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Old 07-11-2005, 12:59 AM   #1
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Making a Wedding Cake & need help

I've been doing alot of cake decorating over the last few years, but mainly baby and bridal shower cakes, birthday cakes, graduation cakes, etc. but never a wedding cake (and never for more than a few dozen people).

But recently, a couple of friends of mine who were impressed with one of my cakes asked if I could make a cake for their up coming wedding. Since I'm always up for a challenge I said I'd be happy to. But I just met with them to go over what they are looking for and I'm starting to get a bit nervous and am wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew. So any help, suggestions or advice that any of you can provide would be really helpful.

I'm making this wedding cake for a Friday night wedding in about a month and I'm hoping to do a test run this Thursday.

My friends are looking for a 3 tier square cake covered with ivory fondant and will have thin ivory fondant vertical stripes layered on the sides and little beads of fondant between the tiers (kinda like in the cake on pg. 87 of the 2005 Wilton yearbook, but square, ivory on ivory and with nothing between the tiers).

They don't want to use a traditional topper but instead want to have fresh roses on top and cascading down one corner of the cake down all three layers.

They are looking to have the bottom tier be a chocolate cake with a chocolate cream filling with toffee bits, the middle vanilla with lemon filling, and the top coconut with a chocolate cream and toasted coconut as a filling.

I have a few questions and am also looking for any general advice people can provide.

1. How big should I make the layers for about 75 guests considering that the cake will be the only dessert served?

2. Any advice as to how to stack/layer these cakes? The layers should be flush to each other (no space between the layers). I know that I need to use dowels or something and am planning on using foil covered boards, but I'm not sure how many dowels I need or where to position them or how keep the foil board from showing (especially since Wilton's seems to advice that the boards be greater in diameter than the cake layer)?

3. How do I place the flowers on the cake? I know that the flowers should not touch the cake, but this is especially challenging when using fondant and since the flowers should cascade.

4. How do I make sure all the layers look the same since they will have different flavor (and color) icings under the fondant and that the chocolate doesn't show through the fondant?

5. Is there anything I need to be wary of in a cake recipe so that the cake will be firm enough to support the weight and keep a crisp sharp edge to the squares? Also, do I need special recipes that can be made for cakes this size or can I just take any recipe and multiply it a few times? (and does anyone know any good recipes for these wedding cake flavors?)

6. The wedding is on a Friday night at 6 pm. I am planning on taking the day off from work on Friday and working on the cake Thursday night and all day Friday. I have never made a cake of this magnitude before... Will this be enough time? Are there things I should or can do ahead of time? (I will be out of the country for the prior two weeks and weekends before the wedding).

I'm not going to charge them for my time for making this cake (since this is the first time I'm making a wedding cake), but they will be reimbursing me for ingredients, supplies and equipment for both the test cake and the final one. They asked me for an estimate of how much I think this will cost. Could anyone give me a ballpark that I can pass on to them before I actually start the test run?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. It's much needed and much appreciated!

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Old 07-11-2005, 01:50 AM   #2
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I hope you get some help with this one, PA Baker comes to mind. Our traditions in this country are very different. Wedding cakes are nearly always fruit cakes, and occasionally chocolate mud cakes, but very rarely. Do let us know how you get on, and we want pictures!!!
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Old 07-11-2005, 05:14 AM   #3
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Hi, Ruth, I've made a few wedding cakes, and the first thing I could suggest is to run right out and get a copy of Rose Levy Bernbaum's 'Cake Bible'. It's a wealth of information on everything from sizing to recipes for large quantity cakes and frostings.
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Old 07-11-2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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Wow, Ruth, what a fun challenge! If I lived closer I'd come help--this is something I've always wanted to try, too! I'd definitely check out the message boards on wilton.com if you have questions that can't be answered here--usually I don't use that site much as it's mainly professionals but I know they used to have a wedding cake forum that might prove helpful. As for your questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth
1. How big should I make the layers for about 75 guests considering that the cake will be the only dessert served?
6" square serves 8
8" square serves 16
10" square serves 24
12" square serves 40
14" square serves 54
16" square serves 62
Let me know if you need amount of cake batter to use for each of these sizes and baking time.

2. Any advice as to how to stack/layer these cakes? The layers should be flush to each other (no space between the layers). I know that I need to use dowels or something and am planning on using foil covered boards, but I'm not sure how many dowels I need or where to position them or how keep the foil board from showing (especially since Wilton's seems to advice that the boards be greater in diameter than the cake layer)?

Like you said, you'll have to use dowels. THe Wilton wedding book will advise you to how many based on the diameter of each layer and the number of layers. I'd do some more reading about the size of the boards--I wouldn't advise them to be larger than the layers; at most they should be equal in diameter. That way you can easily ice over them to cover the boards. And be sure that the dowels you cut are long enough. Too short, and they woon't provide the support you'll need!


3. How do I place the flowers on the cake? I know that the flowers should not touch the cake, but this is especially challenging when using fondant and since the flowers should cascade.

