i'm thinking about attempting it... it would be my first cake but i would definetely do a few trials before hand. it needs to be fairly big... big enough to feed 200 people so i thought of doing a 16, 12, 8 and then 3-6" cakes to surround it... the 16 and 12 have to be 4" so that means a double layer... what exactly can you put in the middle, just those fillings? then the 8" and all the 6" would just be 3" high... i don't want a complicated design or anything so i was thinking of going with the fondant... would it be better to buy the stuff at the store already made or make it (or go with buttercream)... my wedding is for july 23, 2005 and i know this would just add stress but i plan on having everything ready to go well before the week even arrives... my fiance thinks it's a good idea but my mom is a little skeptical... any suggestions? and one more thing, is it ok to frost a night or 2 before and freeze or just keep refrigerated since it's so close... thanks for your help
My sister and I took a couple of Wilton courses and we have been making birthday cakes, but are not pros by any means. We just finished a practice cake this evening. My cake is supposed to feed 140 some and it took 11 cake mixes. Not only is it a lot of work, but money too. We tried a couple of different fillings. Didn't like the almond one, but the Kahua Raspberry Cream was good. Will try a couple more before the wedding. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
Fondant: Buy it. Making that much fondant to cover that much cake is going to be a trial that I'm sure that you won't want to go through. Country Kitchens sells 5# buckets of fondant; I've heard good things about the taste of the Pettinice brand, and you can always add some of the LorAnn oils they sell to the fondant to add flavor. You will need to do a glaze/crumb coat before you put the fondant on; seriously consider doing a jam glaze (heat to simmer, strain, brush on naked cake) instead of buttercream for that coat.
Freezing: Don't freeze a fondant-covered cake. Don't refrigerate a fondant-covered cake. The condensation that will collect on the surface during the thawing process will melt the fondant. Yuck.
Do yourself a favor - don't do a light sponge cake; with something that large and heavy, you'll need a firm cake. I've noticed that if you add about 1 tbsp of meringue powder to a cake mix that it firms up fairly well. Don't use wooden dowels - get the hollow plastic support dowels, they'll work better.
Another suggestion I would make is don't use cardboard rounds to separate the tiers; they'll soften up. Country Kitchens sells plastic separator plates made specifically for stacking; I have several and I know they'll work well. You'll also need the white plate pegs to secure the stacking plate to the tier on top of it (thats how I do it).
And, for the love of whatever, please get a good, heavy, thick board to put the main cake on. I *think* that an filled and iced cake of the size you want should be VERY HEAVY. By the charts on the Wilton site and on Country Kitchen:
*You're looking at the equivalent of 13 cake mixes for just the main cake, based on 5 cups of batter per mix (65 cups of batter). I don't know how much a cake mix weighs after baking, but guessing that it'd be about 3 pounds, that's about 39 pounds of cake.
*Your cake will be wearing about 13 1/2 pounds of fondant (you'll need to buy extra to have some working room)
*With only one layer of filling in each tier, that's about 2 pounds of sleeved filling for the main cake. With two layers of filling, that'd be 4 pounds.
None of that includes the crumb coat, the internal structure, decorations, or anything else.
Your *main cake* should weigh about 56.5 pounds, and about 60 pounds after internal structure and decorations.
I'm not by any stretch of the imagination trying to discourage you; I think you are an incredibly gutsy lady for wanting to tackle this, and kudos to you! You mentioned that this was going to be your first cake, so I just wanted to let you know what you need to prepare for. Best of luck!
Illy said it all!! Nothing else can be said! Good job Illy!! Happy Easter!!
I think everything has been covered, but I'll add:
GIVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TIME!!!
How do I know that?? My sister did her own wedding cake and I assisted her - not by choice, but by necessity after it wasn't going well and it was almost Friday midnight!!
She was just too nervous and too stressed to do a good job. She ended up going to bed at 3a.m. and we had an early appointment Sat. morning for hair and nails, because she didn't want to get her acrylic nails before she did the cake!!
Boy did we learn something! Mind you, the cake looked really nice to me, but she wasn't completely satisfied. You know how we decorators are our own worst critic!
