Today was the day…
I made my first wedding cake.
It took me two days. Probably about 15-16 hours in total. And it was totally worth it. I love it. It’s not often that I’m pleased with the final result of something I make. I mean, my bakes are never ugly, but my eyes are drawn to the imperfections. But, that’s another story.
I’ve been planning on making this cake for about a week. It took a while to get all the ingredients I needed and for my brand new cake lace mat to arrive.
I baked the cakes yesterday. I made a four layer 9” cake and a four layer 6” cake. This took a while because I had to make the nine-inch cake in two goes; firstly because I only have one nine-inch cake tin and I needed two, and secondly because the oven is too small to hold two nine-inch tins on one tray anyway. I never bake my cakes on different racks in the oven, because I can’t bear it when they bake unevenly.
The first thing I did was make the cake lace that was going around the cake layers. Actually, the first thing I did was clean the dishes because I can’t bear dishes in the sink when I’m baking. Then I had breakfast. Then I used the Claire Bowman Serenity cake lace mat, and also the Claire Bowman cake lace mix. It was the first time I attempted these, even though they arrived last week. I’m normally the kind of person to try it as soon as it enters the door. I filled all three design stencils and made two batches. The lace turned out perfect. I was a little wary, and kind of prepared for them to fail because I don’t have an oven thermometer to accurately set the temperature.
Next was making the buttercream, crumb coating the cakes and then applying the final coat of buttercream. I’ve done this countless times, so it was pretty easy. I took a little extra time getting the final coat of buttercream completely smooth so that it would be a perfect base for the fondant. Then the cakes chilled in the fridge while I washed up and had lunch (it’s hungry work).
The only picture I took during the process was this one. After this, I was too absorbed in the fondant and could barely remember my own name, never mind that I needed to take photos.
Fondant time. I had my little sister with me throughout this, waiting eagerly for scraps of fondant to play with. I had the big rolling-pin, and she had my small one, so she was pleasantly entertained making wedding cakes out of fondant with pastry cutters. I decided on marbled fondant, because I love the way the colours just merge together. The colours I went with were pink, grey and white for the bottom tier, and pink and white for the top-tier. I coloured the fondant for the bottom tier first; one large white ball, a tiny dark pink ball, a large light pink ball, a tiny dark grey ball and a large light grey ball of fondant. Then I rolled the different colours into long sausages, twisted and squished them altogether then rolled it out. There wasn’t much rhyme or reason. Well, I had some idea of what I was doing but I wasn’t too picky with it; it is marble after all.
Then I put this onto the cake. It was easier than I thought it would be. I did get some elephant skin, but I smoothed it all out with some flexi-smoothers. And I got sharp corners! So cool. Cake no.1 was done.
For the top-tier I mixed a small ball of light pink fondant and kept the rest white. And the same as before, rolled them out into sausages, twisted them together, kneaded a teeny tiny bit to blend the colours a little then rolled it all out. Applying this fondant was a little easier. I think this was because the fondant was softer because I kneaded it for longer and also because the cake was smaller.
Instead of dowels I bought bubble straws, which are way cheaper and also work just as fine a dowels. I put about five into the bottom tier, smushed some buttercream over them and then put the top-tier on.
At this point, I was unsure of where to position the cake lace. As in, I didn’t know whether to put it on both cakes, or just one, but in the end I decided with both. I started off applying it on my own, but this proved quiet difficult and fiddly, so my mum was there to lend a hand. The lace is so delicate (expensive too) I didn’t want to damage it. After applying some fondant to the cake board, I was done. I popped into town the next day to get some flowers to decorate with.
Edit: Its been about three weeks since this cake. In retrospect, there are some improvements I could have made.
- Don’t use so much sugar syrup next time. The cake tasted good, it’s just that I was worried it would dry up, but my vanilla cake is pretty moist anyway, so it really didn’t need it.
- Research how to do flower arrangements before arranging. I just placed them on top of the cake. I didn’t want to poke them in because no one wants stem flavoured cake. But I could have spent a little more time and attention on flowers.
- Go bigger. I’m always worried that I’ll make too much work for myself. Or that I might not be capable. Or that it might not ‘turn out good’. I have a lot to learn, for sure. Nevertheless, I need to push myself a little more each time to learn the unlearned.
And that’s it! It’s a long one, but making a wedding cake isn’t a short task. I hope you enjoyed it, and leave a comment if you’ve ever made a wedding cake before!