We have several family members who are not sweet eaters – strange, I know, but still a fact. So, when my daughter decided to get married there were long discussions about how to cater to them at the end of the meal, instead of dessert or cake.
Of course, the solution is cheese – but how to present this so it still felt like the wedding cake? As it turns out there is a big trend towards cheese tower wedding cakes recently, so there was lots of info and images around to allow us to produce what we wanted.
Constructing a cheese wedding cake and selecting cheeses for large numbers can be bit daunting, but really it was such an easy and relatively cheap option for a wedding cake that I thought I would share with you how we accomplished it and how it turned out.
So firstly, what is a Cheese Wedding Cake?
It is a tiered tower of your favourite artisan cheeses, that when cut and served, can create a stunning cheeseboard for the completion of a meal.
Here a few things we learnt during the process:
Size of rounds.
You want you cheese tower to look stunning, as well as taste amazing (although it’s not all about the size), choose your cheeses so that the layers go up in nice increments. For this to happen, find wheels that are at least 2cm smaller in diameter than the one it is resting on.
Depending on how many people you are serving, there is a real art to finding cheeses that offer the right diversity of colour, texture and diameter to make this look work well.
As you get higher up the tiers the cheese rounds get smaller. That can often mean you’ll get a tiny cheese on the top which will not give you enough to split between all your cheese boards. So, if you want an even selection for everyone to taste, order a few extra of these smaller ‘top-tier cheeses’ to be served on the cheese boards.
How much cheese will you need?
About 70g-100g of cheese per person is ideal for a normal cheese plate serving – but this could become down to 50g per head if being served with desserts.
So, working on 50 grams per person, multiply this by the number of guests and you will have how many kilos of cheese you need.
Once you have selected your cheeses, add up the weight of all the individual cheese rounds to make sure you have enough.
It doesn’t all have to be part of the tower. If you are catering for a very large group and you get the look of the tower right but there is not enough cheese, just have extra on hand to be cut up for the cheese boards.
Don’t be too concerned if there is too much cheese – it keeps well so any leftovers can be distributed amongst family for later use.
What type of cheese.
Don’t buy your cheese rounds on looks and size only – make sure you taste the cheeses and are happy with their taste and how they work together.
Also, consider what most people are going to like. You may be super keen on a pungent blue and want this as the biggest layer but generally, most groups will still eat more of the cheddar and /or brie.
Try to select a range of styles – at least a hard, a soft and a blue – but think about adding something a little different like a goats’ cheese.
Remember that your cheese tower is going to have to hold itself up. Selecting hard cheeses for the bottom layers will help ensure stability.
If you want to use a softer cheese lower down in the tower you will need to support the heavier higher layers.
We had two layers of brie for our second tier and a hard-heavy blue as the third tier, so I simply placed some cake support skewers into the bottom rounds and put the blue on a cake board. This allowed the blue to be supported and not deform the brie as it became soft at room temperature.
Now there is a lot to consider here – so you may simply want to do as we did and seek out your local cheesemonger for some help. We spent some time with Hugh Nicholas from Cheese Etc, located in The Mill complex in Bowral, NSW.
He was sensational, allowing us to taste a variety of cheeses and giving us advice on what would work well together as well as approximate sizing of the wheels. He also gave us advice on what rounds would need support and that for the top tier (the smallest) we would need to order a couple extra if we want all cheese boards to have a sample of all the cheeses.
He then ordered everything and delivered it to the reception venue on the afternoon of the wedding.
Whilst he also offered to construct and decorate the tower, I wanted to do this myself as it was the fun bit!
Here is what we decided on re cheese selection and their diameter.
Maffra Wax Cheddar @ 2.5kg (24-25cm diameter, 6-7cm H)
2x Brie de Nangis @ 1kg (21-22cm diameter, 3cm H each, 6-7cm total)
Cashel Blue @ 1.5kg (13-14cm diameter, 9-10cm H)
Le Chabichou @ 110g (6-7 cm diameter, 6-7cm H)
It then literally took me 15 mins to put the tower together and decorate it.
Here is how it was done.
What I needed.
• Something to put the cheeses on – cake stand/ wooden board/timber round, preferably just larger than the biggest cheese wheel.
• A cake board same diameter as the Cashel Blue – available for a cake supplies shop.
• 3 cake skewers – available for a cake supplies shop.
• Pencil, small hammer and secateurs.
• Decorations – we used dried muscatels to create flow and movement and fresh figs and raspberries for impact.
I also purchased a selection of crackers and dried fruit and nuts to accompany our cheeses on the boards for serving.
How I constructed the cheese tower.
• Placed cake stand on the cake table.
• Remove wax from the cheddar round and placed it on the cake stand.
• Removed packaging from brie rounds and placed them on top of the cheddar round, making sure they were centred properly.
• Placed the cake board over the centre of the brie wheels and made a couple of marks to indicate where it would sit. Removed the board.
• Hammered one of the skewers through the brie and cheddar round until it hit the cake stand.
• Marked where it where it emerged from the brie round and pulled it out.
• Lined it up against the other two skewers and marked them at the same point and cut them with the secateurs. Rechecked they were all are the same length so that the board they were supporting sat level.
• Hammer the three skewers through the cheddar and brie rounds, inside the marks made by the board.
• Unwrapped the blue cheese round and placed it on the cake board. Then place it on the tower so it sat centred on the skewers.
• Placed the goat’s cheese on top.
• Decorated the tower by placing cut figs, raspberries and dried muscatels around the tower.
Once the official cutting of the cake was finished, the venue staff took the tower away and cut the cheese and put it onto cheese boards with the crackers and dried fruits and nuts.
Whilst not your traditional wedding cake, it was such an easy wedding cake to do and looked stunning.
So, if you are looking for something different why not do a cheese tower wedding cake for your big day.