When my friend asked me to do her wedding cake, I was jumping up and down with excitement and joy. I never baked a wedding cake before, but secretly always wanted to. Luckily I started the whole process in advance as wanted to plan every single detail throughout this journey. There was a moment when I doubted my abilities and skills and regretted accepting this challenge. Doubt came especially when I was thinking about staking the cakes and whether to freeze it or fridge it. You may laugh, but I had sleepless nights because of that. I was particularly concerned about the delivery of this cake for 100 people from London to Somerset (170 miles). I did a lot of research and, oh boy, there are so many videos, blogs and articles about almost every step of the wedding cake making. But it’s not easy to find straight away what you want. There is loads of advice out there but I trusted my instinct a lot.
The book that definitely help me in my journey was Victoria Glass’ Boutique Wedding Cakes. The cake I made had three tiers which were representing the bride and groom and all the recipes were from Victoria’s book. I could not praise it high enough. She described everything in details and answers a lot of questions that no one dare to ask!
What I learn in my wedding cake making journey is:
- Preparation and organisation
- Testing the cake
I start preparing the cake eight weeks before the wedding. I created a spreadsheet that was showing what I need to do every week leading up to the wedding. I also added what ingredients and equipment I need to buy as well as how much it all cost so that I can keep it all under the budget! That way I would not forget anything and could time manage.
Bride and groom choose what flavours they wanted in the cake’s tiers. We wanted the cake to represent them both and their wedding day. They decided that bottom tier will be very traditional rich fruit cake. Middle cake was chocolate cake with chocolate fudge, as the groom love chocolate and the top tier was green tea with ginger buttercream to represent Japan. The bride and groom met through a Japanese friend and the bride spent two years living there. We decided to decorate the cake with some cherry blossom, butterflies and birds as they both love nature and birds watching. That was the easy part!
Rich fruit cake was made 6 weeks before the wedding and I was feeding it with the rum every week. The whole house was smelling of Christmas in July! I never made a fruit cake before and was slightly concerned. Luckily when I was doweling the cake, the dowels I used were hollow so when I was leveling them I managed actually to take some cake out and try it before stacking another tier.
I had full confidence in other tiers as I made them before and serve them to my friends in the cake club. They all loved them and were very complimentary. Before making a wedding cake, definitely test it with your friends and family to make sure that they all like the flavour and that cake consistency is good enough to be used on the wedding cake.
I start making flowers, leaves, butterflies and birds a week before the wedding so that gives it enough time to dry and gives me enough time to paint it. I really enjoyed doing them, but I have to say, took a lot of time! This is where I was testing my patience. I discovered this wonderful material to work with: sugar florist paste, ultra-fine and pliable flower paste. It’s so much better to use for flowers and leaves than the usual fondant icing as it’s so thin and dries much quicker. I also bought this wonderful ball tool to use when making thin leaves and flowers. They were all made of sugar florist paste, and then hand painted.
The decorating the cake was the most fun and exciting part of the wedding cake making. I hand painted the tree on the cake, and then use some royal icing to add the texture on the branches. I then added flowers, leaves and butterflies.
The cake was delivered in a car. Instead of trying to find the special cake box, I just bought the normal heavy cardboard box which worked just fine.
I spent 30 hours on this cake but just seeing my friends’ happy face and delight when they saw the cake, it was worth every minute I spent on it. Everybody liked the cake and I was even mentioned twice in the speech. In the end of the beautiful wedding, there was nothing left of the cake, only the love birds.
I really enjoyed the whole process. It was not easy. It’s expensive and took a lot of time, but I really loved the whole journey in the wedding cake making. I would definitely do it again!