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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!