Help For First Wedding Cake

Decorating By ccrcata Updated 17 Jul 2012 , 4:10pm by ccrcata

ccrcata Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 1:40am
post #1 of 19

I am writing for the first time and I am in big need of help because I have to make my first wedding cake . I will probably have lots of questions, but I'll start with the beginning and if I ask for basic things, please be patient and remember when you did you're first wedding cake.

To start there are approximating 160 guests. they want a square cake (wedding's theme is Fall), covered in fondant and decorated with fall leaves. After "studying" the charts, I thought of choosing a 3 tiers 16", 12" and 8". But they want to have the top one for themselves, as their anniversary cake. So would the rest be enough for the guests? My friend is on a budget and I am trying to get everything the cheapest possible way, without compromising the result.

So I thought of getting the Wilton set at 50% off from Joann's for the 3 square pans, 2". Now the way I am thinking is I'll bake two layers of each size, then cut each in half. So there will be 4 layers of cake and 3 of frosting...is that right or do you keep only two layers with one of frosting in between? My concern is how tall will it become? With the first version will be like 5 1/2"...does this sounds good?

When you bake in large size pans do you use a heating core or rose nails? what is the trick  to have the best result? Do you use the cake release from Wilton or other things? How about the baking strips? Should I buy them to be sure? Yes, I never baked large cakes.

Now I just received a call from her and again, she need to keep the cost to the MINIMUM...now she's thinking how about a smaller size 3 tiers covered in fondant (the top for them, the other one for the family) and a sheet with buttercream for the guests... In my mind I don't think will save her that much money (plus I think is too much trouble for me, since I am working with fondant, I prefer to work once...will not make that much diff to cover a smaller one)...anyway. What do you think, from your experience...what is the cheapest? What other ways can I use to cut the cost?

For the initial scenario I thought of buying online a 20lb fondant bucket. What is the best and what do you recommend? How easy/or not is to work with fondant in bulk?

Please HELP. I have more questions, but I'll stop here for now. Thank you in advance!

18 replies
CWR41 Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 2:23am
post #2 of 19

14" & 12" squares are more than enough (with your choice of top tier size 8" or 6"):
http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm

Adam101 Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 6:36am
post #3 of 19

Given that this is a friend, you probably won't charge what I charge, being $7 per serving for wedding cakes, and 4$ per serving for other specialty cakes, and $2.50 per serving for sheet cakes. Get their budget price before you give them your price if they are willing. At least charge "at-cost", meaning what it costs for the materials.

If I were in your situation, what I would do is make a wedding cake of 10", 8", and 6", with a sheet cake being served in the kitchen. The sheet cake coupled with the 10" and 8" should easily serve the 160 people as long as you bake 2 each of the 2'' pans as you said. The 10, 8, and 6 would be easier to handle and assemble, as opposed to the gargantuan 16''. The sizes would look better as well given that they are 2'' difference as opposed to a 12'' and 8''.

Be SURE that you use supports and cake boards. Cake boards between each layer and dowels underneath each layer. For safety, I like to put a longer thicker dowel down the middle, connecting all three tiers.

Remember the sheet cake is very simple. NO design other than simple butter cream border on the top and bottom.

When you say that the bride and groom want the top tier for themselves, does that mean as a keep-sake or to eat it? If the former use a dummy, which would cut down on labor cost.

For a wedding cake, 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of frosting is what I do.

When baking large cakes, I use the rose nails, flat end in the bottom of the pan. ALWAYS spray the pans and use parchment cut-outs to put in the bottom of the pan before pouring the cake batter in. A parchment cutout perfectly lining the bottom of the pan prevents from that dreaded sticking when removing a cake from the pan. Once baked, wait to remove the cake from the pan until the cake pan is warm to the touch, NOT straight out of the oven. For big cakes, place a cuttingboard, cooling rack, or whatever flat object over the top of the cake, and invert the whole thing. Then using another flat object or cooling rack, do the same so that the flat end is on the bottom. To be safe I take the parchment off after it is cooled.

As far as fondant brands, I love FONDX, it is very forgiving and doesn't dry out easily. Satin Ice is popular. Although purchasing 20 pounds of fondant for this project is overkill. You would only need a 10 pound bucket. Fondant dries out so make sure to keep unused portions wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you are rolling a portion out for a tier, make sure you don't have spare pieces of fondant laying about uncovered. Have you considered making your own fondant? There are many recipes out there for Marshmallow Fondant, how to videos, guides and such. This would be more cost effective for you, but of course it has to be the right consistency for you to work with.

