First Wedding Cake

Decorating By szakacs Updated 8 Jul 2014 , 5:11pm by szakacs

szakacs Posted 28 May 2014 , 1:47pm
post #1 of 27

Hello,

My bestfriends want me to make their wedding cake for them.  I bake/decorate cakes for family and friends birthdays, but that is all.  I have maybe done like 20 cakes....(eeek little nervous)

She wants a 3 tier square cake.  For one of the tiers she wants a cream cheese filling.  would you recommend not to do this, as it will have to sit out?  I have made and let sit out before, but only feeding my family, and no one has ever had any problems with the cream cheese at room temp, for a day.

Also I have never done a multi tiered cake.  PLEASE give me any advice you have about doing one.

Should I do the cake in stages and freeze layers...how tall should each tier be? how many layers in each tier? 

The wedding isn't until November but I'm nervously planning already and  maybe going to do a test run!

Are square cakes a lot harder to cover in fondant?

She wants one tier chocolate one white one margarita,any suggestions on placement of tiers? I think I am going to do 10 8 6.  Would that look OK?

Thank you for any feedback!!!!

26 replies
cai0311 Posted 28 May 2014 , 3:33pm
post #2 of 27

A

Original message sent by szakacs

For one of the tiers she wants a cream cheese filling.  would you recommend not to do this, as it will have to sit out?  I have made and let sit out before, but only feeding my family, and no one has ever had any problems with the cream cheese at room temp, for a day.

I make cream cheese filled cakes for weddings all the time. I base the decision off how long the cake will be out of the fridge, and if the venue is indoor or outdoor. I won't fill a cake with cream cheese if it will sit outside.

Is the cake being served right after dinner or at the end of the night?

Original message sent by szakacs

Also I have never done a multi tiered cake.  PLEASE give me any advice you have about doing one. Should I do the cake in stages and freeze layers...how tall should each tier be? how many layers in each tier?

I recommend watching a lot of you tube videos about stacking cakes. I purchased Sharon's Sugar Shack DVD on stacking. After trying several methods I like hers the best so that is what I do for all my cakes- whether 2 tiers or 5.

My schedule is: Bake Wednesday Fill Thursday Ice and decorate Friday Deliver Saturday If the wedding is Friday, I start baking Tuesday. If the wedding is Sunday, I starting baking Thursday. All my tiers are between 4-4.5 inches tall. They consist of 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of filling.

Original message sent by szakacs

The wedding isn't until November but I'm nervously planning already and  maybe going to do a test run! Are square cakes a lot harder to cover in fondant? She wants one tier chocolate one white one margarita,any suggestions on placement of tiers? I think I am going to do 10 8 6.  Would that look OK?

I would recommend doing several 2 tier cakes between now and November. That way you are comfortable with your support structure and required time to decorate the cake.

I find icing square cakes difficult I general. I hate corners. They are so difficult to get perfect!

I ice all fondant covered cake with white chocolate ganache. It holds up to the weight of fondant well and if the fondant needs to be ripped off and rolled again, you won't have to fix the ganache. You will have to fix buttercream.

The size of the tiers depends on how many guests she is having. I use the Wilton wedding serving guide for tier sizes.

A 10, 8, 6 will look fine, but again, the sizes need to be based off serving requirement. I am not sure what you mean by placement of tiers. Can you clarify?

Above all else...practice, practice, practice

szakacs Posted 28 May 2014 , 5:24pm
post #3 of 27

Thank you very much, for all your advice!  I am not sure as of yet when they will be cutting the cake.

 It will be in November and we live in Canada so it will be cold.  I think I will do a lime curd cream cheese filling for the margarita cake!

 

I will look into buying her DVD I have watched her videos on you tube before and she is really good at what she does.  So I think the investment will pay off really well!

 

When you decorate the cake on Friday and cover them with fondant can I put them in the fridge overnight?

 

Do I assemble the cake at the wedding then?

 

guest list is about 80-85 people so the 10-8-6 will work.

