Newbie With Wedding Cake Questions

Decorating By Chemom Updated 2 May 2011 , 3:41pm by rmurphy84

Chemom Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 1:08pm
post #1 of 13

I am a newbie here. I have been making fun cakes for my childrens' birthdays for years, but now I have to get serious and make my daughter's wedding cake in three weeks. I have a few questions to ask all of you experts. I have done a good bit of research and reading, but am getting a bit confused, so please help if you can.

The plan is to have 3 tiers on the bottom: 12 in, 10 in, 8 in, all just stacked, then a set of ivory pillars holding up the top 6 in tier, which will be a gluten free cake. We have gotten the cake topper made, which consists of silk hydrangeas in blue and purple, with ivory silk roses. There are also several silk hydrangeas for me to lay down the sides of the lower 3 tiers. My daughter wants edible pearls around the middle of each tier, and some type of simple border around the base of each.


1. I have ordered bubble tea straws to use as supports for the bottom tiers. Do I put each tier on a cardboard round when I stack the tiers? If so, I have read that the Wilton cardboard will disintegrate from the moisture in the cake, so what do I use?

2. Do I use a separator plate on the top of that 8 inch plate to hold the pillars? I know I will use a separator plate to hold up the 6 inch plate. Oh, and how tall should those pillars be?

3. I don't have much experience with buttercream (my favorite thing for covering cakes has been fondant, but I've also played with modeling chocolate), so which recipe do I use for the buttercream (there are so many out there icon_eek.gif and I don't know if I need "crusting" or not?) My daughter wants the buttercream ivory, not white. How do I do that (wondering if pure butter will achieve that effect?)

4. Should I wait and assemble the entire cake at the reception site, or do I do that at home? And with the wedding at 11 a.m. on a Saturday, when do I take the cake over - Thursday or Friday? And does it have to be refrigerated?

5. Any suggestions for a simple but elegant border to use?

Thank you.

12 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 1:31pm
post #2 of 13

1.I use foamcore between tiers. Buy the foamcore at the craft store, cut the rounds with a box cutter, cover the cut boards with press and seal wrap. It won't come up when the cake is cut. For the bottom board that the whole cake sits on, use several thicknesses of foamcore, glued together, and cover with fondant (glue a ribbon around the edge) or cover with fanci-foil. I use Wilton's plastic dowels, not bubble straws, but that's just personal preference and the fact that the plastic dowels are available at the craft store.

2.Either use push-through pillars and just a 6" plate, or use two plates with the pillars attached to the plates, and dowels in the tier below the separator plate. The height of the pillars is a personal preference.

3.I use Indydebi's recipe. If there's any chance of the cake being exposed to heat or humidity, then her recipe stands up better to heat than buttercream with butter in it. You can make any buttercream ivory by adding brown vanilla rather than clear vanilla to it. If that's not ivory enough, they make ivory icing color. About crusting vs. non crusting, how are you planning to smooth it?

4.If you're using bubble straws, I'd assemble on site. Also if you're not used to driving with a tall cake, it's better not to practice for the first time with your daughter's wedding cake. And you don't have to mess with a center dowel if you're stacking there. Refrigeration will depend on your recipes, fillings, etc. You should ask the reception site when you can bring the cake. They may have other events scheduled and you don't want anyone messing with your cake. Personally, I'd deliver the cake about 8 am Saturday...assuming an hour for setup and piping the borders, that would give you two hours to get home and dressed, and back to the wedding.

5.A small shell border is easy to do, or a bead border would look nice could brush it with pearl dust to go with the pearls around the middle of the cake.

CWR41 Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 2:00pm
post #3 of 13

Based on your questions, it sounds like you've never made a tiered cake before. I'd suggest making one before attempting a wedding cake.

kakeladi Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 3:47pm
post #4 of 13

............Do I put each tier on a cardboard round when I stack the tiers? ... read that the Wilton cardboard will disintegrate from the moisture in the cake, so what do I use?

