Extreme Cake Makers – Royal Wedding Cake Special
A Carriage for Harry and Meghan
And don’t spare the horses!
A Royal Wedding doesn’t happen every day and when better to try something new and challenging? I was up for modelling horses and a carriage from scratch and for creating a brand new recipe for my repertoire. But even I did not foresee that I would be taking Extreme Cake Making to the next level by filming an episode whilst standing on one leg. LITERALLY!
I didn’t plan it that way. Obviously! I don’t go around breaking my ankle on purpose. But when you have planned a cake, sketched it, scheduled it, started it etc…it’s hard to (in the words of another Princess) ‘let it go!’
So having lost a week in hospital, fitted with an uncomfortable leg cast, doped up to the eyeballs and balancing on a pair of mis-matched crutches I filmed the Royal Wedding Special for Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers.
They obviously made the ‘Harry’ connection. Both of us flew for the Army Air Corps so I’ve always been #TeamHarry and I loved ‘Suits’ before anyone knew who Meghan Markle was. So I had happily committed to making a Lemon and Elderflower Cake (Harry and Meghans’ chosen flavour) for a beautiful bridal boutique in Clitheroe.
Kimberley-Anne Bridal is a really upmarket boutique which means that I had to keep this classy and my idea of including a red, white and blue Union Jack just felt hopelessly garish to me, (urrrrgh!) until I had the genius (if I say so myself) idea to do a ‘shades of gold’ version.
And that was the decision made. Gold Union Jack, gold and white carriage and horses and a glamorous regal feel to a lemon and elderflower cake. Sorted.
Kimberley-Anne had a VIP Royal Wedding Event planned; bubbly, singer, clients, suppliers – it was all arranged. And that’s when I went and broke my ankle.
Admittedly my decision to carry on with the cake regardless was made whilst I was still in the hospital and slightly doped up on drugs! My judgement may have been a touch compromised. I also underestimated how many things would be impossible whilst immobile.
In truth modelling horses kept me sane. The hours of work I put into them could at least be done whilst sitting. I created a frame using florist wire and added pastillage and modelling paste in stages so that they were as robust as possible. A pre-planned base of 10mm foam core under the cake means that I had something for the leg frames to anchor into so with 3 legs of each horse in contact with the base I was hoping all would be stable.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that my ponies had various different hairstyles. After doing the same thing four times, the legs, the bridles, the tails etc…well I had to do something to amuse myself. So I amused myself with their coiffures. One had a perm, one GHD’s, one had a mullet and one was just having a bad hair day. Clearly this is of little interest to you but it tickled me for a while. (Give me a break. It’s been a frustrating few weeks 😉
The Carriage too could be a sedentary mission. (yay) I had made the main shape before my accident entirely out of Pastillage so it was a solid lump off sugar and I sat my sorry one-legged self down, glad of a few hours of peaceful decorating.
The news that Harry and Meghan were using the Ascot Landau Carriage encouraged me to dig out the netting that packaged my garlic bulbs which made a fabulous mesh imprint along the side. Of those little gems that are lurking in the back of every cake decorator’s repertoire, the garlic netting is one of my favourites. (Also good for shoe laces 😉 )
But as I have discovered most cake ‘actions’ range from ‘hard’ to ‘impossible’ on crutches.
So as much as the recipe is my own (you can get it here: Lemon and Elderflower Cake Recipe) the instructions were barked at my husband and daughter, Madeleine, who spent evenings mixing and baking for me. I give them full credit.
So too did they knead and roll my fondant. It’s near impossible whilst sitting down (try it) so in retrospect perhaps I was too optimistic trying to soldier on. I honestly wouldn’t recommend it and I certainly couldn’t have done it without help. There, I’ve said it. They were wonderful 🙂
Worth noting that beautiful as the fondant that draped the cake was, (thank you Renshaw Baking) it saw me teetering on one leg for a brief moment before I nearly fell down and broke my other ankle. So again, not an activity I would recommend without help.
I love that the programme shows me slapping some gold paint on the flag, but not the umpteen tests I did to work out the colours. I know… it’s only gold, but some of the shades I tried looked hideous. So I settled for Sugarflair Antique Gold and Rolkem Chiffon Gold Lame which were my favourites.
And thank you to Michael Lewis-Anderson for his beautiful Royal moulds, which not only looked perfect for the top of my cake but also saved me the pain of doing anything more laborious. Come on! Who hasn’t thanked heaven for a perfect mould to save your sanity?
And if we are talking sanity, then I owe any that I have remaining to my hubby and daughter number 2, who reluctantly became bakers and cake makers and to Sam Williams who just triumphed with the floral accompaniments to my cake.
If I could stand up I would give you all a hi-five!
If you missed the Royal Wedding Special you can catch it for a limited time on All4 here:Royal Wedding Episode
And trust me on this Lemon and Elderflower Cake Recipe. If it’s good enough for Royalty then you might as well try it for yourself 😉
Let me know of you like it as much as we do.