Today And Tomorrow Are The Big Days For Me. Help!!

Decorating By felin Updated 16 May 2010 , 11:04pm by JulieMN

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 7:19pm
post #1 of 52

Hi all,

I am definitely freaking out!

Ok, I am not going to be doing the Mehndi/Henna style cakes for my sis afterall.

I am making my first-ever Wedding cake because my sis asked me to make our family favorite for her wedding this Saturday (yes, 2 days from now...Yikes!). It is the Red Waldorf Astoria Cake. It is a very small (30 people) by-the-river wedding. She is a hippie-girl so normal tradition is not her. Anyhow, I'm going to top the cakes with fresh flowers. I hope...ha!
Ok, now for my questions:

1. How far in advance can I ice the cakes?
2. Any tips for making square/cube-like cakes?

My problems thus far:
Was thinking that I'd do 3 layers to each of the 3 cakes, but when pre-baking 3 of what-I-thought would be a total of 9 layers, last night, they were very shallow and 2 of them are baked up all tilted. Uggg!! At the shallowest point they are only like 1/4 inch and at the very highest point 3/4-1 inch. On the cake that baked up evenly, they look approx. 3/4 inch tall. Am I screwed?! I want them to look really good, so if I want to do my best to avoid having to go to the grocery store again, would y'all recommend that I make just 2, 4 layer cakes, perhaps?

3. How does one place fresh flowers on top of the cake without ruining the icing and without making the icing toxic?

I DON'T know what to do.

My icing will be the traditional French Icing that is used in this recipe. That part is a MUST for her. Unfortunately I have no experience in cake making so have no way of telling you how it compares to the typical Buttercream. I am going to be doing alot of praying.

Am planning on going to Costco to buy 2 bunches of their fresh flowers (I think their usually $14.99 per bunch). Unfortunately, I don't know what they have right now, only that that is what is affordable.

Ummmm, what else??? I just know that I had a couple of more questions that are not coming to me darnit.

I would just love your feedback and help. You all are so kind.

Thanks in advance!


51 replies
mamawrobin Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:01pm
post #2 of 52

Oh my..only 2 days and it's your first wedding cake? Breathe..first of all icon_lol.gif First of all you need to level your cakes. You should level each layer (all 9). Are you stacking this cake or making 3 individual cakes? Either way you need to level them.

Don't forget to crumb coat your cakes or you're going to have crumbs in your final coat of icing and that won't be very pretty for a wedding cake.

What kind of fresh flowers are you planning on using? Some are toxic and should NEVER be used on a cake. I'm like Ron Ben Israel, I NEVER use fresh flowers on cakes. Nothing wrong with it, it's just my policy.

Wish I could help more and if you have any more questions please feel free to ask. Good luck.

To answer you icing question you can ice those cakes NOW and I would get started since it's due day after tomorrow. To answer your other question..what size/shape pans did you bake the cake in? icon_confused.gif

kandyc10 Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:31pm
post #3 of 52

I agree with mamawrobin. If you can't make the flowers out of gumpaste or buttercream I would use a silk or something.....I will keep my fingers crossed for you....Your a brave soul....You can do it!!!

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:39pm
post #4 of 52

The pans that I got are disposable 8 inch square, but the darn things are rippled around edges which I didn't realize until last night.

Is using fresh flowers really that bad? No offense, but sister would flip out if I used silk or any flowers that were not real. She is a very natural kinda gal, so fake would be a tremendous let down to her.

Ok, so I'm glad to know that I can start icing now. Whew!! I just didn't want the cake to be dry or go bad or anything.

I was planning on trying to do 3 individual square cakes, similar to these (just no clue how many layers are in these cakes):

Guess I'd better go and get my behind in gear.

Will be back in a few minutes to check for any more responses.

Thank you so much!

j_arney Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:46pm
post #5 of 52

Ok, so you sound like a fairly new baker. Are you using baking pans that can stack inside each other? If so, your edges will not be completely straight and you'll have to trim them up. Also, it sounds like you're not putting enough batter into each pan. I fill mine about 1/2 to almost 2/3 full. That will give me a dome, but after it bakes I press it down, and also level with a cake saw. If you don't have one, I highly suggest it. It will remove one more variable that could ruin the cake. If you're using a Wilton/Fat Daddio/Magic Line, etc pan that is 2" tall and does not stack, then you're in good shape. Just keep baking and leveling. For a cube, you'd need 2 for a 4" diameter, 3 for a 6", etc. If you already have a bunch of 1" cakes, put them all into one tier so when you cut into it, it looks uniform (filling every 1"). Definitely start baking and icing NOW. It's not too early. Good luck! And if you run into any problems, please come back and let us know. We'll try to help you as much as we can. There are A LOT of good videos on YouTube that can walk you through the process.

