My Top Tips Around Making Your Own Wedding Cake

Wedding season is upon us, which to me really means wedding cake season is here. As a baker, I’m ambitiously planning to make my own wedding cake in a couple weeks. If you want to make your own wedding cake too, you’re not alone.

Before you commit to making a wedding cake, there’s a lot to consider. Below are my top tips around making your own wedding cake.

Photo of four tiered Tropical Inspired floral wedding cake

Consider Number of Guests

The first thing you need to think about when making a wedding cake is its size.

How many guests are you expecting? How many tiers, and what size of tiers will you need to make sure every guest gets a slice?

Image of cake portion guide

Different sized tiers can be combined in a ton of different ways. This creates a lot of flexibility in the number of servings a tiered cake can have.

There are wonderful charts out there to help you figure this out. My wedding is going to have 120 guests, and I plan to make a four-tiered cake. It will be made with 12”, 10”, 8”, and 6” tiers.

image of cake portion guide

A cake this size should feed 134 people, so I’ll have some buffer around the number of servings. This is great, because sometimes people want seconds.

Pick an Attainable Cake Design

While part of picking the right size of cake comes down to having the right number of servings, it isn’t always that simple.

This decision can also be influenced by the look you’re after. Some people want a specific number of tiers, or a cake design that requires extra space between each tier to add decorations.

Photo of Chelsey White adding fresh flowers to a wedding cake

We are picking a very simple cake design for our wedding cake! It will be decorated with the same fresh flowers that are in my bouquets, and the flowers will cascade diagonally across the cake.

While wedding cakes can be made ahead of time (see below!), you don’t want to be stressing over complicated cake decorations before your big day. I suggest picking a cake design you feel confident making, and that you know you can execute well.

If you don’t have a ton of experience with tiered cakes, you may want to make a smaller practice cake before the big day. I suggest doing a test run with the cake flavors and frosting you plan to use.

Photo of a three tiered semi naked wedding cake

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

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 for the real deal.

Use Real, Fresh Flowers to Decorate

Flowers are a common and beautiful way to decorate a wedding cake. However, there are different types of flowers that can be used.

photo of square engagement cake decorated with fresh flowers

Sugar paste flowers can be a lot of fun, but boy are they a ton of work!! They’re an art form of their own, and a majority of us don’t have the skills (or time) to make them.

Buttercream flowers are another floral option. When they’re properly piped, they are a gorgeous addition to a cake. They also take a lot of practice and skill, and are challenging to pipe.

Fresh, real flowers are another way to decorate a wedding cake. I believe you simply can’t beat nature.

chocolate engagement cake decorated with edible gold and fresh roses photo

Have you ever really stopped and looked a perfectly bloomed rose? It’s stunning. I can easily say that nothing I could make would be more beautiful than a fresh flower. Adding fresh flowers on a cake is a striking and easy way to decorate it.

Pick Your Favorite Flavor, and Stick to It

Once you figure out the size and decoration of your cake, the next big decision is its flavor. This is a personal decision, that should be made by you and your partner. If you both love a particular flavor, I say make your life easier, and make the whole cake that flavor!

If you can’t agree on a flavor together, you can make one half your favorite, and the other half theirs. To keep things simple, I recommend not making more than two flavors for your wedding cake.

I once made four different flavors for my best friend’s wedding cake, and it took me forever!! Do yourself a favor, and just focus on making the flavors you pick be the best they can possibly be. Quality over quantity, right?

My finance and I are obsessed with my funfetti cake recipe, so I’m planning to make our entire wedding cake funfetti. Is that crazy?? Maybe a little, but I don’t think anyone will complain once they taste it.

Use A Frosting You Feel Comfortable Making and Decorating With

While the cake flavor itself is a big decision, so is the frosting! In fact, some might even argue this is the most important decision.

Picking the right frosting really comes down to your taste, and what you are most comfortable using to decorate. I am a huge fan of American buttercream, and I use it on almost all of my cakes.

Luckily for me, it’s also the easiest frosting to make! It’s really just butter and powdered sugar, with a splash of cream and some salt and vanilla extract. A batch can be made in less than 5 minutes!

While it’s incredibly easy to make, American buttercream is by far the sweetest type of buttercream.

Some people prefer less sweet variations, like Swiss meringue buttercream, or Italian buttercream. Both involve whipping egg whites with sugar to the create a fluffy, less indulgent frosting.

These types of buttercream are a lot more challenging to make, and definitely require some practice to master.

They can be finicky, and frustrating to make. If you want to keep things simple for your wedding cake, I recommend using American buttercream.

Make The Cake In Advance

Now that you have all the details figured out, it’s time to think about the timeline of your cake. 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 decoration of your cake.

Image of cake layers made in advance and frozen

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.

I usually assemble tiered cakes 1-3 days before an event, and plan to do the same thing with my wedding cake.

Our families and friends are flying in a couple days before our wedding, and I want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible.

I also need to leave time for last minute wedding prep, and assembling the cake in advance will give me a lot more flexibility. I plan to add fresh flowers to my cake the morning of our wedding, then drop it off at the venue.