So just make sure you give yourself lots of extra time so that you'll be able to get the rest you need before your big day!
thanks, that helps a lot... so you can't refrigerate it or freeze it at all after the fondant is on the cake? is it still ok to do a few days ahead? also, any good jam glaze recipes? thanks again!
You'll do fine! Takes longer actually to bake all the cakes, at least it did for me! It helps when you have enough pans to bake that many, I didn't so I improvised. I'm a beginner also, maybe that is why it took me so long to do mine! And, if you have nothing else going on at the same time, then it shouldn't take you near as long...Leveling, filling, & icing took a couple days, covering with fondant took another couple days and on the 5th day I delivered! (the cake) By "mine" I meant the cake I had made for someone else.
greencargirl: So sorry, I should have mentioned that... Yes, you can freeze your cakes before the fondant goes on, but not after. Opinions vary on what happens when, but I generally fill and crumb coat (when I do coat, anyway) before I freeze them. Wrap them up in saran wrap, and when you take them out, don't unwrap them until they're completely thawed; as they thaw, they'll pick up moisture from the surrounding enviroment and develop condensation if they're unwrapped.
Oh, very important: Make sure your 16" pan fits into your oven with about 3" to spare on each side for proper circulation. You may need to buy a half pan. For the 16" and 14" layers, buy some bake-even strips and a heating core. You can fill the core with batter and bake that to fill the hole the core will leave in your cake layers.
Also, you'll need to be able to roll out - seamlessly - a 28" sheet of fondant for your largest tier. This gets TRICKY, since the natural tendency of fondant is to dry somewhat, and when rolled to about 0.25" as it should be, it will tear if you are not incredibly careful. My best suggestion would be to get two 45" square pieces of clear vinyl from a craft store, give them the barest swipe of shortening, then roll out your fondant between the two sheets with a big ass rolling pin; use a wooden clothes rod. After it's big enough - use a yardstick to measure - roll up the *top sheet* and the fondant together, then unroll it onto your tier. (Your fondant will be on the outside of the roll as you do this) ...16" top + (4" height x2) = 24" plus 2" trimming room on each side.
If you freeze them, be prepared for the 16" layer to take up to *two days* to thaw. Depending on when you bake vs when you decorate, there may not be any point in freezing them. However, a properly crumbcoated cake with fondant will last for a week, covered well, in a cool, dry place. The fondant helps seal in the moisture, and some cakes taste better (and have a better mouth feel) after being allowed to set like this. Just be aware and do not use fillings or a crumb coat that has eggs or dairy, since those *do* require refrigeration. If you buy the clear sleeves of pastry fillings from a cake shop, those generally do not require refrigeration.
Gaah. It's times like this that I wish I could just show people... I don't think I'm very good at giving clear explanations sometimes.
You did just fine Illy!! When do your classes begin! I'd like to attend!! LOL!! You did just fine~
you did great! that really helps me out a lot! just a few more q's now... what's a good crumb coat recipe and what exactly is considered dairy... is whipping cream? i would think so... it seems like it would be hard to find a recipe without dairy. i'm going to the store in about an hour to check out what they have for all of this so i'll see on the fillings and stuff... i just want to do a couple of 6" test cakes... and then maybe try the 16" once to make sure i can do it... i'd like to do something with pineapple and maybe strawberry for a layer... i need at least one plain white cake so what should i use for a filling with that? sorry i have so many questions... i'm not much of a baker, let alone trying to tackle something like this is crazy but i can't wait, thanks so much!
Crumbcoat: You can use a standard buttercream icing, thinned down with about 1 tbsp of light corn syrup to 1 cup icing. You can also do a jelly glaze, which is where you heat some jelly (not jam) over medium heat until it simmers, strain it through a small sieve, and then brush that over your cake. An apricot jelly glaze is traditional for fondant and marzipan, but pick whatever you like.
Dairy: Yes, whipping cream is dairy. Milk, eggs, whipping cream, cream cheese, anything that's in refrig at the store will also require refrigeration in an icing or filling. (The cake itself here doesn't count). Custard or cream based pastry fillings, such as creme anglaise or bavarian cream, will also require refrigeration.