 

when you bake the cake in the pans do you bake 2 for each layer and divide them to make the 4 layers?. I use the 2 inch deep ones not the 3

 

Also the placement I was referring to was just about being curious as to each tiers weight. (example chocolate heavier then white,that goes on bottom) but I guess it depends on the filling and if I use the right supports it shouldn't matter.

 

Hopefully I can get her to change her mind to do round if the square is harder to do.

Thanks again.

anaelisabethlee Posted 28 May 2014 , 5:56pm
post #4 of 27

AHave you seen Elisa Strauss fondant basics on craftsy? Worth a watch if you haven't stacked before. She also goes through covering a square cake.

cakebaby2 Posted 28 May 2014 , 7:52pm
post #5 of 27

Just a thought but I'm in a similar situation to you....long time baker but just family and NEVER for a paying public.

For sentimental reasons my daughter wants me to bake her wedding cake in September so this long time lurker

finally joined CC and I've learned so much....especially about freezing cakes.

Great threads here all about it and it works. Why not get a couple of tiers done now, take the pressure off and get any hiccoughs ironed out early doors?

MBalaska Posted 28 May 2014 , 9:36pm
post #6 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by szakacs 
".......My bestfriends want me to make their wedding cake for them....."  

 

Just out of curiosity, what was the reason they gave for wanting you to do this major project. Is this your wedding gift?

cai0311 Posted 29 May 2014 , 2:43am
post #7 of 27

AI refrigerate all my cakes-even those covered in fondant.

I stack all my cakes at home. It makes delivery quick and easy. I do bring a repair kit with me just in case something happens.

As long as you support the cake tiers properly, weight of the tiers won't matter.

drea88 Posted 29 May 2014 , 4:30am
post #8 of 27

AI am a relative novice, but I don't really think square cakes are much harder than round ones. The basic principles are the same. I think using ganache under the fondant makes it easier to get the nice square corners.

cai0311 Posted 29 May 2014 , 1:34pm
post #9 of 27

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebaby2 

finally joined CC and I've learned so much....especially about freezing cakes.

Great threads here all about it and it works. Why not get a couple of tiers done now, take the pressure off and get any hiccoughs ironed out early doors?

 

I don't like the idea of freezing a cake for 6 months. Also, those cakes will take up a ton of freezer space. I wouldn't want to lose that much freezer space for 6 months.

cai0311 Posted 29 May 2014 , 2:46pm
post #10 of 27

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by szakacs 

when you bake the cake in the pans do you bake 2 for each layer and divide them to make the 4 layers?. I use the 2 inch deep ones not the 3

 

I bake in 2 inch pans. I cut the cake in half lengthwise to get the 4 layers. That also allows me to see in the middle of the cake so I know for sure how moist a cake is and that nothing is amiss.

I have an Agbay cake leveler. Best investment ever.

cakebaby2 Posted 29 May 2014 , 3:59pm
post #11 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakebaby2 
 

 

finally joined CC and I've learned so much....especially about freezing cakes.

 

Great threads here all about it and it works. Why not get a couple of tiers done now, take the pressure off and get any hiccoughs ironed out early doors?

 



I don't like the idea of freezing a cake for 6 months. Also, those cakes will take up a ton of freezer space. I wouldn't want to lose that much freezer space for 6 months.

No I wouldn't either nor would I have 6 months of space but maybe a month or a fortnight? My suggestion was to get ahead a bit rather than cram the lot into days before the wedding if the OP was getting a bit overwhelmed.

szakacs Posted 30 May 2014 , 4:19pm
post #12 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

 

Just out of curiosity, what was the reason they gave for wanting you to do this major project. Is this your wedding gift?

My friends are "trying to cut corners"  I think...They have always loved my cakes that I bake,and don't want to pay 300-500 dollars for one.

They said I don't have to do it if it will be too much work, (as I have 4 young children)

...but I kind of 1. want to take on the challenge and 2. do something nice for them.  [hopefully]

I will not charge them for it, I was thinking of offering it as their gift.  but,when I told my husband that he was upset I had even thought of that and said just do it because they are our bestfriends... 

I have all the pans for a round cake,and they said it would be OK to do round if it is easier.   They are looking for a simple cake, so fondant with minimal decorations.

