DIY wedding guide

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

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

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