Catherine Leyden of Odlums offers her top wedding cake advice
Chocolate biscuit cake is undoubtedly the cake du jour on the wedding circuit, but you could tier it up with traditional, old-school favourites like fruit and sponge cake, says baking expert, Catherine Leyden of Odlums
The chocolate biscuit cake is hugely popular for weddings. It was even Prince William's request for the royal wedding. Some fans go the whole hog and do several tiers of chocolate biscuit cake, all wrapped in snowy icing or a delicious chocolate ganache poured on top.
Catherine Leyden has a legion of fans around the country for her baking slots on TV3's Ireland AM and she points to the growing trend of mixing tiers.
"A lot of people do a fruit cake on the top tier, ideal for the older guests who like a traditional cake. They might do a sponge mix in the middle and the bottom - the biggest tier - is nearly always a chocolate biscuit tier," says Catherine.
Weekend has provided Catherine's quantities for all tiers so you can assemble your à la carte cake as you wish. For quantities on icing, go to odlums.ie.
THREE-TIER CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE
You will need
For 15cm/6" round tin 275g/10oz butter
150ml/¼ pint golden syrup
225g/8oz good-quality chocolate
200g (½ packet) digestive biscuits, roughly crushed
200g (½ packet) rich tea biscuits, roughly crushed
125g/4oz nuts (walnuts, Brazil, almonds)
125g/4oz fruit (sultanas, apricots, cherries)
For 20cm / 8" round tin 400g/14oz butter
175ml/just over ¼ pint golden syrup
450g/1lb good-quality chocolate
400g (1 packet) digestive biscuits, roughly crushed
400g (1 packet) rich tea biscuits, roughly crushed
225g/8oz nuts (walnuts, Brazil, almonds)
225g/8oz fruit (sultanas, apricots, cherries)
For 25cm / 10" round tin 575g/1 ½ lb butter
450ml/¾ pint golden syrup
900g/2lb good-quality chocolate
800g (2 packets) digestive biscuits, roughly crushed
800g (2 packets) rich tea biscuits, roughly crushed
450g/1lb nuts (walnuts, Brazil, almonds)
450g/1lb fruit (sultanas, apricots, cherries)
Line the tin with clingfilm, allowing enough to completely fold over the top when tin is full. Melt the butter, syrup and chocolate in a bowl in a microwave, on medium power. Alternatively, place bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir to make sure all ingredients are well mixed together.
Add the crushed biscuits, fruits and nuts and stir well. Transfer mixture to the prepared tin. Level it on top and press down well to avoid air gaps. Fold over the clingfilm and cover completely. Place in the fridge to set, which will take about three hours. It will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. To serve or decorate, just turn out and carefully peel off the film.
You will need
For 15cm / 6" round tin 175g/6oz Odlums strong white flour
125g/4oz butter or margarine
125g/4oz dark brown sugar
3 small eggs
25g/1oz mixed peel
1 tbsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp ground almonds
Rind and juice of ½ lemon
Rind and juice of ½ orange
Pinch of mixed spice
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp Black Jamaican Rum
Baking time (approx) 2½-3 hrs
For 20cm / 8" round tin 225g/8oz Odlums strong white flour
175g/6ozbutter or margarine
175g/6ozdark brown sugar
4 large eggs
75g/3oz mixed peel
50g/2oz chopped almonds
50g/2oz ground almonds
Rind and juice of one lemon
Rind and juice of one orange
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp Black Jamaican Rum
Baking time (approx) 3-3½ hrs
For 25cm / 10" round tin350g/12oz Odlums strong white flour
275g/10oz butter or margarine
275g/10oz dark brown sugar
6 large eggs
175g/6oz mixed peel
125g/4oz chopped almonds
125g/4oz ground almonds
Rind and juice of two lemons
Rind and juice of two oranges
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp Black Jamaican Rum
Baking time (approx) 4-4½ hrs
Line deep cake tins with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Pre-heat oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1.
Put the raisins, sultanas, cherries, mixed peel, chopped almonds, ground almonds, rind and juice of lemon and orange into a bowl and mix well. Sieve the flour, mixed spice and nutmeg together.
Cream butter or margarine and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each in thoroughly and adding a little of the sieved flour with every egg, after the first. Fold in the remaining flour; then stir in the fruit gently but well. Transfer to the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake. As ovens vary, check at regular intervals.
When baked, leave in tin to cool. When cold, prick top of cake with a skewer or a clean knitting needle and pour over the rum.
Wrap in greaseproof paper, then tinfoil, and store in a cool, dry place.
You will need
For 15cm / 6"round tin 175g/6oz Odlums self-raising flour 125g/4oz caster sugar
125g/4oz soft margarine
15ml/1 tbsp milk
Baking time (approx) 1-1½ hrs For 20cm / 8"round tin 350g/12oz Odlums self-raising flour
275g/10oz caster sugar
275g/10oz soft margarine
45ml/3 tbsp milk
Baking time (approx) 1½ -1¾ hrs
For 25cm / 10" round tin 575g/1lb 4oz Odlums self-raising flour
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
500g/1lb 2oz soft margarine
Baking time (approx) 2-2¼ hrs
Line deep cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Pre-heat oven to 150°C/300°C/Gas 2. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Gently beat all the ingredients together, using a low setting on the mixer. When ingredients are combined, increase speed and beat for one minute. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top.
Cook in the centre of the oven for specified time, as above. Test the cake by lightly pressing the centre. If baked, it should spring back and the top should be golden brown. To be extra sure, insert a skewer or knife and if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
Leave in tin for about 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire tray to cool.
When completely cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in a cool, dry place.
Add the rind of a lemon or an orange for a citrus flavour.
For almond flavour, add a teaspoon of almond essence; for vanilla flavour, add a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
Another option is to add 50g/2oz desiccated coconut.