 

Thanks to everyone for your help.  

I think I may start a little earlier as I have a deep freezer in the basement with hardly anything in it.

 

I just hope that it doesn't turn into one of those cake wrecks....8O

szakacs Posted 30 May 2014 , 4:30pm
post #13 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by drea88 

I am a relative novice, but I don't really think square cakes are much harder than round ones. The basic principles are the same. I think using ganache under the fondant makes it easier to get the nice square corners.

so the ganache instead of buttercream then?  Also,Ive never made a ganache are they all the same?,would you recommend making a white chocolate for the wihte cakes and then milk chocolate for the chocolate cake.then Im assuming I just pour it over they top and down the sides?

LoreneGo Posted 30 May 2014 , 4:33pm
post #14 of 27

AI wish you good luck with this wedding cake! You sound very knowledgeable about making cakes and I think your cake will be prefect! To me the most important part of making wedding cakes is to relax, have fun and enjoy the process. Doing this will make your cake prefect. Can't wait to hear how cake turned out.

bilbo Posted 30 May 2014 , 4:33pm
post #15 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by szakacs 
 

My friends are "trying to cut corners"  I think...They have always loved my cakes that I bake,and don't want to pay 300-500 dollars for one.

They said I don't have to do it if it will be too much work, (as I have 4 young children)

...but I kind of 1. want to take on the challenge and 2. do something nice for them.  [hopefully]

I will not charge them for it, I was thinking of offering it as their gift.  but,when I told my husband that he was upset I had even thought of that and said just do it because they are our bestfriends... 

I have all the pans for a round cake,and they said it would be OK to do round if it is easier.   They are looking for a simple cake, so fondant with minimal decorations.

 

Thanks to everyone for your help.  

I think I may start a little earlier as I have a deep freezer in the basement with hardly anything in it.

 

I just hope that it doesn't turn into one of those cake wrecks....8O

You might want to consider at least having them pay for supplies, you'll be surprised how quickly a tiered cake can add up. And you'll need to buy pans along with ingredients and a support system (dowels, sps, cake boards) you're going to be out at least $100 in supplies, donating your labor would be a huge gift alone. Just my opinion, I would bake and freeze the week before, have any and all decorations finished a few weeks before so the week of the wedding, you can concentrate on straight corners and getting it all put together. November in Canada - yes, you can refrigerate the finished fondant covered cake. The only time it becomes and issue is with higher heat/humidity in summer.

anaelisabethlee Posted 30 May 2014 , 5:33pm
post #16 of 27

A

Original message sent by szakacs

so the ganache instead of buttercream then?  Also,Ive never made a ganache are they all the same?,would you recommend making a white chocolate for the wihte cakes and then milk chocolate for the chocolate cake.then Im assuming I just pour it over they top and down the sides?

Erm, no to the pouring. If you google three little blackbirds ganache she does an awesome tutorial

ellavanilla Posted 30 May 2014 , 6:16pm
post #17 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by drea88 

I am a relative novice, but I don't really think square cakes are much harder than round ones. The basic principles are the same. I think using ganache under the fondant makes it easier to get the nice square corners.

 

Square cakes can be tricky. If the sides aren't even, you may have to to cut it, which adds a lot of crumbs and can make the layer a little less stable until you get it frosted and filled. You also have the difficulty of the corners. Buttercream or fondant, it still takes some skill to get it looking right. 

 

i've just decided to raise the price on my square cakes because they are more time consuming. 

cupadeecakes Posted 30 May 2014 , 7:42pm
post #18 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by szakacs 
... I will not charge them for it, I was thinking of offering it as their gift.  but,when I told my husband that he was upset I had even thought of that and said just do it because they are our bestfriends ... 

I can tell you that I just provided the bride's and groom's cakes for our very best friend's wedding.  I did not charge them anything for the cakes, as it was our gift to them.  The only other thing we brought on the wedding day besides the cakes was a card wishing them many years of happy marriage.    The time and materials you will be putting into this cake should be gift enough.  But I'm not telling you or your DH what to do...

