Making Your Own Wedding Cake

I’ve been pretty open sharing my engagement on social media, and one of the questions I’ve been asked the most is “are you going to make your own wedding cake?!?”

In the process of making this decision, I weighed a few important factors. I also thought through all the logistics of making and transporting a wedding cake.

Why I’m Making My Own Wedding Cake

While most girls dream about their wedding dress or venue, I daydream about my wedding cake. How I’ll decorate our cake, what flavors it will be, even what cake stand I’ll put it on!

Photo of a three tiered semi naked cake

Is it crazy to make your own wedding cake?? A little, but I’m planning to! There are a lot of factors behind this decision, which include:

  1. Saving Money
  2. Having the skills/ability to make a tiered cake
  3. Committing to making a practice cake
  4. Planning to make my wedding cake in advance
  5. Loving to bake
  6. Choosing a simple wedding cake with easy decorations

I’m not saying this is the right decision for most people, but it felt right for me. Making my own wedding cake is something I’m looking forward to. It’s just an added bonus that it’s a great way to save money!!

Saving Money

It’s no secret that I am extremely frugal! The thought of paying someone else to do something I’m capable of doing myself seems silly.

Tiered wedding cakes can be extremely expensive, and making your own wedding cake can be a great way for to save money.

Wedding cakes usually run $4-$6 per serving. With that in mind, the price of a wedding cake can add up quickly if you plan to have a big wedding!!

Photo of four tiered Tropical Inspired floral wedding cake

If you’ve never baked before, and are mainly focused on saving money on your wedding, this might not be the best area to do it.

When money is the driving force behind your decision, it’s important to remember that you have options!

There are great alternatives to traditional wedding cakes. These include making several individual cakes, cupcake displays, donut towers, or even cookie tables (my fiance is from Pittsburgh).

Experience Making Tiered Cakes

Making a wedding cake is a big commitment. It takes hours of work, a lot of planning, and a specific skill set. If it’s a forced decision, it can add a lot of stress to your wedding day!

I feel very comfortable baking, and have some experience making tiered cakes. While making a wedding cake is no easy feat, I don’t feel stressed out thinking about making it because I have done it before.

Photo of a three tiered candy drip cake

I highly recommend making at least one tiered cake before you make this big of a decision. It will help you realize the amount of effort it takes to make a tiered cake.

Commit To Making Practice Cake(s)

Whether you have a lot of experience with baking or not, it’s important that you commit to making a practice cake.

I suggest doing a test run with the cake flavors and frosting you plan to use. It’s also a great idea to test the style of decoration you want for your cake.

Making a test cake makes sure the cake design you have in mind is doable, and will turn out how you picture it.

Photo of Chelsey White adding fresh flowers to a wedding cake

Sometimes we have a wonderful idea, but the execution of it isn’t always quite the same πŸ˜› This happens to me all the time, and I fully intend to practice my wedding cake design before my big day.

The saying practice makes perfect exists for reason! Practice will also help increase your confidence. It gives you peace of mind when it’s time to make the real cake.

Making My Wedding Cake In Advance

Another reason I feel confident I can make my own wedding cake is that I plan to make the cake layers ahead of time! I have blocked off a few days the week of my wedding, to prep the funfetti cake layers and buttercream frosting.

Image of cake layers made in advance and frozen

This will allow me to take care of a lot of the time consuming baking before my family gets into town. Cake layers can be made weeks in advance, if wrapped and frozen properly. Buttercream can be made weeks ahead of time too!

Breaking up the workload also makes the process a lot more enjoyable. It allows to you take a breather between all the baking. It also gives you time to focus on the decoration of the cake.

This will allow you to put all your creative energy into the design and decoration of your cake.

Photo of cake layers for a three tiered wedding cake

In the off chance something goes wrong (you burn you cake layers, run out of sugar, etc.), it will also give you time to fix the situation!

Truly Loving To Bake

While this may seem counterintuitive, baking the week before my wedding should help me be LESS stressed out! I’m a bit of a busy body, and I’m happiest when my hands are busy and I’m working on something.

Baking is extremely therapeutic for me. I think baking will really help me de-stress and clear my mind during the week of my wedding.

There’s also such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that goes along with making a cake, especially a tiered cake.

Picking A Simple Cake Design

Another factor that made this decision easy? We are picking a very simple cake design! Our wedding cake will be decorated with the fresh flowers. We plan to use the same flowers that are in the bouquets.

I know that I’m not a master sugar artist. I also hate working with gum paste! By using fresh flowers to decorate our cake, I’m not going to be killing myself making sugar flowers.

