First 3-Tier Cake. Nervous...

Decorating By aces413 Updated 6 Jun 2011 , 3:42am by aces413

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aces413 Posted 24 May 2011 , 2:57pm
post #1 of 16

So, a long-time friend of mine is having a party for her mom's 50th birthday, which will also be the day she and her husband renew their wedding vows. Cute, right?

Well, they had someone to do a cake, and now they don't (not sure what happened there). The party is June 4th (11 days away). I'm going to do this favor for them...but I'm freaking out a little. The biggest cake I've ever made so far was a 2-tier 9in & 6in. I'm probably going to do a 6-9-12 for this party (the guest list jumped from 40 one day to 100 the next). I know that if these were customers, I should probably run away from this situation...but it's for old friends and I'm invited to the party (so they're feeding me, etc)...OH, and it's a 45min drive. hahaha...ughhhh.

Anyway...the mom is now into motorcycles, and we're using these as toppers:
Her daughter (my friend) ordered and paid for them that's done. Initially I was thinking of doing orange and black flowers (Harley Davidson colors), but looking at the toppers (red and black), I'm thinking that would look weird and I should go with red instead of orange...thoughts? The motorcycle theme is probably clear enough with just the topper and I don't need other motorcyle-y details, right? Opinions welcome. They want it to be fun, but not tooooo tacky. haha

They want a buttercream cake, which I'm fine with (it's cheaper)...but it will be an outdoor party, and the temperature in the area should be around 75-85 degrees. I was thinking of driving it there unassembled, assembling it in the house and keeping it there until it gets closer to the vow renewal time, and then setting it up that weird? I don't want bugs or the heat to get to it first.

Final question (for now)...they invited 100 people, but I don't think they're even doing RSVP's...should I make a smaller cake? I don't really expect 100 people to show up, stay, and eat cake...but I have no idea what's going to happen. If I make a smaller cake and they all show, that would not be good. But I'd also like to save as much money as possible.

Thanks to anyone who actually read this whole post and might answer some of my questions! icon_smile.gif

15 replies
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CutieMcCakes Posted 24 May 2011 , 3:27pm
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well, I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts.. I hope something helps icon_smile.gif

I would assemble on site, unless you have a sturdy strong structure... but i've always been one to assemble on site.

Maybe you could do Harley Colors of orange and black on a tier that are flames? Kind of copy the Harley flame design. eh.. what kind of base color are you thinking? Do they want flowers? you could always do color on the tiers with white flowers?

I agree that waiting to set up until shortly before the renewal/cutting is a good idea. Nothing like buttercream melting (especially if it has butter in it) or it getting to hot.

As far as the size of the cake... see if you can get a better estimate of people from them. There is a huge difference between 40 and 100 people. Let them know your concerns about having too much vs. too little cake, I'm sure they'll understand and can give you a better number.

I hope this helps, or at least sparks someone to have better ideas!

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Marianna46 Posted 24 May 2011 , 3:37pm
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As far as the number of servings, here's a tip from Indydebi:
I don't think you need any other motorcycle-related decorations on the cake. Personally, I'd go with the red and black color scheme and do something really elegant: a buttercream-on-buttercream stencil and/or some nice red or black flowers. I'm personally a big fan of transporting no more than two tiers already stacked. I usually do that and stack the top one when I deliver. On the other hand, you could stack all three once you get there if is makes you feel more secure and, yes, by all means, keep the cake where it's cool until not more than an hour before it's to be cut. This is a bad time of year to have a buttercream cake outside, for just the reasons you've listed. If you're going to stack the cakes on site, just remember to take everything with you that you'll need, including some extra buttercream in all your colors, all the tips you used, some spatulas and whatever else you can think of that you might need to stack and make any last-minute repairs. Best of luck and relax! It's going to be fun and everybody will love it!

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aces413 Posted 24 May 2011 , 6:39pm
post #4 of 16

Awww thanks ladies! Great to hear some input. As far as the # of guests goes...I forgot to mention that I was told 40+ by my friend (the daughter), and then when the husband called he said around 100. We then pretty much decided to go with 80 servings (but they are involved with their church, so I didn't use IndyDebi's 60% rule in this instance). I'm going to talk with them again re: this issue just to make sure. Problem is, I'm very new to cake baking/decorating, and only currently own 2 9 inch round pans and one 6 inch round.'ll need to buy some pans, especially if I do the 3-tier with a bottom 12".

The cake will be covered in white buttercream, and I think I'm going to change things around and go with white and red fondant flowers (she likes carnations, go figure, haha). I'll do a black fondant "ribbon" around the bottom of each tier (no bow)...and I think that's pretty much it. I'm not getting paid for all this labor, so I suppose I should keep it as simple as possible.

