Just joined CC and have had some looking around :-) A little background, I enjoy baking and took the series of Wilton courses (At Micheal's...but not the tiered/tall cake "extra" class.) I haven't done TONS of decorating but I have done a lot of baking.
So I decided I wanted to make a cake for my mom's wedding. There will be other desserts so it's not like this is THE wedding cake. I'm trying to make a standing wine bottle. I'm using pyrex flat-bottom bowls I have to bake the cake in, because they are a good diameter, and the base will be about 5-6" across. I have a pretty good structure, I think...I found a chunk of wood at Hobby Lobby (about 1" thick and oblong) that my husband made a fairly tight fitting hole for a 1/2" PVC pipe. I have a scalloped plastic tier/level that will be placed on top, and made so that it doesn't rotate on the base. I plan on putting the cake on top of this. I'm actually not too worried about the stacking and dowel rods because the cake isn't very wide and therefore as the cake gets taller, it gets less and less weight.
My plan is to wrap the cake in fondant. I've read the suggestions on CC about getting glossy fondant, seems pretty straight forward.
I am doing a test run and have all the cakes made and stacked in a few sections and am letting it cool with a crumb coat. I have made one mistake so far in that I used too much water and have a bit too soft icing. (I use the wilton buttercream recipe: shortening, powd. sugar, flavoring, water). But this is fairly easy to remedy for the "real" cake. (I've worked with this icing a number of times before..)
I found a corer I have, probably an apple corer?!?! It's basically a utensil that had a round opening at the bottom and coincidentally it is about the same diameter as the PVC pipe. So I'm putting that through the stacks prior to putting it on the structure.
Another problem I have is that I used a lemon curd filling (recipe from Ina Garten) and alternated with a homemade raspberry jam. I decided to do to pipe a circle around the edge of the cake and then put the filling inside. It worked ok, but there was still some leakage. I think that is mostly due to icing being too thin. But the main problem is that cakes a slipping. I'm guessing that will fix itself once I put dowels in...but any suggestions to prevent that a little?
Also, the other question(s). The wedding will be outside towards the end of June, in Illinois. Judging from summer's past it will be warm and humid. I believe the buttercream with shortening will do better in the heat, yes? I'll be putting fondant on top, and I'm guessing that's pretty heat resistant. (Unless you're talking baking heat, I'm sure.)
And realistically my mom would probably just be happy with a good tasting cake. Which...I haven't completely decided on what flavor of cake to do...I did alternating layers of a pink champagne cake and a lemon cake.
Sorry the post is so long, but guessing I needed to provide a bit of the details.
Any hints, suggestions are appreciated!!