First Wedding Cake - In Over My Head?

Decorating By debbief Updated 4 Oct 2011 , 4:35pm by debbief

debbief Posted 29 Aug 2011 , 9:37pm
post #1 of 33

Hi CCrs, so sorry this is quite long. Im making my first wedding cake for my niece Oct. 2nd. Ive been planning this for almost a year now and Ive put a lot of thought into it. Ive also done tons of research to hopefully make sure I can handle such a big task. Although Im extremely nervous, I feel like Ive done my homework and I should be able to pull it off.

Well, now that its getting close, 5 weeks away, I feel panic setting in. I would like to explain what Im attempting and how, and Im really hoping anyone with experience will jump in with any advice. Also, if Im on the wrong track with any of the steps or procedures, I would love it if someone would please set me straight. I know, Im asking a lot, but this is such a big deal for me and I know you all can help. It would be such a relief to know if Im in over my head or if I can actually make this plan happen.

So heres the plan:

The cake needs to feed 200. Id like to do 14 (white with lemon filling), 12 (chocolate with raspberry or bavarian filling), 10 (coconut with buttercream filling), 8& 6 (carrot with cream cheese filling) rounds. Ill ice all tiers with ganache and cover in fondant. I know thats a lot of flavors, but thats what my niece requested. BUT, this is a gift so I do have some say icon_wink.gif

I ordered SPS for stacking. Ive never used it before (usually use bubble tea straws and love them), but my goal is STABILITY. Ive watched videos and read leah_s instructions and I think Ive got it down. Ive opted for the longer pillars and plan to cut to length for two reasons (1) I want a couple tiers to have gaps in between so I can fill with gumpaste roses (2) I dont want to have to worry about making my tiers exactly 4.

I work full time so I plan to start baking next week, wrap the layers well and freeze. Ill spend each evening during the week before the wedding making the fondant, buttercream and ganache.

The wedding is on Sun. and I plan to take Fri. off. So I will start thawing the layers Thurs. evening. That will give me all day/evening Fri. and Sat. to fill, ice and decorate. Ive started the gumpaste roses but really just have a few practice roses done. So I need to get busy making those during the evenings and weekends when Im not baking.

Ill stack the 14 and 12 before I deliver. I will stack the remaining tiers on site since it will probably be pretty heavy and I dont know how well it will travel since Im going to be leaving the gaps between the 12 & 10 and 10 & 8 tiers.

One more thingIll be doing stenciling with royal icing on a couple tiers. Ive never done it before, but again, Ive done a lot of research. I definitely plan to practice the technique before actually attempting it. If it doesnt work out, Ill do something different for those layers.

Im sure I left some of the details out but I didnt want to make this so long that nobody would want to read it icon_redface.gif . Anything major Im not thinking about? Heres the design I came up with. In theory, I think its do-able, but then when I look at the design, it looks so overwhelming. THANK YOU to anyone who would like to give me some input.

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2140141

32 replies
bakencake Posted 29 Aug 2011 , 10:46pm
post #2 of 33

breath! I just looked at your other cakes and they are really good so as far ability you got it so don't worry about that. Looks like you have a great plan but since the day is coming you might have "cold feet". I would finish the roses just to get them out of the way now since you have time other than that you have everything covered

TinkerCakes Posted 29 Aug 2011 , 11:34pm
post #3 of 33

Based on your other cakes.....piece of cake!! icon_smile.gif I'm sure it will be awesome!! Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

carmijok Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:03am
post #4 of 33

You have a great plan and I hope everything goes the way you want it to. Just plan on everything taking a lot longer than you're thinking! And honestly...I'd rethink stenciling. Especially if you've never done it before and you plan on stacking the tiers at the location...plus doing dark purple on white...one mistake and yikes! My opinion.

This is going to be an extremely heavy cake so you are wise to take it in sections. Keep your car as cold as possible!

