In December 2013, Mr E&G popped the question in the most romantic and fun way and then the excitement of planning our wedding started. One of the first things people asked me was whether I would be making my own wedding cake. The answer was most definitely yes but this always seemed to elicit a shocked look on their face.
Yes it is a lot of work to create a wedding cake, especially when you are arranging a thousand other things however I knew it would be more special if I created it, taste more delicious than anyone else’s (biased? me?!) and also save us some money.
Couples that come in for consultations with me usually don’t have a clear idea of what they want from their wedding cake design wise so I usually scour Pinterest for them to find lots of ideas. Although I had quite a clear theme in mind, through my work I see lots of stunning wedding cakes and the most difficult bit was trying to work out how to incorporate lots of ideas without the cake looking way over the top.
Our theme was vintage with a modern twist with colours of dusky pink, champagne, cream and gold. In the end I settled on a 4 tiered cake decorated with edible lace combined with some piping and sugar roses.
Here are the images I took inspiration from:
I wanted to do as much in advance as possible so before Christmas I made a large 12″ light fruit cake which I took to my parents to store in their chest freezer. Then in February I also made an 8″ rich chocolate cake (absolutely delicious and decadent like a chocolate brownie!) and took that home to be added to the freezer.
About the middle of February I also started making some sugar roses for decoration. I used dusky pink gel colour added to flower paste to create a combination of all pink roses and pink centred roses fading to white. These were wired as it makes them easier to handle and add to the cake.
A week or so before the wedding I made up some cake lace with my Chantilly lace mat as this stores well for up to a month if kept between greaseproof paper in an airtight container.
As all of my equipment was in London, there were several trips back to Cambridge with heavy bags of cake tins and equipment in the weeks before the wedding!
The result of all this planning was a pretty straightforward few days before the wedding. Here’s my schedule:
Make 10″ vanilla sponge which would be cut into 3 layers. As I was doing all this from my parents house, I didn’t have my mixer which I rely on a lot! I used my mum’s hand blender which which I was worried wouldn’t yield the same results but actually it turned out brilliantly! While this was baking I made up a massive batch of vanilla buttercream and crumb coated the 8″ rich chocolate cake before putting it the freezer for 5 minutes to set slightly. I then added another thicker layer of buttercream to make sure the cake was really smooth before leaving it to set for around 30 minutes in the fridge. After it had set I iced the cake and left it in a box to firm up.
As my mother in law, sister in law and aunt all suffer from coeliac disease I made a small 6″ gluten free lemon cake for them. While this was baking I iced the fruit cake and left the icing to firm up.
In the afternoon I sliced the vanilla cake into 3 and used raspberry jam and buttercream to fill before icing.
Top tip: Always try and fondant ice a cake at least a few hours before you decorate to allow it to firm up otherwise it marks easily when decorating.
All of the cakes were iced and ready to stack so using wooden dowels, I cut them to size and carefully stacked the cakes. Once stacked I could add the sugar flowers and cake lace. The lace needs tiny amounts of glue to make it stick and can be fiddly but otherwise is very easy to use.
The sugar flowers are incredibly delicate and brittle and a couple of petals did chip but luckily I had made a few spare flowers.
Top tip: Never put wires straight into a cake- use a plastic pick.
On the morning of the wedding we carefully loaded the cake into my dad’s car and drove to the venue. On arrival there were a few steps to navigate then it was safely unpacked.
Although I was well prepared, some things still didn’t go to plan including ordering my fondant online and it only turning up on the Tuesday and also not having enough cake drums which meant a trip to the local cake shop hoping they had what I needed!
So in summary is making your own wedding cake a good idea?!
I would recommend it if you are confident that you have:
–Plenty of time to bake, ice and decorate the cakes allowing time for cakes to cool, icing to firm up and any decorations to set
-The skills to pull off your chosen design. Practice really does make perfect so ensure you have a few trial runs before starting on the real thing
-The correct tools. The most important items you will need for tiered cakes are: dowels, cake drums, a large sturdy cake box for storage and transport when completed