A few weeks ago, I was approached with a challenging brief. A customer wanted a cake for his wife who is allergic to eggs and lactose. The cake would have to be in the shape of her favourite champagne bottle. It would have to be standing upright.
I have made cakes without dairy products in the past & although these taste light and lovely but are not as sturdy as regular sponges. This makes them a bit tricky to carve into shapes. Bottle shaped cakes are usually done as laying flat on the board as they are difficult to balance upright and even more difficult to transport. Despite knowing the pitfalls, I couldn’t resist this challenge & decided to take it on.
After a bit of research, I came up with a more robust version of a dairy free sponge, which could be carved and could take a bit of weight on it. That was half the job done.
The rest was simpler than I had feared. The bottle was a Laurent-Perrier Cuveé Rosé which is slightly broader than regular champagne bottles. This made the balancing easier to achieve.
In principle, this is how you would do it for any bottle. (Apologies for having no pictures of the process – forgot to click any in my excitement to get this done!).
– Carve out circles of cake the size of the widest part of the bottle.
– Stack these on top of each other using very little filling.
– Use lightweight dowelling (I used lollipop sticks)
– Leave in the fridge to firm up a little.
– Carve out in the shape of the bottle.
– Apply crumb coat and leave to firm up.
For the neck, I used an ice-cream cone as this would give me the correct shape without putting a lot of weight on the cake. The cone was lightly coated with chocolate on the inside to give it a little bit of weight. The narrow end was cut to the size of the spout. The cork was a ball of sugarpaste stuck on the cone with some chocolate.
The neck of the bottle was then placed on the body, supported by a central wooden dowel.
The labels on the bottle were handpainted and stuck on the covered cake.
Here’s a picture of the cake with the original bottle for comparison.