Need Help! :)

Decorating By nastassia Updated 20 Apr 2010 , 5:37pm by nastassia

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nastassia Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 2:01am
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Ok...I'm sooo EXCITED I get to make my first wedding cake! icon_smile.gif I'm making it for my cousin's wedding. They want a three tiered cake, their colors are ivory and gold. Its a small lil ceremony so they have no specifics of how to decorate it, they said I can put flowers on if I want, and its also up to me to put fondant on, etc, but they wanted a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I was wondering if this would be too heavy, esp with fondant? any advise??

also...any suggestions for decorating, I'm still not a pro decorator, take a look at my cakes and I still need a looot of improvement, but I do want this to be a NICE wedding cake icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif like you think I should use fresh flowers in between...or make fondant flowers, ...she said her favorite is lillies....

please help!! icon_smile.gif

THANK you soo much in advance too icon_smile.gif

29 replies
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prterrell Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 3:29am
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1- Cream cheese frosting is extremely difficult to make really smooth
2- Cream cheese frosting and fondant do not work together (the frosting melts the fondant
3- Cream cheese frosting requires refrigeration
4- Real lillies are poisonous and cannot be used on cake

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cake-angel Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 3:58am
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As prterrell said - if you want to use lilies it is best to use handmade sugar flowers or silks. I have to agree about the cream cheese frosting. As good as it tastes - it just doesn't make decorating with it easy and doesn't get along well with fondant. Possibly use a cream cheese icing filling in the cake and a buttercream to ice it so you can decorate the way you would like to. You would still need to deal with the refridgeration issue if you choose that route.

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hollylikescake Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 4:16am
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do a search for crusting cream cheese frosting. I haven't had problems getting it smooth, and I have used it under fondant lots of times.

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cathyscakes Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 4:29am
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I hate working with cream cheese frosting. Great for fillings, but for frosting the cake its too much trouble. Especially being your first wedding cake , I wouldn't want the headache. Like everyone else has said its really soft, you would have to add extra powdered sugar, less butter, and then I don't think it would taste as good. I think it is really hard to smooth, so I would use it in the filling.

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nastassia Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 8:38pm
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thanks, so you don't think the carrot cake and fondant will be a heavy combination?

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prterrell Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 1:49am
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Fruitcake is heavier than carrot cake and it's traditionally covered with 2 layers of rolled icing: 1 layer of marzipan and 1 layer of fondant. As long as you're using a solid support structure (such as the SPS), you're good to go.

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jennywenny Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 2:46am
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I think many bakers usually do cream cheese filling, and then cover with buttercream on the outside to finish and then add fondant/more buttercream.

This has worked very well for me.

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schnumvf Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 3:19am
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There is a crusting cream cheese recipe on here that I have used and could get a smooth finish. Also, Tonedna has a youtube video on how to make a lilly.

She. Is. Amazing.

Hope that helps! Have fun with your first wedding cake. I'm too scared to venture into wedding cakes. I'll stick to birthdays and baby showers.

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EvMarie Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 5:04am
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I'm not a "super-caker". I tried it intensely for a short while. So, I have the "new decorator perspective" with good and bad experiences.... So, please just use my words as food for thought...not gospel.icon_smile.gif

(1) I tried cream cheese frosting on the bottom tier of a 3 tier cake - since I was super new, I wasn't the most talented at frosting completely smooth, THEN, I wasn't super careful with my supports. So, I had a bit of a bulging cake (at the sides) and an off color as compared to the rest of the really white cake. If you want to use it, try that crusting recipe mentioned on previous posts. I've heard a bunch of mentions about it. BUTTTTT, I'd practice just to make sure you dig it before you want to rip your hair out.

(2) It seems to me...the biggest battle is frosting the cakes perfectly. After that, you're 90% home free. I was no good at getting the tops level. So, I'm wanting to try that upside down cake icing method or....purchase a light weight level from the hardware store. I haven't gotten around to try either one. Not sure if you have frosting issues...but my pink butterfly cake was frosted using Tonedna's tutorial on youtube. Except I do add one step before the viva paper towel...and that is applying the hot/dry offset spatula.

