Rachel Khoo's DIY Wedding Cake
Baking your own wedding cake is a daunting task, even when you’re known for your baking, but leaving it to someone else was not an option for me. Of course, there’s no way I could actually have baked it on the day or even the day before, with family and friends arriving. So in the runup to my wedding I worked on creating a recipe that would keep well. A simple yoghurt cake, which stays moist and keeps its shape, was in order. I wanted everyone to be able to get up and dance and not fall into a food coma after the meal, so a combination of a zesty fresh lemon curd (my husband’s favourite) and whipped cream cheese frosting (rather than a fondant – too sweet; or buttercream – too rich) finished the cake off.
On the day, the cake was assembled by the lovely April Carter (who is a bit of a cake expert). It was filled and iced half naked (so you could see some of the cake itself) and topped off with the same flowers (peonies) that were in my wedding bouquet.
This is by no means a cake just for grand occasions; it’s simply a tasty cake that would go just as nicely with a cup of tea as a glass of Champagne.
|For the cake:|
|baking spray or oil, for greasing the tins|
|4||medium eggs, beaten|
|175g||full-fat natural yoghurt|
|a pinch||fine sea salt|
|zest of 1 lemon|
|1 tbsp||baking powder|
|For the lemon curd (makes roughly 450g):|
|125ml||lemon juice, plus the zest (equivalent of 3–4 lemons)|
|a pinch of||fine sea salt|
|For the cream cheese icing:|
|250g||icing sugar, sifted|
|fresh, unsprayed flowers to decorate|
You will need: 2 x 19cm cake tins.
Preparation time: 30 minutes / Resting time: 20 minutes / Baking time: 50–60 minutes
Place all the ingredients for the lemon curd, apart from the butter, in a saucepan. Whisk on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to whisk until one or two bubbles are released, but don’t let it boil. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter. Pour through a sieve if desired (I leave the lemon zest in). Pour into a sterilized sealable jar and chill until needed. This makes more than you will need, but it keeps well for a few days.
Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease your cake tins lightly with baking spray or oil, and line the bottom with baking paper. Whisk the butter for the cake with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition. Beat the yoghurt with the salt to remove any lumps, then pour into the egg mixture along with the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder, then fold this into the egg mixture.
Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake tins to a cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cakes. Leave to cool before cutting both cakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife to make 4 layers.
Whip the butter for the icing until white and fluffy before beating in the sugar and cream cheese.
To assemble, place one layer of the cake on a serving plate. Add a generous dollop of the icing and spread out evenly. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of lemon curd and spread all the way to the sides. Add the next layer of the cake. Repeat once more. Repeat again, then add the remaining icing to the top and smooth around the sides. Decorate with the fresh unsprayed flowers.
Top tips: The cake is delicious on its own, warm out of the oven or served at room temperature.
When icing the cake, to get a neater finish I begin with a crumb layer – a coating of cream cheese icing spread over the top – and then place the cake in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. I then remove it from the fridge and do the final layer of icing over the top of the cold crumb layer.
Get ahead: The un-iced cake keeps very well for 2–3 days if well wrapped. You can also freeze it for a couple of months.
Lemon curd keeps for several days in the fridge.