Huge Wedding Cake - Please Help

Decorating By khewitt24 Updated 2 Apr 2010 , 12:11pm by KHalstead

khewitt24 Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 11:53pm
post #1 of 26

I'm pretty new to the cake business and I just got an order for a wedding cake in October. I need some major help and advice!

My client wants a 4-5 tier round cake with flowers between each cake (a florist is doing the flowers.) Here is what I had planned out:

16" 4 layer (approx. 7-8" tall)
12" 4 layer
9" 4 layer
6" 4 layer
Anniversary topper

However, this will only feed about 315 and she needs something for 350-400 guests!
Please offer me any suggestions! Thank you!! icon_smile.gif

25 replies
NaNaof5 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:04am
post #2 of 26

Get those additional servings from sheet cakes.

adonovan Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:06am
post #3 of 26

do your cake as planned and then make some sheet cakes with the same cake and icing, no one sees these and they are cut and served. You don't need the cake to be as big as the number being served. Good Luck

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:07am
post #4 of 26

Sorry, this will sound harsh, but you're "new to the cake business" and you are seriously thinking of trying to stack 7 TO 8 INCH TIERS?????????????

Very few experienced decorators would tackle that.

You'll need an amazing support structure to handle something that oversized and heavy..................Lots of time to stack on site, lots of help to stack on site, a ladder to stack on site.

First off, serving those height tiers is a nightmare. In order to get normal sized wedding servings, 1x2x4(high), the tiers would need to be taken apart, leaving many guests with little icing...................If not taken apart, the slices will need to be paper thin............Plates would need to be oversized to accomodate 7-8 inch, long, skinny slices.

Sometimes, all of the servings can't be easily accomplished in real cake AND in only one cake. You may need to have satellite cakes, or kitchen cakes, or several sets of muti-tiered cakes in order to get that many servings.

Not trying to rain on your parade, but my opinion is that a Plan B is called for in order for this to be a real success.


khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:20am
post #5 of 26

That was harsh, but true. So let me clarify. icon_smile.gif
All of the things you said, I have already thought about and accommodated for. I've been making cakes for a long time, just not for money and never a wedding. My first wedding cake is in July, actually
I planned to seperate the cakes so they could be taken apart easily and made to "standard slices". You're right about the "lack of icing" on some of the cakes - that, I did NOT think about, so thank you!
I do have lots of help with the assembly.

I thought about doing a few smaller cakes to go around it and not making the "wedding" cakes 4 layers, but I wasn't sure how that would go over with the bride. (I was looking for some advice and ideas before I spoke with her again about it.)

I didn't think about doing kitchen cakes. -Would these just be "pre-plated" and brought out periodically to replace the ones being cut from the cake (so it looks like it's all coming from the wedding cake and not from the kitchen?)

Thank you for your help and advice on this - even though it was harsh! icon_smile.gif

Like I said before. I'm new to this, but not inexperienced.

anasazi17 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:22am
post #6 of 26

Whoa! That is one huge cake! I would be scared of the 8-inch tall cakes too! I am doing a similar sized cake this summer, only I am just doing 4-inch tall, 5-tiers, with a kitchen cake or two. Good Luck!

leah_s Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:25am
post #7 of 26

I made one wedding cake that served 520. It certainly can be done. That was 6 tiers. I would never, ever plan a cake with 8" tall tiers than had to be taken apart to be served. That's not a nice thing to do to the caterer, especially since it's the caterer who will be having to pull off all those flowers, too. I really think you need a different design.

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:33am
post #8 of 26

So, from the way it's sounding - 4" tiers with kitchen cakes would do best. icon_smile.gif
Now I know what to suggest to my bride. Thank you all!!!

confectionsofahousewife Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:33am
post #9 of 26

If you put a cake board every two layers you should end up with more servings (at least by my math). In my mind, a 16 inch, four layer cake is basically two 16 inch cakes stacked together. If a cake board is put every two layers, the top part of the 16 inch layer can be cut first and then the cake board removed and the bottom part of the 16 inch layer can be served. You'll have more stability that way too. And if you cover your boards with press n seal or something less of the icing will stick and will hopefully remain on the bottom layer. Doing it this way you should have 400 servings with the tier sizes that you have stated (using the Wilton wedding serving chart: 16 inch- (100*2), 12 inch- (56*2), 9 inch- (32*2), 6 inch- (12*2)). And you won't need sheet cakes or giant plates for 7 inch slices. Does this make sense to anyone but me?!

paulstonia Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:40am
post #10 of 26

Are you only planning on making the 16" tier 7 to 8 inches tall or all of them? I don't think it will be such a big deal on just the bottom tier. Yes, it may be a little more difficult to serve. I don't know how this would work for a wedding cake, but when I make a carved cake that is tall, I put a cake board between every two layers for support. So when serving you cut down through to the first cake board to serve. Then when that layer is done, take off the cake board and cut the bottom two layers. So your serving size is still only 4" to 41/2" tall anyway.

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:49am
post #11 of 26

Oh. I have another question!!

My grandmother made my wedding cake, so I'm clueless on prices. The price I've gotten so far with the 4" tiers, anniversary topper, rolled buttercream icing, delivery, rental fee, and 2 full sheet cakes is about $575 (give or take a few dollars).

