During the 16th century to the 17th century, the “bride's pie” was served at most weddings. Different from the modern sweet wedding cake, bride pie is savoury. Bride pie is a pie with pastry crust and filled an assortment of oysters, lamb testicles, pine kernels, cocks' combs from Robert May's 1685 recipe. For May's recipe, there is a compartment of bride pie which filled with live birds or a snake for the guests to pass way the time in a wedding when they cut up the pie at the table. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness. It was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride's pie. One tradition of bride's pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the Flower bouquet.
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.
For me, the cake is the easy part. But I don't have the patience or skill to make thousands of fondant flowers or smooth buttercream perfectly. That's why I always choose foolproof, classic decorations like satin ribbon (be sure to cover the back with clear plastic tape so the fabric doesn't become greasy, and secure with a pearl-headed pin) and fresh flowers. Covering frosting with shredded coconut or white chocolate curls is another easy way to hide imperfections. I've also seen a gorgeous wedding cake covered in rainbow sprinkles. This frosting that looks like a cloud is simple but looks dreamy. Another rustic style I really like that favors the lazy froster is having a "naked" cake, with filling and frosting on the top, but little to no frosting on the sides. Choose decoration you feel comfortable doing and remember that simple is usually better.
Now you can attach the stamens. At this point edible glue will probably not be strong enough, so use some high tack non toxic glue such as PVA. For each seedhead you will need four or five small stamen bunches arranged evenly around the head. Glue the stamens to the base of the seed head, squeezing the end tight to the base and the wire to make them stick.
Next work out how you will dry the flowers. The flowerpaste will take a few hours to dry out enough to not lose it's shape (longer if the room is humid). It is often best to dry flowers hanging upside down so the petals fall nicely, though this does depend on the type of flower. To do this bend the end of the wire a little and hang them off whatever you have handy. The could be a rail, jewellery stand, tacked up piece of string or my latest discovery, a martini glass.
While I'd love to go into the many options of cake decorating, right now I don't have the time, so just a brief mention of royal icing. This is made using icing sugar and egg whites, or from a pre bought mix, and is a pipeable icing that dries very hard. It can be coloured before piping, or painted after, and is great for adding detail such as beads and borders to cake. While I used none on the poppy cake, a sprinkling of piped pearls or a bead border around the top edge can be great for covering up flaws and cracks in the icing, while enhancing the overall look of the cake.
Some wedding cakes could also use flowers that are in season to reduce costs, instead of expensive, intricate icing. Blooms that aren’t in season often need to be flown in so they can be more expensive. And don’t rule out supermarket blooms! They can last longer and if you’re going for something simple they can be a great way of adding colour without blowing the budget.
Planning your time can affect everything about your cake, right down to the flavour. Filled sponge cakes are best baked as close to the day as possible, and baking enough for a couple of tiers can take a lot of hours in mixing, baking and cooling. Opting for a traditional fruit cake, on the other hand, allows you to make the cake in advance. In fact this is preferable since an important step in making fruit cake is feeding it with a regular spoonful of brandy or sherry every few days for at least a couple of weeks, to make it gorgeously moist and alcoholic.
Your wedding cake may just be the most significant confection you ever buy, so it's key to know what you're getting into. A good place to start is by reading our top tips from wedding cake bakers from around the country. Next, the fun part (well, besides the tasting), is to start searching through wedding cake pictures to help figure out which wedding cake designs suit your style. From classic cakes to more ornate styles, we have something for every taste – literally! Then check out local wedding cake bakers to find a pro near you.
You should use a recipe specifically designed to be a wedding cake as it will ensure that it is sturdy enough and that it makes the right amount of batter and icing. For a three-tier cake, you need to make three cakes of 12", 9" and 6", as well as a massive amount of icing. Most three-tier cake recipes have a step-by-step schedule for when you will need to bake and assemble each part.