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.

15 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!!

Let me know what you think!