Yesterday, Saturday 24th September 2011, was a big day for Richmond Baby and for us: it was the day she was christened at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Richmond in front of many of our family and friends. And what a wonderful and special day it was.
Of course despite best efforts to be super organised, the run up to the day was a little fraught, not least because I had set myself the rather ambitious challenge to make the christening cake for the big day. Why oh why…?!?! Well, the week before I’d had a one on one “how to ice and decorate a cake” lesson with the lovely Hannah from Yummy Mummy’s Cakes who had come armed with sponge, buttercream icing, and a toolbox full of cake decorating equipment that made her look like the Dr Who? of cakes. It was seriously impressive. She did a fantastic job of talking everything through with me and was so patient in showing me what to do, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and the resulting cake was scrumptious.
So, fast forward one week and with my practice cake done fairly well, I embarked with confidence on the real deal. I baked the sponge on Thursday night, all went fine, and then I had the whole day Friday to do the icing and decorating. Well, that was the plan. Of course I decided that I should also make cupcakes, in case the big cake wasn’t enough for the 80-odd people we had coming you understand, so what I actually spent Friday doing was making cake mixture, baking cupcakes, making batches of buttercream icing, icing the cupcakes, decorating the cupcakes…. oh, and also, changing Richmond Baby’s nappy 9 times due to poo incidents (9 times!!! – teething and solids are a wicked combination), changing her outfits 3 times due to poo incidents, getting her up/putting her down, picking up and passing her each toy that she dropped from her Bumbo chair (her new game), singing songs and dancing around the living room, giving her breakfast/lunch/dinner, and doing 3 loads of laundry. And copious amounts of washing up. And bottle washing/sterilizing. And dropping off/picking up my dress from the dry cleaners. You get the gist, Friday sort of whizzed by….
And it was at around 10.30pm on said Friday that I finally turned my attention to the task of icing and decorating the very important, all eyes will be on it, christening cake. Good job. Not. All was going pretty well until I realised that I was about 100g short of icing sugar for the buttercream icing. Despite buying around 5 boxes of the stuff, I’d overdone it on the cupcakes and left myself short. Bravo. So I thought I’ll just press on and see what happens…. well, what happens, if you are short of icing sugar it seems, is that the buttercream icing turns out to be rather runny. This is a problem when you need to coat your whole sponge cake in it before you can drape it in the fondant icing, which you need to do before you can decorate your cake. At this point it was 11pm. No shops are open around our way at 11pm. No shops that sell icing sugar anyhow. Marvellous. So, there was nothing for it but to put the runny buttercream icing into the fridge and hope that miraculously overnight it would thicken and I could get cracking in the morning. Yes, that’s the morning of the actual christening. The morning when I probably already have enough to do without having to ice and decorate a very important centrepiece cake before 11am. Awesome.
Thankfully, after a restless night’s sleep during which I had dreams about trying to thicken buttercream icing… ahem… I awoke to find that the icing had indeed thickened sufficiently for me to
slap it on to carefully begin crumb-coating the cake. Then I followed the rest of Hannah’s instructions, with rolling out the fondant and draping it over the cake and tucking it in, smoothing it out, etc etc. It’s quite an undertaking! Then the fun part: the decorating.
Luckily I still had the cute pink fondant bear that
we Hannah had made when she gave me my lesson the week before and I’d bought a couple of bits – an “On Your Christening Day” sugar plaque and a spray of sugar hearts – so the decorating was fairly quick and simple. I also added baby blocks that spelt out Richmond Baby’s name but these were a challenge as the template for the lettering I’d bought turned out to be incredibly fiddly and essentially useless so, at around 1am the night before, Richmond Daddy was there free styling with fondant and cutting them out with a knife and no template while I made the blocks and stuck the lettering on. Good team work eh? In fact he did a bloody good job. Well, overall we think the whole cake turned out pretty damn good, especially considering some of the hurdles we had along the way, see what you think:
You’ll be pleased to know that it did indeed also taste delicious! So, a big big THANK YOU again to Hannah from Yummy Mummy’s Cakes: you rock!
With the cake done (finally!) I turned my attention to getting baby and I ready.
A quick dunk in the bath (her) and a jump in/out of the shower (me) and it was time to don our outfits. Richmond Baby wore a beautiful ivory dress with embroidery lace detail, which I’d bought from Monsoon, with little matching soft shoes – too cute! She looked adorable, a little angel. She also wore a fine gold chain with a cross pendant that she’d been given by her Granny & Granddad for her christening: more on that later…
The ceremony was conducted by Fr. Eddie, the new(ish) parish priest at St. Elizabeth’s, and he was wonderful. He made the service really personal and despite the fact that Richmond Baby made a lunge for his bible on more than one occasion, he remained unflappable! She looked around intrigued for the whole ceremony and only when Richmond Daddy put her flat on her back and tilted her towards the font did she look a little unhappy, but she didn’t cry, not even when the priest baptised her with the holy water. She took it all in her stride.
So, you remember I mentioned the chain and cross necklace she was wearing? Well, once the ceremony was over, she had obviously decided she’d had enough of it and with one big tug she ripped it off her neck with her bare hands… the force is strong in this one… the cross flew into the air landing with a splosh in the font, upon which Fr. Eddie said “well, that’s going to be one powerfully holy cross now” – heh, heh, it was an amusing end to the proceedings!
We all then made our way to The White Horse pub in Richmond for a
celebratory knees up little party. We munched our way through mini burgers and chips, dainty portions of fish and chips, and salads, hummus, and assorted nibbles. There was lots of laughter, the kids ran around in the playground next the pub, the babies giggled and were cuddled and squeezed, the chatter was deafening, and Richmond Baby was the star of the show. She was such a good girl and was clearly enjoying having lots of family and friends surrounding her to share her special day.
Then came the cake! which went down a storm, yay!! and was washed down with glasses of Prosecco. Mmmmm.
As everyone gradually drifted off, we were left feeling pretty exhausted but very happy at having seen so many people who are so special to us who had made the trip to share this day. We headed home to put our feet up and began the very exciting opening of presents…. wow!! People have been so so generous it’s incredible. Richmond Baby is a very lucky girl. And so are we.
Here are some pictures from our special day:
Thank you to everyone who helped make the day so magical.
love from Bianca, David, & baby Allegra xxx