Put Your First Wedding Cake Tips Here Please!

Decorating By juneymoon Updated 19 May 2015 , 6:25pm by -K8memphis

juneymoon Posted 19 May 2015 , 5:57am
post #1 of 12

Hi all.

I've browsed these forums for years, but I'm only just now getting to make my first wedding cake, for a family member so I thought I'd post. I'm excited! And scared!

I have a few of the details worked out:

  • I have found the recipe I want to use that is not too dry, but not too soft. 
  • I know how many people it needs to feed.  (~120)
  • I know how many tiers I am going to make (4).
  • I know how I'm going to support the cake (fat/milkshake straws)

I have been given a lot of freedom with it, but she wants the ever popular "country chic" theme with burlap and lace. This is good! If I don't get it perfectly smooth, I can say it was "rustic" lol

I digress.

I still have a few questions, like:

  • How far in advance should I make the cake? I've done research that varies from a month to the day before. The wedding is in about 4 weeks. I am buying the rest of the pans I need this week. 
  • Should I stack the cake /then/ transport it, or should I stack and decorate it there?
  • Should I use simple sugar on each of the layers? 

All of the meringue buttercream recipes I've tried taste really greasy and bland. I am thinking of using Jacqui's Buttercream (just a butter/shortening icing, no eggs). Any thoughts? The wedding is outdoors, but the cake will be in a covered, indoor area.

Whew...I think that's everything.  

I'd love to hear any tips!

11 replies
SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 May 2015 , 9:38am
post #2 of 12

Your timeline for baking can be likely even up to 6 weeks but personally I prefer no more than 2 weeks if I can - if freezing.  If not freezing, depending on the type of cake baking no more than 3-4 days before event.  I personally always freeze to set the crumb and if I don't freeze I wouldn't go more than 3 days.

Whether you stack ahead or not depends a lot on how large and high a space you have in a vehicle for it (don't forget a non-skid rubber type mat under it).  Also how heavy it is and how you can move it from vehicle to the table it will rest on.  Additionally - on air-conditioning and the ability to shield it from the sun and how far you are driving. Then there is the delicacy of the decorations and how stable they would be in motion.  Don't forget to have a centre dowel all the way through the layers to add stability.

If transporting unstacked, do as much decorating as you can ahead of time so you have very little to do onsite. Bring an emergency repair kit with you always. Get your boxes ready ahead too.

Do you mean "Simple Sugar Syrup"?  I would use it.

Not familiar with that icing recipe. However, even though it is indoors ensure that indoors is air conditioned and that the cake doesn't sit where the sun shines on it or directly under hot lights. If you can make this icing ahead and refrigerate until use, you will feel less rushed. That recipe has butter in it and is therefore more susceptible to the heat.

Make whatever decorations you will use, in advance if possible.

Bring a buddy to help.  Even if they do nothing, just having an extra pair of hands or a "go fer..." in case of emergency really helps.

If possible time it to finish the day ahead and get everything you need, gathered together and ready to go.

Find out the timeline for when you can bring the cake to the venue and allow yourself lots of time to get it there and to set up. Make sure there is a contact person to show you where to set up.

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 1:33pm
post #3 of 12

yeah what squirellcakes said ^^^ plus when cutting the straws -- measure one in the cake and cut all the straws that same length then place all of them into that tier -- repeat for each tier -- 

if your cake is made with butter have you tested it in and out of the freezer/fridge to make sure it is bouncy and as soft as before it ever got chilled -- cakes made with butter often do not relax back to just baked condition after they are in the chill box -- the butter stays a little crisp so often it's said "it's dry" because it scraped the back of the throat going down -- but often it's not dry -- it's the butter being butter

i mean bake the cake, cut off a piece and get it cold  then let it come to room temp and try it next to the piece of never been chilled -- see how it does for you

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 1:35pm
post #4 of 12

i mean *squirrellycakes* typo'd that -- sorry

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 May 2015 , 1:47pm
post #5 of 12

I have been called worse, haha.  

Interesting -K8Memphis .  I must be lucky with the recipes I have frozen because most are butter based and I haven't had issues. Mind you I don't refrigerate them - only freeze and unthaw in the original wraps.  Wonder if  would get that issue if I refrigerated.  I know freezing suspends things to a degree. Humidity levels aren different for both also.  Will have to experiment.

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 2:45pm
post #6 of 12

for mine it's not the difference between refrigerator and freezer -- it's when it comes back to room temp from being chilled in any way it is not the exact same soft texture as before 

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 May 2015 , 3:54pm
post #7 of 12

Interesting kiddo.  One of the reasons I like to freeze a cake if only for a few hours, is that I find it sets the crumb and makes it easier to handle and crumbcoat/ice.  I guess it does change the texture but I didn't think of it as a dry mouth feel.  

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 4:09pm
post #8 of 12

it's my theory as to why a good scratch cake can be deemed 'dry' -- when it scrapes that little bit down the back of the throat -- i think americans in general like the melt in your mouth slide down your throat experience esp for layer cakes -- so that's why i use doctored mixes for tier cakes because i pop them in & out the chill boxes -- i like the longer holding time with a mix -- and since i use fillings that have to be fridged anyhow it works for me --

and yes i agree it does something good to a cake to be frozen during the process -- i freeze all mine but not ones made with butter in the batter -- those are just for family and we gobble them up --

each to their own of course

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 May 2015 , 4:32pm
post #9 of 12

So true.  Though I prefer scratch cakes, I haven't met too many cakes I didn't like.  Unfortunately.

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 4:35pm
post #10 of 12

i like cakes/baked goods so much i carry a bit of all of my former acquisitions around with me at all times -- and not in my hands -- hahahaha

SquirrellyCakes Posted 19 May 2015 , 4:43pm
post #11 of 12

Hhmn, this has turned into a "weighted discussion"!

-K8memphis Posted 19 May 2015 , 6:25pm
post #12 of 12

quite so hahahahaha

all roads lead to cellulite

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