Be sure not to roll your fondant too thin or it will be susceptible to cracking(which can be covered up by rubbing shortening into the cracks), and it will show all of the imperfections of the cake itself.

DON'T BE AFRAID, it's just cake icon_razz.gif

BakingIrene Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 1:46pm
post #4 of 19

Big pans (16") I use the cake strips. Get the bigger set of 4, they will be long enough to go around. No core or nails for 2" deep layers. The strips last 2-3 years of baking but DO NOT launder them.

Cake release DIY: 1 cup crisco, 1 cup salad oil, 1 cup flour and blend them up.

Fondant DIY with powdered sugar, gelatine, corn syrup, water is possibly the best price way to go and at least as good quallity.

If you make 2x2" layers per tier, you will save time and cost of buttercream since cost is becoming an issue on this project. Well smoothed buttercream can look like fondant which is another place to keep the cost reasonable.

The "miminum" cost would be a single tier decorated with fondant and leaves. Sheet cakes iced with buttercream, top and bottom shell border is enough. Remember: using a dummy tier is still the same amount of decorating work as a real tier.

OK so now you must figure out what is "reasonable". Maybe this friend wants you to make her a gift of the cake...just think about what YOU want to do. Because any other baker would have charged a deposit without the option to change the design after a certain point.

So if your friend still wants more than one tier, she needs to help you make the leaves. She needs to do something towards this "budget" of hers.

ccrcata Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:54pm
post #5 of 19

First of all thank you so, so much for the information. Really usefull...and now matter how much I studied the charts, is better to get the opinion of somebody that has experience and can aproximate from case to case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam101

Given that this is a friend, you probably won't charge what I charge, being $7 per serving for wedding cakes, and 4$ per serving for other specialty cakes, and $2.50 per serving for sheet cakes. Get their budget price before you give them your price if they are willing. At least charge "at-cost", meaning what it costs for the materials.

That was the agreement. That I would charge them only the material.

If I were in your situation, what I would do is make a wedding cake of 10", 8", and 6", with a sheet cake being served in the kitchen. The sheet cake coupled with the 10" and 8" should easily serve the 160 people as long as you bake 2 each of the 2'' pans as you said. The 10, 8, and 6 would be easier to handle and assemble, as opposed to the gargantuan 16''. The sizes would look better as well given that they are 2'' difference as opposed to a 12'' and 8''.

I will definetly consider this option 10/8/6 and a sheet cake. What dimensions shall I go with the sheet cake?

Be SURE that you use supports and cake boards. Cake boards between each layer and dowels underneath each layer. For safety, I like to put a longer thicker dowel down the middle, connecting all three tiers.

I was thinking to use the plastic boards with plastic pillars under the cardboard...the truth is that is a little more costly. Shall I go just with the board and dowls + the middle one? Initialy I chose the plastic boards to be on the safe side. what do you think?

Remember the sheet cake is very simple. NO design other than simple butter cream border on the top and bottom.

So this is just cake with no cream in the middle and only one layer?

When you say that the bride and groom want the top tier for themselves, does that mean as a keep-sake or to eat it? If the former use a dummy, which would cut down on labor cost.

They want to keep it, freez it and yeat it at the 1 year aniversary...will that cake last like that...especialy covered in fondant?

For a wedding cake, 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of frosting is what I do.

When baking large cakes, I use the rose nails, flat end in the bottom of the pan. ALWAYS spray the pans and use parchment cut-outs to put in the bottom of the pan before pouring the cake batter in. A parchment cutout perfectly lining the bottom of the pan prevents from that dreaded sticking when removing a cake from the pan. Once baked, wait to remove the cake from the pan until the cake pan is warm to the touch, NOT straight out of the oven. For big cakes, place a cuttingboard, cooling rack, or whatever flat object over the top of the cake, and invert the whole thing. Then using another flat object or cooling rack, do the same so that the flat end is on the bottom. To be safe I take the parchment off after it is cooled.

As far as fondant brands, I love FONDX, it is very forgiving and doesn't dry out easily. is popular. Although purchasing 20 pounds of fondant for this project is overkill. You would only need a 10 pound bucket. Fondant dries out so make sure to keep unused portions wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you are rolling a portion out for a tier, make sure you don't have spare pieces of fondant laying about uncovered. Have you considered making your own fondant? There are many recipes out there for Marshmallow Fondant, how to videos, guides and such. This would be more cost effective for you, but of course it has to be the right consistency for you to work with.

I did make my own MMF before. Since not always is at good consistency, I don't want to risk myself and I will buy already made.