kandyc10 Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:48pm
post #6 of 52

I would just make sure they are not toxic and you should be fine. I have never used disposable pans though.... sorry can't help you there. Are you covering with fondant or buttercream?

j_arney Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:50pm
post #7 of 52

Ok, we must have been replying at the same time. I just saw your update. Those pans are NOT going to get you to that beautiful Martha Stewart cake. You need straight edges. You can try with real baking pans from the grocery store, but if you want to eliminate some room for error I would go to a Michaels, ACMoore, etc and get the Wilton pans with straight edges. They're also 2" deep, so you'll get nice even 2" layers. While you're there, get the cake saw I mentioned in my previous post. That will also guarantee nice, level cakes. Those cakes are all about a flawless finish with a few flowers for color. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you will not get flawless cakes from disposable pans. GOOD LUCK!!! icon_smile.gif

tiggy2 Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:58pm
post #8 of 52

You also have to be careful that fresh flowers weren't sprayed with pesticides. Since you have no way of knowing that I wouldn't put them on the cake. I wouldn't want to be responsible for making someone sick.

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 8:59pm
post #9 of 52

I'd planned on trimming off all of the edges to get a straight edge. As far as the batter goes, I am just following the recipe that Mom has made 100 times over. Guess it's not the right portions for this type of cake.

I don't have the money to go and buy anything else. I'm sorta stuck with what I have, unfortunately.

Can anyone tell me how to put the flowers on top?


French Icing is what I'm using.

Here is a recipe very similar to mine:

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:10pm
post #10 of 52

Would there be a way to put the flowers on top of the cake without them actually touching the frosting. Like putting a wax paper barrier between them and the icing?

kandyc10 Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:11pm
post #11 of 52

If your going to trim the edges, I would then chill the cake before I iced it. I have found at times that if I removed the crumb it is harder to ice, specially if it is at room temp.

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:17pm
post #12 of 52

Oh, good idea!! I would not have thought of that. Thank you!

Feel free to keep the ideas coming if y'all don't mind. I am listening to all of them.

SuzieT Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:17pm
post #13 of 52

Hi - just a few tips I can pass on...

For leveling you need two blocks, plates anything the same height and at least as high as the best part of your cake. Place either side of your cakes and use them to guide your knife to give you a level surface.

For the flowers trim the stems and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Arrange as desired (posy) cut a circle of baking paper/wax paper with a small hole in the middle to sit under the flowers and on top of the cake (so it can't be seen or as close as possible). Try to keep as little contact as possible between the icing and the flowers.

Good Luck!

kandyc10 Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:20pm
post #14 of 52

If the top of the cake is going to be put back for their anniversary I would think it would be fine to use a barrier of some kind. At least they won't be cutting into wax paper and it getting into the slice of cake and someone eating it.

SuzieT Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:25pm
post #15 of 52

If they were going to cut the cake I would assume the paper would be removed with fresh flowers.

kandyc10 Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:28pm
post #16 of 52


mayo2222 Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:33pm
post #17 of 52

You can safely bet that costco uses pesticides on their flowers. My suggestion is to check with other florists in the area to find out of their flowers are pesticide free. If they say they are then let them know the flowers will be for a wedding cake and they should have food safe plastic picks (little water spikes) you can use.

The following are toxic flowers you will want to stay away from:

Calla lily
Arum lily
Bird of paradise
Pink carnation.

tiggy2 Posted 13 May 2010 , 9:35pm
post #18 of 52

This is a joke right?

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 13 May 2010 , 10:07pm
post #19 of 52

I don't think so, Tiggy! tapedshut.gif

costumeczar Posted 13 May 2010 , 10:14pm
post #20 of 52

Oh, wow. Okay, on the subject of fresh flowers, your safest bet would be to go to the grocery store and get some herbs to decorate the cake with. If you have any growing in your garden that would work, too. If your sister's a hippie then she'd probably like that kind of a look, and they won't be toxic. I have lavender growing in my garden , and it's blooming right now, so you can probably find some flowering herbs at a garden center if you're desperate.

mamawrobin Posted 13 May 2010 , 10:17pm
post #21 of 52
Originally Posted by tiggy2

This is a joke right?

No I don't think so. The op started a thread a week or two ago about making a henna design cake for her sister that was getting married on May 15. She changed her mind about doing the henna when she found out that it wasn't going to be something that she couldn't pull off as a newbie with so little time. I remember reading it but I can't remember the title of the thread.

felin Posted 13 May 2010 , 10:32pm
post #22 of 52

Nope, not a joke.