You have two overall choices in this--1. use nice silk flowers or 2--find a florist (I'm sure the wedding florist could help) that sells pesticide-free flowers and make sure theier not poisoness. Violets, lavender, some roses, and nasturtiums are edible, as are any herbs that have flowers.

Fresh or silk, you need to make sure your flowers aren't touching the cake--this isn't any harder on fondant. You can put down separator plates, floral bowls (food for a nice flower topper), waxed paper, plastic wrap, or doilies. For your cascades, or for flowers around each tier, rather than putting stems directly into the cake, use floral spikes (Wilton sells these). Floral spikes are designed to hold water, if you're using fresh flowers. Plus, if you're using fresh on top, just use some floral foam in the dish on top. You can totally hide what you're holding the flowers in by using enough flowers. Another option is to have the bride work with you and the florist and have the florist be in charge of the floral decorating.

4. How do I make sure all the layers look the same since they will have different flavor (and color) icings under the fondant and that the chocolate doesn't show through the fondant?

Only make the icing filling different and use a crumb coat of white butter cream over each cake tier. This will ensure the fondant sticks, too.

5. Is there anything I need to be wary of in a cake recipe so that the cake will be firm enough to support the weight and keep a crisp sharp edge to the squares? Also, do I need special recipes that can be made for cakes this size or can I just take any recipe and multiply it a few times? (and does anyone know any good recipes for these wedding cake flavors?)

I'd stick to Wilton recipes for the cake batter itself (their recipes tend to produce relatively solid cakes) and just flavor accordingly. Do you have any favorite filling recipes? Just make sure your fillings are firm, so they don't ooze.
The following make a single 2" layer:
12" square, 10 cups of batter, bake at 350, 40-45 min.
14", 13 1/2 c batter, bake at 350 45-50 min.
16", 15 1/2 c batter, bake at 350, 45-50 minutes.

Let me know if you need more than just these 3. Bake one layer at a time in your oven, or be sure to rotate pans half-way through to ensure even baking.

6. The wedding is on a Friday night at 6 pm. I am planning on taking the day off from work on Friday and working on the cake Thursday night and all day Friday. I have never made a cake of this magnitude before... Will this be enough time? Are there things I should or can do ahead of time? (I will be out of the country for the prior two weeks and weekends before the wedding).

You can easiily make the cake layers ahead, wrap well, and freeze. Just don't unwrap them until they are completely thawed and at room temp. Fondant can be stored for 2 months in an airtight container, and a refrigerated cake covered in fondant can be refrigerated for 3-4 days (I'd be conservative with the last part of this because of your fillings). I'm sure you can also make your fillings in advance. The buttercream for the crumb coat can also be made ahead. I don't know if this will be enough time for you. I'd be sure to do a couple trial runs start to finish and see how they go and base your time needed on those.

I'm not going to charge them for my time for making this cake (since this is the first time I'm making a wedding cake), but they will be reimbursing me for ingredients, supplies and equipment for both the test cake and the final one. They asked me for an estimate of how much I think this will cost. Could anyone give me a ballpark that I can pass on to them before I actually start the test run?

Make a list of your ingredients based on the recipes you choose and take a nice, long trip to your grocery and cake supply stores to figure out cost per item (i.e. 5 lb bag of flour costs X an contains Y number of cups of flour, how many cups do your 3 layers call for?)

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. It's much needed and much appreciated!
Good good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!!!!
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Old 07-19-2005, 07:58 AM   #5
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Wink Fresh Flowers on a Wedding Cake

My Gram used to make and design wedding cakes, you can dip the fresh flowers into hot parafin wax just before placing them on the cake(after the wax has cooled and set). Make sure the stems are long enough for the wedding party to trim them and save them if they choose.
The wax will also bond the stems together for a very nice
flowing effect. She would design the flowers to flow like the bouquet the bride would carry, adding a nice ribbon here and there.

Very beautiful. Also if you need a "stand" for the flowers on the cake, she used a nice plastic Champagne glass, that she sawed off the bottom. The plastic bowl held the flowers in place and the stem slid down into the top of the center of the cake, no one was the wiser. I would think todays standard Marguarita glass(plastic of course) would have a stem long enough to fit a wedding cake also.

For the trim on the cardboard stabilizers she would buy 1" ribbon and glue it to the edge of the cardboard. She just brushed on the glue, let it get kinda sticky and folded it in half over the trim edge. Very professional finish, didn't hurt the cake, and was a nice finish after cutting.

Hope this gives you some ideas that you find helpful and good luck! The first one is always the scariest, but after that they come very easy....
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:59 AM   #6
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Brianschef, I was thinking the same idea regarding waxing the flowers. They really make a lovely presentation, and actually, you can dip them the day before! Just do several test runs. (and make sure you are at least charging them for your "experiments" as well. I think I would have told the happy couple (who are saving a ton on your cake) that I would give it to them for cost, providing they would give me a minimum of 3 referrals which would lead to guaranteed jobs. But, that's just me.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:35 PM   #7
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Bump for Corazon!
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