Whitstable Beacon House wedding
One wedding, two cakes
I like to try and do a monthly news story, but the summer was just crazy busy and I simply didn’t have the time. I’m still really busy, but it’s slowed down a little bit and I’m finally getting round to catching up on a bit of admin.
There are a number of events from the past 3 months that I could have written about, but I’ve settled on my most recent one which was a wedding last weekend. It took place at the iconic Beacon House in Whitstable, which I have walked past and looked longingly at many times. I’d always wondered what it was like inside and thought what a special place it must be to get married and now, having catered for the wedding of lovely Julia and Mark, I have finally found out. And it’s every bit as lovely as I hoped it would be. What a fabulous location and for a sea-lover (or thalassophile, a word I learnt recently) I don’t think you could improve on it really.
It was a two-part event for me because I was asked to do canapés for immediately after the marriage ceremony and then later on they wanted grazing boards. In the middle Julia and Mark hired a fish and chip van which came along the promenade to the house to serve all the guests. How perfect to have fish and chips by the sea! In addition, they wanted a cheese-wedding-cake, but also a second, “smaller”, cake-wedding-cake for those who fancied something sweet. Well, over the course of a few months’ correspondence, the smaller cake cake morphed into something that was large enough to feed 80, so they ended up being the same size!
Starting with the canapés, they chose the following varieties: mini beef Wellingtons (little puff pastry vol-au-vents filled with a mushroom duxelles and topped with a slice of rare beef fillet); mini Yorkshire puddings topped with a slice of rare beef fillet and a mustard and horseradish cream; apple crisps (I use Nim’s which are made locally) topped with pulled pork and coleslaw; smoked salmon and avocado sushi rolls with a rich hoisin dipping sauce; crostini topped with pesto (which I made dairy-free) and chargrilled peppers; walnut shortbread topped with sage- and garlic-roasted, puréed butternut squash, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of honey; mini naan breads topped with curried chicken breast, mango chutney, cucumber raita and nigella seeds and lastly, smoky pancetta discs topped with garlic and herb goats cheese and fig chutney. I always take it as a good sign when every single canapé is eaten, so I think it’s safe to say these were a success.
Then it was time to set up the cakes. I started with the cheese-wedding-cake, being the easier of the two to assemble. The cheeses I sourced were a lovely mix of local and further afield, but all English. From bottom to top they had local Ashmore cheddar from Cheesemakers of Canterbury., 2 halves of Wensleydale (it’s not possible to buy whole ones, so I think they must make it in half circle moulds) one with cranberries and one with apricots, Stilton, a local Bowyers brie, also from Cheesemakers of Canterbury. Cornish Yarg and for the top a lovely heart-shaped cheddar from Godminster. Finished off with a few grapes and a cake topper supplied by the bride and groom, that was that one done.
I brought the cake cake in 3 separate boxes, but the bottom and middle layers were on boards and dowelled, ready to be stacked. From bottom to top they had a Victoria sponge filled with homemade raspberry reduction and cream cheese icing and then skimmed with more of the cream cheese icing for the semi-naked finish; a chocolate cake filled and skimmed with chocolate German (custard) buttercream and for the top a coffee and walnut cake with coffee mascarpone icing. All the cakes were 3 layers and the sizes were 10″, 8″ and 6″. Once stacked, all that was needed was to place on a few of the beautiful autumnal flowers supplied by the florist, Jane at Graham Greener, and a lovely wooden cake topper supplied by the bride and groom. Cakes done.
At this point I was able to leave for a few hours and hand the catering over to the fish and chips people, so I returned home to get started on the grazing boards. The components of the grazing platters are too numerous to list, but these are a few of my favourites: lovely local charcuterie (salamis and beersticks) from Moons Green in Tenterden; a smoked fish board comprising hot- and cold-smoked salmon, flaked smoked mackerel and smoked mackerel paté, pickled cucumber, dill mustard sauce and lemon mayonnaise; some divine slow-roasted tomatoes and of course a million crackers to accompany the cheese cake cheeses! I filled two tables with platters and boards of the above and many other things and then departed to let the revellers eat, drink and be merry into the night.
It was a lovely wedding to be involved with and I wish Julia and Mark every happiness for their future together.