Worst case scenario, I make the cake as I would for any holiday and serve it that way.

Though I'd hoped to make it beautiful, I obviously didn't start early enough. Didn't realize that I should have. Frankly, I couldn't have anyhow as I had migraines 6 days straight including yesterday. Today is the first migraine-free day in almost a week.

Thank God!!

I feel a bit like an idiot, here, but it is my first time AND, thank God my sister will be understanding.
I am a perfectionist so my worst enemy is me. ha.

Guess I'll just do the best that I can with the info and time that I have.

Thanks so much to all who were kind enough to offer advice and help. It is greatly appreciated.

I will attempt my hand at 2, possibly 3 individual Square, cube-like cakes.


mamawrobin Posted 13 May 2010 , 10:44pm
post #23 of 52

You certainly have the right attitude. thumbs_up.gif Good luck to you and let us know how everything turns out. thumbs_up.gif

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 13 May 2010 , 11:12pm
post #24 of 52

I think you'll be able to do what you're looking to do in 2 days. If I remember correctly, the Martha cakes aren't "decorated" in any way...just smoothed frosting with real flowers on top. The trick will be in getting your cubes cut/trimmed perfectly. And having 4 cut sides, I would absolutely pipe the frosting on for the crumb coat and then SLOWLY and GENTLY smooth it on. Otherwise, without the "support" of the baked edge, if you just use a spatula to apply the frosting, I can definitely see the cakes tearing/crumbling as you try to apply it. Piping the icing on will "lay" the icing on the cake, rather than "pushing" it on with a spatula.

For a barrier between the flowers and the cake, I believe the description of the Martha cake said they laid acetate on top of the cakes before applying the flowers. You could do the same thing, as the flowers (and acetate) would have to be removed before cutting the cake anyway.

I don't remember what type of frosting you said you're using, but I would suggest something that crusts so you can get the smoothness of the Martha cakes. Buttercream works great for this. (See the Viva paper towel method on here for how to get it smooth.) If you're wanting cream cheese frosting, Edna has a great crusting recipe. I'm sure it's on here somewhere, but I never have much luck finding recipes on here using "search." icon_rolleyes.gif

Also, if you want to "pretty up" the bottoms of the cakes, I'd use a ribbon. It's much faster than piping on a border and I think would balance out the flowers on top nicely. Of course, if you are able to get the bottoms even and smooth with just frosting, there's no need to use the ribbon (although I still think it would look nice).

Get started right away, don't rush yourself, and you should be fine. Good luck to you!! thumbs_up.gif

felin Posted 14 May 2010 , 12:46am
post #25 of 52

Thank you so much for the encouragement that you all have given.

Don't know what you guys would think of this gals technique, but these short tutorials on YouTube are what I found to show me how to build and frost a square cake.

The tutorial is done in parts:

JanelleH Posted 14 May 2010 , 1:30am
post #26 of 52

1) If you need to use the layers you already have baked, just level them with a knife. Stack them and trim the edges; use a knife with a long blade, like a cake or bread knife. Apply crumb coat - I'd pipe on the icing and then smooth, as JohnnyCakes suggested. Chill, then ice.

2) If you don't have acetate sheets like Martha Stewart suggests, just find something similar. A sheet of laminating paper folded back on itself then trimmed to size would be a nice thick layer. One of those plastic page protectors out of a three ring binder would also work. If you don't have those, wax paper would work, just make sure you don't puncture it when you lay on the flowers. I'd use a blob of icing or two to stick the main stem of the flowers to the cake so they don't go sliding during transport.[/quote]

KayMc Posted 14 May 2010 , 2:21am
post #27 of 52

I can't wait to see the pictures of your cakes. You have a great attitude, and are a brave woman! I hope your sister appreciates all your efforts! Keep praying!!

jammjenks Posted 14 May 2010 , 3:07am
post #28 of 52
Originally Posted by KayMc

I can't wait to see the pictures of your cakes. You have a great attitude, and are a brave woman! I hope your sister appreciates all your efforts! Keep praying!!

Yes, I too am anxious to see the end result. icon_smile.gif

felin Posted 14 May 2010 , 4:04am
post #29 of 52

Can I keep the crumb coat in frig overnight so that I can go to bed? ha.

If so, how should I store it?


KayMc Posted 14 May 2010 , 4:27am
post #30 of 52

I kept my cake in the fridge overnite when it had the crumb coating on it. I used foil to keep the air out.

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