Quicke off the mark: Mary Quicke tells Devon Life the right recipe for a special wedding cake.
PUBLISHED: 10:27 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:27 13 February 2015
This month our columnist MARY QUICKE has love in the air as she conjures up the right recipe for a very special wedding cake
Valentine’s Day, the day for declaring love, and marrying. It was my parents’ wedding day, with my mother looking chilly in a wedding dress and my father with a black eye from turning his car over in his haste to get there.
On the farm we’ve joined the wedding game, as couples come to choose their cheese wedding cakes. Lots of people don’t really like fruit cake, have it for their wedding along with an embarrassing best man speech, because ‘that’s what you do’. If you are paying for your wedding, you’d rather have it exactly how you want it, so on many Sunday mornings we find ourselves conducting Cheese Wedding Cake consultations.
It’s lovely. You get let into a private world of love and anticipation. The bride and groom come shyly into the shop, each waiting for the other to say what they want. We taste the cheeses with them: “Do you like that?” More shy glances.
There’s an art to building a cheese wedding cake. How many guests? Don’t want guests short of cheese, don’t want to be eating the leftovers for months. What occasion? The mainstay of the evening, or a little nibble at the end of the meal?
What cheese do you like? The classic cheeseboard of a Cheddar, a blue and a soft cheese, or more adventurous - washed rind stinky cheese, fresh cheese, interesting rinds like Yarg? How about ewes’ and goats’?
You get to hear about the wedding guests, what will auntie like, does it matter if she doesn’t? The cheese wedding cake is already an expression of having what you really want, not what the aged relatives expect. Auntie gets left behind as bride and groom taste some completely gorgeous cheese and their eyes mist over with bliss.
The textures have got to be right - it doesn’t work to have a gooey soft cheese on the bottom layer. If you want lots of soft cheese, go for several top layers of soft, add a triple creme Elmhirst, a Sharpham, a Cornish soft cheese
Our cheeses are 14 inches across, perfect for a bottom layer. Ours are a kilo a centimetre, two pounds an inch. Too much of one sort? We’ve become practised at cutting four different cheeses all at exactly the same height, so you can have a chequerboard of say vintage, smoked, goats’, Cheddar and Red Leicester, made into one seamless layer.
You might want our cheese elsewhere, so we make smaller cheeses for middle and top layers. We ask the dairy to make cheese for wedding cakes months ahead of anyone even proposing. Somehow we always sell them; we’ve a fine line in wedding cakes into the Great Lakes region of America, for some reason.
What else might you want for the middle layers? We guide you: firm enough to hold the top layers, yummy enough to eat that much. We’ve got some favourite blue cheeses, the wonderful Beenleigh Blue from Ticklemore, or the divine Colston Bassett Stilton. Maybe a wild garlic Yarg?
The couple gently, lovingly, probe each other’s expectations and preferences. A little nifty footwork, eased by tasting cheese that neither knew before, the joy of joint discovery, and we’ve got the middle done.
Then the top layers. Bride and groom relax, shared pleasure easing the way. Now they can become playful, exploratory. A Tunworth, to die for? A washed rind Goddess? A fresh Vulscombe for the top? Have them all? Take them on honeymoon, a cheesy reminder of their special day!
Later, when they come back from their honeymoon, we’ll get sent pictures of their cake. Beautiful creations each one, transformed into party clothes with fruit and flowers and nuts. Each one is an expression of love, joint creation and the joy of cheese, and we’re proud to have played our part.