The Tree of Life Wedding cake


Well, I’m now officially a married woman. I shan’t dwell too much on the wedding day as it was pretty perfect, and no one really wants to hear about perfection. So instead I shall give you a snapshot of our honeymoon…..

We flew to San Francisco two days after being married to drive down the Californian coast before flying home from L.A. You think of California and think SUN. You do not think of California and think of COLD and FOG. Unfortunately, we spent most of our 15 day honeymoon enshrouded in thick fog, so that I can’t really comment on the California coastline because we didn’t really see it. However, for the last 3 days we were in L.A., where, finally, it was sunny. Cue, swift unpacking, donning bikini and running onto the beach to feel the sand between my toes. What I didn’t realise was, in my haste to get onto the beach, I ran through tar.  It wasn’t until we got back to our rather swanky hotel room when I took off my shoes to discover my feet were covered in thick, black treacle. At that point, I wasn’t worried – I hopped into the the sparkling white bathroom, turned on the shower and started scrubbing my feet. Much to my horror, it wasn’t coming off and what was worse is that I had left black sticky footprints all over the bath/floor/towels without realising. PANIC ensued. At this point I thought it would be good point to wrap my feet in loo roll to save the bathroom further abuse…..

Meanwhile, TBO was blissfully reading his book in the hotel lobby. He was disturbed when a member of staff told him that his wife had called and ‘ required urgent assistance’ in the bedroom. TBO stood up, gave a wink to the messenger, and sauntered up to the bedroom where he knocked on the door and leaned on the door trying to look casual, only to be greeted by his wife screeching at him ‘HELP ME, I’VE TAR EVERYWHERE AND THIS LOO ROLL IS WELDED TO MY FOOT.’

And so, my beloved husband spent 20 minutes scrubbing my feet until they were pink and shiny and, happily, tar free. He’s a lucky man to be spending his life with me…….

As a reminder of our happy wedding day, below is the recipe for our wedding cake. We (shout out to my sisters and mother) made 3 tiers of fruit cake as it meant we could make it well in advance of the wedding.

Wedding cakeAdapted from Delia Smith (For a 6 inch (15cm) round or 5 inch (13cm) square Cake)


  •  8 oz (225 g) currants
  • 3 oz (75 g) sultanas
  • 3 oz (75 g) raisins
  • 1½ oz (40 g) glacé cherries, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1½ oz (40 g) mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 4 oz (110 g) plain flour
  • ½ level teaspoon salt
  • ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ level teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 ½ oz (40 g) almonds, chopped (the skins can be left on)
  • 4 oz (110 g) soft brown sugar
  • 1 rounded teaspoon black treacle
  • 4 oz (110 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • grated rind of ½ lemon
  • grated rind of ½ orange

Baking is never far from my mind – as shown by our table names!


  1. Grease the tin and line with greaseproof paper
  2. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275 F (140 C).
    The night before you make the cake, place all the dried fruits and peel in a bowl and mix in the brandy. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave to soak for at least 12 hours.
  3. Sieve the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, and in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture’s light and fluffy (this, in fact, is the most important part of the cake, so don’t cut any corners). Next, beat up the eggs and – a tablespoon at a time – add them to the creamed mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. If it looks as if it might start to curdle, you can prevent this happening by adding a little of the flour.
  4. When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices. Now stir in the fruit and peel that has been soaking, the nuts, the treacle and the grated lemon and orange rinds.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. (If you are not going to ice the cake, at this stage you can arrange some whole blanched almonds over the surface – but do it lightly, or else they disappear for ever into the cake!)
  6. Tie a band of brown paper around the outside of the tin, and cover the top of the cake with a double square of greaseproof paper (with a hole in the middle approximately the size of a 50p). Bake the cake on the lower shelf of the oven, for 3 hr 30 minutes.
  7. When the cake is cold, wrap it well in double greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin. I like to ‘feed’ it at odd intervals with brandy during the storage time.
  8. To do this, strip off the lining papers, make a few extra holes in the top with a thin darning needle and pour a few teaspoons of brandy in to soak into the cake.
  9. Repeat this at intervals for a week or two.

Inside the marquee….

Directions for use: Use the link below to scale up the quantity of cake



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