Thursday, January 10, 2013
Four Tiers of Trauma: or, why some books should be better
I didn't charge the happy couple for their cake, so I don't feel bad about the fact that the idea - four tiers with hand-moulded roses - was lifted straight from the pages of Mich Turner's Couture Wedding Cakes (Jacqui Small, £30). It was published in 2009, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that some things on Mich's equipment list just don't exist, but still it hurts. I can Google with the rest of them, not to mention attend cake-head hobby fairs.The inch-deep round polystyrene cake spacers Mich calls for are not produced; I had to find a polystyrene factory and have them specially cut. 2cm diameter circular plunger cutters can't be got, either. I needed more roses than she suggests to block between the tiers; she gives no instructions for creating the little posy that looks so sweet on top of the cake in the book. I felt like the girl with the wrong lipgloss, but with only hours in which to solve a load of sugarcrafting problems before the door shut, Crystal Maze-style, with me and a half-finished cake on one side and, on the other, a harried bride sending her mother in law out to a big Marks & Spencer to find some of those ready-iced wedding cake layers and a box of dowels, two weeks before Christmas. Between Mich's half-baked instructions and my half-remembered cake dec course, it got done and thanks to photographer Helen Mary, who took the picture above, the lasting record of it is glorious enough to behold with relative pride.
I write about cookbooks for part of my living, and I really appreciate the ones that work. This is one of the many reasons why.