The Perfect Cake for a Perfect Wedding

BY: Sharon Fitness for GOOD.

In honour of the wedding of Mike and Mei in WHEN CALLS THE HEART now streaming on GOOD. I thought I’d take a look at one of the most enjoyable parts of going to a wedding. Faith and Lily agree, it’s ‘Cake’.

Times have changed. Remember those wedding receptions? There’d be a parade of sorts: the brides parents, the grooms parents, the bridal party. There’d be a proper 3 course meal with prawn cocktail and roast beef and pavlova. The toasts would start with the Queen. Then more toasts. There’d even be accompanying songs. No, really! I still remember how mortified my 10-year-old self felt, standing on display as a room full of people sang ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh, you great big beautiful doll!’ during the traditional and essential ‘toast to the bridesmaids’. And the speeches! Need I say more. There’d be a waltz – a real one! Every person would receive a little net bag with inedible, incredibly smooth, pastel coloured almonds. And there’d be a cake. Rick, dark, fruit cake of course, covered in marzipan and stark white, royal icing. A work of art with delicate hand-piped lace and flowers, each tier (and they were numerous) delicately balanced atop little plastic columns. Maybe a little bride and groom perched wistfully on the very top tier.

Traditional tiered wedding cake with Royal Icing.

You many have noticed, the fruit cake’s days are numbered. If not already completely over. Happy Couples these days are more likely to choose something entirely different. Something that aligns with their tastes – and budget. Very often the cake becomes the dessert at a modern wedding, no longer sent home in a little paper bag, to be placed under your pillow so that you dream about the man you’ll marry. (I’m serious, this was a thing!)

Who remembers these?

The first departure from the traditional form, was probably the addition of fresh flowers rather than the expensive hand-piped lacework. It was a dying art and finding someone local who could do your cake became difficult – and expensive. Fresh flowers were the ‘why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-earlier’ solution.

Fresh flowers adorn a simple 3-tier wedding cake.

Then things started getting interesting. Cupcakes became very popular in the nineties and naughties, with many a cake table covered with cakes that matched the bridesmaids dresses.

Pretty in Pink

Another big thing in the last couple of decades has been the ‘naked cake’. Often covered in fruit and fresh flowers, these rustic creations became the standard in the naughties. The Happy Couple could choose their favourite flavours of cake and fillings.

Mmmm, lemon curd filling!

These days, it is anything goes. What about a dessert buffet with Lemon Meringue Pie, Chocolate Tart and Pavlova (yay, its back!)? Macaron tower anyone? You could see cheesecakes, profiteroles, brownies, doughnuts or even a ‘cake’ of cheese!

Cheese, erm, ‘cake’ anyone?

Of course, actual CAKE is still the favourite, but a fruit cake would be a rarity. The modern wedding reception cake table could have anything – mudcake, red velvet, lemon and blueberry, white chocolate, salted caramel, raspberry filled, pistachio. It seems the options are limitless. Not to mention gluten free, dairy free, nut free, plant based… the modern marriage needs to accomodate all guests! Whatever the choice, the cake is always a focal point and something for the happy couple to remember forever.

I’m not sure anyone is keeping the top layer of their croquembouche in the freezer to eat on their first anniversary though… ?

In the WHEN CALLS THE HEART season 11 finale, Minnie made Mike and Mei a lovely 3 tier cake with piped butter cream flowers and with the help of Mei’s brother Bo, she added striking red accents and a ‘double happiness’ pick to the top.

In The Perfect Bride, starring Hope Valley favourites Kavan Smith and Pascale Hutton and also now streaming on GOOD, a bride-to-be announces her choice: Carrot Cake – because her fiancé is vegetarian. Erm, isn’t ALL cake vegetarian? Not sure too many people are making their cakes with lard these days (Except maybe Elizabeth – remember the lard days?). But look, we’re giving her the benefit of the doubt and have found you a delicious VEGAN Carrot Cake to try at home. Enjoy!


Serving Suggestion: rustic style buttercream & fresh flowers

Serves 8 (Double the recipe for two layers – serves 16)

  • 1 cup grated carrot, packed (200g)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (gluten free flour also works)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 20cm tin. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the carrot, applesauce, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stand for at least 10 mins or can be left overnight. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 mins. Check that the cake is done by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean it’s ready. Loosely cover and let it cool before icing.


(Double the icing quantity if you’ve doubled the cake)

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (such as Copha)
  • 2 cups icing sugar (sifted)
  • 3/4 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

In a stand mixer combine butter and shortening on a low setting or you can use a bowl and hand held beaters. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time allowing each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Add vinegar, lemon juice and vanilla and continue mixing until combined. Mix for 15 mins on a medium speed. You can add more vinegar to taste if you like a more tangy flavour. Add half a tablespoon at a time and bear in mind the more liquid you add, the runnier the consistency of the icing will be. 

If you’ve made a single layer, spread the icing evenly over the cake. For two layer, spread a third of the icing on top of the bottom layer. Lay the top layer on next then use the remaining icing to cover the top and sides of both layers.

Finish watching When Calls the Heart season 11 on the free GOOD app. Watch now: CLICK HERE. WHEN CALLS THE HEART airs on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm

The Perfect Bride is NOW STREAMING on GOOD. She’s a bridal boot camp leader, he’s a wedding photographer. They meet and have fun talking, she doesn’t know he’s engaged, he doesn’t realise she thinks he’s available. His fiancée joins her class. Watch The Perfect Bride now. CLICK HERE. Coming Soon: The Perfect Bride: Wedding Bells. Watch the TRAILER.

About the Author: Sharon Fitness is a staff writer for GOOD. She’s a movie buff, TV fan, foodie and dog lover.

Images: Unsplash