Another royal wedding? Let them eat cake (and bread and soup)

May 2018: warm and sunny for Meghan and Harry’s wedding.

October 2018: strangely warm, rather windy for Eugenie and Jack’s wedding.

Two happy couples, but of slightly more practical interest to me, two wedding cakes.

You might recall, H and M opted for a spring-like lemon and elderflower, my own version here.

E and J went for a red velvet cake. Unusual? Perhaps, and something of a newish phenomenon in the UK. I’ve been intrigued by this cake, although whenever sampled in a cafe it’s always seemed rather dry and disappointing.

I had questions: do you use beetroot? Yes, you can but it’s not vital. Is it a chocolate cake? Yes, kind of.

Looks like it’s time to have a go at another royal wedding cake.

After some hunting around, I tried this recipe from Georgina Hayden from Jamie Oliver’s team of chefs. She gives some background to the history of the cake and explains the ‘science bit’ (i.e. buttermilk, white wine vinegar, bicarbonate of soda).

I have to admit it is a bit of a faff, however, worth it for a special occasion cake. The texture is definitely velvety, it’s dense yet light, moist – all those wonderfully sensuous words and I love the hint of chocolate from the cocoa. The red colour during the mixing process is a little disconcerting, but all adds to the air of excitement!

As this was made on a bit of a whim, I didn’t have quite the right ingredients for the recommended icing, but next time I will be going the whole hog with cream cheese frosting.

Bread and a new soup

I’ve also been getting into bread making over the last couple of months. So far I have been following some of the recipes in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible with success (white loaf, cottage loaf, dinner rolls, soda bread). I love the science bit of the bread making process: sticky dough turning to smooth, application of elbow grease, the miracle of expansion, the golden crust as a loaf emerges in triumph from the oven.

With a royal wedding cake in the bag,  it seemed like the perfect time to make Mary’s bread crown. Great for tearing and sharing, and perfect with a new soup recipe I came up with, as ever out of necessity.

Trying to make room in the freezer, I took a 1kg bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli florets. Soften a chopped onion, add a potato (peeled and chopped) and the bag of frozen veg, add enough stock to cover. With the lid on, let the soup bubble away for 20 mins or so, blend and season. Add water from the kettle if it’s too thick – this should make a good six portions or so of soup.

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