Top tier of the wedding cake

Simple Wedding Cake

When my friend Maria got engaged last year I immediately offered to make her wedding cake. I had never made a wedding cake before but having spent too much on our wedding cake a couple of years ago and realising that the cutting of the cake is such a weird tradition and a bit of an anti-climax, I was determined that she didn’t waste any money paying for a cake. Being one of the most relaxed brides I have ever met she graciously agreed to let me make it with complete free reign.

I  would just like to clarify that I am no amateur baker let alone master baker, I like to make the occasional cake but have never tried anything elaborate or tiered. I wanted to share my experience of making this cake, the good recipes and tricks I found so that you can have a go at making something similar yourself and perhaps save a bit of money.

 

Making the Cake

I started off by doing a bit of research online and eventually found a good recipe from Good Housekeeping for a ‘naked’ cake. Although I love the look of ‘naked’ cakes they can be a little unforgiving as you can’t hide anything under the icing! Having made a few ‘naked’ cakes I decided that I would ice this one to provide a little bit of grace.

All the ingredients and the tins greased and lined

Dousing in sugar syrup

Sponge layers being soaked in sugar syrup

I still used the Good Housekeeping recipe for the sponge, syrup and buttercream, but I just doubled the buttercream quantity in order to have enough to cover the cake as well as for the filling. I went for a very simple vanilla sponge, with strawberry jam and a vanilla syrup. Simple and classic!

I made the sponges the night before I wanted to ice the cake in order to ensure they had properly cooled before I started cutting and icing them. Although the recipe advises cutting each sponge in half lengthways I decided just to trim the tops off to flatten then and have thicker sponge layers.

My top tip when you’re icing a cake with buttercream is to make sure that you do a crumb coating first. This is a thin layer of icing around the entire cake that you then let set in the fridge for 30 mins or so to make sure the crumbs won’t get into the final layer of icing and make it look messy. I used this small icing scraper to get a fairly clean finish.

Crumb layer setting

Crumb layer setting in the fridge

Decorating the Cake

This is the bit I enjoyed the most! I decided to decorate the cake with baby’s breath and pale pink roses as Maria was using these flowers in her bouquet. I really wanted to find edible flowers that I could use for the cake and not worry about people eating them however the cost was incredibly high and I couldn’t find the right flowers. In the end I used regular flowers from a florist and used these posy pics to make sure nothing nasty, like pesticides, got into the cake. I ordered two sizes, the micro size for the baby’s breath and the mini size for the rose stems.

My love of spraying things gold meant I also decided to add gold pecans around the the base of each cake. I used this edible gold spray that was fab and found the pecans were helpful for hiding the rough edges around the bottom.

Finally I added sprigs of rosemary which I could stick straight into the cake and a few strawberries around the base of each layer as every cake looks better with fresh fruit!

Decorating with flowers

Creating the posies to insert into the cake

Icing setting in the fridge

The finished iced cake setting in the fridge

 

Stacking the Cake

Stacking the cake was the thing I was most nervous about as I had never done it before and was not going to attempt it until the actual day! I found a great tutorial from Americas Test Kitchen Feed that helped me understand how to measure the rods to get the correct height and how to stack the cake without it all imploding on itself. I got two packs of cake rods from Amazon which worked a treat and I was able to score and break to the right length.

I decided to transport the layers separately and assemble it all when I got to the reception as I didn’t think it would survive the car journey.

Inserting dowels into the cake

Dowling rods inserted into the cake ready for stacking

Top tier of the wedding cake

The top tier and bump on the way to the wedding

 

And there you have it a lovely simple wedding cake that doesn’t cost the earth. I hope you found it helpful and it might encourage you to have a go at making a cake for a celebration rather than shelling out for one. I really enjoyed the whole process although you definitely need to set aside a whole day to do something like this.

I would love to hear about your tips and tricks for making beautiful cakes.

Rebecca X

Final wedding cake

Final wedding cake

 

Rebecca

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