This is mainly a Woe is me vent, so read on or turn back.
I am doing a wedding cake for a friend in 4 weeks and now I'm nervous. I made the bridal shower cake for this weekend as a sample cake. I was happy with the end result but getting to that point was a total pain!
I baked on Tuesday night (8" rounds), wrapped them in plastic wrap and put in freezer. Maybe the big problem was caused by only wrapping in the plastic. I usually wrap in foil as well, but they were only going to be frozen for a short time. I probably didn't even need to freeze them. Anyway, I let them thaw all day on Thursday and started on them Thursday evening after work. The cake was just too moist and the frosting was not going on well. I scraped it off twice before I decided to totally restart. Rebaked, made new frosting. I did not want to give that cake to my friend even if I re-iced it, I had touched it so much checking it for moisture.
Lucky for me they decided to pick it up on Sunday rather than Saturday. I started Sat morning and I timed myself....7 HOURS to make frosting and finish an 8" round Hat Box style cake, BC with fondant top and accents. I had 3 blow outs, which thankfully, I was able to fix. But sheeesh, 7 hours! Thats not unusual, of course, most of my cakes take forever, but now Im getting stressed over the wedding cake, its 5 tiers. Thanks for listening, now Im going to post questions about how to go about this wedding cake.
I am a hobbyist and I recently did a 5-tier cake and I'll be honest...it was way too much for me. I managed to deliver it on time and it was very pretty but it was still way too much cake for me to take on and I know I could have done better.
My timeline for a Friday night wedding was: gumpaste flowers a couple of weeks ahead so they were ready; baked and froze the weekend before; Wednesday night tinted fondant and made buttercream and fillings; cakes out of the freezer Thursday am; level, fill and crumbcoat Thursday night; took Friday off work so I'd have all day to cover in fondant and decorate. SO not enough time. Just the space that that much cake takes up was really hard to manage.
I'm not trying to discourage you at all. I just want to warn you that a cake that size can be completely overwhelming and I hope that you may learn from my hard lesson and plan better than I did . If I were to do it again (which I don't think I will), I would bump everything except the baking up a day and devote 2 WHOLE days to cover and decorate.
Good luck! Oh, and your hat box cake came out lovely!
I don't freeze my cakes, so my timeline for a Saturday wedding is usually:
take Thursday and Friday off work
bake all layers on Thursday
make frosting and decorate cakes all day Friday
deliver on Saturday
The biggest cake I did was 6 sheet cakes (different flavored cake and frosting) and a 3 tier faux wedding cake (top tier real cake), and I still followed this timeline.
I looked at your entire gallery before posting this answer. I am not that great, but I have impeccable taste. Your work is beyond reproach. You are just having a bad day. Coulda been humidity or the eggs you used or who knows what. You will do fine.
I dont know what went wrong... but from experience I know each cake I make gets better- even after the disaster cakes, so dont lose hope. Just note down what went wrong so the next cake will be amazing!
Let me reassure you on what you did right and what did NOT contribute to the problem.
I wrap my cakes in one single layer of (commercial grade) saran wrap and freeze them all the time. I never use foil. I have good results.
I leave them still wrapped in the saran while they thaw on the counter.
I never let them thaw all the way before working with them. The frozen moisture inside the saran will thaw and turn to "liquid", making the cake almost TOO moist to work with. Depending on the size of the cakes, I let them thaw anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes before I unwrap them, finalize the leveling if needed, tort, and put on the crumb coat.
Cakes are not like hamburger or chicken .... they don't need "all day" to thaw.
Only after the cake is crumb coated do I want it to totally thaw and get to room temp, so the icing will crust properly. I can usually crumb coat in the morning, and do the final icing in the afternoon.
I've had some cakes that after wrapped over night have been too moist. I just let them sit out on the air for 15-30 mins, depending on how moist they are. If the sides are really moist icing doesn't like to stick. But just letting the air dry the outsides (the insides will still be fine) helps alot for me.
Thank you for the words of encouragement and info on freezing. I will let my cakes sit longer before I begin frosting them. And I think part of the problem was the humidity in my kitchen. I had a pot of water heating on the stove to use for my hot spatulas and I noticed it steamed up my windows. I have to be careful with that. I am calculating my plan of attack on this wedding cake so I can prepare as much in advance as possible. I will be taking 2 days off to make this cake. Hopefully the kitchen angels will be watching over me and it will go smoothly.