(3) The lillies sound pretty. You can make those up waaaayyyy ahead of time if you get the hang of it. That might be nice so all you have to do is frost perfectly & stack....then apply your flowers. You probably want to enjoy the day too.

(4) Construction - another thing that seemed pretty simple but for some reason, I messed it up a bit. I think if I felt comfortable with a particular style of construction, I would be less nervous about stacking. Since I've been a spaz with every cake I've made, I've thought about it a bit. I ended up wanting to try the tall wilton pillars with the fitted separator plates. The plates are cool because they have notches that fit exactly into the pillar openings that stick up from the bottom tier. NO STRESSSSSS about it being level & toppling over!! icon_smile.gif

If you want to place flowers in between the layers, it would be super simple to use the taller pillars with just enough room in between the top of the cake and bottom of the next tier's plate to slide in your sugar flowers. Oh! And, if you don't have a fancy stand, elevate your cake and make enough flowers to place under the bottom layer. I've seen some plain frosted cakes look spectacular with beautiful flowers placed in between the layers.

I hope you have fun & just plan ahead. I like making cakes, I'm just new. Hopefully, my thoughts on the process will help you figure out what's best for you. icon_smile.gif

Oh - - if you like sparkle...(I happen to love sparkly things)...maybe your cousin would love a light dusting of gold shimmer spray. My family just bought me an airbrush and I've been spraying all my cookies. They look lovely. But, they do sell cans online or at your cake supply place. That's an easy way to add some "fancy" with out a ton of skill. Just don't spray too close.

Okay - done rambling, gotta take off for bed... GOOD LUCK!!

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kiwigal81 Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 6:32am
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For my first and only wedding cake, they wanted carrot cake. I thought from what I read it was too hard for a first. I did end up making a 3 tier in sturdy cakes, choc, almond and vanilla, then made a 8 inch carrot with creamcheese frosting for them at their table. They loved it so much she hid it and took it homeicon_smile.gif Decorated to match. Just an idea.

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prterrell Posted 22 Mar 2010 , 8:25pm
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Just a thought that you might want to mention to the happy couple: not everyone likes carrot cake, so unless they are sure that all of their guests will eat carrot cake, they might want to just have one tier be carrot and do a different flavor for the other tiers.

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scociny Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 2:01am
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I am a newbie to cake decorating but I agree with the others that said make a small tier just for them, or maybe a grooms cake with the carrot cake/cream cheese frosting. Good Luck!!

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nastassia Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:22am
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wow thanks everyone! icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

This helps a LOT icon_smile.gif so I am starting to have second thought and am just thinking of asking them to have a small carrot cake...with the rest a different flavor....

I have some more questions though, lol sorry I'm full of questions!

ok so what has been a wedding favorite? (as in kind of cake, frosting, etc)

and can I see pics of everyone's first wedding cake, and also more advice of things not to do?

this helps sooo much, TIA icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

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prterrell Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:57am
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Sorry, I don't have a digital photo of the first wedding cake I ever did (or 2nd, 3rd, 4th....).

Good flavors for pleasing a wide range of palettes are vanilla, lemon, and chocolate.

My wedding cake at my wedding was a lemon cake w/ raspberry mousse filling and lemon buttercream.

Of course vanilla cake w/ vanilla buttercream is the "traditional" wedding cake in most parts of the US.

If the happy couple really want to have one tier be carrot, what I would do is suggest lemon for the other tiers as you can use cream cheese frosting as a filling for lemon cake as well and it complements very nicely. Then I would do regular buttercream for the outside frosting. Actually, you could do a very lightly lemon flavored buttercream and it would work very well with the lemon and carrot cakes.

You didn't say how many people the cake needs to serve, but I'm going to guess that they are saving the top tier? If so, I would do the bottom tier lemon and the other two carrot. If they are planning on serving the whole thing, then I would do the middle tier carrot and the bottom and top tiers lemon.


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nastassia Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:12am
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thanks, and they said about 70 people.

ok what about as this is my first tiered cake, would u reccommend just stacking on top of each other, or buying a support system with the pillars inbetween, (are those easier?)

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prterrell Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:13am
post #17 of 30

Use the SPS system. It's inexpensive and easy to use. The pillar systems are really just an extension of the internal plastic dowels. Personally, I don't care for that style at all.

