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, and give 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 it ahead of time! I have blocked off a few days the week of my wedding, to prep the layers and 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, and 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 same fresh 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, or 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 Ubter three times (knock on wood).

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, or even 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!

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

Photo of semi-naked cake tiers about to be stacked

Some people use wooden dowels for this, others use bubble tea straws (sounds crazy, but they actually work very well). I prefer to use 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, and keeps your tiers nice and stable.

Below is an in-depth tutorial on how to make a tiered wedding cake, including adding supports into a cake, and stacking tiers:

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

66 thoughts on “Making Your Own Wedding Cake

    1. Your such an inspiration! Can’t wait to see what your wedding cake looks like. When adding the simple syrup do you add it to a room temp cake or cold cake? And if its room temp do you then chill cake before frosting?

      1. I add the simple syrup usually when the cake layers are at room temp with wedding cakes, just because by the time I’ve leveled and trimmed them, they’re usually fully thawed πŸ˜› So I frost them at room temp, but I always chill my crumb coat before adding a second layer of frosting <3 You could add the simple syrup when the cake layers are slightly chilled though if you wanted!

  1. I’d love to watch you assemble the large tiered cakes! (The video isn’t working for me) This is the hardest part to tiered cakes for me! Getting them stacked and TRANSPORTED!! AHHHHH that part is nerve wracking as can be!

  2. Hi love this tutorial, my question is the wooden central dowel goes through the first 3 layers but not the 4th one or so it seems?! Can you advice? Did u put another smaller central dowel in the 3rd layer to conect the 4th! I watched the vid a good few times! Just confused but this final part!

    1. haha you are totally right! I ended up using two dowels. I really wanted to use that thick one I started with, but it was a bit too short. I added in a second dowel between the third and fourth tier to keep the top tier secured!

      I would always advise to use one thick dowel, but I was short on time and had to work with what I had. Happy to say the makeshift dowel situation did work just fine for transportation though πŸ™‚

  3. I love it, now I might make my own
    Wedding cake, , I am just like you, I make things ahead of time, that way I am more prepare. so it’s much easier.

  4. Thanks so much for this! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! If you make this the day before the wedding and stack it, do you put it in the all the fridge or leave it out?

    1. Hi Laurie! I’m actually working on a guide right now that will share how many cups of batter you need for different sized cakes, and how to know how many batches of batter you need πŸ™‚ stay tuned, hoping to share it later this week!

      1. You have to leave each tier on top of its cardboard round, or else the supports between the tiers wouldn’t work <3

  5. Hi, I am going to make your vanilla cake (found on Instagram) for my sister’s birthday this weekend. I am usually a pound cake baker. So this will be my first time and exciting time to attempt a three layer cake. I just need to know how many cups of batter into each pan so that it will come out even.

    1. Sadly I don’t usually measure by cups, but rather go by grams! one batch makes about 1800 grams, so if you want to make three layers you can fill each pan with about 600 grams of batter <3 Hope that helps!!

  6. I am also making my own wedding cake but it will only be feeding 20 people tops so I’ll probably make an 8″ and something smaller but my issue will be that I’m in Dallas and the wedding is in Pensacola, FL so we’re driving there. The cakes won’t be too big but it will still be somewhat stressful in transporting. We will be begin our 11 hr drive at around 2 AM so at least I will avoid some sun but do you have any tips on keeping it cool aside from blasting the A/C? By the way, wedding day is 9/7/19.

    1. That’s awesome! Transporting a cake that far is definitely stressful. I’ve never transported a cake that far, but I’ve heard of people putting them in coolers! That about the only other tip I have besides blasting the AC. Best of luck, I’ll be sure to send you all the cake luck that day, and I hope you have a wonderful wedding!! <3

  7. I am making my best friends wedding cake, which will be semi naked. What filling do you think works best for a three tired wedding cake? I will be using your vanilla cake recipe. Also how long before the wedding can the cake be assemble as I am also in the wedding party.

    1. You can use pretty much any filling, but I usually use buttercream! I also add a simple syrup to the layers to ensure they stay moist while I’m making the cake.

      I usually make semi-naked cakes a day in advance, but not much more than that. I just get paranoid that they’ll dry out if they’re made too far in advance, because they’re not fully frosted <3

  8. Also it is an hour and a half drive to the venue which I will be taking the cake the day before the wedding , should i stack the cake before or at the venue,

    1. That’s really a preference thing! I like to assembled before I transport, but other people like to stack on site!

  9. I would definitely with what I know now and it would taste and look so much better my wedding cake was expensive and plain and it tasted disgusting and dry for a chocolate mud cake. I make an amazing chocolate mud cake if I could do it again I most definitely would do my own wedding cake. You are super talented the only issue would be time and delivery but I’m sure you will have help. Congratulations and I’m sure your wedding caje will be beautiful and amazing. Would love to see a video of it

    1. Hind sight is always 20/20!!

      luckily my venue is super close to my apartment, so hopefully the transportation won’t be too bad πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind words! I’ll def be sharing the recipes I use and the video on here after my wedding!! stay tuned <3

  10. Hi! I have to make my first wedding cake this coming week! It’ll be a naked cake, 10” and an 8” (each is 3 layers). I was wondering how many dowels you suggest i put in each tier? i plan on using the plastic dowels and no central one as I’m setting the cake up on sight. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jordan,

      So sorry for the delayed response. I’ve heard different guidance around this, but I’d say if you use 6 it should be good to go!!I’m sure it’ll turn out amazing <3

  11. Thank you so much for this – it has given me the confidence to make my first wedding cake!

    My question is how many days in advance can the cake be made?

    The wedding is out of town so it needs to be taken up a day before- I don’t want the stress of assembling on the day it is picked up! If the cake is assembled 2 days before the wedding will it keep ok?

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Alice! Cakes can be made several days in advance! I made and assembled my cake 4 days in advance. I also didn’t want to stress about assembling my cake when my family was in town and around our rehearsal dinner. As long as you add some simple syrup to your layers and fully frost the tiers/gaps between the tiers, the cake should stay nice and moist πŸ™‚ The frosting acts like a shield, and locks in all the moisture! Hope that helps, best of luck with your cake!!

  12. Hey! This is amazing and thanks for sharing your experience. How did your fridge have space to keep the cake in? I’ll be having family over so the fridge will be full. Also if you can give a rough timeline of how much in advance you assembled the cake from your wedding day. I’m thinking of making my own a week or so before and freezing it but I don’t know how much early I should plan to assemble the cake. Maybe I’ll keep it in the deep freezer until a day or so before?

    1. Hi Mariam! I had to completely clean out my fridge, and remove the shelves! It would not be possible to do with a full fridge :/ my cake just barely fit in my fridge even with it being cleaned out.

      I’m going to share a more detailed post on the timeline/prep of my cake next week that should answer all your questions, so stay tuned! <3

  13. 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!!

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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:)

  18. 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/

Let me know what you think!