The wedding cake is one of the highlights of the reception. It occupies a place of honor at the reception on a special table and the cake cutting ceremony is one of the most special moments of the wedding. With all that in mind, it is important to have a truly fabulous wedding cake! If you have decided to make your own cake, check out these DIY wedding cake tips to ensure that your cake is a grand success.
Tip One: Practice, practice, practice! Even if you are an experienced baker, making a wedding cake is unlike any other baking project. Both the scale and importance of the confection are larger than they would be for another cake, so a trial run is key. By the way, if you are not an experienced baker, it is best not to attempt a DIY wedding cake. At your trials, take careful notes about the recipes used, how easily the cake released from the pans, and any mishaps which may have occurred. Also, keep in mind that a wedding cake spends a fair amount of time on display, so leave your sample cake out under similar conditions to make sure that the frosting does not start to slide off, the tiers crush each other, or anything else.
Tip Two: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. The best idea for a DIY wedding cake is to keep it simple. Opt for tiers stacked directly on top of each other, rather than perched on precarious columns. Stick with a reliable frosting option, such as buttercream, which is easier to apply than fondant. Most of all, choose decorations which are well within your abilities (and your time constraints) to make. Use fresh flowers instead of trying to make sugar flowers or top your cake with a pre-made topper like a crystal monogram (so pretty when the bride is wearing crystal bridal jewelry).
Tip Three: Make the cake ahead. A professional baker does not make your wedding cake on the morning of your wedding and neither should you. The last thing a bride needs to be worried about on her wedding day is making a cake! Plan to bake the cake about 3 days before your wedding and decorate it 1-2 days before your reception. That will allow plenty of time to decorate without feeling rushed, and it also means that if something goes terribly wrong (cake dropped on the floor!), you will have time to deal with it.
Tip Four: Have a transportation plan. Making your own wedding cake is a big enough job as it is, but don’t forget that you also need to get it to the reception site safely. A large heavy cardboard box is a good option for transportation, perhaps with a piece of plywood under the base of the cake within the box. Be sure that the box is large enough that it will not touch the edges of the cake and scrape off frosting! You will need someone to sit and hold the cake in the back of a large vehicle like an SUV. Also be certain to arrange for refrigeration at the reception venue if you plan to deliver your DIY masterpiece the day before your wedding.
Tip Five: Remember the extras. Think about how you wish to display the wedding cake you have created at your reception. You will need a suitably sized table with a tablecloth at the very least. You may wish to have some sort of cake stand upon which to set your confection. There are all different types, from ornately designed silver bases to simple white china stands to modern plexiglass bases. Also think about decorations for the cake table. Some brides scatter flower petals, those who love crystal bridal jewelry might decide to scatter large crystals around the cake, while others simply choose a fancy tablecloth. Last but not least, remember to bring a cake cutting set with a knife and cake server so that your guests can enjoy your wonderful DIY wedding cake!