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.
It's possible to make a wedding cake without a stand mixer, but I wouldn't recommend it. They can be expensive, so if you don't own one, try to borrow one. If this is your first wedding cake, you're going to need to buy some large cake pans. Cake pans in lots of sizes and shapes can be easily ordered online in sets. You may also want to buy a set of cake strips to help keep your cakes flat and level. Cake strips are soaked in ice water and wrapped around the outside of the cake pan to keep the outside from cooking faster than the middle. They're especially helpful for large cakes. A rotating turntable and frosting spatula will make it much easier to get frosting on smoothly. Piping bags and tips are useful for both filling and decoration, but if you're not piping decoration, you can simply snip off the corner of a Ziploc bag. Cake boards under each tier and plastic dowel rods are necessary to build a multi-tier cake that won't sink. Cake boxes can be useful for storing and transporting cake tiers. If you're using fresh flowers, plastic holders keep inedible flowers off your frosting. Buy parchment paper — so the cake won't stick to the pan, and plastic wrap — so it stays moist in the freezer or fridge after baking.
Consider scaling back on cake slices and see if your caterer can also include a round of sweets to supplement (think: passed chocolate-covered strawberries, assorted cookies or mini truffles). Let your caterer know they should cut tasting portions to about three quarters of the usual amount, and plan to plate your cake slices with the other desserts. Ask your caterer to place slices on a buffet or cake table instead of serving a plate at every place setting—or have the staff bring bite-size pieces right to your guests on the dance floor so they can enjoy cake while getting down.
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.
Use an online calculator to determine what size cake to make. This can be a little tricky, as it's dependent on both what shape cake pans you choose, as well as how many people will be at the wedding. Know that wedding cake servings are usually smaller than regular cake servings. Start by asking how many people the couple is expecting at the reception and whether there will there be other desserts or just cake. You definitely don't want to run out of cake, but you also don't want to go to the trouble of making a five-tier cake only to have four tiers leftover at the end of the night. For a very large reception (200+), consider making a smaller wedding cake and then baking sheet cakes to make up the rest of the cake you need. Also, ask the bride and groom if they plan to keep the top tier as a memento. Some couples may want to follow the tradition of freezing that cake and eating it on their first anniversary.
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.
Phew, you did it! The hardest part is over. Time to add the final touches, like extra piping, fresh or sugar flowers, figurines, initials, marzipan or fondant fruits, and whatever else you planned. Aside from taste testing, this is the most fun step, so enjoy showing off what you can do — whether it's gorgeous freehand piping or artfully arranged fresh flowers.
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.