My First Wedding Cake...the Saga...anyone Else (Long)

Decorating By Lee9 Updated 29 May 2008 , 8:08pm by luvbakin

Lee9 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Lee9 Posted 28 May 2008 , 8:19pm
post #1 of 17

I always wanted to try a wedding cake and when my brother got engaged I jumped right in and offered to do their cake as a present. Over the next 6 months he asked, "Have you done a wedding cake before", "What if you can't get it to look right", "Will it be stable", "What if it falls or somebody bumps the table." I reassured him and answered all of his questions, but I admit I was a little nervous on the inside.

To get more practice and expand my portfolio I volunteered to do both shower cakes and my future SIL and I decided on a surprise grooms cake for my brother. I had previously done cakes for family and friends but decided it was now time to take the Wilton classes at Michaels. I took 1, 2, and Gumpaste with no problem and signed up for 3 (the most important one) which started Jan 9. I was very excited and then on Jan 12 I injured my knee and was put on crutches for 7 weeks. That ended my Wilton 3 class idea and I just decided I could do it and be fine. I did my first stacked cake the middle of Feb, 6" and 8", I faced a few challenges with it but managed it by wheeling around the kitchen in an office chair.

I read many forum topics and made a schedule so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed and I took off the day before. The wedding was Saturday at 10:00am, had to be at the church at 9:00am dressed and ready (I was in the wedding), had to set up the cake at the reception site about 30 min. from my house, but couldn't be there before 7:00am.

I covered boards, mixed fillings, made BC, baked, wrapped, and froze cakes, premade flowers for the wedding cake, and all the items for the grooms cake in the week before the wedding. I thought I was doing great, all I had to do Friday was fill, stack, ice, dowel, and decorate 8", 10", 14", 11x15, and another 8", and be at the dress rehearsal/dinner at 6:00pm (PIECE OF CAKE RIGHT) icon_biggrin.gif

I thought I needed to cut each dowel seperately, I should have cut one and then cut the rest off that one, wooden ones stink, I couldn't get them flat, but thought they were pretty close. Icing wasn't as smooth as I wanted even though I used the paper towel and the computer paper. My DH is a perfectionist and wanted to know why the icing wasn't completely smooth, this from the man who rarely pays attention to my cakes. I was decoratig one layer and he starts trying to smooth out one of the other layers. At one point I look over and he has a spatula in his hand and thinks he can smooth it that way, it had already crusted, thank goodnes I stopped him. After 45min he looked at me and said isn't that better. He did get it a little smoother but I had already worked on smoothing that tier for 1.5hrs and just didn't have anymore time to devote to it. I smiled and thanked him but was grumbling on the inside. I was pretty happy with everything when we left the house for the rehearsal with only one tier to decorate with flowers and vines when I got home. Get home 10:30pm, finish last tier and make sure I have evrything for the next day.

Get up at 5:30, leave house at 6:30, arrive at reception site at 7:00 and unload car. Round table with 2 dishwasher trays stacked and coverd with a cloth, I should have removed at least one of those because I already had a ring to give it height but I didn't realized how high it would get trying to put the top tier on, especially with the spiral seperators. Started stacking, dowels not all even, start pulling them out one at a time and snipping to get even, pipe bottom border, okay, next tier, repeat process. Not completely flat but looks great, now for the final tier, holy cow icon_eek.gif trying to reach the top while holding the heavy layer. Then I move on to setting up grooms cake not much and goes very smooth. Start packing up to get to the church cuz I'm running 15min late, get over to the door and turn to look at the cake one last time. THANK GOODNESS I DID icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif The 14" tier is seperating between the layers, another 20min and it would have all been on the floor. I ran back over and carefully and quickly unstacked everything and realized the wooden dowels must be completely flat and even, I hate them even more. I ended up leaving it all unstacked as you can see in the picture below because I was scared to restack and didn't have time to mess with it anymore. I was so upset and cried all the way to the church. My husband who was also in the wedding went to the church seperately because we had out of town guests at our house. He got there before me and knew that wasn't a good sign. He called me while I was driving and I told him I didn't want to talk about it but that the tiers couldn't be stacked. At the church he sent my mom to check on me and make sure I was ok (I know this is crazy but my heart was filled with such love for him at that moment because even though he made me mad the day before he knew how important that cake was to me and that I wanted it to be perfect for my brother and that I was so upset.)