Be sure not to roll your fondant too thin or it will be susceptible to cracking(which can be covered up by rubbing shortening into the cracks), and it will show all of the imperfections of the cake itself.

DON'T BE AFRAID, it's just cake icon_razz.gif




Thank you again!

ccrcata Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:59pm
post #6 of 19

So much useful information. Thank you so much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Big pans (16") I use the cake strips. Get the bigger set of 4, they will be long enough to go around. No core or nails for 2" deep layers. The strips last 2-3 years of baking but DO NOT launder them.

Cake release DIY: 1 cup crisco, 1 cup salad oil, 1 cup flour and blend them up.

How long can you keep leftovers (if any) and how do you store?

Fondant DIY with powdered sugar, gelatine, corn syrup, water is possibly the best price way to go and at least as good quallity.

If you make 2x2" layers per tier, you will save time and cost of buttercream since cost is becoming an issue on this project. Well smoothed buttercream can look like fondant which is another place to keep the cost reasonable.

The "miminum" cost would be a single tier decorated with fondant and leaves. Sheet cakes iced with buttercream, top and bottom shell border is enough. Remember: using a dummy tier is still the same amount of decorating work as a real tier.

OK so now you must figure out what is "reasonable". Maybe this friend wants you to make her a gift of the cake...just think about that YOU want to do. Because any other baker would have charged a deposit without the option to change the design after a certain point.

So if your friend still wants more than one tier, she needs to help you make the leaves. She needs to do something towards this "budget" of hers.




Would you say that 1lb fondant is enough for leaves to decorate a tiered cake? She does want the 3 tier one.

I am so greatful for your answers!

BakingIrene Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 4:03pm
post #7 of 19

Cake release--keep a small jar at room temp, good for a few months. Keep rest in fridge for up to a year.

Fondant leaves break easily so use 2lb to be on the safe side. Make sure the fondant has tylose (CMC) or other gum like tragacanth or karaya.

But for icing the cake use a recipe that has the gelatine, no gums. It will roll much easier.

ccrcata Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 8:52pm
post #8 of 19

Yes, that what I was planning to do for the leaves. I found in store gum tex. Of course I can order tylose online, but just wondered if that gum tex would do the same to the fondant.

carmijok Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 9:43pm
post #9 of 19

You would do better to use pre-made gum paste (Wiltons) to make the leaves. They dry faster and harder than fondant. And you can get it pretty thin. You can also 'paint' the leaves with gel food colors and lemon extract to get real fall coloring. Here's a cake I did with gum paste fall leaves I painted: http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2207007/autumn-leaves-fall-birthday-cake

Another question. You've been a member since 2009 and you have no photos...are you confident enough in your abilities to produce a wedding cake? It's not like a birthday or other event cake...this is the showpiece of the reception. If you have any reservations at all, I'd start practicing immediately! Oh...and plan on it taking twice as long as you think it will. Seriously. Timing is critical.

Adam101 Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 3:54am
post #10 of 19

The sheet cake pan is rectangular, 12''x18''. Or you could always just get a 14'' square pan, that serves 98 according to the Wilton Chart. Since it is a wedding, I would make the sheet cake the same height as your wedding cake tiers. Layer and fill it just the same. An easier way to handle a large cake like this is to cut it in half so instead of picking up one 12x18 cake you can pick up two 6x9 cakes and just put them together on your cake board. This prevents the cakes from breaking all over the place and you having to piece it together like a sloppy jigsaw puzzle.

The regular cardboard cake boards have worked fine for me. There are thicker cardboard like dowels that are nice, I don't recall what exactly they are called but they are like really really thick but smaller toilet paper rolls icon_razz.gif. I've always used wooden dowels with a longer thicker dowel going through all the tiers.

As far as freezing the top layer, sure why not? As long as the wrap it well and protect it from the freezer it should be fine. I read somewhere on here that people have frozen their fondant covered cakes and they came out fine.

And no problem! Good luck! We are all here to help each other out!

ccrcata Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 5:14pm
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Another question. You've been a member since 2009 and you have no photos...are you confident enough in your abilities to produce a wedding cake? It's not like a birthday or other event cake...this is the showpiece of the reception. If you have any reservations at all, I'd start practicing immediately! Oh...and plan on it taking twice as long as you think it will. Seriously. Timing is critical.




Carmijok, I do understand your concern. I'll be honest, I didn't know I have an account on the website untill I tried to create one the other day, when I posted. I always went here to look at the galery and get ideas for when I wanted to make a cake...So I didn't use the forum before. Probably back in 2009 I also registered, who knows.

