We still have a few weeks to go before the end of the summer wedding season and whether you're trying to put the finishing touches on your own ceremony this year, beginning to plan for the not-so-distant future, or planning for sometime quite a bit down the line, IrishCentral has brought you the perfect guide to Irish wedding traditions, superstitions, and a guide to the perfect Celtic wedding.
If there's one thing that a wedding is judged on, however, it's the food and the wedding cake, in particular, takes pride of place. This delicious nuptial recipe mixes the traditional with the just downright tasty to wow your family and friends.
Warning: Like all good things, this cake takes time!
IRISH WEDDING CAKE
Grease a 12-inch (30 cm) tin and line it with three layers of grease-proof paper, extending about 2" above the top of the tin.
Tie a thick band of folded newspaper around the outside of the tin to protect the edge of the cake from over cooking, and have a suitable sized piece of brown paper to put over the cake if it is in danger of over-browning. (Note: the cake will be done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.)
Mix dried fruit with halved cherries and the peel with a tablespoon or two of the flour in bowl.
In another bowl, sift flour, salt and the spices.
In a third bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, zests and vanilla.
To this mixture, add the eggs, one by one with a tablespoon full of flour with each and beat well. Fold in the fruit and remaining flour plus the brandy. Mix well.
Turn mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down with tablespoon making a slight hollow in the center. You may leave the cake overnight or till ready to bake.
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C, Gas mark 2.) Bake cake in center of the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Reduce heat to 275 degrees F (40 degrees C, Gas mark 1) for the remaining baking time (3 to 4 hours) or until the top of cake feels firm to the touch and toothpick comes out clean and dry. Watch cake as it bakes. Cover if it looks like it might overbrown.
Cool cooked cake in tin then remove paper and turn upside down onto a board.
Make small holes into the cake with skewers and pour on some extra brandy.
When brandy is absorbed wrap cakes in double layer of grease-proof paper and then a layer of foil. Seal and store in airtight container and place in a cool place for at least a month.
Cake should be finished at least two weeks prior to need so flavors will mellow. Ice with Royal Icing or Fondant Icing.
(there will be extra icing left over)
Beat together butter, shortening, cream, vanilla and 3 cups powdered sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until very smooth.
Continue beating while gradually adding remaining 3 cups powdered sugar, until icing is almost consistency of smooth peanut butter.
Use immediately, or the surface will crystallize. Ice sides of cake first, then top, making sure to use long, smooth strokes. Clean icing knife, dip it in clear water and pass it lightly over sides and top to give the icing a flawlessly smooth surface. Decorate with purchased trims.
* Originally published May 2009