It will sit out for several hours before we cut into it, but as long as a cake is properly supported and is at room temperature, it should be just fine.

Just be sure to not leave a wedding cake out in the heat, or in direct sunlight.

If you have any more questions about wedding cakes, or are still trying to decide whether you should make your own, you can read more here.

Share Your Creations With Me!

If you plan to make your own wedding cake, or did make your own wedding cake, I’d love to hear about it!!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your baking. You can also tag me on social media @chelsweets, and use #chelsweets.

30 thoughts on “My Top Tips Around Making Your Own Wedding Cake

  1. Congratulations! You and your cake looked gorgeous! I currently have 9 layers of vanilla cake in the freezer ready for a three tiered cake for my brothers wedding on Saturday. Will also be using fresh flowers. Thank you for all the advice, particularly for someone like me who has never done this before.

    Hope you get a well earned break after the wedding excitement x

  2. Hi, I am making a semi naked waiting page being a semi naked with the cake I’m not sure when I should start the assembly. Could you please give me some pointers. Many thanks in advance

    1. For semi naked cakes, I try to make them as close to event as possible. Since some of the cake is exposed, it is much more prone to drying out, even if you add simple syrup. I usually do it the night before, and add loads of simple syrup. hope that helps Kristy! <3

      1. Thanks so much, I’m going to be very busy as I’m in the bridal party as well!! Should I take the cakes up separately and assemble the night before at the venue as it will have fresh flowers on it which I will do the next morning. I’m going to use your amazing vanilla cake. On your wedding cake did you put a filling or just buttercream?

  3. Love your site and your videos. I have a question on your recent wedding cake video (congratulations by the way)!
    Do you, or did you, let your tiers “settle” before stacking, or do you use a level?

  4. Hi! I’m making my nephew’s wedding cake. They want a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. I was hoping to do 2 tiers, 4 layers each, 9 inch and 6 inch. Is 4 layers too ambitious with a banana cake? Or is 3 safer? I feel like banana cake is moister than regular vanilla cake and would be harder to stack. Your thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated. Love your baking btw!

    1. banana is moist and heavy, but if you use a stuff frosting and proper supports, it should be fine!! Definitely try out the banana cake recipe ahead of time, and see if it seems sturdy enough to stack! I think the key is just using the right banana cake recipe 🙂 Hope that helps!!

  5. I’m making my nieces wedding cake next month and (hopefully) using your Red velvet cake recipe. Unfortunately both times I’ve made it, I haven’t had much success – toothpick comes out clean but the cake is completely uncooked in the middle when I invert it. Both times I cooked it more but it’s hard to tell when it’s done without overcooking it. It is super moist in middle but really really oily. When I compare this recipe to other Red Velvet recipes – it appears to have quite a bit more oil. Is this a typo? Any suggestions for me?

    1. What size of cake layers are you making, and how many? If you’re using different sized pans than the cake recipe recommends, they may need to bake longer. My five layer red velvet cake recipe is pretty heavy on the oil, but that’s what gives it such a moist crumb <3

    1. They’re called cake drums! they’re usually about 1/2 an inch thick (or more!), and they are strong enough to support heavier tiered cakes! sometimes people will layer a couple together if the cake is really large/heavy. Hope that helps Brenna! <3

  6. I just came across your youtube channel and you have inspired me to practice and POSSIBLY make my own wedding cake.I have 10 months to go so I’m going to need some taste testers! Thank you so much for the inspiration <3

    1. That is awesome is Kristen! You def have enough time to tackle the challenge of making your own wedding cake!! I believe in you <3 if you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always here to help!!

  7. If you do 4 layers in each tier instead of 3 would the cake be too heavy? I would like to make a three tier cake 12, 9, and 6 but would like to add an extra layer to create more servings if possible. I’m on a super tight budget and trying to use the size pans that I already have instead of buying new ones.

    1. Hi Megan,

      It depends on what you mean by too heavy! The cake should be able to support itself just fine as long as you add in dowels or straws, but the overall cake will be very heavy to carry! Hope that helps!

  8. Hi! I’m making a wedding cake for a good friend, and it’s my first one. I’ve made many cakes for parties and showers and holidays, but the pressure is on for a wedding cake! She wants a 3 tier cake with 8 inch 6 inch and 4 inch rounds, and she’s going to have about 70 or so guests. If I do three layers on each tier with generous amounts of frosting, will this be enough? Also, my go to cake is your vanilla cake.. but because it’s not a sponge, will it hold up to the weight it’s going to need to support? When stacking I always use dowels or straws and I’ll be doing a central dowel. What recipe would you recommend for a cake of this size?
    Thanks! You are my baking inspiration?

  9. Hi! I’m doing a lot of research before i practice making my wedding cake. Would you recommend using a cake lifter at all for any of the layers or transferring it to the moving box & from the box to the cake plate?

    Also, for semi naked cakes, I saw you commented to frost it as close to the event as possible. Do you only recommend doing this the night before, or would it be better to do day of? My concern would be finding a fridge with enough room to store it in the night before. And how long does it take to frost and decorate? I’m just wondering if it would be wise to frost it the day of. (The ceremony will be later in the afternoon, with the reception that evening.)