The cake didn't turn out exactly as I had planned but looking at it now I think for my first cake it looks okay. Everyone at the wedding kept commenting on how great it looked and tasted. I was very happy with how the grooms cake turned out.

I think for now I will stick with party and grooms cakes and stay away from wedding cakes.



16 replies
jamiemichelle Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jamiemichelle Posted 28 May 2008 , 8:30pm
post #2 of 17

I HATE wooden dowels for all the problems you mentioned. They are a pain to cut and get flat. I've started using the plastic tubes Wilton sells which work for my cakes; I am just a hobbyist and don't do many stacked cakes.

Glad everyone thought your cake was great.

KHalstead Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KHalstead Posted 28 May 2008 , 8:52pm
post #3 of 17

I third the hatred for wooden dowels but I'm too chicken to use the bubble tea straws!! I'm gonna have to try them one day when I have a 4 tier cake to make for no good reason lol

dinas27 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
dinas27 Posted 28 May 2008 , 8:58pm
post #4 of 17

i think your grooms cake is great.. and despite the wedding cake not turning out exactly the way you expected it is very pretty. I have this cute little hack saw now that is great for cutting dowels

my wedding cake saga story? i made my own wedding cake August 2008

I had made two wedding cakes that summer (before which I had zero experience) and a few practice cakes so I was pretty confident I could get it done.

It was a four tiered hexagon to look exactly like my dress.

I had to drive almost 9 hours to get to my hometown where the wedding was being held. So I baked all my cakes monday night/early early tues morning before I went to work and then packed all the layers as my fiance and I were leaving Wed morning. I did not tort - silly girl. I also made my fondant before we left.

Once I arrived at my parents I froze the cake. I planned on stacking the cake thursday night and doing final decorating friday morning. There were so many other things to take care of it that didnt happen. So the new plan was after rehersal dinner. I did make the buttercream and lemon curd thursday and stuck it in the fridge.

Friday morning I got up early to make my royal icing lace pieces. I hadnt done it ahead of time because I didnt want my fiance to see them and give away details of my dress. That was stupid! He saw them anyway and even tried to help me do some.. anyway most of them broke anyway, I had remixed the royal three times and still didnt get a good consistency.

Well I forgot to take the cake out of the freezer before we left for dinner, and forgot my buttercream in the fridge. Dinner went way longer than planned so I started doing the cake at about 10:30. D@^! it though I was making my perfect cake! So I started torting frozen cake and filling as quickly as I could. I resorted to slapping buttercream on the sides with my (clean) hands. Got the tiers covered in fondant ok, my mom helped me lay the strips of fondant on the bottom tier for the pleats. I hacked off the dowels with my leatherman (on a side note that was first gift from my husband after about 2 weeks of dating icon_lol.gif ) My mom also managed to get a few of the lace pieces on decently but there werent as many as I had planned.

I had no energy to pipe borders, or cut the ribbon properly so it just got tied around the back. I stacked the top two tiers to put in the fridge overnight. But the other two had to stay seperate to fit in the fridge. I was done! It was 2:30 AM

I had made gumpaste hydrangea petals to make a cake topper but didnt get to put it together to color properly so I called my florist the morning of the wedding to spray some silk ones to match my bouquet.

Once the wedding was over and the pics were taken - I had to go back into the house (the ceremony was at my farm) and pick up the cake. The cake got stacked in the parking lot of the reception hall and two of the grooms men carried it into the hall... it got just a grand of entrance as my hubby and I did! My bridesmaid stuck the silk flowers on top. It was pretty good from the front, luckily the back faced a corner icon_razz.gif

My brother said it was the best cake hes every had... guess who is making his wedding cake in three weeks?

I would definately have done things differently but no one else could have done that for me in my hometown - all the bakeries make disgusting cake. I was tired but I would do it all over again.

Cake is in my picture if you want to peek.

marthajo1 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
marthajo1 Posted 28 May 2008 , 10:32pm
post #5 of 17

Try these:

The cake looks pretty- and non cake people would never know it wasn't supposed to look like that!

