Very New To Cake Baking---- Red Velvet 2 Tier Wedding Cake Coming Up In March--Help

Decorating By firechickrn08 Updated 9 Apr 2013 , 4:28am by firechickrn08

firechickrn08 Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 7:37pm
post #1 of 71

AI am so very new at this... A co-worker has asked me to make a 2 tier red velvet cake for her wedding in march... Along with other mini desserts... I have never made a tiered cake before and was wondering if y'all could please just give me some newbie pointers!!! By the way she wants a round cake.... Something like this I just honestly have no idea what size pans to use...... Thanks so much in advance!

70 replies
debbief Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 8:33pm
post #2 of 71

Hmmm where to start since you don't really say how much you already know.  As for the size of the pans, they look to me to be 10" or 9" on the bottom and 6" on the top.  BUT, you should find out how many people it will need to serve because that should determine what size pans you use. 


Since you've never made a tiered cake before, it's important you know to make sure you use supports in the bottom tier so it doesn't collapse under the top tier.


That's a beautiful cake.  You can make all of the decorations well in advance so you don't have to stress about it when it's time for decorating.  Looks like all of the shells were made from moulds.


Not really sure what other advise to give.  Any other specific questions?

VicB213 Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 8:46pm
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The only idea that I have to get a good red velvet cake recipe.. I usually try and collect "antique" recipes because I find that they tend to taste better.  So, the older the recipe the better... mine is about 75 years old and my guys will not eat anyone elses...

Amanda M Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 8:53pm
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I'm pretty new to this as well, but I will tell you what I know and maybe it will help a little.

You have to find out how many people will be there and then there is a chart on Wilton that shows what size of pans to use depending on the amount of people


The only other thing I can suggest is to put a few dowels in your bottom tier under where the top tier sits so it doesn't fall. (its hard to explain on here lol)

that's about all I know not much but I hope i helped a little :) if you have any other specific questions I can try to help

Grandmas Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 9:00pm
post #5 of 71

Thats a 4" and 8". First question to ask is how many guests is she expecting. That determines how many slices you need and how large your cake pans need to be.

firechickrn08 Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 5:08pm
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AOk... She is going to have 200 guests... But does not want the cake to serve all 200...I am doing red velvet cake balls and mini brownie bites and cinnamon rolls on sticks and mini pop tarts as well!!! Haha as far as knowing much.... I do not know much about cake making for events.... Kinda jumping in head first here....

She wants a cake box mix and actually I was just using the beach cake as reference for sizes.... She wants the rose cake design similar to the I Am Baker rose tutorial..... I'm sure everyone is familiar with..... I believe I am going to use a 12" and 8" does that sound good? I truly just have no idea on what to price everything for....

All the mini desserts will be made at 200 pieces for each.... Well except the RVC balls... I'm thinking about doing 300-400 so those who do not get a piece of wedding cake will feel as though they did.... She has a very "I don't care" attitude and not hard to please....

I really do not want to make a cake box mix.... They taste like fake and chemical to I would love some "antique" recipe if you are willing to share VicB213 ;-)))). Thank y'all so much!!!!

BakingIrene Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 5:26pm
post #7 of 71

The specific instructions for building a solid tiered cake are here


Your picture looks like a 10" and a 6" based on the tier height of 4" See if you and the bride can get to a Michaels to look at cake dummies before you buy any pans.


Building this tiered cake is just two single cakes, stacked together.  Don't lose any sleep over it.  Make sure you have a heavy duty steel pancake turner type of spatula to hold the small tier as you align and then set it onto the larger tier. Having a helper for this step might be useful.  But once you get this cake there, you will feel a whole lot better.


Pricing--for cake balls and other work-intensive pieces, charge 6X your ingredients.  For cakes and cupcakes with simple piping, charge 4X your ingredients. Then see, after this order, calculate how much you got paid for yout time.  You will then know how to price for the next time.


