I am making a wedding cake for the first time and it is going to have 3 tiers, with 4 layers in each tier (2 baked cakes sliced in half and filled/frosted for each tier) 12", 9", and 6". The bottom tier is going to be an Italian cream cake, the middle will be chocolate rum cake with cherry preserves, and the top will be a lemon cake with lemon filling/frosting and raspberry jam. The reception will be an outdoor venue and the bride and groom don't want fondant. What kind of frosting can I use instead that will hold in early September weather? How far ahead can I make the cakes and if I freeze them will they really taste just as good as fresh ones? Will the cakes stack on top of each other without sinking, (if i put in dowels) even though they are different textures and flavors? I am also using fresh flowers and leafy plants to decorate the cake. Do I need to do anything specific to them to ensure they don't wilt? Any other tips for filling, frosting, and making the actual cake would be appreciated, thank you.
It sounds as though you have bitten off more than you can chew! It's hard to give you advice without knowing your ability as a baker and decorator - I would be really concerned if I were this bride and you did not have tried and tested recipes and techniques in place for my very special wedding cake. You have a lot of quite basic questions that are very specific to this cake combination and your location - luckily you have some time to do a lot of practising, or perhaps pass this order on to someone with more experience, giving yourself the chance to acquire a lot more skills prior to accepting a cake order so far above your level of experience.
First of all, there's a reason why people hire a professional to do this kind of thing. That's so that we can tell them when their ideas stink, like having and Italian cream cake at an outdoor reception in September with no fondant. If you're selling cakes (or even doing them for friends) you need to take control and tell them that it's a bad idea when people suggest things that are a bad idea.
@Winniemog is right, you're basically asking us to tell you how to make a wedding cake. Just read her post again...
OP. Search here on CC for every single question you have. Separately. You will find many excellent options and answers. With accepting this project, you get to choose the answers best suited for your application. If one person were to simply state absolute answers for you, (a detailed step by step tutorial custom for you, with a video of course) not knowing of certain situations and concerns, those answers may be wrong. Then you and the bride will be upset with a failed cake. And the person who helped will walk down the cobblestone way, whilst we all ring bells and chant "shame".
here are some suggestions for you to search on, but by all means not everything you need to know:
"can I stack jello with a proper support system?"
"why are gnats sticking to my buttercream cake out in the barn?"
"does the hour in my car getting the cream cheese bricks home really count towards total non-refridgeration time?"
"Are poinsettias and rhubarb leaves food safe? bride loves them!"
"And that, my cake baking buddies, is why I diaper my cat before I let him in the kitchen"
ps..do a bit of research. Have some skin in the game. Come back with a specific question you've already researched a bit with your options and thoughts. You'll get really good help.
You can also go to you tube and type in anything and everything to do with wedding cakes. The videos are endless. They show how to stack with dowels or straws. There is a lot involved when doing a wedding cake with three tiers. Make sure you do plenty of research before tackling this wedding cake. I am only a hobby baker. I tried one time to do a simple birthday cake with three tiers for a 16 year old. It was okay but I really just wanted to see if I could manage it. She was thrilled with it but I realized I was glad that I experimented on her cake because I made a few mistakes. I only did hers as a 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch. Trial and error helps one to learn from their mistakes. It is always good to do a trial run before hand.
You might want to try indydeb's icing recipe which does hold up well in heat. Just type in Indydeb's icing under google search and you should be able to get her recipe. If it is outside, you might re- think the Italian cake idea. I wish you the best of luck!! If you do make the cake try not to get frustrated. Make sure you use dowels to keep the cakes from being crushed. You can get a lot of information from Cake Central and You tube. Hang in there!!
I forgot to also mention that on you tube you can type in frosting flowers, icing flowers, buttercream flowers and you can learn how to make your own flowers from buttercream. Using real flowers, you will have to be very careful as some flowers are poisonous.
I have never done fondant before on any cakes so I would not be helpful with that because I am no expert. Again, good luck!!
Because everyone's an expert after two hours on Youtube.
