Wedding Cake Questions

Decorating By katheros Updated 6 Feb 2011 , 4:34pm by DianeLM

katheros Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 5:11pm
post #1 of 10

My cousin just asked me to make her wedding cake for her wedding in August. Now, I know I have a lot of time, but since I'm going to have to travel to Colorado to do it (I'm in Indiana), I'd rather have a plan in place as soon as possible. It will be my first wedding cake. They're inviting about 400 people, and I know all of them won't come, but that's still a lot of people.

She has decided she only wants a 3 tierd cake, and a 12" inch round is the absolute largest she thinks she wants to go. She was thinking of just having sheet cakes make up the rest of the cake servings.

I've read suggestions on doing 6" tiers, with a cake board at 3" inches to double the servings of the cake. Has anyone done this, and does it make an absurdly large cake? I'm having trouble picturing it in my head.

She's also said, if I'm willling to make the sheet cakes, she'd love it. But if I feel it's too much, she'd be willing to order them from somewhere. Should I think about this possibillity? I know plain frosted sheet cakes shouldn't take too much time.

I've also contemplated making a 14" bottom tier, and swearing to her that it's 12 inches. Although it is her wedding cake, and I'd probably feel horribly guilty.

I told her I'd make the cake as her wedding present, but after finding out that she's invited so many, would it be out of line to ask her to pay for the cost of the sheet cakes? I haven't actually done the math to see how much it would be out of pocket though, so maybe it's not as much as I'm imagining.

Last question, is the Wilton wedding cale serving chart and accurate representation of how many servings we'll actually get? And, why does a 2-layer 12x18 sheet cake serve 98, but a 3" 12x18 serve 108?

Sorry for so many questions, I just have a lot going through my mind right now. Thank you in advance!

9 replies
indydebi Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 5:28pm
post #2 of 10

She only wants 3 tiers with the bottom as a 12". That means you are looking at a 6/9/12? which serves 12/32/56 = 100 servings, so you're looking at 300 servings in sheet cakes.

a double layer 12x18, when cut in industry standard 1x2x4 = 108 servings, so you will need three of these (6 of the 12x18's). these are heavy so be sure to get really sturdy boards.

Are you driving from indiana to colorado with the cakes? or baking them there? If driving, do you have a vehicle with enough surface space for three 12x18 sheets AND a 3 tier cake AND all of your luggage?

If they invited about 400 people, then she can reasonably expect about 250 (maybe 300 if she's popular) to show up, so that eliminates at least one of the sheet cakes. Are you the only family member from out of state or are there others? If so, how many? The expected headcount can really be reduced if a significant number of relatives are from out of state.

DianeLM Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 5:34pm
post #3 of 10

Okay, first of all, the Wilton serving chart discrepancy is truly bizarre! Only the sheet cake servings differ. All the other shapes and sizes are the same on both charts.

This explanation is on BOTH serving charts: "Serving amounts are based on wedding-sized portions of approximately 1 x 2 in. Cakes from 3 to 6 in. high, baked in the same size pan, would yield the same number of servings because they follow the same pattern of cutting." (emphasis mine) You're on your own with that one! icon_confused.gif

How did your cousin come up with 12" as her max size? Does she have a specific cake plate she wants to use? Or a particular table to display the cake on? Otherwise, it sounds arbitrary. She may be surprised to see how small a 12" base, 3-tier cake is.

I've never heard of the "6-inch tier to double the serving sizes" configuration. I don't think it would look bad since tall skinny cakes are in fashion right now, but everyone will be getting a 3-inch piece of cake rather than the traditional 4-inch piece.

You'd best figure out your expenses - including your time! - in order to determine if and how much you want to be compensated. We never think a cake will take as long as it usually does. AMIRITE? icon_wink.gif And please resist the temptation to make a beautiful, fancy 4 layer wedding cake and ugly, plain 2 layer sheet cakes. Everyone should believe they got a piece of the WEDDING CAKE, not the leftovers in the kitchen. icon_smile.gif

Also keep in mind the possibility that cakes provided by another baker may taste like crap. Yet, everyone will know YOU were the one who made the wedding cake! I realize you'll be a thousand miles from home, but how important is preserving your rep?