Cake mix--just substitute real buttermilk (comes in a quart carton in dairy section)  for the water in the cake mix and you will have the "antique" recipe.  NO other changes required.  You can also add a few drops real vanilla if you want.

firechickrn08 Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 5:34pm
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ABakngirene..... Great info and tons of help! Thank you!!!

yortma Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 5:59pm
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I have made this recipe many times.  It is easy and delicious.  I upped the cocoa powder a little for more flavor.  It makes the color a darker red.  The original recipe is for 2 Tbsp of cocoa.  Give it a try, and I hope you like it!







2½ cups flour sifted                                        

1½ cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temp

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon liquid red food color (1/2  ounce)

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract




To prepare the red velvet cake grease and flour two 9" cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment circles.  Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  In another bowl whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.  Mix ingredients together with a spoon until combined and mix with mixer until smooth.  Divide between the 2 pans, and bake about 30 minutes until tester comes out clean, and the cake is springy to the touch.  Cake will also be pulled away from the edges of the pan.  Cool in pans for 2 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before assembly. 

Cakechick123 Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 6:25pm
post #10 of 71

I think a 12", 8" combo is too short and squat to look balanced. It always looks like they forgot the top tier. Stack the two pans together and see what it looks like to you and the bride.

firechickrn08 Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 9:35pm
post #11 of 71

AYortma... Thanks so much!!!

Cakechick123.... Thanks!!! She wants a two tier... With three layers for each.. She kinda likes the short stocky look... Won't it be much taller by the time we add all layers?

icer101 Posted 26 Jan 2013 , 10:18pm
post #12 of 71

I agree, a scratch red velvet is the way to go. I have been making them for years. I want to try Bobby Flays red velvet recipe. He won with his on a throw down. He beat a person in N.Y. that is famous for his. Cakeman Raven. I have made his also and liked his too. I love red velvet cake. good luck with yours. You will do great!!!

denetteb Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 5:13am
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I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but you have listed a LOT of things to prepare.  That will be a ton of work.  3-400 cake pops alone will be a huge feat to prepare, store and transport.  Are you taking that week off of work to do all of this?  If so, make sure you add in your lost income from your job onto your costs.  Or at least do you have access to a large freezer so you can make as much as possible ahead of time? 


Have you ever baked and prepared this amount of food?  If you have, then you can use your experience to estimate the time it will require (shopping, prep, baking, cleanup, delivery, etc) and decide what your hourly rate should be to determine your price for each type of food.  You need to also calculate what all your costs will be for ALL of the ingredients, paper supplies, ribbons, sticks, cake cardboards, icings, decor, storage containers, etc, etc.  This is a massive order for someone with experience, let alone a newbie.  Just make sure you do all your homework before you give her a price.

Ibaketoo Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 5:29am
post #14 of 71

I feel your dilemma, I too have been inducted to bake a wedding cake for a dear friend (that shows their confidence in our skills). In any event, I have found a wealth of information from the eHow website. Now what the other ladies are stating about supporting your cake, is of the up most importance, the eHow website has videos and directions for doing this.


Like you, I am also baking a Red Velvet Cake(s) two, recipe is something that you must feel out, again there are many recipes online that you can look at and review. I would suggest trying out a few personally while you have a little time, test them out on family and friends. Now if your successful, maybe the woman that has that 75 yr old recipe will share hers with you. :-)>


Best of Luck!!!

carmijok Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 6:00am
post #15 of 71

AHere is the best Red Velvet cake I've found. I made a few notations about variations I have done. For one is the amount of cocoa. Red velvet is not a chocolate cake and the cocoa just balances the tangy-ness of the buttermilk and vinegar. This is the recipe they used at the bakery I used to work for and it was a best seller. Cakeman Raven's is pretty close to this too. Anyway, here is mine for you to consider:

