Dear Reader, very recently, we had another Elliott family wedding. Mr NQN's older sister Araluen was getting married. Just a couple of months earlier she and her then boyfriend Pietro had gotten engaged and we soon found ourselves standing on the picturesque green of a small reserve in Freshwater. Alas, most of his family couldn't make it from Italy but he had a strong contingent of Italian friends.
I wore a purple dress because if there ever was an official family colour it is purple. In walked other guests, many swathed in purple so it was clear whether they were on the bride or groom's side. There were purple flowers and Tuulikki wafted in wearing her flowing purple clothes. "Where does she find all of these purple clothes?" my mother wondered.
A purple clad Tuulikki hands Aura some purple flowers to sprinkle
Three and a half year old Aura Lily did a good job as the flower girl. Mr NQN replaced their father Roger walking Araluen down the aisle. Roger is pretty much overseas for most of the year so he wasn't able to make one of his classic father of the bride speeches that end with a microphone being swiftly taken away from him. It ended up being an chic hippy wedding without any incidents.
The wedding cake
The reception was at a friend's house - a converted church no less and the event was catered. The cake was made by Bubba, the other sister's husband's mother who was visiting from Croatia. Bubba contended with veganifying one of her classic cake recipes and found it a challenge using soy milk and agar instead of cream and gelatine in her cake. Poor Bubba, to her a meal isn't complete unless it has meat in it.
Don't tell the Elliotts but I really do like the colour purple although it's the darker, almost black shade of purple that I go for over the tie dyed purple they sport. While I listened to the couple exchange vows, my mind wandered towards cake as it often does. I still owed my mother a birthday cake from March and I had it! Boysenberry cake and with a purple carnation on top!
This is a boysenberry chocolate mud cake, tinted so that the dark purple contrasts against the buttercream icing. I spread some boysenberry jam between each layer and a little icing just for visual contrast. The flower on top was the result of me playing with my new flower making toys that I picked up at the Couture Cakes cupcake decorating class. I'm not even sure what flower it is meant to be and I urge you to not look too closely or you'll see the many flaws!
Mr NQN hiding behind Aura
Although I don't see the Elliotts much nowadays, we wish the bride and groom the very best of luck. Araluen has been a little unlucky in the love stakes and this is her third marriage and everyone is hopeful that it will be her last. As for Aura the Explorer, she grows bigger every time that we see her. Can you believe that she's just 3 and a half years old? I can still remember how much I hated hearing "How you've grown Lorraine!" when I was small and here I am doing the same thing to Aura. She is also the spitting image of her father The Banksia Man!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite colour and flower? And do you love weddings as much as I do? Did you have an outdoor or indoor wedding?
Boysenberry Carnation Cake
Makes a 10cm diameter cake. Double quantities if you're making a larger cake.
- 85g/3ozs. butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 50g/1.7oz. white chocolate buttons
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Boysenberry or blackberry flavouring
- Purple food colouring
- 125g/4ozs. butter, softened
- 3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Vanilla extract
- 100g white gum paste or fondant (gum paste dried quicker)
- Dark purple food colouring
- Small brush
- Set of round cutters
- Foam rolling mat
- Balling tool
- Water pen
Step 1 - Make the flower first as it will need time to dry. Preheat oven to 150C/300F. Line a 10cm/4inch tin on the base and sides with parchment making sure to extend the sides up an inch above the rim as the cake rises while baking and then settles.
Step 2 - Place a small saucepan on low to medium heat and place butter, sugar, water and chocolate and melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Beat in the egg and then add the flour and baking powder gradually until you get a smooth mix. Whisk in the flavouring and colouring and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the centre is done. Cool completely in the tin.
Step 3 - To make the buttercream, beat the butter, sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add some milk if necessary.
To make the flower
Step 3 - Dust a tray with smooth depressions (as shown) with some cornflour. Roll the gum paste until fairly thin, petals are usually quite thin. Cut out three petals in the three smallest circle cutters.
Step 4 - Place each circle onto the foam mat and gently pull the small end of the balling tool towards the outside to thin the edges. Place into the prepared tray to dry. Repeat with all of the circles of gum paste.
Step 5 - Dip the small brush into the purple food colouring and brush lightly - I find this best to practice this on some spare rolled fondant to see how much colouring you need on the brush. Repeat with all of the petals and allow to dry enough so that they keep their curved shape.
Step 6 - Start with the smallest petals and attach each petal together to form a flower using the water pen to adhere the gum paste until you form a flower. Set it on top of the cake.