gas oven the oven would always go off, most of us had gas ovens as the electricity had a very poor supply, if you put on an electric oven and then proceeded to turn on another appliance then all the electricity would go off! Consequently cooking cakes was a very delicate process, not to mention moving around the kitchen with the broom handle wedged across the kitchen didn’t help with the preparing process!!
Length of cooking time is very important, check your oven some are a little fast and some run ‘hot’, you really need to know your oven if you want light and fluffy cakes, cooking them slower means they are a little heavier. If the cake is cooked too long it will become dry, overcooking is one of the major problems with the finished product, if a cake is undercooked you can cook a little more to get it right, if it is overcooked then there is nothing you can do about it, so always make sure of your oven temperature and timings.
So with that I will leave you for another week, happy baking!
Ibiza’s Queen of Cakes xx