Red Velvet Cake With History Servings: 12

Ingredients: 2 1/4 c Cake flour 1 t Baking soda 1 t Salt 1/4 c Baking cocoa (I use 2 TBL=you dont need that much cocoa..its not a chocolate cake) 1 1/2 c Sugar 1 1/2 c Oil (if youre making cake balls, you might want to reduce this by at least ½ cup) 2 Eggs 2 tsp To 1 oz of red food color ( the cake batter should be a bright red..not pink--unless that's the color you're going for) 1 t Vanilla 1 t White vinegar 1 c Buttermilk

Directions: This cake is moist and red with a velvety texture and the flavor non distinctive as is most red velvet cakes. The moistest cake is one made with oil and cake flour. The amount of food color is up to you. Start with 2 teaspoons as a base. The above recipe comes from:" Celebrating Our Mothers' Kitchen", a fundraising cookbook published by The National Council for Negro Woman. Preparation: Grease and flour 2, 9 inch pans and line with paper.In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt. In another bowl with mixer at low speed or spoon beat sugar and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time to blend well. Blend in food color, vanilla and vinegar.Scape bowl down with spatula. Alternately blend in flour mixture and buttermilk, using about 1/3 each time and scraping bowl down at least twice. Do not beat on high or cake will be tough.Pour into prepared pans and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes or tested done with toothpick .Cool on racks 5 minutes and remove from pan and cool completely. Frost layers when cold. (I freeze my cakes before filling and frostingalso, with this buttercream the cake needs to stay in the fridge until an hour or two before an event and let come to room temp. I also layer my frosting on until I cant see cakerefrigerating between layerings)

Frosting: (this is my crusting buttercream...great for decorating and a perfect accompaniment to red velvet cake. 1 pk 8 oz cream cheese 2 Stick butter (salted) 2 lb Box powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until softened and smooth. Add softened butter and continue to beat till creamy. Beat in powdered sugar a little at a time. If too thick blend in cold milk a tablespoon at a time till desired consistency. .

fearlessbaker Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 6:33am
post #16 of 71

AYou can make the shells by using chocolate candy melts and molds. I prefer Merkins.That is the ez part and they store well for weeks. I use straws for support and put the cake on a rubber mat in my very clean trunk to transport. The cake is relatively simple. I think the hard part and most intensive is the dessers.

BakingIrene Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 4:50pm
post #17 of 71
Originally Posted by firechickrn08 

She wants a two tier... With three layers for each.. She kinda likes the short stocky look... Won't it be much taller by the time we add all layers?

There are two ways to get three layers per tier.


One way is to bake three cakes. Deeper cake = higher total. This enhances the short stocky look your customer wants. The other way is to slice deep layers across into thinner layers.  But I think you know what your bride wants. 


If the baked/level depth of each cake is about 1.5 inches, the final height with filling and icing will be over 5" and just using rigid dowels for a 2 tier cake will be OK. 


If the cakes are each 2" deep then you might need internal layers of cardboard circles for support as well as dowels.


And let me remind you to use the magic cake strips for baking all cakes, the strips prevent the humps on top. The strips last 2-3 years if you don't run them through the washing machine (washing takes off that useful aluminum coating).

-K8memphis Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 5:48pm
post #18 of 71
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

There are two ways to get three layers per tier.


One way is to bake three cakes. Deeper cake = higher total. This enhances the short stocky look your customer wants. The other way is to slice deep layers across into thinner layers.  But I think you know what your bride wants. 


If the baked/level depth of each cake is about 1.5 inches, the final height with filling and icing will be over 5" and just using rigid dowels for a 2 tier cake will be OK. 


If the cakes are each 2" deep then you might need internal layers of cardboard circles for support as well as dowels.


And let me remind you to use the magic cake strips for baking all cakes, the strips prevent the humps on top. The strips last 2-3 years if you don't run them through the washing machine (washing takes off that useful aluminum coating).





i don't understand


you always need internal cardboard circles when you dowel

denetteb Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 6:11pm
post #19 of 71

I think she means if all three cakes are 2 inches thick then the total tier would be well over 6 inches and may need an additional cardboard/dowel layer in between, that is how I took it anyway.