Good luck and post your pics! thumbs_up.gif

Candice56 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:10am
post #5 of 33

I wish you good luck and all turns out as you hope it will.

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:16am
post #6 of 33

Thanks all for taking the time to read my book icon_lol.gif and thanks for the vote of confidence. Yes I think "cold feet" is exactly what is happening!

I think I'll try the stenciling on a practice cake and just see what I'm in for. But I never thought about what might happen when stacking after it sets. Hopefully I won't crack it. But I already bought a bunch of stencils and that's one of the design features my niece requested...so we'll see. Thank you carmijok for bringing that little detail to my attention. Exactly the king of feedback what I was hoping for.

I definately have my work cut out for me icon_smile.gif

cathyscakes Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:17am
post #7 of 33

The stenciling part scares me too. I did a music themed cake and stenciled notes on a fondant ribbon in black, what a nightmare, it kept running under the stencil, I can only imagine how hard it would be on the actual cake if I would have made a mistake, its imposible with a dark color to get it off, if anyone knows how, let me know. I'd really practice the stenciling, I had never done it before.

ajwonka Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:28am
post #8 of 33

You'll be fine! Great decision to use sps! My first stencil attempt sucked so you may just want to practice over and over now so you have time for new plan if you change your mind. Just remember all of your past successes! You can do it!

Elcee Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 12:42am
post #9 of 33

I think there were technical difficulties with my reply, this is my 2nd try icon_smile.gif.

I think your planning and timeline are good. One thing I'd add for you to think about is SPACE. I made a wedding cake the same size and that's one of the areas I had a hard time with. I hadn't anticipated just how much SPACE a cake that size requires. Once you start filling, icing and decorating, you need enough table/counter space to hold all the tiers PLUS working space PLUS an area big enough to roll out a 22-23" round sheet of fondant. If you need to borrow tables, now's the time to think about it.

I'm sure you'll do fine and I look forward to pictures. thumbs_up.gif

Mexx Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:13am
post #10 of 33

It's a beautiful design. The only suggestion I have is to get the roses (there seem to be a lot of them) made and out of the way and to practice the stencilling so that you've got it mastered. Best of luck.

MyDiwa Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:20am
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee

One thing I'd add for you to think about is SPACE. I made a wedding cake the same size and that's one of the areas I had a hard time with. I hadn't anticipated just how much SPACE a cake that size requires. thumbs_up.gif




Exactly what I was thinking! Since you're planning to bake the cakes and freeze ahead of time and then thaw (I assume in the fridge), do you have enough freezer and fridge space for all the layers (2 per tier)?

Sassy74 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:38am
post #12 of 33

I agree with the above...you got this. Your other cakes look awesome. I can only second (or third) what others have suggested. Get the roses out of the way now, so you won't be stressing over one more detail the closer you get. Also, finishing them will give you a feeling of having taken a step toward the finished project...sounds hokey, but trust me...wedding cakes are PRESSURE.

Regarding the stenciling, it is tricky. I've only done it in practice, and I haven't yet done it well enough that I'd actually do it on a cake lol . If your cakes are cold when you leave your house, they'll come to room temp as you drive to the venue, and then when you have to stack, you'll just have to be very careful not to smooosh any icing/stenciling.

Your design looks beautiful, and as I said, I'm sure you'll be able to pull it off. You're planning well enough in advance, and if you get plenty of practice, you can work out kinks before the actual cake is due. Can't wait to see pix!

jules5000 Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:52am
post #13 of 33

