Hearing the term D.I.Y. in the same sentence as 'wedding' needn't be as daunting as it sounds.
Whether you're artistically inclined, or just looking to save on costs, taking care of some of the finer details yourself can be fun. As long as you keep things simple, it's a fantastic way to take your mind off any pre-wedding nerves and put your personal stamp on the big day.
The best parties are often borne of a collaborative effort, so round up friends and family with useful skills or an obliging nature to help you prepare.
THE WEDDING CAKE
Find a friend who is particularly handy with a spatula and recruit them to help out with the cake. Our twist on the classic Victoria Sponge is a pretty and practically fool-proof solution.
To make 3 layers:
- 680g butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 680g caster sugar
- 680g self-raising flour
- 12 large eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- Icing sugar to dust
To make 16 cupcakes, use 1/3 of these quantities. You'll also need cake cases.
Preheat oven to 180°c / gas mark 4
First, grease the sides of 3 ANTA baking dishes with butter and line the bases with baking parchment. Cream together butter and sugar in a very large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined and mix through three teaspoons of vanilla extract. Slowly sift in flour and fold through the mixture.
Spread evenly between the three baking dishes. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. They should be golden brown and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely before decorating. You can fill it with cream and fruit, or use one of our suggestions below.
For the cupcakes, simply follow the recipe above, using 16 small mugs. These will cook in 10-15 minutes.
WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- 400g white chocolate
- 400ml double cream
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it boils and remove from the hob. Pour the cream into a bowl with the chocolate (broken up) and stir until the chocolate melts completely. Allow to cool before spreading over 2 of the cakes.
LEMON & MASCARPONE
- 3 unwaxed lemons – zest and juice
- 100g butter
- 350g granulated sugar
- 8 egg yolks or 4 whole eggs
- 500g mascapone
- 250ml double cream
- 250g icing sugar sifted
First make the curd as this needs to cool.
Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice in an ANTA porridge bowl over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat
Break the whole eggs or yolks together and mix with a fork, then add to the lemon mix - if using whole eggs strain them into the mix. Replace the bowl over the simmering water and stir until thick. This may take a good 15 minutes.
While the curd cools, make the cream mixture by whisking mascarpone, cream and icing sugar together until thick and smooth. Spread a layer of curd, then a layer of mascarpone cream 2 of the cakes.
Now for the decoration. Dust with icing sugar, and top with flowers. Some flowers are edible, so use these wherever possible. Tie some colourful ribbon or twine around the cupcakes.
For those who are green of finger, try turning your hand to flower arranging and deck the room with beautiful blooms. Use an eclectic mix of stoneware - vases, bowls and cups, but stick to a simple colour scheme to tie it all together. White and blue is classically romantic, or if yours is a more contemporary affair, choose vibrant hues like coral and pink.
Create a sensational centrepiece by mixing contrasting textures - an assortment of full, round hydrangeas with feathery foliage and delicate narcissi works well, or offset large, whimsical poppies with woody stalks of cherry blossom. Cleverly concealed chicken wire and tape will keep the flowers in place.
When it comes to table décor, scale is key. Large, extravagant displays should be placed strategically to wow your guests, but must not impede the flow of conversation. Place small cups filled with thistles or other simple blooms among the guests. They're effortlessly stylish and take but a minute to produce.
If floristry is not your forté, give the reception a personal touch by making your own favours. A simple offering of sweet treats should suffice, and your guests will appreciate the sentiment so much more if they are homemade.
For an elegant twist on traditional Scottish sweets, cook up a big batch of Whisky Fudge, or bake some Lavender Shortbread and pop a few bite-sized pieces at each place setting. They'll be so tempting, they probably won't even make it home with your guests!
For these recipes and more, visit the ANTA Cookbook page.