My close friend is getting married, and I am making her wedding cake. I have made cakes before up to 3 tiers, but I am very nervous about pulling off this big one. I want it to be perfect for her!
I am making the cake for 250 servings. She is going to save the top layer, so no servings will come from that.
Will it need to be 5 or 6 tiers?
What size pans do you recommend?
Do you have tips on transporting and setting up a cake that large?
How long should I give myself to assemble it at the reception hall that day?
Do you have tips for putting fresh flowers (red roses) on a cake (BC icing)?
I seriously need all the help I can get! Thank you so much!
BTW, I am doing this for free. We are close friends, and I know no one else would trust someone who's never done this before to do their wedding cake.
That's a large cake for your first wedding cake.
One thing you may want to consider is to make a 3 tier, since you're comfortable with that size cake, and make additional "kitchen" cakes for the extra servings you need.
Kitchen cakes are just plain iced tiers that are kept in the kitchen of the venue and are served along with the wedding cake that is on display. If you make the kitchen cakes the same height and flavor as the wedding cake everyone's slice will look the same.
I see you just joined today...there are hundreds of very helpful threads on this site if you look under the "cake decorating" and "how do I" forums you'll find a lot of valuable information.
I just noticed something totally unrelated to your post/questions but I thought it was pretty interesting.
Your "join date" is Aug 4, 2011, but your first post is dated Aug 3, 2011....how is that even possible?
I'm starting to hear the theme from The Twilight Zone in my head.
I know it's a HUGE first wedding cake! I like the idea of keeping extra servings in the kitchen, but she kind of has her heart set on a big, big cake. Thankfully, the design will be pretty simple, so it's really just the construction that I'm concerned about.
For pan sizes, I'm thinking about doing this:
20 inches (145 servings)
16 inches (90 servings)
12 inches (45 servings)
8 inces (15 servings)
6 inches (0 servings, to be saved)
That would make more than enough, according to earlene's cake serving chart. That doesn't sound right, though. Does a 12-inch cake really serve 45? And a 20-inch serves 145?!
Also, I had no idea I was a time-traveler, but thanks for bringing it to my attention! Weird, right?
That's a LOT of cake. lol I would use Wilton's chart, it's the industry standard for wedding cake servings, which means the venue will most likely cut the cake using those guidelines.
Can you fit a 20" pan in your oven? I can't.
Here's a helpful chart.
I can't answer your specific questions, but this past December, I made the biggest cake I have ever done. It was 5 tiers, served something like 218, for a wedding. I made a lot of mistakes and learned a few things that might be helpful to you .
Allow yourself plenty of time! I absolutely can't stress this enough! If the wedding is on Saturday, make it your goal to have the cake ready for transport before you go to bed on Friday. Mine was for a Friday wedding. The flowers were done well in advance. I baked and froze a week ahead (FYI, it took 11 hours over the course of 2 days to bake...you do have somewhere to freeze all this cake, right?); I made all my BC on Wednesday night; on Thursday night I trimmed, filled, and crumbcoated my cakes. I had taken Friday off work; all that was left was to cover in fondant, prep for stacking and decorate. NOT ENOUGH TIME! I should have backed everything up a day.
One of the things that was really difficult is that I hadn't predicted just how much SPACE that much cake takes to work on. Do you have space to be working on 5 tiers of cake? If not, figure that out ahead of time. Borrow folding tables if necessary.
16", 14", 12", 10", 8" rounds will serve 296 altogether (Wilton Wedding servings); 272 without the top 8 inch cake.
16", 14", 12", 10", 6" rounds will serve 284 altogether; still 272 without the top 6 inch cake if the bride prefers a 6 inch instead of an 8". HTH
be sure to see if those large pans will fit in your oven!!
I go by Earlenes, just make sure that you include cutting instructions to get that many servings. Also, you could do a 6, 9,12, 15, 18 to get 270 minus 8 for the top cake. That way you have a smaller base to work with.
Also, I reccomomend that you NOT transport fully constructed and definitely invest in some sort of plate system-sps, stress free or something similar.
my experience: if 250 guests are invited, 60% will probably show up (unless it's a travelers wedding!) of those who do attend, not everyone will eat cake...generally 10% have dietary restrictions due to diets or diabetes. I'm not saying make a cake for 125 people...just saying that there are some realities.
Elcee is spot on. You have no idea how much room a wedding cake preparation can take in your entire home. Be prepared to have emptied your refrigerator and freezer, cleared every bit of counter and table space in the kitchen, dining room and beyond. Dont even think about cooking for yourself the week before the wedding...you'll be eating out just because there will be no room. (after my third wedding cake, I found it cheaper to build a separate dedicated kitchen when I figured how often I had to eat out!)
MAKE SURE YOUR PANS FIT YOUR OVEN IMMEDIATELY
Have your cake boards, cake drum, cake stand ready in advance.
Invest in the single plate system for stacking. It's fail proof. There's lots of postings about them along with instructional videos on line.
the wonderful thing about SPS is that you can elevate each tier to allow space for the roses in between layers. It's like a pretty version of an erector set.
just think of it as making 4 or five separate cakes that will be carted to the venue and then put on top of each other. I put the SPS on each tier prior to transport and just stack when I get there.
There's lot of debate about real flowers on a wedding cake. If you go that route, it's a good idea to lay a circle of waxed or parchment paper under the flowers. ALL florist flowers have pesticides. Consider buying ready made gumpaste roses online to save you time unless you are good at them. I made 50 gumpaste roses to put between the tiers of the last 4 tiered cake I made.
Most of all take a deep breath and know that you can do this. Your friend wouldn't have asked you to do this very special task if she didn't have faith in you....Best of luck and god speed.
I guess I'm going to be the big downer and say what I (after last weekend) know to be the truth. If you have NEVER done a cake over 3 tiers, please rethink this! The cake you are talking about is HUGE. And HEAVY! Are you planning on stacking at the venue? Can you? What is your delivery set up? Is it a thousand degrees outside like it's been where I live? Is this going to be inside or outside? How far is the venue? What's the drive like?
If you have access to a commercial kitchen and refrigerator then I would use it.. because if you don't, you will need every inch of space you've got going in your house. This cake will take over your life, believe me.
I had a topsy-turvy 4-tier wedding cake to do. No biggie, right. Well look at my photos and you'll see what happened (first one in the gallery). I had what I thought was good support too--never had any problems with delivery either.
Your friend may 'want' the big cake drama, but for your own sanity, I would tell her that testing your expertise on HER wedding cake would probably not be the best idea. You can still make a big cake...but one that huge is asking for trouble IMO...especially if you've never done it before. There's nothing wrong with kitchen cakes AND you can always put your cake on a big stand and have it look taller. Shoot, you might even think about doing the bottom tiers as dummies. Much easier to transport...no baking and freezing! And still use the kitchen cakes. Wish I had done that!
carmijok has always been smarter than I. but then she's a far better cake than I am too. On reconsideration, you should follow her advice. You tackle a cake that big and you'll be in no condition to attend the wedding of your best friend...even if the cake is a success.
My advice is to make a schedule and stick to it! It WILL take over your life. Allow plenty of time to make it. If you are making anything delicate, like GP roses, make extra as you might end up breaking some. Space is a big one. Make extra space in your kitchen, living room, fridge, etc. Maybe your friend might consider satellite cakes with a big 3 or 4 tier in the middle. Clean dirty dishes as you go. Having a clean organized work station helps alot. No rummaging and going crazy looking for stuff! One more thing...invest in a good strong coffee and probably an inflatable air mattress as you will probably end up sleeping in the kitchen. LOL! Most of all, have fun and try to relax. HTH