Today I embarked on a new adventure: making my first ever wedding cake. While I’ve made lots of cakes in my life, I’ve never made one for a wedding. Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Mikel, has a lot of experience in this area and is coming to help me put the cakes together next Friday. Between now and then, I will be preparing as much as I can and sharing pictures, tips and stories from the process. She and my friend, Emily, have both given me instructions on how to get started.
Step 1: Make and freeze the cakes
In order to make the cake decorating process easier and less-stressful (hopefully!), I decided to make the cake this week and freeze it. Since there will be about 100-120 guests at the reception, I’m making 4 tiers — a 12-inch, a 10-inch, an 8-inch and a 6-inch tier. (The 6-inch tier will be for the couple to save). I figured out the amount of cake needed based on this chart from the Wilton website.
Everyone I’ve talked to has recommended using a cake mix, both for ease and consistency. I am using Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge mixes. I borrowed the pans I’m using, 2-inch deep Wilton pans, from Mikel. Tonight I planned to make both of the 6 and the 8 inch cakes.
I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and greased (with shortening) and floured my cake pans. I prepared the mixes according to the directions on the box. The only change I made was to add an extra egg to each mix, at the recommendation of Mikel. The extra egg is supposed to give the cake additional stability.
Then, I filled the pans with the batter. Each pan is supposed to be filled 2/3 full. I used another chart from Wilton’s website to determine exactly how much batter I’d need for each pan so that the tiers will end up level. I was a little short on batter, so I ended up only making 3 of the cakes tonight. I covered the extra batter and put it into the refrigerator for use tomorrow night.
I baked the cakes at 350, according to the directions on the box. The cakes ended up being in the oven for about 35 minutes before a toothpick inserted in the center of each came out clean. This was more than the time recommended — I hope they don’t end up being dry. Fortunately the 6 inch cakes won’t be eaten for more than a year, so if they taste bad, they’ll probably chalk it up to freezer burn!
Another trick I heard is to freeze the cakes while they’re still hot to help them retain the moisture. I let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then allowed them to cool for another 10 minutes before wrapping them in plastic wrap and then in foil. I put them in the freezer, each on a separate shelf. Once they’re frozen, I can stack them. I don’t want to stack them yet though, because I don’t want them to compress.
This weekend, I plan to finish making all of the cakes. I’m also planning to attempt some very simple gum paste flowers. Next week I’ll make the buttercream and prepare the base for the cakes. That’s the plan at least. We’ll see how it goes…!