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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 fiance 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.

Ramona Dunn

Friday 23rd of July 2021

Do you have a good Italian Cream Cake recipe?


Thursday 8th of July 2021

Hi! I am making a stacked 6"-8"-10"-12" semi naked carrot cake for my daughter's wedding. I would like to use cream cheese frosting for the cake, do you think this will hold up well? Also, where do you get your large wood dowel for the center of the stacked cakes? Thank You!!!


Thursday 11th of March 2021

Hi there, thank you so much for this guide!!

How long before the wedding can you frost your cake? I’m wondering if I can frost them freeze the layers in advance, then assemble the layers frozen the day before the wedding, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight, then have it transported to the venue morning of in its still semi-chilled state. What do you think of freezing-thawing American buttercream?

If you have a timeline guide up that I’m missing, I would love to see it!

Thanks again


Tuesday 1st of September 2020

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?


Tuesday 1st of September 2020

PS these will be pretty tall layers


Tuesday 25th of August 2020

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!!!