As you may know, Highclere Castle is the setting for Downton Abbey – quite possibly my most favourite TV programme ever ever ever…. So, it was not only a pleasure to work for Emily and Alex and their family (who were an absolute delight from beginning to end) but also to design, create and set up one of our luxury cakes at this most spectacular venue.
When we work on a big commission, I do prefer to visit the venue in advance – if we have not already delivered to that venue. Aside from seeing where the cake will be set up and hopefully meeting the wedding co-ordinator, most importantly is the drive to the venue. Or, should I say the ‘drive way’ to the venue. As you may have read on our previous blog posts, the transportation of our wedding cakes is without question the most stressful part of the job and every drain cover and pot hole is dreaded days in advance of delivery….
After being commissioned by Emily and Alex back in October last year, we booked in to do the ‘tourist thing’ and visited Highclere in the spring of this year. This not only enabled us to ‘vet’ the drive, but it also gave a wonderful insight into the history of the castle and the Canarvon family. Furthermore, we were able to see first hand the stunning architectural features of the interior, with a view to perhaps using some of this detail within the cake design.
Emily had fallen in love with our Naval Elegance design and being that the bridesmaids were to be in Navy this was a perfect choice. However, she did want to include perhaps some lace work from her dress or some detail featured in the castle – perhaps surrounding where the cake was to be positioned.
The cake was to be positioned at the bottom of the wonderful sweeping staircase and I had noticed on our visit some beautifully carved trellising that ran the length of the stairway. We managed to obtain some images of this trelising to replicate withing the design and we included this detail at the base of alternating tiers.
The drive on the day was absolutely fine, until we discovered that we were unable to access the main driveway and had to use a more unmade up path round the back of the castle. A few pot holes later and a near divorce between me and hubby we opened the boot……. (honestly, quite the most tense 5 seconds of every wedding delivery) to see the cake perfectly fine – except for one teeny tiny crack in the icing on the second tier up.
We had an hour and a half to work on the cake before it was lifted in position and this time was now a little more pressured as we also needed to repair the crack that had appeared. However, we are fully equipped to handle every eventuality and royal icing and piping bags were quickly made up and work began. We also needed to assemble the two top tiers on site and fix the sugar flower posey into position.
With fifteen minutes to spare the cake was lifted into position and guests immediately surrounded the finished creation. As always, a huge sigh of relief from myself and on this occasion i also shed a tear or two – partly due to relief and partly due to still wanting to throttle my husband!
Anyway, we hope you like the finished design and also these wonderful photos that were supplied by Burlison Photography. ‘BURLISON Photography adopt a flexible approach, producing a fusion of reportage & elegant images. http://www.burlisonphotography.co.uk
We received a lovely testimonial from Emily and mum Jenny also called me to thank me for all our hard work. I was very touched by these sentiments.
Emily and Alex, it was a pleasure to work with you and your family and I wish you all the very best for the future.