There is an exception: Buttercreams with real butter and/or milk don't require refrigeration because the sugar content is so high. The sugar binds the moisture to itself and pretty much makes it impossible for mold or bacteria to grow. (Osmotic pressure, hygroscopic compounds, dessicant action, blah blah. I have a yogurt container of buttercream in my fridge that's been there for 2 mos and is still damned good.)
With a plain white tier, use whatever filling you like. Try sandwiching some good jam inbetween two very thin coats of buttercream - it will help to keep the jam from being soaked into the cake. And remember to make a "dam" of buttercream to keep the filling in (use coupler in bag, no tip, run a nice thick line of it keeping about 1/4" space in from the edge).
Another idea: Substitute canned milk for the water in cake mixes, or almond milk. If you don't require a pure white cake batter, use the same number of eggs and throw in the yolks as well, it'll turn a very light cream color instead of white. These two ideas will help give the cake mix (if you're using that) a nicely moist and dense texture. I usually do this with Betty Crocker mixes, and I only fill the pans half full - they will bake noticeably higher in my oven than those done strictly by-the-box.
Hey, don't apologize; knowing when to ask for help saves soooo much time and trouble! Besides, I don't often get the opportunity to go this in-depth with anyone, and I appreciate the chance.
tcturtleshell: Maybe in a few years when the kids are in school, eh? I could drop the guitar lessons for that.
I appreciate that you asked this question because I'm also planning to make my own wedding cake. Oooh! We're very adventurous, aren't we? I think it will be neat to have our own handmade cakes there, though! We're not exactly sure when our wedding will be yet (seriously!), but sometime this summer or early fall probably.
I started taking the Wilton Cake Decorating classes in Feb. and I'm halfway through the second course now. You can get the books on eBay - the Course Student Guides and you could follow them at home if you want to learn it and can't find a local class. The third course teaches fondant and stacked and tiered cakes. Unfortunately there won't be a class of that in my area til the fall, but I got the student guide and I'm going to practice here at home.
I'd definitely recommend practicing with the fondant on smaller cakes and then practicing a small tiered or stacked cake to get the idea. You can make and freeze the cake way ahead of time and you can also do the flowers with buttercream or royal icing way ahead of time, too.. like a month or two.
I learned a lot from the responses to this topic regarding toppings and how much cake mix it will take - and I didn't know that you couldn't fridge or freeze fondant covered cakes!
Best of luck on your progress and wedding cake!
I did my own wedding cakes- twice. One for the dinner after the ceremony and a larger cake for the reception that was a week later. Of course when I did them I had no idea what I was doing
When I made the cake for the reception I did not know that you should out cake boards under the cakes when you stack. Oh, I did a lot of no no's on that cake. But I keep learning as the years go on, thank goodness.
I did my own wedding cake twenty years ago. I had done a few wedding cakes before that and my mom was there to back me up, she did wedding cakes for years. Is there someone you can call on to help you if you need it? I had to have my mom finish the top two tiers on my cake because I spilled boiling water on my hand and couldn't finish it. You can see a picture of it about half way down on my site www.thecakeshoppe.blogspot.com
I didn't get much sleep that night due to the burned hand so I didn't look as good as I could have on my wedding day. I was young though so I could get away with it. I've always been glad that I did my cake but it did add a lot of stress. Make sure you practice before so you can get the kinks worked out. Good assembly is very important to the finished product. Hope it works out well for you!
your cakes are beautiful
BTW, it's just my opinion, but I think that you will be stressed enough. Putting a cake on everything else will probably drive you crazy!!!!
Good luck to you.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU TRY THE FONDANT BEFORE THE ACTUAL TIME TO PUT IT ON THE CAKE FOR THE WEDDING. I JUST DID A WEDDING CAKE FOR MY COUSIN AND SHE THOUGHT THAT FONDANT WAS THE WAY TO GO. I MADE ONE FOR HER AS A PRACTICE FOR ME AND TO TRY FOR HER. SHE ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. IT WAS HORRIBLE TO WORK WITH AND I HATED DOING IT. I ENDED UP DOING BUTTERCREAM ICING AND EVERYTHING WORKED OUT JUST FINE. GOOD LUCK!!!