I’ve been undecided about changing my surname, but it means a lot to me fiancé so I’m going to take the plunge and become Mrs Taylor. I’ve not told anyone (well except now all of you!) so for my Marks and Spencer cake I’m going to order a personalised wedding cake topper that says Mr & Mrs Taylor in pale blue and put that on top of the cake, as well as mixing up some blue icing, to dot all over the cake. Then I’m going to do a big ‘reveal’ at the wedding as a surprise for my husband-to-be! I think it would be such a nice wedding day surprise for him and I know the cake will look fabulous. I just need to keep quiet until the wedding day!

I’ve been undecided about changing my surname, but it means a lot to me fiancé so I’m going to take the plunge and become Mrs Taylor. I’ve not told anyone (well except now all of you!) so for my Marks and Spencer cake I’m going to order a personalised wedding cake topper that says Mr & Mrs Taylor in pale blue and put that on top of the cake, as well as mixing up some blue icing, to dot all over the cake. Then I’m going to do a big ‘reveal’ at the wedding as a surprise for my husband-to-be! I think it would be such a nice wedding day surprise for him and I know the cake will look fabulous. I just need to keep quiet until the wedding day!
Some couples go all out buying or renting elaborate cake stands, which are pretty, but not really necessary. Besides, most bakers will provide a decorated base board you can place right on the table. Once you have your cake display, focus on adding to the space around it—choose a fun linen from home, lush greenery, old family wedding photos, candles or flowers to bring some life to the table.
Sugar flowers are beautiful things. With care and patience they can be delicate fascimiles of real blooms, created using an edible medium which will last for months if kept dry and cool. As well as cakes they can make good display pieces, a sort of floral sculpture. The flowers are made from flowerpaste (gumpaste) , a very elastic sugarpaste that can be rolled and mainpulated into realistic petals that dry hard and brittle.
Don’t forget that the tiers don’t all have to be cake layers as you know them. One tier on top of a tower of cupcakes or macarons will work just as well. You can also try stacking trendy donuts up to create your wedding cake, or copy this couple and go for a Jaffa Cake sensation! Those looking to splurge on a showstopper should surround their wedding cake with a decadent dessert table.
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.
Don’t forget that the tiers don’t all have to be cake layers as you know them. One tier on top of a tower of cupcakes or macarons will work just as well. You can also try stacking trendy donuts up to create your wedding cake, or copy this couple and go for a Jaffa Cake sensation! Those looking to splurge on a showstopper should surround their wedding cake with a decadent dessert table.
I love the idea of decorating our own wedding cake. I am very crafty and making lots of decorations for our big day. If I was to win this competition I would paint my own bride and groom peg dolls and have mr and Mrs bunting on top. I would probably also have the cake on a wooden slide and decorate the tiers with a dusty pink ribbon to match our colour theme 🙂
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.
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.
Before you even offer to make a wedding cake for someone, make sure your heart is really, truly in it. No matter what, there will probably be moments along the way when you think, "Man, I really wish I hadn't signed up for this" or "Wow, buying a cake sure seems easy right about now." But if you're hesitant from the start, forget about it. Whether you want to do this as a unique gift for the bride and groom — and by the way, don't count on it being a cheap gift — or you love baking and see it as a fun challenge, know your reasons for committing to making a wedding cake before the sugar and flour start flying.

Another thing to note about cakes, the more detailed the cake design, the higher the price will be.  And, just because a cake looks like a “simple” design, doesn’t mean that it is.  I know there are  many amazing cakes online, and in magazines and with cake artists pushing cake design to new limits, it’s easy to fall in love with so many of the beautiful cakes we all see.  Things like hand painting, edible gold, sugar flowers, tons of little sugar pearls on the cake, all translate into beautiful designs, but also a higher cake cost.  Some of these cakes can run as much as $15 per serving…gasp!  But think about it, you go out to dinner at a chain restaurant and pay $15 for a so so meal, that was probably frozen and took about 20 minutes to make.   A cake artist can spend HOURS from start to finish on your wedding cake, and we think our time is worth it.  Cake decorating is an art and not just anyone can do it.  Not to mention ingredient costs, like fresh fruit, butter and eggs!  That stuff is expensive!
Sheet Wedding Cakes – A full-size sheet cake typically feeds about 108 people. The cost at your local grocery store or warehouse discount store of a full-size sheet cake will be about $50. A 100 tiered cake would be a combined 3-tier cake. Going by the formula above, you professional wedding cake would be a minimum of $150 for 100 people. But let’s be real. Depending on what you want most professional wedding cake bakers will charge more than $1.50 per slice just for the sheer time to bake and frost a 3-tier cake.
Depending on what kind of filling you're using, it can usually be made well in advance. But some frostings need to be made closer to when the cake will be served. Between the recipe and your practice cakes, you should have a sense of how early the filling and frosting can be made and how long they'll hold up. Once again, overestimate how much you need. Plan to bring an extra pastry bag of frosting to the wedding site to patch up any little cracks that happen while transporting the cake.
Sugar flowers will always cost more than fresh flowers.  Why?  Because they are very time consuming to make, and require a skilled hand, with knowledge on how to construct, wire, etc. a beautiful looking flower made from sugar!  Sugar flowers can start at about $15 per flower – the more complex the flower design, the higher the price.  As much a I love, love, love sugar flowers on a cake, most couples do not have the budget to spend $200-300 on just sugar flowers alone, I get it!  So, unless you do, opt for fresh flowers instead.

Once cooked, leave the cake to cool in the tin. When cool, remove from the tin and place on some baking parchment. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of brandy (or your other chosen liquor) over the cake and wrap it up tightly in parchment and clingfilm or foil. Every few days unwrap the cake to feed it with another spoonful of liquor, then wrap it back up and return to a safe, temperate storage space.

For a bride on a budget, paying a large sum of money for a wedding cake may seem completely outrageous. But what are the alternatives, particularly when you don't have any baking experts in your family? Turns out, making a wedding cake is not as difficult as one might think. There is some significant planning and effort that will need to happen, so make sure you carefully weigh the expense of a cake versus your time (and expectations) as you make your final decisions. And if the cake isn't your thing, you can always serve pie, ice cream, or even an ice cream sundae bar at your wedding.
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