Good luck!

katheros Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 6:27pm
post #4 of 10

I'm not really sure why she wants such a small cake, but when I mentioned going bigger, she didn't really like the idea of it. She wants it covered in fondant, basically plain with fondant or gum paste flowers. So, it shouldn't be too hard to make the sheet cakes look like the cake. She wants the cake chocolate and the sheets vanilla, but doesn't like the idea of mixing the flavors on a bigger cake.

I'd go out there early and make the cakes. So I'd "just" have to transport my supplies (the cakes may take up less room!). icon_biggrin.gif

I'm not sure how many people are from out of town. I do know my uncle (her father) is planning the week after as a family reunion/vacation for all her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. But, that only makes up about 30-40 of us.

Karen421 Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 9:24pm
post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by katheros

I'd go out there early and make the cakes. So I'd "just" have to transport my supplies (the cakes may take up less room!). icon_biggrin.gif

LOL Totally understand!!! thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

funcakes Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 2:20am
post #6 of 10

I hate to be a debbie downer, but having done several wedding cakes for family and friends I know how much time it takes to make these things as a hobby baker.
I am not sure the best idea is for your first wedding cake to be for 400 people. If you really want to do this I think if I were you I would try my very best to get some family/friends who like to bake to help you out. They don't have to do the actual decorating, but if you have someone else to set out the ingredients, maybe measure. Watch the mixer while making all the frosting, stand at the sink washing things as you use them, cleaning counters, emptying garbage, keeping track of the timers-it may be a better experience for you. I have made a large wedding cake, luckily each tier was displayed on its own cake stand so I didn't have to stack them. My husband was in the kitchen the whole time just fetching things and washing up. I could never have done it without him.
Besides the ingredients remember to consider the other expenses. Do you have all those cake pans or will you need to buy them all? And the dowels,cake boards, separators, topper. Do you need to buy a large leveler for torting the kitchen cakes as well as the cake tiers? Will you need to make gumpaste flowers?
It is good you are thinking about it now, it will take a lot of planning.
Keep us posted on how you are doing-we are rooting for you.

One more thing-don't be shy about asking others to help. They will think it is fun. I have made 150,175 cupcakes at a time for friends parties. A woman I know offers to help. She eagerly comes over to help frost anytime a mutual friend asks for cupcakes. She calls herself-the frosting fairy. We have a great time.

indydebi Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 2:35am
post #7 of 10

and be sure the oven you're going to use is big enough to hold your big pans.

When I catered, I'd do a couple of events a year for my sister's church. They had a very nice kitchen .... not commercial, but very nice for a small church .... but their ovens were pretty much useless to me due to size.

susieqhomemaker Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 3:06am
post #8 of 10

I don't have any advice, but I was just wondering, would there be a difference in how you baked the cakes due to altitude? Something to consider...

katheros Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 3:26am
post #9 of 10

Thanks for the advice! I Know it's a big undertaking, but I really would like to make the cake for her. She didn't ask me to save money (her parents would happily pay me whatever I asked), but because she thought it would make the cake more special.

I didn't even think about the high altitude. Thanks! Although, after talking with my mom, I think I may make the cakes and take them frozen there. We're going to caravan it out, so we'll have two cars to stuff full. I know my mom will happily help me out, if I need it. She can at least get the cakes ready for the fondant.

I'm planning on making the fondant, buttercream, and decorations as far ahead of time as possible. It seems like my family (my DH included) gets much more helpful when I have a cake to make. icon_smile.gif

DianeLM Posted 6 Feb 2011 , 4:34pm
post #10 of 10

Probably wouldn't hurt to find out where the closest cake supply and craft stores are in the area just in case you have an emergency.

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