I will practice, for sure. I know how important the cake is and I'll do my best to have a wonderful one. That's why I ask and document myself. My friend is willing to compromise a lot on this cake...I think I'll offer it as a wedding present...Yesterday she wanted to use fake leaves on the cake because are free icon_sad.gif As soon as I receive the tylose poweder (ordered yesterday online) I will start on the leaves and show her that will end up beautiful.

I looked at your cakes and are wonderful. I am attaching the most recent cake I did for my acupuncturist as a Thank you present. I don't sell cakes and lately I staied away from babking...managed to lose 40lb icon_smile.gif

ccrcata Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 5:21pm
post #12 of 19

Not sure why I don't see the picture ?!? Trying one more time
LL

BakingIrene Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 5:31pm
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam101

The sheet cake pan is rectangular, 12''x18''. Or you could always just get a 14'' square pan, that serves 98 according to the Wilton Chart. Since it is a wedding, I would make the sheet cake the same height as your wedding cake tiers. Layer and fill it just the same. An easier way to handle a large cake like this is to cut it in half so instead of picking up one 12x18 cake you can pick up two 6x9 cakes and just put them together on your cake board. This prevents the cakes from breaking all over the place...!




You need FOUR 6x9 pieces to make a 12x18, not two.

Cutting as 12 x 18 in half gets you two piece each 12 x 9. NOT 6 x 9.

For sheet cake, use any large pan 12" square or bigger that you already have. When you buy more pans, consider the 11 x 15 because that size can be handled in one piece.

I always use parchment paper in the bottom of every pan. NO pan grease. When I add the second layer of any big cake, I put the filling in place. Then I flip the second layer with a cake rack so the paper is on top. I pick the cake up by its sides, carry it onto the filling lining up one side, then let it go. THEN take the paper off.

Adam101 Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 6:50pm
post #14 of 19

Whoops, brainfart there. But the point is that it is easier to cut a huge cake into two pieces for assembly. Nice cake!

josilind Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 10:35pm
post #15 of 19

A suggestion I can give as far as servings go is that whenever I do weddings, I ask about the goroms cake also, and try to make the difference in servings up with the bridal cake or vise versa.

Just this past weekend, I did a large wedding where the bride had a budget, she wanted a 3 tiered cake and her husband's cake had already been ordered from another bakery, so I did do her a sheet cake for the kitchen, nothing fancy, just a white cake with white icing sheet cake. I made borders on the cake so they will know how to cut it and instead of charging by the slice, like I do for wedding cakes, I charged her a sheet cake price, the same price I would give for a birthday, babyshower, etc.,

ccrcata Posted 17 Jul 2012 , 1:06am
post #16 of 19

I did an 8in cake for the grooms to taste it and for me to practice. They really like it, but I need to work on fixing some things.

I did for the first time Swiss meringue butter cream and cover the cake, under the fondant. Not sure if it was the best idea or if something else is more indicated for such thing. The bad part is that the fondant cracked a little at the corners. Is the problem that I rolled the fondant too thin or the buttercream or both?

Also the sides were not too straight and could see through the fondant icon_sad.gif which again takes me to the initial idea that I rolled the fondant too thin. Any other ideas and suggestions?

Another change was that they want to have the top a 6so I am wondering how many people would a 4 tiers 12, 10, 8 and 6 would feed? For 160 people shall I still make an extra sheet cake? And if yes, what size to be?

Thank you
LL

ccrcata Posted 17 Jul 2012 , 1:12am
post #17 of 19

And two more
LL
LL
LL

Evoir Posted 17 Jul 2012 , 10:52am
post #18 of 19

My suggestion for you, seeing as it is your first large tiered cake and they want square tiers. Don't buy the large Wilton pans. If you gave had success using smaller pans, make 4 x 8" and 4 x 7" or 4x 6" and join them (with buttercream, or ganache) to form a 16" and 14" or 12" square. Much easier to handle and bake smaller pans, especially if this is your comfort zone.

ccrcata Posted 17 Jul 2012 , 4:10pm
post #19 of 19

Thank you Peterson99. I put here only the pics that shows the defects, to find a way to fix them. Overall, the cake was nice (simple and nice) and they liked it. Oh, and tasty icon_smile.gif.

But I still have the question regarding the SMBC - if I should use it to cover the cake, under fondant, or better to use smth else. I would use it for the sheet cake if I have to make one. Here comes the question - do I need a sheet cake and what size, if I have a 12", 10" and 8" all for guests and a 6" only for grooms?

Evoir, I am actualy going with smaller sizes and I should not have this problem. Still, need to cover with fondant without cracks icon_biggrin.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%