BakingIrene Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 6:52pm
post #20 of 71
Originally Posted by denetteb 

I think she means if all three cakes are 2 inches thick then the total tier would be well over 6 inches and may need an additional cardboard/dowel layer in between, that is how I took it anyway.

YES that is exactly what I mean.


To clarify to the OP: if you have three slices of cake and each slice is 1.5" thin or less, then the whole stack with icing in between acts as one tier.  I never put  cardboard between those slices.  There is of course a circle of bakers cardboard under each stack. Look at the Wilton link that you arleady have for the exact picture.


In fact I routinely stack 6 layers 1/2" thick of cake with buttercream. Again it comes to a total of about 5".  Once this kind of stack has chilled then you can ski down a hill with it, and it stays in perfect shape.


When your total (say of your 10" diameter cakes) of cake is 6" high before the icing, then you need to add at least one layer of cardboard along with the layers of cake and icing in the middle of the height. Plus the bakers circles at the bottom of each tier.

denetteb Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 7:17pm
post #21 of 71

Boy, Irene, I want to see you skiing with your cake!

carmijok Posted 28 Jan 2013 , 5:34pm
post #22 of 71

Does anyone but me see a potential problem with all this?  The OP has a HUGE wedding cake order that includes items other than just a wedding cake and she doesn't have any experience!  I posted a Red Velvet recipe for her but that is the least of her concerns.  If this is a legitimate post I encourage the OP to rethink doing it!  .

Keep in mind, if you're not a legal baker, the bride's venue can refuse your products.  You've never stacked a don't know what sizes to use.  Don't know your decorating expertise so can't comment on that...but do you really want to accept the huge responsibility of doing what amounts to the entire centerpiece of a wedding reception when you've never done anything like this?  


I always question these posts as being legitimate.  Huge  Seems like I've seen a lot of those lately.  But just in case it is legit, think past your ego and more of what the bride will think if it's not perfect.   I know you said she's a 'whatever' kind of gal, but don't kid yourself.  If you turn up with something less than what she's envisioning on her wedding day, you're screwed.   I personally wouldn't want someone who had no experience doing my wedding cake.   But because you may decorate on the side and do a nice job on birthday cakes and such, she thinks 'how hard can it be' for you to do a wedding cake!  And because of that she may also think she's getting off cheaper than using a bakery.    Far be it from me to discourage someone for wanting to expand their experience...but I'm going to be Debbie Downer on this.   It's one thing taking on a new technique you've never tried...or going for a large order.  It's another taking on an important event having no clue about how to do the basics.  Baby shower,  birthday....yeah. 

My opinion. 

-K8memphis Posted 28 Jan 2013 , 6:13pm
post #23 of 71
edited to say after the fact here---that I apologize for this post--i opined in general--i was off on a tangent about when people ask for extreme cakes or sculpture instructions and i did not exactly diresct this to op and
i was wrong to say this this way--
i was waxing eloquent (trying to ;) on a pet peeve not at op



even though i often shape some kind of response


i'm usually aghast when someone says


oh i wanna do a cake in the shape of the panama canal with locks that rise & lower water, giant cargo ships with water skiers flying by on holiday in ermine and lace wet suits with the underwater welders making repairs to the boat bottoms covered with golden barnacles


and bubbles like champagne


i mean really? you're clueless and you agreed to do this?


that always does take me aback


although folks gotta start somewhere


some start at the top/high end for sure


the quality might not be all one would want


a laid back bride is often code for got no money so whatever

firechickrn08 Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 7:51pm
post #24 of 71

ATo those of you who have given advice, thought, tips and recipes I am truly grateful!!! Yes this is a legit post... To those who have nothing but doubts... Yes this is a big order but its not impossible... No Ive never done it before but will conquer it in march... That's why I am asking for tips and helpful thoughts... I'd appreciate if you don't have advice that is helpful no need in replying.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 7:59pm
post #25 of 71

sorry sorry sorry you are right--my bad!