Photo of wedding cake with edible lace

I will simply wrap the stems of the flowers using floral tape, and secure some of the stems into the cake with straws.

I also don’t have to worry about painstakingly hand painting details onto my cake the week of my wedding. It’s important to play up your strengths, and be realistic about your skills as a baker.

Things To Consider When Making Your Own Wedding Cake

Once you’ve made up you mind to make your own wedding cake, there are still some details that need to be considered!

Confirm Your Venue Will Allow Your Cake

Be sure to check with your venue that it’s alright to bring in an outside cake.

Some wedding venues will only allow you to work with certain vendors. Others will charge a sizeable cutting fee for outside cakes.

We’re pretty lucky, and our venue was super flexible with us bringing in our own cake. I spoke with the manager of our venue, and confirmed I’ll be able to drop the cake off the morning of our wedding. 

Plan Out How To Transport Your Wedding Cake

Once you’ve confirmed that you can bring in your own wedding cake, be sure that you have a solid transportation plan in place. You will need a large car, and a sturdy cake box.

Living in Manhattan has made transporting tiered cakes quite…interesting! I’ve successfully delivered tiered cakes using an Uber three times (knock on wood).

I’ve also taken the components of a wedding cake (layers, frosting, tools and all!) on an airplane! But that’s another story. In fact, I actually have a separate post sharing how to transport a wedding cake long distances.

I don’t have a car, but find that Uber XLs actually work great for cake deliveries. I hop in the back, and hold the cake in my lap until we get to the venue.

If you have a car and need to drive to the venue, I recommend place the cake box on a flat surface.

For most large cars (SUVs, cross overs, etc.), it’s easiest to put the cake in the back or the trunk. Place a non slip mat under the box, to keep it from sliding around during the drive.

DIY wedding cake box

For the wedding cake box, I use large moving boxes that I buy at Home Depot (as shown at the end of the tutorial below!!).

They’re extremely sturdy, and cost less than $2! It may not be the prettiest box, but usually no one from the wedding will see it. 

Decide To Assemble Either at Home Or At The Venue

I’ve found that assembling the cake before transporting it to the venue is usually less stressful.

However, some people prefer to stack the tiers on site. It all comes down to your preference, and your means of transportation. 

I like to assemble the cake at home, so I can fill in any gaps between the tiers with the help of some extra buttercream and my spinning cake stand.

It also allows you to do all the hard work before getting the venue. In fact, I usually do this the day before your wedding.

Smoothing out the gaps on this four tiered wedding cake

Properly Support and Stack Your Cake Tiers

If you’re going to put all this thought and time into making your own wedding cake, you want to be sure it’s properly supported!

It’s crucial that the cake is built with supports in each tier! Supports ensure your wedding cake can support its own weight and keep its shape the day of your wedding.

Photo of semi-naked cake tiers about to be stacked

Some people use wooden dowels for this, others use bubble tea straws. I know it sounds crazy, but they actually work very well. I prefer to use clear bubble tea straws, because they’re easier to cut.

Wedding cakes also usually have a thick central wooden dowel, which helps keep the tiers centered. It acts as a guide as you stack the tiers on top of one another. The central dowel also keeps your tiers nice and stable.

Below is an in-depth tutorial on how to make a tiered wedding cake. It covers how I like to add supports into a cake, and stack my tiers:

Trying to Pick the Right Cake Flavor

I get tons of questions asking if certain cake flavors or recipes of my mine will work in a wedding cake.

The answer is that almost cake recipes will work! As long as the cake is properly supported and the frosting is stable, you can make whatever flavor you want.

I’ve made wedding cakes using my vanilla layer cake recipe, my chocolate cake recipe, my red velvet cake recipe, my pumpkin layer cake recipe and my lemon olive oil cake recipe.

Each of the cake recipes above have different structure, but they all worked wonderfully as a wedding cake. I used my stiff american buttercream, and lots of supports throughout each tier, and they were all a success.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you plan to make your own wedding cake or are making a wedding cake for the first time, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please let me know if you have any questions I didn’t cover, or if you have any other tips that would be helpful πŸ™‚

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72 thoughts on “Making Your Own Wedding Cake

  1. Hello!
    I love your videos, and helpful tips! What length of central dowel do you use in your tiered naked cake video? Thank you!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! That dowel was about 9 inches tall, but the height you need can vary based on the number of layers and height of your cake layers!!