I have a few thoughts also and it is mainly on the taste. First are you covering all the cakes in fondant after you put the ganache on them? If so great. You will have uniformity for sure, but the second question comes in about taste. first of all I have to state that I love cho....but I can not imagine a cho. ganache on the white cake with lemon filling nor the carrot cake with cream cheese. may I suggest a white cho. ganache on at least these two flavors of cake. If you are covering them all with fondant I would not think it would matter. I had another thought to this. If you cover the reg. cho. layers with white fondant and the lemon and carrot cake with White cho. Ganache, you still have all white Even if it is different textures. As long as it is all smooth, the textures being different won't matter. also one more suggestion. The stenciling, can be tricky on the sides of the cake. Have you thought of doing a chocolate wrap that has a stencil type design to it? I don't know if this can be done on the outside of fondant or not But I am sure that you could do it on the outside of Ganache topped cake. Just an idea

I know according to a dvd that I bought from Jennifer Dontz that roses have a lot of steps to them and some waiting time. While the waiting time may not seem like much, if you do not have enough room to do all the steps all the way through with all of the roses, then you are most certainly going to need to start the roses a.s.a.p. as the others have said.

chrisviz Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:58am
post #14 of 33

Your design is really pretty debbief. I know stenciling makes you nervous, it made me nervous the first time. The first time I stenciled I just sorta went for it on a wedding cake... black on white. It wasnt completely perfect, but not obvious in its inperfections... it really wasnt as hard as I thought it would be. Just take your time and go slow... and then let your royal icing dry in between applications... should go great. Cant wait to see your masterpiece!

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:03am
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyDiwa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee

One thing I'd add for you to think about is SPACE. I made a wedding cake the same size and that's one of the areas I had a hard time with. I hadn't anticipated just how much SPACE a cake that size requires. thumbs_up.gif



Exactly what I was thinking! Since you're planning to bake the cakes and freeze ahead of time and then thaw (I assume in the fridge), do you have enough freezer and fridge space for all the layers (2 per tier)?




I've thought about space. Mostly freezer space because I know I have a lot of layers to freeze and they can't be smooshed. I have two freezers in the basement that we use to store meat. I plan to save a couple shelves just for the cakes. I usually don't use the fridge for thawing but I do like to put the tiers in there to firm up after icing with the ganache. So I'll make sure I save room for that. But that should only be one tier at a time.

As for counterspace, we just built a sunroom and my DH (emphasis on Dear icon_smile.gif ) suggested we dedicate one wall to cabinets and countertop.

Its where I store all my cake toys now. I cant even get over how organized I am now! And I have a nice big table for rolling fondant. So I think Ill be ok on the space thing.

However, the largest cake Ive ever covered in fondant was a 12 squareso the 14er has me a bit nervous.

Im in the process of making roses now. I figure a couple here, a few there and I should be good. I dont necessarly need to have as many as I put in the design. Just enough to fill the spaces. Some of them are pretty big so I should be good there.

I think my biggest concern is the stenciling. I will definitely need to practice that.

Thank you all very much for your input. thumbs_up.gif

Foxicakes Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:19am
post #16 of 33

Have you considered possibly using edible image strips in place of the actual stenciling? OR another very pretty alternative would be to use a damask "stamp" so that you can emboss the fondant with the print and then come back and hand paint the image into the embossed area.
I just think that either of those suggestions would be easier to pull off than doing the stenciling with a dark purple royal. I mean, if you were doing something monochromatic, I think it may be a little more forgiving, but with the darker colors that are so full of pigment and thus much more difficult to work with when only piping them--much less stenciling-- you are just asking for a nightmare before you've even begun.
However, I have also looked at your work thus far, and you are very talented. So, if any one of us can do this, YOU CAN!! Either way Good Luck. I am sure it will be magnificent. And I, like the others, can't wait to see the photos!!

