This weekend I made a wedding cake for some family friends that got married. When they asked me to do it, I said I wanted to give it as my wedding present to them! They were thrilled and I was happy to give them something meaningful on their special day.
I actually have two wedding cakes to make. One that I finished for a wedding yesterday and one next weekend for some more friends. So this is the table full of cake supplies for my two cakes. Yes, I bought 14 lbs of butter and 22 pounds of powdered sugar! I am sure I got some looks at the store.
Before baking, I prepped my station with all the mixing bowls, utensils and ingredients. Having everything in one place from the beginning saved a lot of time.
The cake was to be 3 tiers, and 2 layers of cake in each tier. Before I mixed my cake batter I decided to cut out 2 wax paper circles for each pan size to save time later. It was a good idea to do that while the kitchen was still clean :).
Instead of tracing the wax paper with a pen, I just lay it out on the bottom of the pan and cut along the edges with my scissors.
Then I sprayed the pan with baking spray, laid in the wax paper circle and sprayed again. I haven’t had any cakes crumble or stick to the bottom with this method.
Mid-baking catastrophe in the kitchen.
I had a little batter leftover so I made Chris and I some cake testing cupcakes :). They were delicious!
Red cake batter everywhere!
I only have one large cooling rack and a toaster size cooling rack so I had to get creative when trying to cool the cakes. I would rotate them around between propping up the cake that just came out of the oven on some inverted cake pans, then to the cooling rack, then to an inverted sheet pan. Lastly it got wrapped in saran wrap after it had cooled completely.
Finally the baking is done and all 6 cakes are cooling. I used the red velvet cake recipe from Whiteonricecouple. I couldn’t justify putting 2 tablespoons of food coloring in the batter to make it a bright red. So for each recipe I used half the food coloring, upped the cocoa powder by a tablespoon, and decreased the sugar by half a cup. I think it turned out great and turned out a lovely deep red.
For the icing recipe I mixed up a couple of different recipes and ended up with a recipe that called for 3 sticks butter, 2 packages cream cheese, 3 lbs of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 T vanilla. I multiplied that recipe times 3 to cover and decorate all three cakes.
After the icing and cakes were made, it was time to cut out the base for each cake. I get foam board from the craft store that is $2.99 a piece and it works great as a cake base. It is very sturdy! Then I use an exacto knife to cut it out. For the bottom tier I wanted the base bigger than the cake, so I inverted the cake pan and traced along the top edge. For the two cakes that were going to be stacked, I wanted the base to be flush with the bottom of the iced cake, so I traced along the bottom edge of the pan. Hope that made sense!
After cutting them out, I covered them with foil and secured the foil with masking tape.
Done and done.
Then I started assembling the cakes. Usually I have time to make the cakes ahead of time and freeze them before assembling the cakes. It makes things MUCH easier. But this time, I didn’t have time during the week and didn’t even start baking until after I got home from school at 6PM on Friday. The day before the wedding. Because of that, I didn’t have time to freeze or refrigerate them before putting them together. So, the top layer of the 12 and 14 inch cakes crumbled into 8 pieces on me when I tried to transfer them. I had to use lots of icing to ‘glue’ everything back together. haha Lesson learned!
Everything was going great until I transferred the top layer onto the cake.
It was too messy to take pictures but you get the gist.
Thankfully, icing covers a multitude of crumbs.
Around midnight Friday night I finally finished all the crumb coating of the cakes and fit them in the fridge. Then I made more icing Saturday morning and covered them with icing.
I usually dollop a large amount on the top of the cake and then put icing in a separate bowl to spread along the sides. That way if I did accidentally get some crumbs in the icing it wouldn’t ruin the whole bowl.
Scoop and spread, scoop and spread.
One down, 2 more to go.
After all 3 were iced, I put them back in the fridge to let the icing harden up a bit before smoothing them out.
While the cakes were chilling in the fridge, I made another batch of icing and prepped my icing bags.
The bride wanted buttercream roses, and I had never done that before. So, I watched this Buttercream Rose Tutorial on youtube to learn how to do it. I used a 102 rose tip, a large circle tip which is not pictured, then a star tip for filling in the top and a small circle tip to do the border on the bottom. I also bought couplers and a rose nail. WOW! I LOVE couplers. It made it so much easier to switch things out if I needed a different size tip. I also splurged and got some disposable bags. I happily threw them in the trash yesterday when I was cleaning up :). It’s the little things.
Cream cheese icing tends to be creamier and less sturdy than buttercream. So for making the roses, I took some in a separate bowl and added extra powdered sugar to make it thicker. Be warned that it takes some time to figure out the best thickness. I started with icing that was too thick and it busted my bag and killed my hands trying to squeeze it out. But at the end I had icing that was a bit too thin because the rose didn’t maintain it’s definition and the petals started melting into each other. So I would say it takes a little bit of finesse to get the right consistency. By the end of making 100 roses I finally figured t out :). I ended up adding some of the icing from the big pot to thin out the bowl of icing that was too thick. Then once I got the icing in the bag, if it got too thin and the petals started melting into one another I would put the icing bag in the freezer for about 5 minutes at a time to harden it up a bit. Worked like a charm.
Once everything was prepped and the bags were filled with icing it was time to make the roses. In the future I probably wouldn’t recommend waiting until the day of the wedding to see if you can make roses.
Thankfully after 3 or 4 tries I figured out how to get a decent looking rose. By the end of making 100 of them I think I got pretty good at it :).
First you put a big squirt of icing on the rose nail. This is your base.
Then you use the thin end of the rose tip pointing up to make a swirl. Wipe the tip clean.
Then you flip the tip so the thick end is up and make 3 petals.
Then you do a row of 5 petals and a row of 7 petals. The video explains this really well.
Then you take a pair of scissors and with the blades open to pick up the rose from the flower nail.
Carefully place the rose where you want it on the cake.
Then close the scissor blades and gently pull it out. Easy peasy.
Then you must step back and admire your handiwork :).
I worked from biggest cake to smallest cake. It is a good idea to save the smallest for last, because then it seems to go really fast at the end. It took me about 3 hours to do the roses. I am not going to lie… it was a bit uncomfortable at times because my hands kept cramping. But towards the end it got easier when my icing was thinner. But that was a tradeoff because thinner icing meant it was harder to transfer the roses. I would say, getting the thickness right for the icing was the hardest part because there ware so many factors to consider.
Finally all the roses were done. Then I used a star tip to fill in.
The bride didn’t want a cake topper, so this is the final product for the top tier.
I also put supporting sticks into the bottom and second tier to hold up the weight of the other cakes. Then it came time for the most nerve wracking part of the whole ordeal. Transporting and stacking the cake.
I did it!
Thankfully, we made it to the venue and assembled it without any cake catastrophes.
I think it turned out very elegant and the bride was thrilled! That is all I could ask for :). I learned some lessons along the way. Start baking before 6PM the day before the wedding, and refrigerate or freeze layers before assembling the cakes. Couplers for icing bags are the best invention ever. Buttercream roses are really pretty!
What is your favorite cake flavor? Have you ever tried to make buttercream roses?