lacy bakes

© Nick Loven
This year, Nick's grandparents celebrate their 60th anniversary. His family are scattered as far as Sweden and San Fran (ridiculously cool I know, and we've taken much advantage of this, spending time in such amazing places with the most amazing people!), so getting everyone together for such a momentous event is not easy. But most of the family was able to get together earlier this year and I was honoured to be asked to bake a cake for Pat and Arthur. As it was such a special occasion, we wanted an elegant cake that would be a showstopper in itself, so we opted for a two-tiered affair in white. Knowing they were firm favourites, the top tier was red velvet cake, and the bottom carrot cake, both from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, with a white chocolate buttercream. Searching for wedding cake inspiration uncovered this lacy number on Belle Amour, and it was love at first sight. I mean, look at the detailing, all those beautiful hours of love spent toiling over this magnificent cake, the texture screaming "touch me! STROKE ME!!!", and no matter how many other tabs I opened and liked the look of, this one kept calling me back. How hard could it be, right? As it turns out, it's not as hideously complicated as at first it looked, but my god does it take a lot of time. I have a tendency to underestimate the time required for almost every cake I bake, but it's not something that's ever bothered me. Until 2am, and the hundredth-or-so plunge of the cutter onto the icing, when my fingers were screaming in agony, and only half the cake was done. In these dark moments it's hard not to give up and just eat the thing, or at the very least have a design rethink and claim that "half-finished" is a very real style (and, incidentally, very fashionable). But the sugar-induced headache was already raging and, by pure coincidence, so would be the sugar-induced insomnia, and I was sort of nearly there anyway...

© Nick Loven
3am rolled by and I'd reached a stage where the cakes could be packed up, leaving the last bit of detailing between the tiers and around the base until the next evening when we arrived at Nick's parents, helped along with a glass or two of wine. The cake was topped off with a few sprigs of sugarpaste lily of the valley, which Pat had worn in her hair for the wedding all those years ago. Sadly these weren't handmade as it was too short notice, but the store-bought ones (from The Craft Company, but not currently available) worked well.

I knew it was all worth it when someone squealed "she MADE that?!!". Happy days :)

© Nick Loven
For Pat and Arthur, thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

P.S. This cake works well in the most unlikely of colours too, a friend requested this Jonathan Saunders (S/S12, so I'm instructed) -inspired combo for her birthday last month, in her favourite red velvet / white chocolate buttercream pairing. The simplified lace effect was much quicker, and just as nommy!

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