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EvMarie Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 12:26pm
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Again, I'm not expert. But, I tried the wooden dowels and just stacked right on top of each other. The wooden dowels were hard to cut exactly the same on your own. To me anyway. But, that might just be me. If you watch Edna's youtube video on it, you'll see she uses wooden dowels and her cakes always look beautiful. She just cuts the dowels with these serious looking scissors.

I've heard a ton of people use those bubble straws instead. Ace of Cakes uses them. They look super easy to use but I have not tried them at all.

I've also heard that people just love the sps system. I think Leah_S has a tutorial on here somewhere on how to use it. I guess it's a little investment but worth the no stress feeling that comes when assemblng.

I added my first wedding pic. Unfortunately, this is the only pic I have because I hated the cake. Tons of things wrong with it. I put a lighting effect on it & it looks a bit cheesy. The actual pic wasn't that good so I edited it a bit. You may see light spots here and there on the cake. That was me "jacking up" my picture. Live and learn!!!! And, practice photography!!!


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sambugjoebear Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 12:47pm
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This is the pic of my first wedding cake, done for my brother as a gift. Rookie mistake: I used Wilton fondant. Do NOT use Wilton fondant! It's horrible to work with and doesn't have a very pleasant flavor either. I now make my own marshmallow fondant and it works/tastes much better. If you don't want to make your own, you could purchase Satin Ice (I've heard great things about it but haven't actually tried it myself).

Good luck and have fun! icon_smile.gif

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nastassia Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:41pm
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ok what is the SPS system, and where do I get it?

also I did watch edna's video of stacking and icing, she makes it look so easy! icon_smile.gif but I'm afraid mine might not turn out so good, I'm afraid, what if I don't use enough supports, what if its sinking in, what if its not level...etc icon_sad.gif

how do you know how much support you need, or I avoid this altogether with the SPS system I keep hearing about? and with the SPS system would I still just be able to make their whole cake in carrot cake like they wanted?

btw evmarie, nice cake icon_smile.gif can u tell me everything NoT to do? lol like u said there was a ton of things wrong with it, as in what...and how can I avoid it?

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EvMarie Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 7:17pm
post #21 of 30

Awwww shoot, I wasn't even looking here on CC for help. I was a hot mess when I did this cake.....For example:

(1) Fondant covered carboard circles. I tried to cover each circle the cakes were made on with rolled buttercream (a type of fondant alternative) but, rolled buttercream is by nature a bit greasy. I did not leave enough time for it to dry out & I didn't roll it thick enough. So, you could see the "inner" part of the cardboard circle a little bit. I tried to patch it with icing and sparkly white sugar. I fixed it "okay".

(2) Construction - this is why I'm a bit spastic about it. The cake pictured has 3 sets of plates and pillars. For example, I elevated the cake from the table with two large separator plates and used clear pillars. These plates have the notches I was talking about, so they secured pretty good to the pillars. THEN, I simply set the tier of cake on this platform. As you can see, I placed my hot glued Christmas bulb arrangments around to hide the pillars. I repeated this process all the way. I guess the scary part was. I DID dowel the bottom and middle tiers, but I didn't cut the dowels straight or my cakes weren't frosted level on tops - - - so, I had to set these plates & pillars platforms on dowels I wasn't confident in...And, it ended up looking a bit crooked to me. I was so afraid it would topple over. Especially since the cardboards under each cake were just setting on top of the slippery separator plates!

(3) I was nervous about my lack of knowledge & experience with buttercream icing in general. I mean, I tried to cover each tier in sparkly sugar & have it still frosted smooth. How the heck do you do that? I had sugar everywhere! After the buttercream set up, the sugar wouldn't stick...duhhhhh...!!!!! I applied a very light mist of water but then freaked out thinking the sugar was gonna melt! Just of an overall lack of experience wore me out!!!

I have since learned how to ice a cake properly but still have a small amount of difficulty with the tops. I have been using buttercream dream recipe from this site and like it but A LOT of people love indydebi's buttercream. I'd still like to give her recipe a whirl, even though I'm not selling cakes, just cookies.

I still don't know how to do construction for this particular cake the RIGHT way. I'm SO SURE I completely made it harder than it should have been. Maybe I should have placed the cakes directly onto the separator plate and didn't use the cardboard circles? Don't know.

