Re: period form of wedding cake?
- A bit late, but still in time for a November wedding!
There are several ways to lighten a cake without chemical leaveners.
The most documentable is to not bother with 'cake' and use a sweet
yeast bread instead. Actually, there are plenty of recipes (one from
Forme of Cury) which use fresh sewet bread crumbs held together with
Egg foam was also mentioned, but without doing some research I have
no idea if it's period. I CAN document egg foam cakes in Imperial
Rome, though. This type of cake if very dry and is usually sliced
into thin layers which are brushed with sugar syrup (or honey, or
liqueur) before being stacked with fruit or cream fillings. The other
option is butter cake. Butter beats up light and fluffy when it's
about 78 degrees, it leavens cake quite nicely. There are numberous
mentions of sugar cookies in the old 'recipe books' and they all are
based on creaming butter. It's not unthinkable that cakes might be
made the same way.
What about cream puffs? A croquembouche is decidedly elegant, and is
based on puffs made from pate a choux, documented in 1540, invented
by a chef Catherine de Medici took with her to France when she went
to marry the duke of Orleans.
Hope this helps, I knew that culinary degree would come in handy!