Whether you are a DIY bride or a very generous friend, making a homemade wedding cake for the first time can be intimidating. There is naturally a bit of a trial and error involved in the process, but you still need your first wedding cake to turn out perfectly — after all, it's for someone's wedding! I've made three wedding cakes now, including my own, and along the way I've learned two key rules: plan ahead and be flexible. No matter how much you plan, problems are going to arise. A frosting that's come out fluffy and sturdy 10 times may randomly end up watery, your biggest cake layer may stick to the pan, and you may run out of strawberries on the day you're filling the cake. But as long as you can keep a level head and get creative on the fly, everything will turn out great. Here's my step-by-step guide to making a homemade wedding cake.
Flowers can come three ways; sugar, silk or fresh. Silk flowers are artificial, and can be bought from many cake or florist stores. They are very easy to work with, and to reuse, but can look quite fake. Fresh flowers add an instant wow, and can be perfectly matched to the rest of the wedding flowers. However certain types of flowers, such as lillies, are poisonous and cannot be used on cakes. Sugar flowers are handmade from flowerpaste, a very pliable sugarpaste that dries hard and brittle. This can be manipulated and coloured, and if made by a good sugar artist the flowers are indistinguishable from real ones until you take a close look.
In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom's cake would die out and the bride's cake become the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom's cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride's cake. The bride's cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity.
Once the marzipan is draped over the cake, gently pull down the sides to cover any gaps. Smooth the flat of your hand down the sides, pressing the marzipan to the cake and amoothing out any creases or overlaps, Rub the flat of your hand or a cake smoother over the top firmly to flatten and smooth the surface. Smooth out the sides in the same way. Trim off any excess marzipan around the bottom of the cake with a sharp knife and peel it off the board. This can be kept in an airtight bag or container for use next time.