 

Regarding square cakes, they are harder to ice and decorate; I have charged extra for square cakes for a while now.

szakacs Posted 30 May 2014 , 8:35pm
post #19 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by anaelisabethlee 


Erm, no to the pouring. If you google three little blackbirds ganache she does an awesome tutorial

Ha ha....that's funny....I watched the 45 min video, definitely not a pour over the top,and let it do the job as it runs down the sides.  Thank you for the video recommendation :)

szakacs Posted 30 May 2014 , 8:40pm
post #20 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by cupadeecakes 
 

I can tell you that I just provided the bride's and groom's cakes for our very best friend's wedding.  I did not charge them anything for the cakes, as it was our gift to them.  The only other thing we brought on the wedding day besides the cakes was a card wishing them many years of happy marriage.    The time and materials you will be putting into this cake should be gift enough.  But I'm not telling you or your DH what to do...

 

Regarding square cakes, they are harder to ice and decorate; I have charged extra for square cakes for a while now.

I agree, the time and money I will put into this cake is more then enough for their gift, Im creating a showstopper center piece (fingers crossed) and memories and pictures to last a lifetime ;)  [hopefully all good ones]

cakebaby2 Posted 30 May 2014 , 8:55pm
post #21 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by szakacs 
 

I agree, the time and money I will put into this cake is more then enough for their gift, Im creating a showstopper center piece (fingers crossed) and memories and pictures to last a lifetime ;)  [hopefully all good ones]

And that is the bottom line.The term "Art" appears to bandied around nowadays as an euphemism( re cartoon images and dead sheep in formaldehyde,)

however the beauty of a craft taking hours of aesthetic contemplation is regarded as worthless as a gift? 

I actually thought the OP was labouring over a gift for "bestfriends" these folk want cheap cake from a mate.

MBalaska Posted 30 May 2014 , 9:06pm
post #22 of 27

A free wedding cake as a gift, is like giving about 10 gifts.  That is truly what you do for a best friend.

 
good luck and much success with your first wedding cake.
 
{"PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES, YOU CANT HELP BUT LAUGH EVERYTIME YOU PUSH ONE DOWN THE STAIRS"}

MimiFix Posted 30 May 2014 , 9:19pm
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

 

PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES, YOU CANT HELP BUT LAUGH EVERYTIME YOU PUSH ONE DOWN THE STAIRS

 

szakacs... I've been wondering about that line, but didn't know how to ask. 

szakacs Posted 30 May 2014 , 10:56pm
post #24 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

szakacs... I've been wondering about that line, but didn't know how to ask. 

 

It's just supposed to be a silly joke...like when you were a kid and you put your slinkie on the top of the stairs and watched it bounce down the stairs, not good for anything else but making you smile....and getting the same satisfaction from doing it to useless people???

 

Not that I push people down the stairs in my spare time...lol :lol:

 

 

AileenGP Posted 31 May 2014 , 1:08am
post #25 of 27

Good luck in your first wedding cake!

 

If you've never covered a square wedding cake in fondant before, I would suggest practicing on some cakes (as well as stacking them) beforehand just so you can get comfortable with it. It's not really that much harder, but corners can be difficult and tear the fondant. Just be aware the the corners of a ganache covered cake will be sharper than a buttercream cake, which may cause the tearing to be a bigger problem. I don't want to scare you, I just want you to be aware so you can prepare and avoid frustration =).

 

I was in the same boat as you, I did a wedding cake, square, with ganache icing and covered in fondant for my husband's best friend. I was so excited and nervous at the same time so I started planning like 7 months before because I never made a cake this important on my own before.

 

This was the schedule I followed (I had an infant at the time that needed constant attention so I really spread it out):

3-4 months before: buy the pans (I bought them one at a time at the cake supply store so I didn't get hit with the big expense - Magic Line brand is the way to go, straight sides, sharp corners, the things you want in a square pan.)

3 weeks before: Make the fondant / Buy the boards/dowels/drum

2 weeks before: Grocery Shopping

Week of:

Monday: Bake and freeze cake. 