Oh yes - Dr Google has led to patients turning up for surgery with a list of anaesthetic drugs they want my husband to use for their anaesthetic - because his 30+ years of medical school/training/experience mean that he is incapable of knowing what drugs to use and the Internet is a much better source of all knowledge specifically tailored to their situation....honestly people, there's a reason we pay an expert to do some jobs - and surely a quick glance at cakewrecks demonstrates that overconfidence is still trumped regularly by inexperience!
Since everyone else has gotten the harsh comments out of the way, let's see if we can make some positive suggestions.
First and foremost.....you can most certainly bake your layers at least a couple weeks in advance, wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze them with no problems.
As to the fillings you plan on using....avoid anything with cream cheese which is traditional in the Italian crème cake. The preserves should do fine, just don't do a thick layer.
As to a frosting, avoid a true meringue based buttercream if this will sit outside a long time. Avoid an American buttercream if it's partially made of butter as well....it won't endure the heat well.
Here's an icing that I used years ago in my early days....and I know several bakers who still use it. It will crust well and can take the heat!
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup very hot water (not boiling but very hot)
Sift sugar and flour together in mixer bowl.
Add the shortening and mix in a bit with a fork or pastry blended to sort of combine (it will be very lumpy!)
Add 1/3 cup of the hot water and mix on low until mixture begins to come together.
Add more water, a teaspoon or two at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Mix in extracts.
This icing keeps for about a month in the refrigerator and can sit out a couple days at room temperature with no problem.
If made ahead of time, you might need to add an additional few spoons of hot water to thin again as it tends to thicken a bit after sitting a while.
This icing is also great for piping flower. You can air dry them a couple days to make them easy to handle, yet the will remain soft inside unlike a royal icing flower.
Good luck with your project!
I don't think it is wrong to voice our frustration over these sorts of questions - I have invested enormous amounts of time, money and effort developing my own recipes, skills and techniques to produce these types of cakes, and it's incredibly frustrating to read people's list of demands to compensate for their lack of experience in producing a cake that is precisely my skill set. I don't feel that I can write to one of the very high level cake artists and demand a set of instructions to create one of their masterpieces - I need to work step by step to build my abilities.
I guess I need to keep my mouth closed and not vent on this site - and I'm not directing this frustration solely at the OP - it's more directed to the the large set of people with the misguided sense of entitlement who believe that we should just provide them with everything they need to fulfill an order they should probably not have accepted in the first place.
Rant over. Go ahead and re-take the high ground....
Until the OP comes back, I'm not convinced it was a request placed with sincerity.
i stand by my advice either way.
Good point @Rfisher...There are plenty of people who enjoy trolling boards posting random things that will get everyone worked up. The OP may be sincere but maybe not.
Points made either way...but bottom line....if you read a post and don't like it, no one is required to respond. Just seems better to play nice....but to each their own I guess.
Points, made, probably received negatively. Everyone is new to the game at some point, hopefully not treated terribly simply for asking a few questions. Yes, research can and must be done, but isn't that part of the point of a "forum" on cakes?! I agree with Jeff. Yes, other people have worked hard to get where they are at with their skills and/or businesses, but it's not as if you lost a cake sale to someone with no experience. This post doesn't negatively impact you one bit. You aren't required to respond, but maybe the OP thought they could get some good advice on a place to start, or could learn from some of the silly mistakes others have made prior. I myself am learning along the way, and probably have bitten off more than I could chew more than once, but it is also how I learn. Taking leaps of faith, and learning along the way. Congrats on your new endeavor, @sweettooth.
After I reading the post for the third time, the "fresh flowers and leafy plants" seem to me to be a giveaway that this is a setup. I agree with Rfisher. Until the OP comes back, I'm calling BS on the whole thing.
I can't believe I fell for it - and now I've been crucified for opening my mouth. Well - I'll retreat to lick my wounds - and perhaps surround myself with some fresh flowers and leafy plants to cheer myself up...
Jeff, I like your style!! You at least gave her a great recipe for frosting ,advice and you were very respectful. The poor girl is asking for advice and help. Thank you for being nice to her!!
I have absolutely no experience in wedding cakes but I do know that it takes years of practice before one can master beautiful cakes. She just wants to learn. Everyone has to start somewhere. She may not have realized how big of a job that wedding cakes are and how much time is involved in making one not to mention years of practice.
