For a bride on a budget, paying a large sum of money for a wedding cake may seem completely outrageous. But what are the alternatives, particularly when you don't have any baking experts in your family? Turns out, making a wedding cake is not as difficult as one might think. There is some significant planning and effort that will need to happen, so make sure you carefully weigh the expense of a cake versus your time (and expectations) as you make your final decisions. And if the cake isn't your thing, you can always serve pie, ice cream, or even an ice cream sundae bar at your wedding.
If you choose to make your own cake, allow yourself some extra time and manage expectations: you (or your bridesmaids) are likely not going to be able to craft a fondant-covered confection worthy of a magazine spread. Simple, rustic decorations are more achievable. You'll also want to plan your calendar accordingly. Take time to make a test cake and keep careful notes.
You should use a recipe specifically designed to be a wedding cake as it will ensure that it is sturdy enough and that it makes the right amount of batter and icing. For a three-tier cake, you need to make three cakes of 12", 9" and 6", as well as a massive amount of icing. Most three-tier cake recipes have a step-by-step schedule for when you will need to bake and assemble each part.
Tools You'll Likely Need
When ready, first assemble all of the tools you will need. Make sure you double-check the recipe and read it all the way through to see if there are tools besides these:
- All ingredients for baking and icing the wedding cake
- 12", 9", and 6" cake pans, each 3" tall. (available at craft stores and baking supply stores).
- Parchment paper to line the pans
- Large serrated knife
- Cardboard cake boards (available at baking and craft stores) in 12", 9" and 6"
- 10 non-flexible straws
- Offset spatula
- A platter to serve the wedding cake on
- To add decoration: a pastry bag with a round tip between size 3 and 7 for piping, and a toothpick for tracing
- Decorations like fresh flowers, cake toppers, etc.
- Lazy susan to use when decorating the cake
Decorating and Storing
Think ahead of how you want to decorate your cake and practice piping or icing ahead of time. You can easily make extra icing and practice shapes on test cakes (or even on silicone mats). Secure a wedding topping, flowers, or other decorative items well before the wedding. If you are using fresh flowers, be sure to order exactly what you want from a florist. Lastly, you will need to clear a large space in the refrigerator, perhaps taking out a shelf for the cake. You'll also need to arrange transport for the cake to the wedding venue. Speak to the caterer or venue manager about cake transport and refrigeration details at the event.