All I do know, is practice. You will find questions come up as your doing it that you would have never thought of. Even if you have to do a 6 inch and a 3 inch on top and that's it. Go through the process and just write your thoughts down. If you can get flowers out of the way early, and you already know how to ice a cake're golden. You just need to feel good about construction.

Don't get freaked out by my nervousness. This is supposed to be fun! It's always been my downfall that I need to get everything right the first time. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN!!!! But, I still try. You will do great I'm sure. And, if you practice & can't get the construction...look at a cake stand. There are several different ones at my local Michaels craft store. They aren't stacked cakes of course, but there are some really nice ones and then just dress the table pretty.

I hope that helps. I know I'm not an expert, but hopefully you can learn from the showdown that ensued in my kitchen those couple of days!!! Woman vs. Cake! I definitely think the cake was carrying a rifle & I just had a bee bee gun! ha!

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nastassia Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 7:40pm
post #22 of 30

yeah I know my biggest fear of this is stacking and icing.

I still don't have icing a cake completely down, I can't get the smooth finish. I think I just accomplished that on one of my cakes, the army cake but thats b/c there was GLOBS of icing on the side that I piped out for the camoflouge design, then I smoothed out with a roller, but I was proud of that cake icon_smile.gif

other than that...I was wondering about the upside down method? but it seems a bit hard, any advice/comments on the different icing methods?

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prterrell Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 8:06pm
post #23 of 30

Honestly, the American buttercream is the hardest to get smooth. The meringue buttercreams (IMBC and SMBC) smooth very easily with a simple pass of a plastic scraper.

The SPS is a single plate stacking system developed by Bakery Crafts. GSA carries it. It is just as cheap to use as buying the plates and dowels separately. Those who think it is an investment are confusing it with the SFS the stress-free support system, which uses metal rings and is pricey. The SPS was designed to be disposable. It was made so bakeries can have a cake stacked and the customer can pick up and set up on their own. We used it all the time at Publix and it was so easy to use.

Here's leah_s's tutorial on the SPS:

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nastassia Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 11:46pm
post #24 of 30

ok thanks icon_smile.gif what about how do I know how much dowels to use? or how many of those pillars to support carrot cake and fondant?

also, how will I get a buttercream to a gold color? so I can put gold accents on the sides

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tiggy2 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:01am
post #25 of 30

If you have time I highly recommend getting sugarshacks Perfecting the art of buttercream and stacking DVDs. It will save you a lot headaches. I'd also do a practice cake and would not use wooden dowels. They can shift in the cake and cause disasters.

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dreamcakesmom Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:05am
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I'm not sure how good a gold color you would get with buttercream but I pipe royal icing and let it harden and then "paint" gold luster dust that has been mixed with clear vanilla on the hrdened RI and it comes out beautiful

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tiggy2 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 12:07am
post #27 of 30

You can airbrush gold on it or buy spray cans of gold edible paint.

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prterrell Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 1:57am
post #28 of 30

If you use the SPS, you use the 4 legs that come with it. If you're using plastic dowels, then 4 will also be enough. If you're using wooden dowels or bubble straws, I would do 6 in the bottom tier and 4 in the middle tier. If you use the pillar system, it's 4 pillars inbetween each tier.

Americolor makes a gold food color gel paste, however, it's still not going to be "metallic" gold. The only way to do that is to airbrush or spray on edible gold paint or luster dust. For accents, you'd be better off doing them out of brown RI, letting them dry, then painting them gold w/ luster dust mixed with a few drops of vodka.

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nastassia Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 2:32am
post #29 of 30

ok thanks, and yeah I do need to make a practice cake first, to see how the gold comes out for me, I only made royal icing once. :0/

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nastassia Posted 20 Apr 2010 , 5:37pm
post #30 of 30

Just wanted to say thanks everyone!! icon_smile.gif

my cake turned out a success, it wasn't perfect but I'm still proud of it icon_smile.gif I wanted to also paint the borders gold and put more roses on the bouquet on top and make the bouquet bigger but didn't have time icon_sad.gif

ok I tried uploading the pic also but its not working for me :0/ its in my pics section though icon_smile.gif

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