Simple two-tiered wedding cake

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This simple, yet beautiful wedding cake is perfect if you don’t have much experience making wedding cakes. I’ve given excessive quantities of marzipan and fondant icing, as it’s best to start with more than you need, especially for beginners.

Ingredients

For the 18cm/7in cake

  • 40g/1½oz golden syrup
  • 40g/1½oz black treacle
  • 25g/1oz honey
  • 125g/4½oz dark brown sugar
  • 100ml/3½fl oz double cream
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp orange extract
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 175g/6oz currants
  • 175g/6oz raisins
  • 175g/6oz chopped pitted prunes
  • 175g/6oz glacé cherries or more dried fruit
  • 250g/9oz strong white bread flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • brandy, whisky or orange juice, to finish

For the 25cm/10in cake

  • 80g/2¾oz golden syrup
  • 80g/2¾oz black treacle
  • 50g/1¾oz honey
  • 250g/9oz dark brown sugar
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 15g/½oz (about 2 tbsp) mixed spice
  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 6 medium free-range eggs
  • 350g/12oz currants
  • 350g/12oz raisins
  • 350g/12oz chopped pitted prunes
  • 350g/12oz glacé cherries or more dried fruit
  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • brandy, whisky or orange juice, to finish

To decorate the cakes

  • 1 x 340g/12oz jar apricot jam
  • 2.25kg/5lb marzipan
  • 2.25kg/5lb fondant icing
  • ribbons, fresh flowers or fondant flowers, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3 and line an 18cm/7in the round cake tin and a 25cm/10in a round cake tin with non-stick paper.
  2. For the 18cm/7in cake, place the syrup, treacle, honey, sugar, cream, and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the butter in pieces and stir until melted, then add the orange and lemon extracts.
  3. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the fruit. Mix the flour and soda together, then stir this through evenly. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 1½-2 hours, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully remove from the tin.
  4. For the 25cm/10in cake, repeat steps 2 and 3 and bake the cake for 2-2½ hours.
  5. When the cakes are cold, spoon the top liberally with brandy, whisky, or boiled orange juice, wrap well and leave for 3-4 days before icing.
  6. To cover the cakes in marzipan, thin the apricot jam with a little water so it’s the consistency of double cream, and bring this to the boil. Pour the hot jam through a sieve into a bowl, pressing any fruit pieces through to extract the liquid, then leave until warm before using.
  7. If the cakes have peaked in the middle during baking you will want to carefully slice them flat. But if the cake is just gently domed then there’s no need.
  8. For the 18cm/7in cake, knead about half of the marzipan until smooth, then roll it out on a worktop dusted with icing sugar. Roll the marzipan into a disc about 1cm/½in thick and 1-2cm/½-1in wider than the diameter of your cake (check the marzipan isn’t sticking to the worktop by dusting underneath it again with icing sugar).
  9. Brush the top of the cake with the sieved jam than leave a few minutes for it to set. Turn the cake upside down onto the marzipan, place the 18cm/7in the cake board onto the bottom, and wiggle the cake gently so the top is stuck firmly to the marzipan.
  10. Trim any excess marzipan leaving a 2cm/1in the border. Using a gently press up into the gap caused by the curve of the cake, then scrape it up smoothly so it is level with the side of the cake. Carefully turn the cake the right way up and you should be left with a perfectly flat top surface and straight sides.
  11. Knead the marzipan trimmings until smooth, then roll out into a long strip that’s wide enough to cover the sides of the cake. (I roll two or three strips, each a half or a third of the circumference, as this is easier to manage. ) Cut one side of the strip so it has a straight edge. Brush the strip with apricot jam and stick onto the cake, straight edge at the bottom. Carefully smooth it around the cake, trim off any excess along the top edge and repeat with the next strip until all of the cake is covered. Smooth the edges with a cake smoother and dry in a cool, dark place for 4-5 days.

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