Is this way under or over priced?

Oh, I use CakeBoss for my pricings.

tarheelgirl Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:52am
post #12 of 26

WOW! Way under priced for me! icon_surprised.gif I would add up my cost and see how much you would actually profit.. in my case not much! That is going to be a huge cake!

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:52am
post #13 of 26

Wedding cakes are usually removed to the kitchen for cutting because it's such a messy, barbaric process--no kidding.

"Kitchen cakes" can be done any way that makes the client & you happy. You can make them to exactly mimic the actual display cake (I do that, so for a round cake, even my kitchen cakes are round) in size and decoration. Or, you can just make double layer sheet cakes with the same icing, but no decoration.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you make this cake, but it could be a nice jumping off point for the design you've mentioned--separations for flowers, lots of servings, etc.

All the best.

paulstonia Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:58am
post #14 of 26

OK, my first question would be are you sure about rolled buttercream and not fondant. I've only used it once and absolutely hated it. And as far as the price it depends on where you are but that is less than $2 a serving and I don't know about rolled buttercream but for fondant that's low. I wouldn't start at lower than $3 a serving.

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:59am
post #15 of 26

Thanks. I never thought about doing the smaller cakes as a base. That would be amazing! I'll definately suggest this to her.

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:03am
post #16 of 26

She wants buttercream icing (i work with it alot and it's not too bad for me.) but she's not having any decorations on the cake - just a ribbon on the bottom of each tier. So if it did regular buttercream I wouldn't be able to get it as smooth as if I rolled it.

The only other thing I could do would be a thick layer of buttercream and then fondant on top (which would make the price go up of course) that way it can just be pealed off, but that just seems like a waste.

I'll go back and refigure my pricing. I'm always afraid of over pricing.

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:14am
post #17 of 26

You know, as far as the finish icing, if you are comfortable using buttercream, it can certainly be done. For many people, rolled buttercream can be much too sweet.

Fondant DOES NOT NEED TO BE PEELED OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! It should be served with the cake and the guests should decide how they want to deal with it on a slice by slice basis.

Americans don't like to chew icing with cake, so I tell them to eat the cake and icing from under the fondant and then eat the fondant like a chewy candy dessert. I see very little fondant left on plates this way--and I get no complaints.

There are many good tasting fondants out there--and many ways to doctor those for custom tastes and workability.

As for the price, yes, you are WAY low! I'm on the cheap end of cakes here in the mid-West and even I'd be charging no less than $800.


revskg Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:16am
post #18 of 26

I would have to agree that you are underpriced. I would start with a base price of $1200 for a cake that size, plus rental and equipment deposits


anasazi17 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:23am
post #19 of 26

Oh for sure under priced! I agree with base would be around $1200 for the cake! Also, there are some really yummy rolled icings out there--Satin Ice & Chocopan to name a few!!

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:24am
post #20 of 26
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Fondant DOES NOT NEED TO BE PEELED OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! It should be served with the cake and the guests should decide how they want to deal with it on a slice by slice basis.

Haha...I didn't mean for the caterer to peel it off! I was meaning for the guests to make that decision! That would be terrible:
"Here's your cake - minus the fondant. We're just going to trash it"!
hahaha... icon_smile.gif

I'm glad I asked about the price!! Now I know. I've adjusted it - greatly!! icon_rolleyes.gif

leah_s Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:27am
post #21 of 26

My base price would be $1200 for buttercream only, plus an equipment fee, plus delivery. We're lookin' at $1300 easy. And I am mid-priced for my area.

Did you seriously say *rolled* buttercream? Have you actually worked with rolled bc in that large a piece?

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:30am
post #22 of 26

Well, sadly, there are those who actually DO tell the caterer to pull off the fondant--and at least up until 2 years ago, if you got a fondant creation in Disney World, the fondant was peeled off before serving icon_eek.gif

On a FoodNetwork presentation of a a big to do at Disney World, I watched in horror as the fondant was yanked off of a bridal luncheon topsy turvy caker AND the Cinderella wedding cake..............I honestly almost cried. Oh, and no attempt was made to replace the buttercream that came off with the fondant, either--------eeeewwwwww....


madgeowens Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 1:46am
post #23 of 26

Thats barbaric.........also, why is op not smoothing regular butter cream instead of using rolled?? I missed something here...gorgeous cake you posted it

paulstonia Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 4:27am
post #24 of 26
Originally Posted by leah_s

Did you seriously say *rolled* buttercream? Have you actually worked with rolled bc in that large a piece?

Exactly what I was thinking. I made it once for cookies, thinking it would be better on them than fondant. Yech, my fondant taste better and is 10 times better to work with.

khewitt24 Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 11:50am
post #25 of 26
Originally Posted by madgeowens

why is op not smoothing regular butter cream instead of using rolled??

I can never get my regular buttercream to completely smooth and she wants that look. I'm afraid it'd be too bumpy for what she wants. I did recommend for her to go with fondant (it costs more, too icon_smile.gif ) So, we'll see!

KHalstead Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:11pm
post #26 of 26

have you tried the "melvira method" on a crusting buttercream?? Seriously, I would NEVER have smooth icing if not for this technique!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%