The Great Parent Bake-off: Harper's Christening Cake

The best part of any party is the cake, right? At least that's my way of thinking. Harper's christening cake was going to be the first cake I ever made for her, and although she wouldn't be able to have a bit, I still wanted it to be incredible.

I don't know if it’s usual to have a colour scheme for a christening, but l'd already picked one: rose gold and mint. Incorporating mint green into the cake was easy as I'd simply use mint coloured buttercream, but rose gold was a bit trickier. There are so many options available if you want standard gold or silver edible colours, but rose gold still seems to be a bit of a niche (I don't quite understand why, I LOVE rose gold!). Vanessa had recommended a number of cake websites which were just the thing I needed; I managed to find rose gold cake boards and some edible lustre powder.

The actual cakes were baked two days before the christening; I decided to stick with the flavours from the wonderful tasting cake that Vanessa made, lemon drizzle with raspberry buttercream. The baking was relatively stress-free, aside from my panic when I opened the oven and the cakes seemed really domed!

The next day I made sure I had a whole afternoon to construct and cover the cake. This was the bit I was really worried about, I’ve made normal buttercream hundreds of times but Swiss meringue buttercream is completely new to me. Armed with detailed instructions, I set about making it on what would end up being the hottest day of the year so far. Spoiler: buttercream and hot weather do not mix well.

It initially started well, slowly heating up my eggs and sugar to the right temperature (my once random purchase of a sugar thermometer had finally been worth the money), and then whisking up the meringue in my trusty kitchen aid. One issue I was having was that the mixture didn't really seem to be cooling that well, but I was nervous about over-whisking the mixture past the point of it being salvageable. As I slowly added my softened butter it all seemed to be going ok.

The raspberry crumb coat went on really well, as I stacked all six cakes together, my worries about the sponges being too small seemed to disappear; admittedly it wasn't quite as tall as I'd hoped, but it didn't look too comical.

buttercream modern christening cake

It was when I applied the final coat of buttercream that I had real issues, due to the weather the buttercream seemed way too runny so I popped it in the fridge to firm up. In hindsight, I clearly left it too long as it then became too firm. Luckily on such a warm day (!?!), it softened up again quickly, and I was back to my original issue. It was around this time that I started discovering small chunks of meringue in my buttercream which were making it almost impossible to get that super-smooth finish that I so desperately wanted. Each scrape with my spatula made the buttercream that little bit softer and harder to work with. Accepting that it wasn't going to be perfect, I popped it in the fridge for a final firm up before adding the finishing touches.

The cake was decorated with buttercream flowers that I'd made myself, a macaron that I'd cheekily bought instead of made (didn't need the added stress), and the edible gold lustre that I mentioned earlier. I used it to give a slightly gilded edge to my flowers, and then added some artistic (random) strokes to the main cake. It was all topped off with a rose gold cake topper that I'd made on my Cricut machine.

Cakes like this really are a labour of love, and despite the minor stresses along the way, I'm super happy with the way it turned out. Everyone at the christening seemed to enjoy it, and there were only a couple of tiny slices left, which we enjoyed that evening as we crashed on the sofa. Now I’ve just got 6 months to up my buttercream game before the all-important first birthday cake!

rose gold modern christening cake


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