Monthly Archives: March 2012

the wedding cake: pistachio paste

Sitting on the floor – somewhat bewildered, that Sunday after the happy couple came round for the first time – frantically thumbing through my books looking to be inspired by something impressive I came across a decadent looking layered pistachio cheesecake. A combination of creamy pistachio cheesecake, little cubes of syrup soaked sour cherries in the middle topped with a pistachio mousse and then sprinkled with ground pistachios.

This was my starting point for putting the wedding cake together. Stumbling at the first hurdle though, every component of this cake needed pistachio paste. I’d never seen in it supermarkets, but presumed it would be easy enough to find in London – I mean you can practically buy anything if you’re willing to spend a bit in fancy specialist food stores. I googled it, and although pistachio paste is a common ingredient in French and Italian baking, I couldn’t find a single source to buy it from in the United Kingdom. Ordering from online shops in France was easy enough but paying £25 with postage for a small jar of paste seemed obscene.  So, my only other option was to make it.

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the wedding cake: the beginning

A few weeks ago a friend announced that he and his fiancé had finally set a wedding date. It’s going to be a small wedding in the middle of April. Before I could properly congratulate him, or even think about it, the words tumbled out of my mouth that I bake wedding cakes. What I meant to say was, I have baked one wedding cake. I walked back to my desk muttering under my breath that I should think before I open my big mouth, but was convinced they’d never take me up on it. I mean, of course I’d love the challenge, but I’m no professional wedding cake baker.

The excited couple popped round the following weekend eager to hear what I could bake – and to make matters more complicated for this wannabe baker, the bride-to-be was adamant that she did not want a traditional fruit cake or a sponge cake. She wanted a fancifully decadent layer cake. Words like praline and mousse were flung across the lounge over cups of tea, conjuring up visions of  the type of cake you find in little French patisseries. And she wanted these delicate layers tiered! My mind raced. As soon as they left Pierre Hermé’s new book came out, amongst various others, and sitting on the lounge floor with books strewn all around me I wondered whether I’d bitten off more than I could chew. My other half just shook his head.

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