  2. Hi! I love your videos so much?
    My wedding is this month and i’m going to make my own 3 layer weddingcake. I want make my buttercream at least a week before the wedding and my cake a few days in advance or can i do this also a week before?. Now maybe is this a stupid question but what is the best way to stock? Frosting sealed in tupperware or plastic bag? And my cakes in folie in the fridge?
    Thank you

    1. That’s awesome Amanda!! You can totally make the cake layers a week ahead!! I share how I like to freeze my cake layers here: https://chelsweets.com/2018/10/28/how-to-make-cake-layers-in-advance/

      I like to put buttercream in Tupperware and throw them in the freezer, or in big 18 inch piping bags! My only comment is that if you use big Tupperware containers, they take forever to thaw! be sure to take them out several hours before you plan to start the cake (or even the night before!).

      Hope that helps, best of luck with your wedding cake! Let me know how it turns out!!! <3

  3. How do you get the carmelized sides on your naked cake. And what do I use in my pans to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?

    1. It’s just the amount of sugar in the recipe I use! It naturally happens. I usually place parchment rounds in the bottoms of my pans, and spray them with non stick spray to keep them from sticking. Hope that helps Kim!

    1. I cut holes in my cake boards (or buy cardboard cake rounds with precut holes like these: https://amzn.to/2KGt3Y3) before making/frosting each tier of the cake. Then, each tier should pretty easily slide down the central dowel. It helps to sharpen the central dowel, to make the stacking process a bit smoother. Hope that helps Trudy!

    1. Do you mean 33 layers? A 33 tiered cake would be be too tall to fit in most rooms!! If you want a lighter cake recipe, I recommend making a sponge cake <3

  4. Hello, I love your blog! I’ve started planning to make a tiered cake as practice for my wedding and I was wondering what you did with your practice cake? I’m not sure if I should plan it around a holiday or take different tiers to friends and family or maybe donate it? I would love to hear what you did!

    1. Hi Kaitlynn! Thanks, you’re too sweet! I cut up my practice cake and slowly brought it into work for my coworkers (back when I still had my day job). I also give a lot of my cakes to my neighborhood fire/police station!! Doing it around the holidays sounds like a good plan though too! Most people get pretty excited over free cake, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find people who will help you eat it <3

  5. Hey Chelsey!! If you were to make your red velvet cake for a wedding, would you use your cream cheese buttercream to frost it with? Or would using your vanilla buttercream be a safer option? Ive made both of these recipes and love them, but am not sure if the cream cheese frosting would hold up well for a tiered wedding cake:)

  6. Hi Chelsey! Fellow home baker and aspiring cake wiz ?I’m new to tiered cakes and was wondering, how did you cut your holes under your cake bases? Also, where did you find the tea straws and dowel?

    1. Hi Teresa,

      A frosted cake (even with cream cheese buttercream) can stay good in the fridge for up to a week! As long as the frosting is completely covering the cake layers, it should lock in all the moisture, and the cake should stay nice and moist πŸ™‚ I let cakes sit in the fridge overnight, or for a few days all the time! I usually leave my cakes just open in the fridge without a covering! It should be fine as long as you don’t have anything fragrant in your fridge (like fish or onions).

      Or it can stay good in the freezer for up to a month! Just be sure to cover the cake in plastic wrap once it’s chilled / the buttercream has firmed up.

      I also make my buttercream in advance all the time! Just be sure you’re storing it properly: https://chelsweets.com/2019/04/06/how-long-does-buttercream-last/

  7. I actually made my own wedding cake for my wedding as well when I got married on 8/11/18. I had two weddings the weekends leading up to my wedding as a home based baker and they had cupcakes for theirs so I made extras so that I had the cake I wanted (each tier was a different flavor) as well as variety of cupcakes for my guests.

    1. That’s awesome Denise!! I could barely handle making my own, you’re a champ for making two right before your own wedding!! I’m impressed πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Dom,

      I don’t, but I get all my pans on amazon! My favorite brand is the fat daddio brand (silly name, but great pans), and they come in like every size! I have the in a variety of diameters and generally get pans that are 2 inches tall. Here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2uwXN8D

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  8. Hi! I’m making my cousin wedding cake is 1st time I make a big wedding cake and so confused she’s having about 160 guess and she wants a 4 tiers cake what sizes of cake pans should I used? Thank you

    1. Hi Miladis,

      That can definitely be challenging to figure out! I actually talk all about portion sizes and what combinations of tiers you can use to make different sized wedding cakes Here’s the link: https://chelsweets.com/2019/03/24/cake-portion-guide/

      160 people is hard number, but i’d suggest making a 14,12,10,and 8 inch tiered cake. That should feed about 190 people, which is more than you need, but that’s as close as I think you can get with normal sized cake layers. Hope that helps, happy baking!

Let me know what you think!