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:21am
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jules5000

I have a few thoughts also and it is mainly on the taste. First are you covering all the cakes in fondant after you put the ganache on them? If so great. You will have uniformity for sure, but the second question comes in about taste. first of all I have to state that I love cho....but I can not imagine a cho. ganache on the white cake with lemon filling nor the carrot cake with cream cheese. may I suggest a white cho. ganache on at least these two flavors of cake. If you are covering them all with fondant I would not think it would matter. I had another thought to this. If you cover the reg. cho. layers with white fondant and the lemon and carrot cake with White cho. Ganache, you still have all white Even if it is different textures. As long as it is all smooth, the textures being different won't matter. also one more suggestion. The stenciling, can be tricky on the sides of the cake. Have you thought of doing a chocolate wrap that has a stencil type design to it? I don't know if this can be done on the outside of fondant or not But I am sure that you could do it on the outside of Ganache topped cake. Just an idea

I know according to a dvd that I bought from Jennifer Dontz that roses have a lot of steps to them and some waiting time. While the waiting time may not seem like much, if you do not have enough room to do all the steps all the way through with all of the roses, then you are most certainly going to need to start the roses a.s.a.p. as the others have said.




I only plan to use chocolate ganache on the chocolate cake. I will use white chocolate ganache for all other tiers. I just really like the way it sets on the cake. I can get those nice sharp edges and straight sides. And no bulging! And yes, fondant on all tiers.

Im actually using Jennifer Dontz technique for the roses. I just got the dvd and LOVE IT. I have to say, I love the way my roses are turning out so far. Im a bit concerned about the coloring though. I need to work on the shading and dusting. I started with white and tried airbrushing red. Im very new at airbrushing and it doesnt look great. So Ive colored my gumpaste red and plan to work on dusting and/or airbrushing from there. Starting with a red base should help.

I like your idea of stenciling a wrap. Maybe even a strip of fondant that I can wrap around the cake. That way I dont have to worry so much about messing it up. I can just start over if I dont like it. The only thing that concerns me there is will it crack once its dry when I try to wrap it around the cake?

Anyone with experience know the answer to this?

FromScratchSF Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:24am
post #18 of 33

You are off to a great start and seem to have everything under control - my only advice, and I just learned this for myself, is to peg your cakes before you get to the venue. I did the exact same size cake you are planning only I had seperator tiers so I stacked the 14 & 12, but left the 10 & 8. I didn't peg them. Got to the venue, forgot scissors. I had to cut my straws (I used SPS for the bottom tiers, but was just going to use straws on the uppers) with a knife. I used a level, and to the naked eye everything looked level, but after the tiers settled a bit they were NOT level. icon_sad.gif I'm sure nobody noticed but me, but boy it's a lesson I will never forget. If I would have just pegged in advance the cake would have been perfect.

Good luck!

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:34am
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

You are off to a great start and seem to have everything under control - my only advice, and I just learned this for myself, is to peg your cakes before you get to the venue. I did the exact same size cake you are planning only I had seperator tiers so I stacked the 14 & 12, but left the 10 & 8. I didn't peg them. Got to the venue, forgot scissors. I had to cut my straws (I used SPS for the bottom tiers, but was just going to use straws on the uppers) with a knife. I used a level, and to the naked eye everything looked level, but after the tiers settled a bit they were NOT level. icon_sad.gif I'm sure nobody noticed but me, but boy it's a lesson I will never forget. If I would have just pegged in advance the cake would have been perfect.

Good luck!




Excuse my ignorance, but by peg do you mean measure and insert the sps columns/pillars (not sure of the exact name there) before delivery? If so, I definitely plan to do that. Im hoping all I will have to do on site is set the tier on the one below and place the roses. I want to do as much ahead of time as I possibly can. I have two daughters in the wedding and a granddaughter will be the flowergirl. They better not need me for anything icon_wink.gif

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 3:12am
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxicakes

Have you considered possibly using edible image strips in place of the actual stenciling? OR another very pretty alternative would be to use a damask "stamp" so that you can emboss the fondant with the print and then come back and hand paint the image into the embossed area.