Tuesday: More baking and freezing (keep in mind I did 6 tiers- I was overly ambitious)

Wednesday: Make ganache (I used dark chocolate ganache)

Thursday: Ice and fill cakes - put in refrigerator overnight

Friday: Cover, and decorate cakes. (I stacked mine on site because wedding was over 120 miles away and it was 6 tiers)

Saturday: Wedding

 

Things I wish I knew: 

 

- When covering squares, start at the corners first, adhering it to the cake and work your way inward and downward little by little. Youtube videos helped.

- Start covering the largest tiers first - although they are bigger, they are easier to cover because they are wider - just to get yourself warmed up to covering the next smallest cake, then the smallest.

- I wish I used buttercream instead of ganache. Why?

     - #1 - much more expensive to make vs buttercream (since the expense was on us and we were on a single income, it was a big factor),

     - #2 the extra sharp unforgiving corners had me cursing like a sailor.

     - #3 with all the times I had to recover it because the corners were tearing, the chocolate started to transfer to the fondant as it came to room temp and the heat of my hands made it soft. I wasted a lot of fondant because it was unusable after the chocolate got onto it (which again was a big issue since we were paying for it). I didn't do white chocolate ganache because the white chocolate ganache only tastes good if you use real white chocolate (not white baking chips - again, more expense). Buttercream may need to be fixed, but if you use swiss meringue buttercream (I have a step by step tutorial on it on my blog), let it get cold/hard in the fridge, it behaves similar to ganache and doesn't need to be fixed as much. It can also be kneaded into the fondant if you make a mistake. Nothing wasted.

- A good sharp pair of pruning shears would've saved me so much time in cutting dowels. Since you only have 3 tiers, I would suggest using straws (which is what I do for cakes 2-3 tiers). Great tutorial here with placement diagram: http://artisancakecompany.com/2013/08/using-straws-for-cake-supports/

 

Answers to some of your questions:

 

How many layers/cakes to bake? I also use a 2" pan and bake 2 cakes per tier. My tiers usually end up about 5" tall with the filling. I allow the cake to cool a bit, remove it from the pan and allow to cool further. I then split the cake using a long bread knife, place waxed paper in between the 2 cut layers (to make it easier to separate, wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap and freeze cakes on board (to make sure it remains flat).

 

What flavor for what layer? it doesn't really matter if it's supported properly. That being said, I would recommend the white cake to be the bottom tier, chocolate for middle, and margarita, for the top, just because flavor wise, it would be the safer bet for the guests. (Unless of course it's a guest list where most of the guests would want to eat a margarita flavored cake).

 

If it's not that far.. stack ahead of time and refrigerate it stacked with a center dowel (if you have the space in your refrigerator). The refrigeration will stabilize the cake for the delivery. 

 

Sorry the response is so long...Just my 2 cents from someone who's been there... they just wanted a simple cake... and I saw it as a challenge to push myself =). 

cai0311 Posted 3 Jun 2014 , 1:08pm
post #26 of 27

AI use white chocolate ganache as the icing on all my fondant covered cakes. The great part about white chocolate is the lack of color. So if you have to rip the fondant off a tier (and you will have to at some point) the fondant doesn't have a dark chocolate color on the underside. So when you wad it up to roll back out, the color of the fondant is not affected.

szakacs Posted 8 Jul 2014 , 5:11pm
post #27 of 27

Thank you so much for the wonderful advice!!!  It is really reassuring to know that someone else out there had to do the same thing!!! :)

You tips and helpfulness has really made my day, (also to everyone else who has given an idea or two)

I put a bookmark in the cake planning as my friend is still deciding on what she wants it to look like and haven't been on the forum to thank you sooner.

When I make my cakes I use the WASC method and doctor it to my liking, I'm hoping it will stack well and hold weight.

I will be going back to work  p/t after Maternity leave and taking care of my 4 kids while I make this, so it's nice to know I can prep ahead of time!

 I have frozen a cake for a few days and then filled/iced it in buttercream after it was de-thawed, just to see if it would be OK and it was still good, although it was a little more sticky on top then usual, but didn't effect the taste, so that is good!

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