Making your own wedding cake is a bit of an emotional roller coaster BUT the payoff is huge! This will be the first of a series on making your own cake. I go through the full recipe here, but for now this blog should help to dispel some of your fears, and give you the confidence to channel your inner Mary Berry.
Full disclosure, I wasn’t originally planning on having a wedding cake at all. I didn’t want the cheesy cake-cutting photo and I’d been to so many weddings where cakes costing hundreds of pounds sat in the corner, uneaten.
Making my own seemed like the solution. I’ve been to three weddings now with baker-brides and at all three there wasn’t a crumb left! It’s so much more personal and far less intimidating than a shiny, metre high monolith – most of which gets ignored then thrown in the bin.
Practice, experiment and enjoy it
Practising helps build confidence, learn your own limitations and let’s you try different options. I started a new job a month before my wedding and instantly made a slightly odd first impression when I was bringing in entire wedding cakes to the office treat cabinet on a weekly basis.
Here’s my first and second practice cakes. I was very keen to use blue icing paint, but after I tried it a few times, I wasn’t so sure. It caused a bit of a blue sticky mess when eaten the next day in the office. I’m glad I tried the blue paint, but ultimately it didn’t work for me. Practice, experiment and enjoy it!
1st practice cake
I tried doing map cut outs, using printed rice paper and icing painting.
2nd practice cake
The 2nd attempt was more simple, just icing painting and then decorated with paper flowers.
3rd practice cake
And here’s the third attempt that we don’t talk about because it was a lopsided wonky disaster! It was also at this point that we discovered, the blue icing my friend had so kindly lent me was… (wait for it) TWENTY YEARS out of date! Back to the drawing board I went.
Planning your cake making
1 month before – Bake your fruit layer
Despite what you hear people DO like fruit cake, it also makes life much easier. Fruit cake offers structural security on the base layer and can be made ahead of time so give you less to do in the week of the wedding. You can also slowly feed it with booze, which may convince even the most ardent fruit cake haters. It is also easier to make gluten free if you need to. As you don’t have to worry about achieving a spongy texture without gluteny goodness.
2 days before – Bake, coat and ice your sponge layers
This is the big baking day, if you can make it through this, you can make it through anything. You will need to bake, crumb coat and ice all your layers.
Start early and clear the whole day if you can – I had banished Sam from the house and had my first layer in the oven by 8am. This will give you time to make mistakes, let everything cool completely in between stages and mean you don’t have to rush. I had a disaster with my gluten free layers (which I had to remake 3 times!) starting early gives you a bit of breathing room, and by late afternoon everything was pristine and in cake tins ready for transport.
1 day before – Transport, dowel and decorate
Transport your constituent cake layers to the venue. Dowel any non-fruit load-bearing layers. Add any ribbons or decorations and leave the cake in the very capable hands of the venue.
Next time you see your masterpiece it will be perfectly assembled, and you can feel infinitely smug and satisfied with your creation!