I’m so excited to be able to share this post with you today! See, last night I made my first wedding cake. And guess what? It turned out really well!!
I did two tiers, each one two layers. You remember how to make cake, right?
I am miserable at leveling cakes so I try really hard to have them bake as level as I can. I’ve found the best way to bake level layers is to fill the pans 3/4 full and turn the heat down so they bake a little longer than normal. This creates a dome in the middle and then I just take my hand and push it flat while they are still in the pan. I keep the oven mitt on while I do that, of course!
I made a swiss buttercream for the frosting. There are two reasons – it holds up really well over a long period of time without needing to be refrigerated and without getting crusty. It also is not exceedingly sweet. Of course it’s sweet, but it’s not the kind of sweet that makes your teeth hurt.
I’m not usually superstitious but when I saw the clock at this hour I thought it would be fun to wish the bride and groom a happy marriage:
With all the layers baked and cooled completely (I pop them in the fridge for at least an hour so they’re easier to work with) it was time to assemble the cake! I hadn’t planned to do everything on Friday night but I was on a roll and figured I would just keep going.
I did two tiers – A ten inch base and a six inch top tier. The base was white cake and the second tier was lemon. Both had raspberry filling.
A layer of frosting as “cement” to keep it from sliding off the cake board:
Then I piped a “border” of frosting along the edge to hold the filling in place:
Pro tip: Put your parchment or wax paper down BEFORE you do the filling. I dripped, and I had a mini-panic moment while I was cleaning it up. Give yourself that peace of mind!
A crumb coat (thin layer of frosting to trap those pesky crumbs in place):
And then you frost it like normal (or, if you’re using fondant, this is the point where you would apply the fondant). I put it back in the fridge at this point and repeated the process with the top tier. I put the second tier in the freezer so I could put my hands on it without damaging it. If I’d just put it in the fridge I would have left little fingerprints all over it.
With that in the freezer I got to work on the construction. I opted for support because I wanted to be sure it was safe to transport and that it would be able to sit on a table for hours and not collapse into itself. So I cut dowels down to be the same height as the cake. I cut a small circle of cardboard for support, and then I sprinkled some regular sugar over the top of the cake just where the cardboard would sit to keep it from sticking to the layer underneath:
I held my breath as I positioned the top tier – and then I gave it the final layer of frosting:
Yes, that looks sloppy, but that’s okay. I put the whole cake BACK in the fridge for an hour. That gave me time to prep the ribbons and other decoration pieces. Did you know you can’t just put ribbon on cake? The butter in the frosting would turn it into a greasy mess. I used tape as a backing to “seal” it and then cut the tape down so it wouldn’t show.
After the frosting had time to set up again I pulled it out and ran a hot, slightly wet knife over it all to smooth everything down. It wasn’t completely perfect but I knew I would have time to smooth more just before I delivered it.
Then I applied the ribbons, and some strands of pearls:
Looks kind of like a wedding cake, doesn’t it? But it needs a few more “finishing touches.”
And there you have it. A wedding cake!
In perfect “Movie Moment” fashion, my Pandora decided to crown the moment by playing “Just the Way You Are” as I was applying the flowers. It followed up with “Marry You” so I had a little dance party. I think it’s safe to say Pandora and I are on really good terms right now.
I put the whole thing back in the fridge and then I celebrated my victory:
It was about 1:30 in the morning at that point but I was on top of the world. I wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them about how awesome my cake was. Unfortunately it was 1:30 in the morning, so I celebrated quietly by cleaning up the kitchen. Well, dancing as I cleaned. But still.
Now that the cake was done I had time to sleep and I actually slept pretty well considering I knew the hardest part was yet to come. Each tier of the cake was pretty heavy, so when the cake was fully assembled it was a significant amount of weight. And I mean, I’m no body builder but sometimes I do pick things up and put them down so I’m not exactly a weakling either. I just had these awful visions of dropping the cake as I arrived to deliver it. I have my clumsy moments!
But that didn’t happen either. Just before the wedding started I carried the cake up a sloped driveway, up three stairs into the house and set it safely on the table. Then I met the bride for the first time (she was very calm and glowing – I hope I will be that poised on my eventual wedding day!) and gave everyone instructions on how to cut the cake. Did you know you are supposed to cut the bottom tier first? And then I ran because it was time for the ceremony.
White Cake (I read the comments and followed the “add another 1/2 cup of milk” advice. I doubled this to fit the 10 inch pans)
Lemon Cake (I left out the zest, doubled the lemon juice, and poured a little more lemon juice over the cake right after I pulled it out of the oven. There was extra batter left over after filling the 6 inch pans so I also made a dozen cupcakes.)
Swiss Buttercream (I used the “wedding cake” amount and had a ton of leftover frosting)
Raspberry filling (I used the immersion blender instead of a potato masher and then ran it through a strainer to get the last of the seeds out)
I was able to just go to Michaels for the dowels and cake board. For everything I wasn’t sure about from choosing my tier size and adding the support I just did a google search. There’s a ton of information and advice available out there from people who are FAR more qualified than me to give it!
So what do you think? Are you inspired to try your hand at making wedding cakes now? Or would you rather just eat one?