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Great question! I bought a cake layer lifter when I was making my own wedding cake, but didn’t actually end up using it! I froze each of my cake layers on it’s own cardboard cake round (the same size in diameter). After I let them thaw and peeled off the parchment paper, I found that just sliding it off the cake round onto the cake worked great. However, if you don’t plan to prep your cake layers the same way, it is important to have something to keep under the cake layers to support it while you slide it into place.

      As long as you’re generous with simple syrup on the layers, frosting it the night before would be fine. You could do it the day of, but that’s stressful and might not allow the cake to fully chill before you have to transport it. Semi naked cakes are faster to decorate, but still take 2-3 hours (varies based on size and experience) to assembly the tiers, chill, and stack them. And then any additional decorations take additional time!

      It’s fine if you do it the morning of, but you’ll still want to find some fridge to chill it in, to help the buttercream set. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!! <3

  10. Hi Chelsea, I am reading your blog post about tiered cakes. Learning a lot! Question, the client wants a cake that is 1. made from tres leches, 2. made with only whipped cream and fondant decorations, and 3. it has to feed 120 people. I have been thinking over what to do. From your blog post, It sounds like if I made a 2 tier cake like they want which the tiers would be: 3 x 10in and 3 x 12in cake. then use stabilized whipped cream as the frosting it should work. The only question being is that stacking them, how do I stack the cakes without them collapsing on top of each other?

  11. Hi Chelsea!

    I am baking my friends wedding cake. I play around a lot with cakes and baking in general, but this will be the first time I do a wedding cake. I am planning on doing it at least 3-4 times completely to make sure I work out any kinks before the wedding, ill probably be handing it out to friends and family once I’ve finished as I just want to do it for trial and error. Anyway, watching your videos face me the confidence to say yes to her and I thought I would drop you this message to tell you so. I am sure you hear that a lot.

    I do have a couple of quick questions though, I hope you don’t mind.

    When should I layer and decorate the cake? I wouldn’t want it to go dry or off in any way. Do I do it the morning of the wedding or can I do it beforehand? How long does the average cake keep for at room temp? She wants a naked cake, so I’m afraid that if I do it before the day of the wedding that it will go dry, but I have no experience so I don’t know. If I can layer it and decorate it in advance, even if its the day before it would be so helpful since I will be a bridesmaid too but I also don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the cake for convenience.

    Sorry for the long message! Anyway, I love your videos. Keep doing what you are doing, you are great at it.



    1. That so wonderful Katherine!

      Usually I would recommend doing it the day before if it was a regularly frosted cake, so that if anything goes wrong you have time to troubleshoot, especially since you’re a bridesmaid! I generally advice against naked cakes because they can dry out even with lots of simple syrup! You can try brushing the exposed cake layers with a light colored jam (like apricot) but it is hard to keep them moist.

      A tiered cake can be left out at room temperature for several hours as long as it’s properly supported. Mine sat out for 10 hours before we cut into it! 🙂

      I’d suggest she consider a semi-naked cake, or show her some other options/styles and designs to see if she’d be open to a different cake. If you do make a naked cake, I’d either make it late the night before, or early the morning of. It’s just so hard with that style!! Hope that helps, and best of luck with your friend’s wedding cake <3

  12. Hi! I am making a cake for a very laid back celebration party (we are not even calling it a reception since they got married). They want a semi-naked cake. The base will be a 2″ layer (divided into 1″ layers) red velvet with a cream cheese flavored frosting. The middle layer will be 2″ again torted into 1″ layers. I will dam it up in the center of the 2 1″ layers will be orange marmalade. The top layer will be a strawberry cake with the middle layer dammed with strawberry puree in the center. All of the cakes will be 9″. I am envisioning a slightly ombre effect with the 3 colors of cake. The dams are what I will use (along with each layer of the cream cheese flavored frosting. The cake will be decorated with succulents that I am learning how to do right now. This event won’t happen until it is safe so I have a great head start… What do you think about the flavors? Do I dam it and just spread the filling directly on the cake? Any suggestions about what frosting to use to pipe succulents? I am going to make and freeze them close to the date. Any suggestions about the cream cheese flavored frosting? I am open to whatever will be stable. I have cream cheese flavored emulsion. I just wrote a book! But I am new to this and a perfectionist… I have been voraciously reading everything on this site! You are the most knowledgeable and open and generous person to freely share all of this information!!! Thank you so much for your time!!!

  13. I am making a wedding cake for someone. They want two tiers and they want to save the top tier for later. Since it is a Corona wedding, they are only having 25 guests. I would like to make the bottom tier 10 inches to safely feed 25 but then I have two options for the top tier- 8 inches or 7. I am thinking 8 is too big to save in the freezer but with 7 I am afraid it will look awkward on a ten inch. Alternatively I could do the bottom 9 and top 7 but am afraid of that not being enough. What are your thoughts?

Let me know what you think!