I'll probably take it there separated...which brings me to some more questions (yay! icon_rolleyes.gif ). When you bring separate tiers to a site, do you put them in cake boxes? I was planning to, because I've driven cakes around without them and I feel like nasty stuff probably settles on the cake (dust, spit (ew), etc). I'm guessing the box should be the same size as the bottom cake board (16 inch) for the bottom tier, and the other boxes an inch or two larger than their respective tiers? So like a 16x16x6, a 10x10x6, and an 8x8x6? If those exist? haha

Also, what kind and approx. how many dowels should I use? Can I use bubble tea/milkshake straws even for the bottom tier? Or do I need wood?

Did I mention how much I LOVE these forums?! You guys are so helpful and supportive! thumbs_up.gif Thank you!

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CutieMcCakes Posted 24 May 2011 , 7:07pm
post #5 of 16

sounds like you're getting excited for this cake! Great!

Ok, let me see here.... your design sounds very nice! And yes, buying pans is part of the fun.. just think of it as building your arsenal!

I do take them in boxes if possible. For the bottom tier, i would have the same size box as the board. for the other tiers, you do want bigger boxes than the boards. You don't want your beautiful designs to end up smashed against the side of the box.. so you are correct in getting the next size box larger. You can always use the non-skid liner in each box to keep the tiers from sliding around in transit.

Wood or Bubble tea supports are good. I've seen both used. I've seen the SPS system be used a lot too.. I however haven't gotten the chance to use it. I've always done the straws. The tea straws are "better eats" than wood though.

Good luck! and post pics when you're done!!

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lilsis Posted 24 May 2011 , 7:31pm
post #6 of 16

just a suggestion --- go with making the size you are comfortable with or with the pans you can always make a sheet cake to cut up for extra servings if needed

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Marianna46 Posted 24 May 2011 , 7:57pm
post #7 of 16

I agree with CutieMcCakes about using the non-slip pads on the bottom of each box. I don't usually have access to every size box (I actually don't always use them, but when I do, I can never seem to find the right size!), so I find that the non-skid stuff is indispensable. I think you've got a good idea of what you want to do now, aces413, so go with it!

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aces413 Posted 25 May 2011 , 11:38am
post #8 of 16

Again--thanks everyone for all the advice/encouragement/etc! I'm feeling much better about this now.

I will most definitely post photos when it's all done!

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aces413 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 5:36pm
post #9 of 16

Ok, it's all over! I had some issues, but I don't hate the cake. haha.
I had trouble getting the buttercream nice and smooth. I wanted to use all butter, but I actually ran out 3/4 of the way through and had to use Crisco, then covered the rest of the all-butter buttercream in a thin layer of the Crisco buttercream...yadda yadda...frosting drama. I was OK with the Crisco idea because of the heat (but it ended up being inside anyway).

PS. The no-slip liners did the trick. Thanks for all your help!

So, here it is (hope this attaches).

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aces413 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 5:38pm
post #10 of 16

Ok, it didn't. Idk why, but every time I try to attach something (under 2MB), it just clears out and nothing happens. Oh well. If you want to see it, check my photos.

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Marianna46 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 7:40pm
post #11 of 16

I love your cake, aces413! The buttercream looks very nice and the design you decided to go with is super - the black bands with studs go great with the biker theme and make a lovely decoration for the cake as well. It all goes together so well! I'm sure the renewers were thrilled with it.

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jennifercullen Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 7:53pm
post #12 of 16

I've just read this post from start to finish lol I think the finished cake looks really lovely, like you said fun but not tacky. I love the studded ribbon thingys around each tier. Well done icon_smile.gif


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aces413 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 8:28pm
post #13 of 16

thank you all!

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cakification Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 10:25pm
post #14 of 16

Love the flowers! Great cake good job.

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aces413 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 10:39pm
post #15 of 16

Thank you! I didn't like the first batch I did...that was the first time I'd done flowers like that. But, I kept plugging and they started getting better. Pretty much everything I do, I'm doing for the first time (I'm a newbie) I'm glad they turned out!
Thanks again icon_smile.gif

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aces413 Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 3:42am
post #16 of 16

OH! Not that anyone cares, lol, but I was looking at Edna de la Cruz's website and saw a comment about how the new Crisco has no trans fats...which makes the buttercream's end result dry and crumbly. She recommended using whole milk to up the fat content, but I only had skim! I've never used Crisco in buttercream before, so I never even thought about the trans fats or anything. Good to know! Now I know why my buttercream didn't set up quite the way I wanted, and if I accidentally smudged it, I couldn't fix it. The fondant borders also smudged up my crumbly buttercream. Kinda wish I had read that before I made the cake, but oh well. Next time I won't make the same mistake!

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