Help! First Wedding Cake!! Need All The Advice You Can Give!

Decorating By MorganLouise Updated 6 Mar 2013 , 3:34am by MorganLouise

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MorganLouise Posted 6 Mar 2013 , 3:03am
post #1 of 5

Hello everyone!

I've been checking out the boards because I've been recruited to make a friend's wedding cake. My friends and family all know that I can make a yummy and beautiful dessert (hence the recruitment), but I've never made a REAL WEDDING CAKE! I'm both very intimidated and excited...and I really want to do a damn good job. So, that's why I'm here... hoping to get all the guidance I can from all you pros! icon_biggrin.gif


She want's a 3 tier cake (14,10,6 inches), but with the top two layers being dummy and the bottom being real. But she also wants multiple flavors in the cake. Would it be possible to do a bottom round tier with 2 different flavors, side by side? If not, she wants to get some extra sheet cakes in other flavors from costco.


Anyway, I don't love the idea of dummy cake for a wedding, but it would make it easier for me, as a beginner to practice since it can be made well in advance, right? I want to use a good tasting fondant, maybe even make my own white chocolate fondant or marshmallow fondant. Would homemade fondant work on a dummy cake and stay fresh looking (to match the real cake layer) for a few weeks before the wedding? I would just use cheap Wilton fondant, but i'm afraid it wouldn't match the color or finish of the good tasting fondant that I would want to use on the cake that you actually EAT. I'm looking at fondarific buttercream fondant on amazon, and it's $30 for 5 lb bucket, and I'd need 2 of those to do a cake that size, right? $60 for fondant?!? Does that sound right to you guys??


I'm planning to do a quilted diamond pattern on both the dummy and real cake layers. Do you guys prefer using impression mats or the 3 diamond quilter stamp things, or another method altogether? I like the impression mats but i'm worried I would have to apply too much pressure for the real cake to get the impression to transfer to the fondant. 


If you can share any insight into these issues or any wisdom about tiered wedding cakes in general it would be soooo very appreciated! Thank you! 



4 replies
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DeliciousDesserts Posted 6 Mar 2013 , 3:14am
post #2 of 5

AOh so much where to begin. That's a lot of questions.

The one that really stands out to me is that quilted pattern will look different on dummy tiers than on real cake. Can't remember the thread, but there was a recent example of just that. Looks very different.

It will be easier, for many reasons, to do the top 2 tiers real and bottom dummy. That's assuming there really must be dummy cake.

Why Costco? Why aren't you making the extra cakes. Btw, really really hate sheet cakes. They don't look the same as the cake & everyone knows. If she really insists on dummy @ sheets, I recommend to same layers on the sheets. At least then people won't know. Course if you get them somewhere else, they will taste different.

Have you done a tiered cake? If not, you'll want to research construction methods. Most popular are SPS systems (what I use), dowels, or bubble straws. There is a whole sticky thread dedicated to this topic.

I love fondarific. You won need as much as normal fondant. They have a chart on their site with suggested amounts. Now really isn't the time to expierement with making your own. That can take years at least weeks to perfect.

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littlemrslarge Posted 6 Mar 2013 , 3:19am
post #3 of 5

Well, a few thoughts:


* Why is she requesting two dummy tiers and then possible extra "real" sheet cakes?  It'd be a lot easier to do the additional flavors in those extra tiers and not mess her buying with sheet cakes at all.  Not to mention that seems a little insulting to you as a baker, to have someone say "oh, just make dummy tiers, I'll buy the real cake from Costco."

* Yes, most purchased fondant is expensive.  Everyone has their own preference, but I make my own marshmallow fondant for significantly cheaper (about $2 for one batch, which is roughly 3 lbs).  I've been told that MMF can be a little harder to work with, but it's all I've ever used, and so I don't know if it's more difficult or not.

* Before tackling a tiered cake, be sure you understand how to stack and support the tiers, especially if they're all real cake.  You definitely don't want all your hard work to collapse on the table!

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littlemrslarge Posted 6 Mar 2013 , 3:19am
post #4 of 5

P.S. Sorry DeliciousDesserts, I think we posted at the same time (with the same info, haha!)

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MorganLouise Posted 6 Mar 2013 , 3:34am
post #5 of 5

Hi Delicious,

Thanks for the quick reply! 


I'm so glad you told me about the differences with quilting on dummy and cake.


I'm not really sure why she wants dummy layers supplemented with sheet cake...maybe she thinks it would be easier or cheaper on me? Or maybe she just really loves costco cake? :-\  I know it wont make much of a cost difference, but I'm thinking it might be less stressful if I only have to worry about one REAL layer right before the wedding. But I'm also up for doing all layers with real cake! I'm just nervous about transporting them and putting them together on site. She wants ribbons around the bottom of each layer so I wont have to bother piping the cracks at the reception site, so that's a plus! ...i think?


I have done a very small two tier cake and used dowel support system, so I'm a little familiar with construction methods. I have a cake leveler and lots of dowels already, but if you have any tips or tricks. I'd love to hear! 


Do you think the quilted look works better on fondant or buttercream? I'm just leaning towards fondant because it seems easier to get a smooth look and maybe easier to travel with, but I've also never experimented with decorators frosting...just my own homemade stuff, and I'm not really great at getting a perfectly smooth surface with that. What do you guys prefer? 


Thanks again!

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