Over the Christmas period I created Babs & Andy’s Wedding cake. When they came to see me for their consultation I was shocked that they started talking about a fantastic wedding they’d been to in France. The cake was amazing – a mountain of profiteroles.
As their wedding was on 28th December they thought their guests might be sick of cake. Suddenly I had taken an order for my very first Croquembouche! I did make the couple aware that this would be my first, but I would be practising.
A croquembouche or croque-en-bouche is a traditional French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls (profiteroles) piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. In Italy and France, it is often served at weddings, baptisms, and first communions. The name means ‘something that crunches in the mouth’. This crunch comes from the caramel used to assemble the tower.
I couldn’t do much preparation in advance for their cake as the profiteroles need to be very fresh, so once Boxing Day was out of the way baking commenced. I hand piped the choux pastry for over 250 profiteroles, realising quite soon that although I have a large oven for wedding cakes I was a little short of baking sheets…
The morning of the wedding dawned & the profiteroles had to go back into the oven to ensure they were crisp. Next they were filled with one of the two fillings chocolate crème patisserie and a Chantilly cream laced with Grand Marnier.
Assembly was the challenge I was most worried about. This couldn’t be done at the venue as they didn’t have the facilities to heat the caramel. So I had to assemble here & drive VERY slowly into Manchester. The caramel had to be heated to 168 degrees which is ‘hard crack’ and takes a long time for enough caramel for 250 choux buns! The tower was decorated with icing snowflakes, edible glitter flakes & fountain candles. In France couples ‘bash’ the croquembouche with a hammer, but The Midland Hotel didn’t have a suitable hammer, so a normal cake knife had to be used into one of the buns.
After a very stressful day I was pleased (and a little relieved) to receive this text from the bride:
“Hi Emma, So sorry I didn’t see you yesterday. Andy and I thought the cake you made was absolutely fantastic. Everyone loved it, it tasted fantastic. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
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