A few days after Christmas we had the Christening of Em’s little boy, Freddie. The Christening had been delayed to allow for it to be in Sydney and so sadly, he had outgrown the Christening gown that has been in our family for five generations. But he did look very smart in a white shirt and vest!
You can see a picture of me as a baby wearing the Christening gown in this post, Stranger than Fiction, where I share how I came to be named, ‘Charlie Louie’.
A few weeks before Freddy’s Christening, I was asked to be his godmother. And that was thrilling because the godmother title had so far eluded me. And he’s such a gorgeous wee boy (actually a bit of a bruiser) and I think he and his godmother are already getting along famously.
Stepping up and into my role, I thought I’d better assist with the day’s preparations. I assisted with booking the church, hired the venue for the reception, ordered the meat from my butcher, roped in Cockney-Dave to be barman, asked Drew to be the official photographer, organised a bunch of flowers (they were DOA), and made the cake.
All Em said about the cake was, ‘Please don’t let it be fruit’, as not everyone likes candied peel.
Then…casually sipping on a glass of wine on Boxing Day, I asked Em’s husband, (a brilliant writer), how he was coming along with his speech. He thought for a moment and then said, ‘You know what, I was thinking that instead of me saying a few words, how nice it would be to have one of the godmothers do a speech’. How nice indeed. So between the stages of the cake-making process where you can’t do anything because something either needs to cook or cool down, I was whipping up a speech.
The day was a brilliant success. The minister was warm, welcoming and friendly and involved all the children in the service. Little Freddie was happy to be held in the minister’s arms and loved being sprinkled with holy water and loved the water so much he tried to throw himself into the font. The three godmothers all said their lines loudly and with conviction. Unfortunately the godfather was unable to be in Sydney so he was absent but had penned a few words to be read at the reception.
The reception was for family only and that kept the numbers to no less than 50. It was a pass-around affair with baguettes, cheeses, a variety of crackers, bread rolls, sausages, condiments and thinly sliced rare beef (very rare in fact).
We then had the speech and the toast and I have to say I had to read mine as there had been no time to memorise it. It could have done with another edit but anyway, it was what it was. Freddy’s grandfather then proposed a toast to Freddy’s life and we had the cutting of the cake.
I’d made two chocolate and ground almond cakes, the top layer being gluten-free and the bottom layer for those with no gluten-issues. The cakes were covered in a ganache and then fondant was rolled over the hardened ganache. At this point I lifted the top layer onto the larger layer (with the bottom layer being sealed in fondant, no gluten could come into contact with the GF layer) and then started to decorate the cake.
I thought the cake needed a little something special on the top so Drew helped me make a little teddy bear. The sides of the cake were decorated with circles and flowers with a pearl cachous in the centre.
It was a wonderful day and so lovely to have so many relatives from both sides of the family able to be there for Freddy’s very special day.
- For the 18cm (7 in) Cake:
- 150g (5oz) dark cooking chocolate, chopped
- 185g (6 oz) butter, chopped
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cup castor (superfine) sugar
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup GF SF flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup almond meal
- For the 24cm (9½ in) Cake:
- 300g (10oz) dark cooking chocolate, chopped
- 375g (12oz) butter, chopped
- 8 eggs
- 1½ cups caster (superfine) sugar
- 1½ tspns vanilla extract
- 1½ cups SF flour
- 1½ tspns baking powder
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup almond meal
- For the Ganache:
- ¾ cup pouring cream
- 600g dark cooking chocolate
- To Decorate the Cake:
- 1kg white fondant
- blue food colouring
- 1 lightly beaten egg white
- small, clean paint brush
- circle cutters and primrose cutter
- pearl cachous
- Make the cakes separately.
- Cakes will be easier to decorate if made ahead and frozen.
- Preheat oven to 140C (280F).
- Stir the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy and thick. Fold in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa over the top and gently fold through with the almond meal.
- Line the tin with non-stick baking paper. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1½ hours for the smaller cake and 1 hr 50 mins for the larger cake.
- Allow cakes to cool in the tin.
- Make the ganache. Heat cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat. Add chocolate then cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir. Ganache should be velvety and glossy. Allow the ganache to cool to spreading consistency.
- When cold, place the larger cake upside down on a cake board using a little fondant on the centre of the board to help secure the cake onto the board.
- Cover cakes in ganache and allow the ganache to set.
- Dye half the fondant light blue.
- Roll out remaining white fondant and cover larger cake.
- Roll out blue fondant and cover smaller cake. Carefully lift smaller cake on to the top of the larger cake making sure it's centred.
- Roll out 2 long ropes of blue fondant then twist to form a length of rope.
- Using a paint brush, brush around the base of the cake with egg white.
- Secure rope around the base of the cake.
- Roll out remaining white and blue fondant and cut out circles in 2 different sizes. Affix onto top layer of cake with egg white.
- Cut out blue flowers using primrose cutter then stick onto sides of cake with egg white.
- Use tweezers to affix a pearl cachous into the centre of each flower.
- Use remaining white fondant to make a little teddy bear. Make it separately then stick it onto the cake with egg white. The teddy bear is a larger mound of fondant with a smaller mound of fondant for his head and ears. Affix some arms and legs then push silver cachous into the face to make eyes and a nose. Use a knife to make a mouth. Roll out some blue fondant and cut a length to make a scarf and secure it with egg white. Carefully place him in the centre of the cake.