Jedi, I never said that people could learn in two hours on you tube, you did. I said that you tube and Cake Central is a good place to read and study,learn and watch. Practicing is really what helps people to learn especially when they make mistakes because most people learn from their mistakes.
Thank you all for your helpful, and at times, humorously worded advice. I have been baking for a number of years, I am undertaking this project because the bride and groom are trying to save money and the culture I'm a part of doesn't put a lot of pressure on the wedding cake, a number of other desserts will be provided for the guests. Of course, I would like the cake to look and taste delightful. Therefore I plan to make either a full scale or smaller scale of the cake and practice and prepare thoroughly, as well as put the practice cake outside to see how it holds in summer weather. Our early septembers are usually in the 70s, and the cake will only be out for an hour or so before it is cut. To the best of my understanding, I thought this site would be a great resource. Jeff, I am planning on testing out the icing recipe you suggested as well as the indydeb recipe suggested by remnant3333. I will definitely be using dowels and cardboard rounds for a support system and I agree that YouTube can be a great resource as well. I will post how my progress goes @birdsbug! As for the decoration of the cake itself, the bride and groom want a simple, rustic, white frosting covering the cake. The flowers and greens will match the bride's bouquet and will be draped along the different tiers creating a more nature-esque feel to match the theme of the wedding. I will ensure the flowers are safe and not poisonous.
I'm sorry op.
low 70's and only displayed for an hour doesn't mean you need an all shortening based frosting. The two you have been suggested will taste very different from each other. The brand of shortening you use will affect it greatly as well. Outdoors you will definately want crusting to keep all airborne debris from sticking.
ive got to go, I wanted to say I was sorry about the sincerity remark.
i'll be back.
flower info for you. Some options for you to choose from. No way is perfectly mistake proof, but using common sense and being careful all of them can be sanitary.
you will have to do the research on the flowers for what suits your aesthetics, wilting time constraints, and safety.
page 6 has the correct instructions link.
dowels and rounds works, but has more potential for mishaps. If you are not really adept at cutting dowels or straws the same length and level, this is the way to go.
density of the cakes do not matter, the cake never supports any of the weight.
Depending on your ability for refrigeration up until the event, and you say it will be low 70's September where you are....and the cake will only be out an hour.
you can get away with standard cheese buttercream filling for the Italian cream cake. I would not suggest covering the outsides with it though. Once you add enough powdered sugar to make it crust, to me it doesn't taste like cream cheese any more. Flavorings of course are an option, but you'll have to test different ones and different amounts to see what works for you. I believe with this particular one there is a super fine line between not enough to taste and too much that tastes bad.
as for freezing and it tasting fresh, well that's opinions again. They usually won't taste the same/have the same texture. And I'm not saying freezing will make it bad, jut not the same. If you wrap well you'll be fine. Frostless freezer is not as good, but will still work. Sometimes I trim and layer semi frozen.
amount of time cake is out of oven and wrapped (and put into fridge/freezer) is another hot topic.
uncovered cat anuses was strictly a joke and was in no way directed at you.
Last but not least - best wishes and good luck.
i hope your relative(s) truly appreciate your labor of love. I "get" you wanting to do this for them.
i hope they realize the amount you end up investing in this probably will end up being more than they would have paid to have it done.
questions are mostly widely accepted and graciously answered here. A wide encompassing start to finish complete scenario help specifically tell me what to do -what do I do type, even polite as yours was, sometimes is off-putting.
sweettooth - - my apologies as well. The tone of your original post indicated someone who had some knowledge of the caking addiction, but the last line asking for tips for the actual making of the cake was a little strange.
Rfisher has given you an amazing amount of information as well as made me quite ashamed of myself.
If there are any issues which come up with your research/trials we'll be happy to help you if we can.
Thank you Rfisher for so much helpful information! I plan on covering the cake with the icing that tastes best out of the two. I will most likely be setting up the cake at the reception (after having each tier fully filled, frosted, and chilled), and adding the finishing decorative touches.
And no worries @jgifford! Thanks for your willingness to help:)