din mean to be a debbie downer


just answering a bit off topic--not meaning you in particular but it is your post of course




i'm behind you a 1,000% icon_biggrin.gif


bake on


rock on

firechickrn08 Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 8:28pm
post #26 of 71

AThank you! I will post pics of my journey ;-)

jcwittman Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 8:36pm
post #27 of 71

My advice to you would be to bake this cake a couple times and practice stacking and icing it. I take a cardboard circle the size of my top tier and press it lightly onto the bottom tier to map out where I'm going to place my top tier. This gives you a guide for your straws/dowels. For smaller cakes I use milkshake straws, but McDonald's straws are very sturdy, too ;) Stick 1 straw in the middle of your indented circle, then trim it to the top of your iced cake. Pull it out and cut all straws that same size. This will ensure a level top tier. Then pipe or slather some icing on top to "glue" down your top tier. Setting it on top of already crusted buttercream could cause it to slide later. I hope that makes sense. Also, I use scratch red velvet, but if the bride has okayed box, I think you should consider it. It is STURDY, where scratch is tender and crumbly and heavy. I agree with the previous poster who said just replace the water with buttermilk. I have had great success making my cake pop balls in advance  and freezing them. I freeze them on a sheet pan, then ziplock them so they don't stick together. You have your hands full! Best of luck to you. I would also make the cake as small as possible. With all those other goodies it sounds like the cake is more of a photo op than anything. Practice that rose technique by turning a pot or bowl upside down and frosting it over and over. Then you can just scrape it off and do it again!

carmijok Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 10:21pm
post #28 of 71

Sorry, but If you're going to post on here for advice you can expect all kinds.    I'm a hobbyist with probably a lot more cake experience than you and I would not take this order.  But that is just me.   As I said in my post, it was my OPINION.   I myself had a wedding caketastrophe and don't wish that on anyone.    I am throwing a warning out there because you need to be aware of EVERYTHING before you jump into something of this magnitude.  It's not just the's all the other stuff you have to make in addition to the cake that is concerning.   How are you planning on delivering everything?   Do you have enough room to make and store everything? Are you going to try to cover with fondant or smooth buttercream?  Plan on everything taking a LOT longer than you think.   Not everything goes smoothly and time management is crucial.


But first, you really need to find out if the venue the bride is using will allow your stuff.  Many won't if you're not a licensed business.   If you're as new as you say you are to all of this, then you're probably  not legal  and you're opening yourself up to all kinds of problems if someone gets sick and decides to sue you.  But I don't could live somewhere where you don't have to worry about that...I hope so.  


I'm all for taking on new challenges but I personally think a wedding is too important an event to take a chance with.  I remember shopping for my daughter's wedding cake before I got into this and how important it was to her that her cake be a centerpiece.  You're not only planning on the cake, but a whole table full of stuff.  That's a lot to take on for someone who says they are 'very new' to baking.   Sorry I'm not all rainbows and puppies but I've seen enough horrible wedding cakes on here (sorry no names) and  CakeWrecks  (not to mention my own personal disaster) that it bears consideration and at least a second thought before jumping into something that may be over your head.  It's up to you in the end.   And if you go forward you'd better practice, practice and practice.   Go on YouTube for tutorials.   Make stacked cakes and take them to work.  That way you can practice your delivery skills as well. 


I hope it works out for you.  Just consider EVERYTHING when going forward.  It's a lot easier to anticipate a problem and already know how to face it than to have it surprise you.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 10:37pm
post #29 of 71

A/agree with Carmajok.

We all want to be encouraging. We all wish & hope for the best & will gladly offer tips & advice.

However, there is cause for concern. I would t recommend anyone cloning Kilimanjaro for a first climb. I also wouldn't encourage this big an order for a first wedding cake.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 29 Jan 2013 , 10:40pm
post #30 of 71

AOops at the typos! That should be "wouldn't" & "climbing"

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