And your groom's cake looks totally fun! Love the it piping gel over candy pebbles?

amy2197 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
amy2197 Posted 28 May 2008 , 11:12pm
post #6 of 17

well, i'm doing my first wedding cake next weekend and after reading this post i'm starting to worry. hopefully i won't have a horror story of my own in two weeks.

SugarMama602 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SugarMama602 Posted 28 May 2008 , 11:27pm
post #7 of 17

I thought the tiers ended up looking really pretty...don't worry about it!! Sounds like everyone enjoyed them anyway. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
indydebi Posted 28 May 2008 , 11:42pm
post #8 of 17

From your story, I was expecting to see a big mess. My goodness, that wedding cake is beautiful!!! As mentioned above, anyone who didn't knwow they were suppose to be stacked wouldn't have guessed there was a problem.

And the groom's cake! My mouth fell open! Magnificent!!!!!!!!!!!!

You did your brother proud ..... a wonderful job. thumbs_up.gif

Mike1394 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Mike1394 Posted 28 May 2008 , 11:58pm
post #9 of 17

Wow very nice.


namaman Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
namaman Posted 29 May 2008 , 12:33am
post #10 of 17

I think you did a great job! Especially with everything else you had to do...! I had a similar experience decorating my brother and SIL's cake just a few weeks ago in the kitchen of a villa we stayed in. It was quite interesting but turned out pretty well. But I don't know that I will do another one where I am that far away from a familiar kitchen and be the best man in the wedding again. It was a lot to do for sure... And I did like the groom's cake too. Great idea!

ANicole Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ANicole Posted 29 May 2008 , 12:37am
post #11 of 17

You did a beautiful job! I can't believe how great they look for your first one!

My first (and only) wedding cake story was a total disaster. It was for my aunt's cousin's wedding. My aunt asked me to do it only a few months after I started decorating cakes! And she asked me to do it 3 days before the wedding! I said yes, because I thought I could do a better job than my aunt would've done - icon_redface.gif

Well... I think I could've done a good job - except for one MAJOR thing. I spent HOURS upon HOURS trying to get smooth icing. This was before my new icing recipe, which I love and have no problem smoothing out - also thanks to Than Than's tips for smoothing. Anyway, it was 3 square tiers, iced smooth with no decoration except a black and white bead border bottom. My aunt told me she would pick up and bring fresh calla lilies before she picked the cake up from me. I told my aunt I wasn't sure if I could get the icing smooth, and she told me I was worried about nothing, it was going to be easy.

WELL - I called my aunt the day of the wedding to tell her it wasn't finished because I couldn't smooth the icing. This was at like 9, and the wedding was at like 6. My aunt said she'd be there in a "few hours". I kept trying to smooth it. At this point, the BC was so soft, it was impossible to work with. But I didn't know that, so I kept trying. The cake now looked WORSE than before! I called my aunt again at 2:00. She was going to be leaving her house (1 hour away from mine) in 10 minutes. I called her again at 4:00 - she still wasn't there - and it was 2 hours until the wedding!!!! My aunt showed up after 4, close to 5, WITHOUT calla lilies. She said my icing was too soft and proceeded to dump a whole 'nother bag of powdered sugar into it! (Knowing now that it just needed to be popped back into the fridge!) It was Sweetest Day, so I told her good luck finding any now! I left her to smooth out the icing, while I ran up to Michaels to get silk flowers. When I returned, my aunt had taken it into her own hands. She piped the border, which was really ugly - a rope border, she put some sort of black flowers all over the cake, which were runny and gross looking. Honestly, the whole thing looked like either an over the hill cake or a gag wedding cake made up for Halloween. I was so freaking out!

To top if off, she told my grandma that the cake tasted like s*** (I made it from scratch and she was going to use cherry chip out of a box) and that it was ugly and that basically I sucked! I felt like I had to defend myself for so long after that. That's why now I'm finally ready to do start doing them in my baking business. It took a long time to recover from that fiasco!

In the end, I blame myself for taking on the world when I had no clue! But I'm vindicated in a way, because I know that at this point I'm capable of so much more than she ever has been! icon_evil.gif


MessiET Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MessiET Posted 29 May 2008 , 1:13am
post #12 of 17

Your cakes are beautiful!

