I did it. I made a wedding cake. And cupcakes. This, my friends, is the look of relief, happiness and pure exhaustion…
So here’s the deal. I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve documented this whole cake adventure step by step over the past few weeks. But I didn’t. I got caught with life and planning for a new job and a new house and packing and all the other life things that come along in between.
But I did make a wedding cake. And wedding cupcakes.
Also, there are some people that have done this before me (thank goodness) that, through the internet, were able to help me make this happen. They have also put up great tutorials and blog posts on building a wedding cake.
So, instead of regurgitating everything in this post, I figured I’d talk a little, show a few photos and guide you to the places I found all of this wonderful information, and helped make this cake happen.
I also, shamefully, didn’t take a load of pictures. Putting this all together on the day (minus all the baking I did ahead of time) of the wedding took me about 4 hours total. In that time I was elbow deep in icing and butter – and really couldn’t pick up the camera…but I did snag some shots. Some iPhone (sorry it’s easy, and I have to admit I love the way they look) and some ‘real’ camera.
I think you’ll be proud. I actually did a little wedding cake dance when I finished it. And then just about collapsed on the floor. True story.
Oh, and I’ve never had so much butter in my fridge. TEN pounds to be exact.
So here’s the cake and cupcake menu rundown:
Wedding cake: Tender Lemon Cake with Lemon Swiss Buttercream. Between the bottom two ten inch layers I put lemon curd, between the eight inch cakes I put raspberry preserves, and between the two six inch cakes I put lemon curd again.
Want a little more detail?
Well, I baked the cakes and cupcakes over a few days, ahead of time – wrapped and froze them. For the wedding cake, I used Martha Stewart’s Tender Lemon Cake that I had made before and loved. You can see my post on the cake here. I made four times the amount and ended up with two six, two eight and three ten inch cakes (I saved one ten inch in the freezer for another time). Yes, we had to clean out the freezer for the cakes. We ended up smoking the frozen turkey we had in there to make room. I can’t complain about that.
Oh, and I am now also a proclaimed sucker for bunting on cakes…it’s a new discovery for me, and I think it’s painfully cute. And, I figured, if the cake didn’t turn out great, it would take the focus off the cake and to the cute little strung flag…maybe.
Anyway, the cake turned out really lovely, and the bunting was a darling addition. I went straight off a tutorial from Tip Junkie. It’s an easy, no sew approach to making bunting. I also made extra and used double pointed toothpicks to make little matching flags for the cupcakes.
For the cupcakes I made two dozen of Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes, and added of strawberry oil instead of vanilla to make them strawberry scented. And for the chocolate lovers, I made two dozen of these Chocolate Stout cupcakes but substituted buttermilk for the sour cream.
For the icing, I debated whether to do a straight up old school butter cream, but then worried that it wouldn’t stand up to warm weather. Thankfully I had tried Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss Buttercream the weekend before on these cupcakes, and it turned out perfect. I made a double batch of icing off the ‘wedding cake‘ recipe – and it was enough for the whole cake and four dozen cupcakes. I did half with lemon extract for the cake, and the other half vanilla for the cupcakes. You can use any extract or oil to make the icing the flavor of your choice.
Now, how the hell did I put this cake together? How did I ice it? How did it not topple over when I carried on my lap to the wedding?
It wasn’t just luck.
Thankfully Joy the Baker has posted two tutorials that I love. The first one is a basic tutorial on how to ice a cake. This is downright amazing, and made me much more confident about icing cakes. You should read it. Oh, and don’t forget to trim your cakes to make them flat and even. It makes a big difference.
And remember, your crumb layer doesn’t have to look nice – it just needs to cover the cake…like a plain pair of underwear that you put on so people can’t see your bits through your dress…umm…yeah, crumb cover is like underwear for the fancy icing. Or something like that.
Joy has also posted on how to support a tiered cake. Remember, you can’t stack layer upon layer without the whole thing collapsing, squishing or falling over. It needs a little support, and she gave me the lowdown here. I used cake supports that looked pretty much like heavy duty straws, that were super easy to cut while in the cake, and then used a wooden trimmed and sharpened dowel to put straight down the middle. It really worked, and the cake didn’t topple over on my lap.
So once I had put the lemon curd and raspberry preserves in the layers, put a crumb coat on, put the supports in and stacked the thing (yes, I did it!!), it was time to ice.
I really love I Am Baker‘s mad icing skills, and had done lots of scouring of her site and her wonderful creations. I read about icing and tips, inspiration and all that good stuff. And well, came up with my own design loosely based on lots of cakes I managed to drool over on her site.
So that’s it.
I did it.
Would I do it again?