Monthly Archives

June 2014

Which players do you want to start for Roy Hodgson this summer?

By | Wedding Cakes | One Comment

Roy Hodgson and his England team are just about to embark on their latest World Cup adventure tomorrow when they face Italy in the Arizonian city of Manaus.

Being the creative chefs we are, Xavier and I thought we’d offer the team a little treat and good luck message to kick-start their campaign in Brazil by baking up these England team themed cupcakes featuring all 23 players.

#WorldCupcakes - The full 23 players + Roy Hodgson

#WorldCupcakes – The full 23 players + Roy Hodgson

We’ve even gone all out setting Roy Hodgson’s team up on our pitch using his current 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation but with different line-ups, as knowing Roy we can’t quite predict his starting XI yet.

Will Wayne Rooney be placed on the wing or will Steven Gerrard drop deep with Adam Lallana on the left wing and Rooney in the CAM role?

Roy Hodgson's 4-2-3-1 formation

Roy Hodgson’s 4-2-3-1 formation

Will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin be fit in time for England’s first game?

Chamberlin's fighting a battle to be fit for England's opener.

Chamberlin’s fighting a battle to be fit for England’s opener.

How about Roy going with his young guns?

Roy's young guns.

Roy’s young guns.

Can you guess the correct formation? Let us know what formation you think Roy is going to go with tomorrow or even who you’d like England to start with against Italy by tweeting us @ContemporaryCD. It just leaves us to say good luck to the lads in this summer’s tournament and we’ll be rooting for you from the kitchen!

The History of the Wedding Cake

By | Contemporary Cake Designs, Wedding Cakes | No Comments

Wedding season is upon us and we are busy, busy, busy making and creating all sorts of unique and delicious cakes to help make your special day perfect! Crafting these wonderful cakes and being up to our elbows in flour and icing has lead us to wonder about where the wedding cake tradition comes from and how it came to be. Believe it or not, looking into it we have traced wedding cake/bread traditions back to Ancient Rome! Check out the history of this modern must-have custom at weddings below, some of the customs we can’t believe!

Our modern version of the wedding cake has been developed from a variety of cultural traditions over the ages. The primary wedding cake tradition began in Ancient Rome where pieces of bread (which were the equivalent of cake back then) were broken above the bride’s head to offer good fortune to the couple.  Following this wedding tradition, in Medieval England the guests would throw cakes made of wheat at the bride as a symbol of fertility. As well as this they would make a pile of cakes stacked as high as possible. After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom would attempt to kiss over the pile without knocking it over, if they were successful they would be guaranteed an affluent life together.

This tradition actually inspired a French pastry chef, who was visiting England, to create the first Croquembouche. This soon became a traditional French wedding cake, although in our present day it is usually positioned as the top tier to the cake foundations.

Wow

One of our Croquembouche designs

The wedding cake tradition then continued to evolve as in the early 1700’s a bakers apprentice fell in love with his employer’s daughter and asked her to marry him. In order to celebrate this proposal and express his love, he made an extravagant cake – clearly he was a romantic type!

Eventually it became traditional for the bride to show acceptance of the proposal by inserting a ring in the

couples portion of the cake. Soon after this cake became known as the “bride’s pie” and was served at most weddings between the 1700’s and the early 19th century. Regardless as to whether or not they wanted to, guests had to have a piece as it was considered to be the upmost disrespect not to eat it. Similar to the contemporary tradition of the flower bouquet, a glass ring would often be hidden within the cake, and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry. Over the years the “bride’s pie” became known as the “bride’s cake” as the dessert was slowly becoming sweeter and no longer took the form of a pie. Eventually the tradition of the glass ring died out and was instead replaced by the throwing of the flower bouquet that we know today! As the pies died out fruit cakes replaced it as they were a sign of fertility and prosperity, which was considered relevant at weddings because all married men and women were expected to want a lot of children.

Furthermore the bride’s cake usually took the form of a simple cake with white icing to symbolize purity and virginity – much like the symbolism surrounding the white dress. By the early 1800’s sugar was becoming more accessible to the general public leading to the increased popularity of the bride’s cake. Meanwhile the extravagance of the cake was a way for families to show their social status as the whiter the icing and the larger the cake, the more wealth that family had. Additionally the icing of wedding cakes took the name of “royal icing” after Queen Victoria used white icing on her own wedding cake.

 

Beautiful

Beautiful

However the contemporary wedding cake that our society knows originated from Prince Leopold’s wedding in 1882. Not only was his cake completely edible which was a new development, but it was also tiered. The first pillars between the tiers appeared a couple of decades after this and were constructed of broomsticks covered in icing. Price Leopold’s cake was the origin of the method we use today as each layer was made separately. Only once the icing had hardened would the layers be stack on top of one another.

Of course, given the size of our modern wedding cakes we also use extra support by inserting dowels in the centre of each layer.

 

Now wedding cakes are known for being a centre piece at the after party and a vital addition to the wedding day. Here at Contemporary Cake Designs we are dedicated to making yours the perfect cake in looks and taste – whether it’s unique to you or takes a more traditional form.Helen and Sam - Top tier classic Victoria Spone - Bottom Tier Beligium Truffle Torte with Chocolate Butter Cream

 
We absolutely love helping you design and create your wedding masterpieces! This time of year has to be one of our upmost favourites as we meet with the couples to personally discuss what they dream about and want for their own wedding cake. Give us a call even just for a consultation and we would be absolutely delighted to help!

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tips: How to make our homemade strawberry jam

By | Contemporary Cake Designs, Top Tips | No Comments

Strawberry Jam has been a mainstay in our cupboards for years now; whether it’s spreading it on two slices of bread to make a sandwich, flavouring our cakes or being the perfect accompaniment to clotted cream in our freshly baked scones, Strawberry Jam is without doubt the national treasure of fruit preserves.

A range of our homemade jams.

A range of our homemade jams.

With the British berry season well under way (started 1st May) we’re just in time to see the strawberries begin to be picked off the leaves in all their vibrant red glory; at least before they all get devoured at this year’s Wimbledon tournament alongside the 28,000kg of cream!

Xavier and I love this time of year because it enables us to create fresh, homemade strawberry jam to fill our wedding cakes and desserts with, making sure we have just enough to preserve over the winter months as well. We’re all about homemade produce here at Contemporary Cake Designs and where possible always try to make use of the best local ingredients right here in our kitchen.

With so few ingredients making strawberry jam couldn’t be simpler, just as long as you’re willing to abide by the rules of food science! So with that being said, we thought we’d give you a helping hand by offering our expertise on how to make this homemade sumptuous summer strawberry jam.

Tip 1 – Try using seasonal produce. Jam will preserve over the winter months so it’s best to make as much as you can during the summer when strawberries are in season. Also check to see if any are damaged and if so, remove from the punnet.

Tip 2 – Use more fruit and less sugar as this will give you a more flavoursome jam and will stop it from crystallising in the jar.

Tip 3 – Slow and steady wins the race with this one. Remember to keep the hob on a low heat so that you don’t burn the sugar. Let it dissolve slowly with the juices of the fruit and reach 103°C

Tip 4 – Strawberries are low in pectin so we advise using sugar making jam, which contains pectin, as this will help form a gel and thicken up your jam.

Tip 5 – Use sterilised jars to ensure your jam is safe from any harmful bacteria.

If strawberries don’t tickle your taste buds then why not pick your own flavour. Raspberries and blackberries are good options and have slightly higher pectin levels, which means you don’t have to use as much sugar making jam.

Follow these rules and making jam will never be easier!