DIY wedding guide

Fun and budget-friendly ideas for DIY favors, invitations, flowers—and yes, cake, too

How to make a beautiful wedding cake

Our step-by-step guide to planning, baking, assembling, and serving a delicious, handcrafted wedding cake

How to make a wedding cake

To put the finishing touch on your cake, choose any flowers that complement the style and colors of your wedding. We used tuberoses, lisianthus, and white roses. Try fresh-cut flowers from your garden or have a florist order blooms; be sure they are pesticide-free.

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How to make a wedding cake
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How to make a wedding cake
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How to make a wedding cake
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A sweet ending

  • How to make a wedding cake

    This moist, delicate Orange Sponge Cake with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream and Grand Marnier-Marmalade Filling is an irresistible conclusion to a joyful reception.

A beautiful, many-layered cake is the perfect symbol for a wedding: like the happy occasion itself, it’s sweet, festive, and, above all, meant to be shared with those you love.

A handcrafted wedding cake is perhaps the most special gift you can receive from a beloved friend or family member who loves to bake. And making an exceptional wedding cake is a project that almost anyone can take on; you don’t need professional baking experience or a background in architecture to construct a cake that’s delicious, stable, and beautiful.

Each step of making a wedding cake is easy, but the whole procedure might seem daunting. Our countdown breaks down the process, step by step:

1 week ahead

  • Bake orange sponge cake layers (recipe follows). Let cool completely, then wrap airtight and freeze.

1 day ahead

  • Thaw cake layers at room temperature.
  • Make Grand Marnier-marmalade filling (recipe follows).
  • Make 1½ recipes Grand Marnier whipped cream (3 quarts, measured after whipping, recipe follows).
  • Split cake layers (step 1 of Wedding Cake Assembly); sandwich with marmalade and cream (step 2). Frost layers with first coat of cream (step 3); chill until next day.

2 to 4 hours ahead

  • Make remaining 1½ recipes Grand Marnier whipped cream (3 quarts, measured after whipping); chill until ready to use.
  • Frost each layer with outer coating of cream (step 4).
  • Chill until ready to stack layers; transport layers to serving site before stacking.
  • Insert supports in cake layers (step 5) and tier, garnish, and decorate cake (steps 6 and 7).
  • Chill until ready to serve. If finished cake does not fit in refrigerator, chill layers until 2 hours before serving, then assemble. For an outdoor wedding or if weather is hot, keep cake in a shaded or cool area, or chill until ready to serve.

What you need to make a wedding cake:

  • Round cake pans (6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-in. diameter) with sides at least 2 inches high. Nonstandard pan sizes are available at cake decorating supply stores and Sur La Table.
  • Cardboard cake rounds (6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-in. diameter), sold in cake decorating supply stores.
  • Plastic drinking straws (cut off the flexible portion if necessary) or 1⁄4-inch wooden dowels (sold in hardware stores; you will need pruning shears to cut them).
  • A narrow, flat-bladed offset or icing spatula.
  • A pastry bag and a plain 1⁄4-inch tip for piping cream at base of each layer; decorative tips for piping any embellishments on the finished cake.

Next:  Recipe for Orange Sponge Cake

 

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