Thank you Foxicakes, this actually gives me an idea. If the royal icing doesn't work for me, what if I use color gel with some vodka to thin it out and sort of dab the color on the stencil? I wouldn't have to worry about the icing drying and cracking. haha, can you tell I really want to use these darn stencils. I just hate to spend money on something and not actually use it.

lutie Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 3:13am
post #21 of 33

Put that tier with the stenciling in a dummy cake...that way you can stencil in advance and it will be dry...if you make a mistake, you can do it over and over and over...they will never know it is a dummy cake...then, make a cake that is identical, but not dummy and keep it in the kitchen to cut later...that way you have no stress about the stenciling. LOL

Dayti Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 9:31am
post #22 of 33

It looks like it will be a great cake! If you are mostly worried about the stencilling, another idea is to stencil a piece of thinly rolled fondant while it is on the worktop. You can do as many as you need until they come out perfect. Then, cut each one you are happy with with a plaque cutter (you can get various shapes - oval, octagon, etc with scalloped edges or not). Dry each piece on a cake dummy the same size as your tier that is on it's side so they dry with the correct curvature. Then attach to your cake with RI. It will work best with really thin fondant or gumpaste.

DSmo Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 10:48am
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by debbief

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxicakes

Have you considered possibly using edible image strips in place of the actual stenciling? OR another very pretty alternative would be to use a damask "stamp" so that you can emboss the fondant with the print and then come back and hand paint the image into the embossed area.



Thank you Foxicakes, this actually gives me an idea. If the royal icing doesn't work for me, what if I use color gel with some vodka to thin it out and sort of dab the color on the stencil? I wouldn't have to worry about the icing drying and cracking. haha, can you tell I really want to use these darn stencils. I just hate to spend money on something and not actually use it.




I have done stencils with luster/petal dust. It's not as bold, but gives a beautiful old fresco kind of look. And it's a little more forgiving technique than the royal icing.

bakencake Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 1:34pm
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxicakes

Have you considered possibly using edible image strips in place of the actual stenciling? OR another very pretty alternative would be to use a damask "stamp" so that you can emboss the fondant with the print and then come back and hand paint the image into the embossed area.
I just think that either of those suggestions would be easier to pull off than doing the stenciling with a dark purple royal. I mean, if you were doing something monochromatic, I think it may be a little more forgiving, but with the darker colors that are so full of pigment and thus much more difficult to work with when only piping them--much less stenciling-- you are just asking for a nightmare before you've even begun.
However, I have also looked at your work thus far, and you are very talented. So, if any one of us can do this, YOU CAN!! Either way Good Luck. I am sure it will be magnificent. And I, like the others, can't wait to see the photos!!


another alternative is the cricut cake. im too chicken to do stenciling so i did this cake with the cricut http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1913094

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 2:26pm
post #25 of 33

Thank you all so much for the input. You've all given me some great ideas for the stenciling!

I'm hoping to have time this Fri. to do some experimenting.

Dayti, I really like your idea. That way I can spend as much time as I need to get it right and just have it ready to go when it's time to decorate the cake. I can totally see that for the top tier because I'ts not one continuous pattern around the cake. But for the bigger tier, I'm hoping to get that one continuous pattern all the way around.

bakencake if I had a cricuit, I'd do it that way for sure. But that's one toy I haven't felt the need to spend the money on yet. However, I did consider ordering a set of cutters that would give me that look. I had them in my "shopping cart" and everything. Then at the last minute, I decided to be brave and order the stencils instead.

Actually, this is where I got the courage:

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2101581

EnglishCakeLady did this beautiful cake and it was her first time stenciling. She gave me very detailed instructions and viola' I felt confident icon_lol.gif So thank you again EnglishCakeLady. I'm not assuming I will be this good, but I sure am hoping for it.

glendaleAZ Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 4:08pm
post #26 of 33

Hi debbief,

I've only stenciled one wedding cake before, but the cake had 3 tiers with 6 satellite cakes - all stenciled.

