Welcome to our new "How to" series for anyone thinking about making their own (or a friend's) wedding cake.
Tip #1 - Make a check list.
Using your own creative talent to make your own dream cake, or create a gift for a loved one getting married, is a great idea. But there are some drawbacks, especially if you don't know what you're doing. To make sure your cake experience is stress-free, make a checklist of the following:
What sort of cake will you be making? You cake needs to be moist and delicious, but not squishy, as well as sturdy enough to stack, but not dry or crumbly.
How many guests? Is cake being served as dessert or after dessert? This will determine the number of tiers and their size.
What sort of filling? Some fillings, like fruit curds and compotes, need a dam around them to make sure they don't ooze out of the cake.
What tools do you need? At the very least, you'll need a turntable, metal spatula, cake boards, supports, and a scraper.
What sort of finish? Rustic styles and semi-naked cakes are popular for relaxed weddings, and super sharp edges are on trend right now. Do you have the tools and skills to achieve these finishes?
Buttercream, ganache, fondant? The final finish on your cake will depend on the look you're going for. It will also depend on the weather and how long your cake will be sitting out.
How will you support your cakes? A tall single tier or any multi tier cake needs supports (dowels or straws) and boards between each cake, to keep them from collapsing under the weight.
Which flowers are you using? Make sure your fresh flowers come from a reputable source, are cake safe, wrapped and wired so they don't contaminate your cake. Even fake flowers need to be wrapped if they're being inserted into the cake. Some flowers are poisonous, so they're best to avoid at all costs (including baby's breath and hydrangeas).
How will you transport it? A finished wedding cake is heavy and often tall, some cake artists deliver them in two or three pieces and assemble them on site. All cakes need to be boxed and if it's a warm day or a long drive, some sort of cool packs will be needed to.
Who signs for it? When you arrive at the venue, you need to ensure the correct person signs for delivery, and that it's set up in a suitable place and won't be moved at all before serving.
Have you got time to set up? Setting up your cake, stacking tiers and placing flowers can take an hour. Make sure you leave enough time for any delays and quick fixes.
Who is serving the cake? If at a wedding venue, make sure you provide serving and storage instructions for the kitchen or whoever will be serving your cake. They need to know how to cut it so they get the number of serving sizes required.
Is it safe? Warm weather, cross contamination, allergies and storage all have the potential to make people sick. That's not a great look at a wedding. Make sure you've considered all of these and are following a safe and simple food plan to ensure your cake is safe to eat.
Come back for more tips. Over the next few months, we'll explore each of these points on your checklist and walk you through everything you need to know.
Have you got any questions? Post them in the comments below.
We teach cake decorating classes at our beautiful Petone classroom and we can offer private lessons too
I love this photo of me delivering our beautiful extended-tier rustic cake to Ohariu Farm for my daughter's teacher's wedding. Ohariu Farm is such a beautiful venue and the team really take cake of everything. We offer free delivery to local venues including Ohariu Farm, Boomrock, Dockside and Foxglove. Contact us to book your free cake tasting.