The cake in this instructable is a two tier fruit cake, decorated with gorgeous bright red poppies. This is a design specific to my friends' desires, but I have attempted to expand the instructable to cover making wedding cakes in general, from the ambitious planning stages to the nervewracking final set up. This may have led me to ramble a little more than I should, but buried amongst that are the little tips & tricks I've picked up a long the way.
You might not get tons of tiers, intricate patterns or realistic-looking sugar flowers, but if you love your local bakery, ask if they'd be willing to make your wedding cake. Because they're not a wedding-specific bakery, you may have more limited design choices—but the savings can be big. Otherwise, ask your caterer if they include cakes in their packages. Sometimes if you order your cake from your caterer, the overall cost will be lower. Some caterers even require you to use them, and if you don't, they'll charge a fee for bringing in another baker. So do a little cost comparison to snag the best deal.
Another way to save money on your cake is to skip an outer layer of frosting. Naked cakes are not only gorgeous to look at, they're actually pretty practical too. They're a lot less expensive because they use less buttercream and take less time—it's as simple as that. To make up for the lack of frosting on the outside, up the wow factor on the inside by experimenting with unique flavors and fillings, like lemon curd, champagne buttercream or chocolate ganache with toasted almonds.
Once you have your smooth surface you can take care of any flaws that are left. Marks and cracks in the icing can be hidden by taking a small ball of icing, dipping it in some cornflour or icing sugar, and rubbing it over the problem area. The icing sugar will fill the crack and blend it into the surface, smoothing it out. Other marks such as cake smears or food colouring can often be removed by brushing on a little clear alcohol, such as vodka, and then rubbing lightly with some kitchen towel. Once the liqour has dried smooth out the surface again.
Not every bride or groom wants a homemade wedding cake, so don't pressure them to agree to let you bake. If she wants a cake from a specific bakery she loves or he thinks pies would be a fun alternative, then graciously offer to help with another part of the wedding. Depending on where you're baking and decorating, a homemade wedding cake in the middle of wedding week preparations can add a lot of stress and mess. So don't be insulted if the bride and groom aren't into the idea. Everyone needs to be on board and on the same page.
The base of any fruit cake recipe is the fruit mix. The cake batter is essentially just there to hold all of the dried fruit together. Although I have provided the recipe I used, as long as you end up with roughly the same total weight at the end you can alter the proportions to your taste. In this recipe I was short on mixed peel and currants, but bulked up with dried apricots scrounged from my baking cupboard. It's a very flexible type of cake.
A good, search engine optimised and mobile friendly website is essential these days. Make sure yours can be easily updated and that you get great photos of your designs.Social Media can also be very effective, especially when starting up. Create a great looking Facebook page and update it regularly. Instagram and Pinterest are also very popular for wedding planning and Twitter is good for networking and making contacts.
Create a step-by-step, day-by-day schedule for the wedding week. Plan which day or days you will bake, make the filling and frosting, and assemble. The more planning and shopping you do in advance, the less likely you are to run into big problems the week of the wedding. Think through what you need to bring if you're traveling to the city where the cake will be baked, where you are baking the cake, and whether there's space in the fridge and/or freezer for storing cake layers and tiers before they're assembled. If you're using fresh flowers, plan for them to be delivered or decide where you're going to purchase them.
If the wedding couple is excited for a homemade cake, hooray! Ask them if they have wedding colors and what styles they like. You can look at photos of cakes online together or have them send you a few photos for inspiration. Make sure you understand their vision of their reception so your cake fits in with the rest of the décor. Keep in touch throughout the process, but don't badger them with questions — a cake is just one of many things they have to plan.
In Europe in the 19th century, the cakes baked to serve at the christening of an infant were similar to wedding cakes. Eventually, since the wedding cakes were generally made of fruitcake, which would store well, and because the first baby often arrived within a year or so of the wedding, it became traditional to save the top part of the wedding cake to eat in celebration of the couple's first child. More recently, some people freeze part of the cake and save it until the couple's first wedding anniversary.
Before you head to the grocery store, do your best to calculate how much of each ingredient you need. When scaling up a recipe, be sure to scale by area, not diameter of the pans. Make a list, and then buy one extra container of everything. You can always return unopened groceries, and you'll be so glad if you don't have to run out for more ingredients at the last minute.
We are very much doing a DIY wedding in a venue which was an old veterinary uni building that now houses a Gin distillery – so naturally we are having a gin themed wedding – lots of juniper berry colours therefore we would love to have a rustic citrusy gin soaked cake with some quirky animal topperd would be amazing- as attempting to make our own might end up a total faliure and we’d not have enough gin left for the cake after trying it!
If you're a relatively experienced home baker, the actual baking and decorating are probably not going to be that big of a deal to you. But the amount of cleaning and running out at the last minute to buy more ingredients can be exhausting, and that's where your friends and family can be useful. If you need more powdered sugar at 8 p.m. the day before the wedding, don't waste an hour on yet another trip to the grocery store — send someone. Or let someone else wrap the cakes in plastic wrap before they're stored in the freezer. It's a big project, and the more hands, the better — particularly if you're making your own wedding cake.
When making your own or someone elses wedding cake, timing is key. You will need to work out how much time you realistically have in the week leading up to the wedding and plan things accordingly. Decorations such as flowers, toppers and some royal icing shapes can be made quite a while beforehand to remove the stress in the immediate lead up to the big day.
Brilliant, some really fantastic ideas. We have been thinking about getting the cheese tiered cake from M&S and decorating it ourselves but I now really love the idea of getting these cakes and decorating it. We’ve got two little birds to sit on top of our cake (whatever cake we eventually choose) that are actually ring holders! They’d look lovely on top of this M&S cake with some flowers and lace. Thank you, I feel inspired!
Unless you’re a keen baker, the wealth of different icing choices available to you may well have been a mystery until now. Naked, semi-naked and buttercream cakes are all increasing in popularity by the day, but there’s still a place for the more traditional fondant and royal icing decorations on cakes. You might even want to combine several. Think fondant sugar flowers atop a buttercream cake or delicate royal icing piping to add detail to a fondant covering. More flavour choices are possible with buttercream, but it is also more likely to melt in the warmer summer temperatures, so be sure to take this into account.
There's nothing quite as special as a showstopping wedding cake—but we get it, every budget has its limits. And if the price per slice of wedding cake is giving you budget anxiety, don't feel like you need to nix the idea altogether. Instead, speak openly with your cake baker, tap into your creativity and use these straightforward tips so you don't have sacrifice this sweet detail.