If you can, purchase a round dummy cake (or get a Styrofoam circle from Michael's) and then cover it in plastic wrap. Make up some RI and then practice, practice, practice. I was glad I did this extra step because when it came time for me to do the cakes I was a lot more confident and not so stressed out when something went wrong and I had to fix it.

I would also suggest that you let the fondant cakes sit overnight. This will firm up the fondant and give you a nicer, firmer, surface to work on.

If you don't have anyone to help you hold the stencil in place, like I didn't, then use a small sewing needle to hold one end of the stencil (my stencil had small holes already cut on both ends), and then that gives you one hand for holding the other side and one hand to move the RI over the stencil. Be sure to use one soft, lightly pressured, smooth stoke. I used a wide putty like cake tool so I could cover the entire stencil with one stoke (going back over the stencil a second time never worked for me).

Good Luck!

Tammy

debbief Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 4:50pm
post #27 of 33

Thank you Tammy for the great tips. Your stenciled wedding cake is gorgeous!

I'm hesitant to practice on a dummy or styrofoam because the surface will be so much harder than the actual cake. So won't it be different?

I have a couple layers of cake in the freezer that I think have been hanging around too long. So instead of tossing them, I'll use them for practice. Ya never know, I may even have a taste it to see how it tastes after being in the freezer for hmmm... about 4+ months icon_biggrin.gif

glendaleAZ Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 6:22pm
post #28 of 33

Thank you - the cake was a beast. I was working on it when a guest took this picture -- and I'm so glad she did because I forgot to get a one.

Because I let the fondant sit on the cakes overnight the surface was very firm to work on the next day, not unlike a dummy cake (my dummy is kinda soft). Just FYI -- I used Fondx fondant.

I mainly used the dummy to help me get the right consistency of the RI and the right pressure need to apply the RI without it seeping under the stencil. And, to get accustomed to putting the stencil on the side of the cake.

Can't wait to see your cake.

glendaleAZ Posted 30 Aug 2011 , 6:27pm
post #29 of 33

If you use your frozen cakes let us know how they work ..... and, I guess, how they taste. : O )

debbief Posted 4 Oct 2011 , 3:54pm
post #30 of 33

Well the wedding was Sunday. First, THANK YOU ALL for your help and advice. I can't even get over how helpful everyone on the site is. I would never even have dreamed of attempting a wedding cake without all the expert knowledge Ive learned over the last year and a half on CC.

Of course things didnt turn out exactly as planned (they never do). Im a little disappointed in the outcome, but Im trying not to be too hard on myself. After all, this is my very first wedding cake and the biggest cake Ive ever made.

So let me just say, I practiced that darn stenciling for two solid weekends. I actually think I was getting pretty good at it. The problem was, I didnt really have any good surface (like the side of a cake) to practice on. But I do think I was getting the hang of it. Then all the sudden I had an idea to try using my airbrush. I did one practice run and it looked really good, and it was sooo easy! Well when it came time to do the actual cake, not so good icon_sad.gif . It just wasnt working. And you only really get one chance on the real cake.

I ended up peeling the fondant off (a nightmare and another long story) and attempting again. Bad idea, just wasted time. So I ended up covering the entire tier in purple fondant. Since at this point Im running out of time, thats how I left it. I keep thinking back to all kinds of different techniques I know I could have applied, but too late now. I was just in recovery mode at the time.

Another glaring sore spot was my raised tiers where I placed the roses. I cut the rods too long and there were really ugly gaps on both tiers. I kept thinking, as soon as I get everything else under control, Ill cut them shorter. Well I ran out of time. And honestly, until I got to the venue to assemble everything, I didnt think it was that big of a deal. Once I got it all assembled, I was so disappointed that I didnt get them cut shorter.

OK wow sorry for the long speech! Oh yeah, heres a happy noteI did make all the flavors she asked forChocolate, Coconut, White with lemon filling and Carrot. They were all very good and I got lots of compliments on how they tasted icon_smile.gif

Heres the cake: http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2172286

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%