Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jeff and Brittany's Rustic Goat Cheese Wedding Cake !

   Guess what !!?? As my daughter Brittany and her fiancĂ© Jeff were planning their beautiful mountain ,meadow wedding,Brittany casually asked if I would like to make their wedding goat cheese cake.Whaaattt I thought !!??? Although I love to cook,I've never made a WEDDING CAKE !!! I told her that that was a tempting idea and that I would think about it. I prayed and mulled over the idea for a few days. Can I do this ? Well, one of my favorite Bible verses is Phillipians 4:13  which says "I can do all things through Him who gives me power." It sounded artistic,fun and a challenge...something out of the box for me !! Since Brittany and Jeff are organized and creative people, there wasn't much for me to do for the wedding....soooo I thought, well this is how I can contribute a gift for them on their special day ! I said,"Yes !'' And then I got nervous and thought,what have I done !!??
   Praise the Lord,my Rabbi's wife and good friend Lynette Shor,who owns Challaday Bread Company sent me texts and youtube videos with instructions on how to make a wedding cake ! Whew,that  helped to ease my nerves  !! I didn't know that you have to put about 5 -6 wooden or plastic pillars inside the bottom and the center layers for support, and that all the layers should be frozen for transportation.I decided that I'd better make a practice cake first,which took me a few days.I'm soooo glad I did because this cake ended up cracking and it gave me a little more confidence when I made the real wedding cake ! This second photo is my practice cake. The top and second layers were placed on top of cake boards,but you don't have to use them.The bottom layer needs a cake board or cake plate to sit on.

   I used thick buttercream icing on the backside of the fruit to help make them stick to the cake. (Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with a teaspoon of softened butter,about 1 tablespoon of water or milk,until it is thick like paste.) Leave room on top for the cake topper on top. (Oops, I didn't, so I placed the elephants in front on the cake round !)  I brought up some flowers in an ice chest,and their florist provided me a beautiful bouquet in water, that matched the wedding flowers to use as well. Thank God she did because half of the flowers that I brought had died in transport and with the summer heat ! Keep the cake refrigerated until you are ready to display it. The finished cake can be placed on a cake board made of foil covered cardboard, a tree round,or on top of a cake stand. Place it on a table decorated to go with the theme and style of the wedding.
   Here are Brittany, Jeff and myself with the finished goat cheesecake...with flowers,figs,cherries,blueberries,and some red currants that my daughter Courtney's boyfriend Andy collected near the meadow! I used a cheesecake recipe,using half cream cheese and half goat cheese. When I made the practice cake,one of the layers was a lemon cheesecake and here is a recipe from, by Phillis Grant. I omitted the cookies on the side that this recipe calls for.

                           Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake

1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon (for greasing the pan)
8 ounces cookies (graham cracker,lemon,shortbread,vanilla wafers,or your favorite cookie)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

10 ounces cream cheese,room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 teaspoons firmly packed lemon zest (not strips,make sure it's very finely zested)
If desired-8 ounces cookies,enough to circle the cake-preferably the same kind you used for the crust
If desired-2 tablespoons of your favorite jam or honey (for gluing on cookies)

   Heat oven to 350 degrees.Butter the interior of your springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and the sides. Press the parchment inside the pan. Place the butter for the crust in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.The butter will melt,sizzle,and foam up.Once it smells nutty and the noise stops,watch closely.Turn off the heat once the brown bits drop down to the bottom of the pan.Set aside. Pulverize your cookies in the food processor. Pulse in the brown butter and a 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.Press into the bottom and up 1 inch of the of the pan.Bake until just starting to brown (about 10 minutes).Remove from the oven to cool.Turn oven down to 300 degrees.
   Place cream cheese and goat cheese in a bowl and beat until light and smooth (about 3 minutes).Scrape down the sides.Add the sugar and beat for another minute.Add the eggs one at a time ,scraping down between each addition.Add the remaining salt,creme fraiche,and lemon juice,and zest. Beat for 30 seconds. If you see any lumps,beat for another 30 seconds or so.
   Pour into the crust in the prepared springform pan. (Some recipes tell you to wrap the bottom of the pan with foil, and to place it in a roasting pan with about 1 inch of water,to prevent the cake from cracking.) Bake for 40 minutes. Don't peek. Not even once. After 40 minutes,turn off the oven and open the door. Leave the the cake to cool for an hour, remove from the oven to cool completely. (Otherwise,the cake will sweat in the fridge.) Cover and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
   Try to slide the cake off the bottom of the pan. If it won't budge,put it over a medium flame  on the stove for a few seconds and /or use a spatula to loosen things up.
   If desired,  encircle the sides with the same cookies you used for the crust.You can use any kind of jam or honey to help them stick.
   Eat immediately, or store in the fridge until serving--though be warned,the cookies might get a big stale the longer it sits.

   P.S. When I decorated the wedding cake,I circled some layers with lavender sprigs.To hold them in place, I cut inch and a half pieces of rosemary and pushed them down in front of the sprig, about 3 inches apart. It is good to read online about which flowers are safe to use and which are toxic.There are youtube videos that show how to how to place flowers safely on a cake,such as wrapping the stem with floral tape. Soooo...If you are asked to do something that is outside of your comfort zone, give it some thought and maybe do it !! The Lord can help us do things that we didn't know or believe  were possible !!

P.P.S. Brittany and her sister Ashley design and sell beautiful bohemian wedding dresses ! See their dresses and accessories on ! You can also see and read the creation story of Brittany and Jeff's wedding. Their sister Courtney,creates and directs cool children's adventure camps in the Santa Cruz-Monterey,Calif. areas ! Her web-site is I believe these photos were taken by friends and family.There may or may not be photos here by the wedding photographer