OH MY!! Where oh where did you get such MISinformation?? If that were true then 99.9% of the wedding cakes made would have collapsed/fallen! icon_sad.gif Yes you put the cake on a cakeboard. I don't like to use foamcore because I have *never* been able to cut it smooth and nice icon_sad.gif I use those every-day, run of the mill, plain, cardboard cakeboards. I cover them with freezer paper - usually just on the top; glue it down with Elmer's white glue lightly smeared all around the board.
Do not use Wilton's fancy, lace printed ones with scolloped edges. Not because there is anything wrong with them (I don't like the look) but because those edges will show. You want a cake board the same size as the cake - ie: 8" board under the 8" cake etc.

....... I don't have much experience with buttercream ... which recipe do I use ....don't know if I need "crusting" or not? ... wants ...ivory, not white. How do I do that.....

I suggest you use a 'crusting' icing recipe. That means you want less 'fat' in it. (The more fat used the less it will crust.) I haven't use IndyDebi's so can't say but there is one called '2 of everything' that is great. It does not cust but all you have to do is cut down on the amount of Crisco used and it will. (Leave the butter amount the same.) Whichever recipe you use add *at least 1Tablespoon*, (even better - 2 ) of flavoring you want. If using 'real, brown' vanilla does not give you the shade of ivory you want add just the smallest, tinyest dot of yellow &/or brown (paste or gel) food coloring.

......assemble the entire cake at the reception site, or ... at home? at 11 a.m. on a Saturday, when do I take the cake over - Thursday or Friday? And does it have to be refrigerated? ...

I would wait until Friday to set up the cake - as late in the day as you can. If you feel safe carrying it already stacked (it will be heavy!) you can put those tiers together at home then add the top after it is in place at the reception.
It should not need refrigeration unless the filling does.
You can be making those edible pearls now. If you go to Earlene Moore's website she shows how to make them so they are all the same size. If you can't find that info let me know.

Chemom Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 8:08pm
post #5 of 13

Thank you all so much for the help.

IF I had the time, I would make a practice cake. It's a long story, but I'm in the middle of getting our house ready to sell, while dh is working a new job 5 states away, while taking care of 5 children, and helping dd plan wedding. So, not much time. I'm really not worried about the tiers as I have done rather tall character cakes over the years. I had thought about the suggestion to put the bottom 3 together at home, and then add top on site. Makes sense to me. Dh or oldest son will come along to carry cake. I will have to set it up late Friday because we're doing pictures before the wedding on Saturday morning.

I had planned to use "Melvira's Method" for smoothing the icing. I will follow suggestions to cut back on the fat then.

I have already ordered edible pearls. I assume I attach those with royal icing.

I cannot honestly remember where I read that about the Wilton cake boards, but I have freezer paper here already, so I will just go that route.

Thanks for all of the help. I really do appreciate it. icon_biggrin.gif

cashley Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 8:31pm
post #6 of 13

You said the top tier was gluten free. I am just making sure that you know you have to sterilize all the tools and not let it come in contact with anything or you will contaminate the gluten free cake.

Chemom Posted 1 May 2011 , 4:47am
post #7 of 13

Yes, I've been cooking and baking G Free for our dd for about 6 months now, so I'm aware of the cross contamination issue. But thank you.

Texas_Rose Posted 1 May 2011 , 4:53am
post #8 of 13

Indy's recipe will crust without cutting down on the fat. I use it and the Melvira method whenever I make a buttercream cake.

Good luck with the cake! I think it's amazing that you're taking it on when you've got so many other things going on, but you can do it, Supermom icon_biggrin.gif

Chemom Posted 1 May 2011 , 12:36pm
post #9 of 13

Alright then, I've got a plan. Thanks so very much!

leah_s Posted 1 May 2011 , 2:42pm
post #10 of 13

May I also suggest that you order SPS as your support system? It really will take a lot of stress out of the cake assembly. To create the separation you'd order the multi-piece set of legs and for the stacked portion the regular 4" gc-4S legs.

kearniesue Posted 1 May 2011 , 3:30pm
post #11 of 13

Yes, SPS is the way to go. I used the SPS for the first time this weekend, and it was soo easy and my cake turned out great. Maybe it's just me, but I always have a problem when I use straws instead.

Good luck!

leah_s Posted 1 May 2011 , 3:55pm
post #12 of 13

Welcome to the SPS family kearniesue!

rmurphy84 Posted 2 May 2011 , 3:41pm
post #13 of 13

What is SPS?


Nevermind, figured out that it's Single Plate Separator (SPS) system

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