My story is that I made my In-laws 50th wedding anniversary cake back in October. Well, I stacked 2 tiers at home the night before and in the morning, the top tier had slid about 1 inch. I don't know how many dowels I stuck on that layer to keep it from sliding... well, my DH propped the base of the cake a little and that stopped the layer from sliding but I think the whole cake looked crooked to me...

Then, my SIL got married last month. So I decided to give them the cakes as a gift.

I thought I had learned my lesson on stacking. This time I properly cut the layers to level them (even used a lever to make sure they were leveled), I cut the dowels properly, etc. I stacked the cakes at the venue and went to the church. About 1 hour into the reception, one of the layers started to slide. You could see a crack on the icing where it separated. I finally asked the wedding planner if the newlyweds could cut the cake earlier than planned because I hated for the top tier to fall down. The venue's A/C was cranked to the max, but it did feel pretty hot in there. also, the cake topper was very heavy so I think that combination caused my layer to shift. I did get a lot of comments on how tasty the cake was icon_smile.gif

I have another wedding cake for a friend next month. This time, I have ordered some of the SPS plates. Hopefully those will work and I wont have to worry about these layers sliding problems.

samymccray Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
samymccray Posted 29 May 2008 , 3:03am
post #13 of 17

From reading your post, I thought this cake was going to be a wreck when I saw it, but you did an awesome job making it work. I never would have known that the cake wasn't supposed to be set up that way. Great job on the cake, it's beautiful and the grooms cake was awesome too. You sometimes hear the most compliments from cakes you think you totally messed up, noone knows but you how it was actually supposed to be. I am looking forward to my first wedding cake in July.
Good Luck to you! icon_biggrin.gif

cakekrayzie Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakekrayzie Posted 29 May 2008 , 6:48am
post #14 of 17

my disaster happened in November of 2007 but it wasn't the cake it was the drive to the venue that was my demise. the whole day had went smoothly it was a 4 tier cake with custard filling, the icing smoothed with no problem all of my dowels came out even on the first try with no problem even the dragess went on with no problem i even finished about a half on hour before schedule, and i am usually nit picking the last minute stuff. i had asked my dad to drive me because the delivery time was at night and all the way across town, we left an hour before delivery time because i wanted to get there on time and not fell rushed, i told my dad drive carefully and he did, the only problem is you can't control the other drivers icon_evil.gif my dad was driving so carefully, and i the driver behind him got inpatient and cut in front of the car in the lane to our left then cut in front of us, the light turned red, he slowed then he went for it but my dad had to slam on the breaks, my heart dropped when i heard the thump we pull over and the cake was completely unsaveable, there was cake all over the back of my car the mat i had the cake on was to stop the cake from moving but there was nothing to stop the mat from moving, it smelled like almond butter cream for a month in my car, and luckily i had an understanding bride she was just glad that i was okay, she was consoling me instead of the other way around which made me fell worse the groom even said they would take the smashed but i couldn't let them eat something that was all over the back of my car, and my dad felt awful for me he wanted to give me half of what the cake cost me to make but i didn't let him to this day i fell nervous every time i get in my car with a cake

bigmama1961 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
bigmama1961 Posted 29 May 2008 , 7:05am
post #15 of 17

I wouldnt let me open the page sorry i couldnt look but sorry that happen to you did your brother like it?

Lee9 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Lee9 Posted 29 May 2008 , 2:25pm
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by marthajo1

Try these:

The cake looks pretty- and non cake people would never know it wasn't supposed to look like that!

And your groom's cake looks totally fun! Love the it piping gel over candy pebbles?

Thank you for posting the right link to my pictures, I tried this morning to go in and edit my post to fix it but can't find the button to edit, it must be time sensitive. I posted the question about editing posts under Technical and hope someone can help me.

Yes the stream is piping gel and chocolate river rock.

luvbakin Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
luvbakin Posted 29 May 2008 , 8:08pm
post #17 of 17

I think your cake turned out great. Don't give up on stacked cakes. Get Sugarshack's DVD on Successful Stacking. That will help you sooooooooo much.

Quote by @%username% on %date%