A wedding cake.

I had planned thousands of words on the ordeal of making a wedding cake for the first time, but now that it’s over, my brain is in a state of quiet, transcendent peace. Or…I’m sleep-deprived and loopy from the marathon of baking, bridesmaid duties, and dealing with hordes of family traveling into town for the weekend. One of these days I may write up a primer for amateurs baking a large cake for the first time, but in the meantime, here is my brother and his brand new wife’s wedding cake.

Wedding cake

It was far from perfect, and there are certainly things I would do differently if I could do it again, but I accomplished my three main goals: to fulfill the bride’s vision, create moist and delicious wedding cake, and provide enough cake so that guests could eat as much as they liked. The bride’s father, a retired florist, provided and placed the beautiful roses. The top and bottom tiers were made of chocolate cake with two layers of raspberry Italian buttercream and one layer of white chocolate. The center tier was golden sour cream cake with two layers of strawberry Italian buttercream and one layer of white chocolate. White fondant encased the cakes. I also made extra side cakes identical to the main cake except iced in plain buttercream instead of fondant. They were sliced in the back room and never seen whole by the guests.

I made everything myself, from the cake, to the fondant, to the fruit puree used in the buttercream. One of my smartass friends asked if I made the butter. I told her about my pet cow and butter churn, but she didn’t believe me because I was lying. (I have a lot of smartass friends. I can’t imagine why.) I didn’t grow the sugarcane or mill the flour either. I’m so embarrassed.

There was enough cake to feed 560 people if you use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s numbers that assume traditional cracker-sized servings and many guests abstaining or 200 people if you use Dede Wilson’s numbers that assume real servings visible without a microscope and every guest partaking. I chose to go with Wilson’s numbers for the reception’s 120 guests. The bride’s brother had thirds—the ultimate compliment. All the boxed extra cake found homes without prodding. I consider that a compliment too.

Up next: The groom’s cake and a bonus first anniversary cake.

13 thoughts on “A wedding cake.

  1. What a beautiful, beautiful cake Annie. It’s grand and gorgeous. Plus the types of cake you baked sound wonderful – much better than the traditional (and I say boring) fruit cake that’s used. Sounds like you need a good holiday now.

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  3. That was well worth all the effort. It really is gorgeous, and it sounds like it was decadently delicious too! Great job Annie!

  4. I’m so mad!! I left my box of leftover cake at my parents that weekend! Booooo! But cake was absolutely decedent and delicious!

  5. Jahee: I’m so glad you liked it.

    Paula: Thanks so much!

    Kat: Well I hope your parents enjoyed it, at least…I should poke them next time I see them, see if they put on weight.

  6. Annie, your cake[s] is amazing. I’ve got a great choc cake recipe, am trying to find a fab way to use raspberries for a topping and filling – that I’d like to taste very berry and a little tart. Can you share more about what you did to make an Raspberry Italian buttercream? All of my grandparents came from Italy, it seems a fitting way to go. Thanks.

  7. Mary: Most raspberry buttercreams tends to be more buttery than berry, so you might want to use jam or raspberry whipped cream instead. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible has recipes and is usually available at the library.

    What I did to make a tart and berry buttercream is risky, so I hate to suggest it in case if fails, but here goes. I started with a recipe for boiled syrup meringue buttercream (Italian meringue) that yields about 4 1/2 cups (Rose’s recipe). Then I made a batch of super-concentrated raspberry puree, also Rose’s recipe. The puree entails draining frozen berries in a colander, squeezing out the juices once the berries thaw, then boiling the juices down to a thick syrup. The raw pulp should be strained to remove seeds and added back to the reduced syrup. This is a LOT of work if you don’t have a berry strainer (and a lot of work even if you do), but the flavors are both intense and fresh because you have both concentrate and uncooked berries in one puree. Some lemon juice brightens the flavor.

    I added about 12 ounces of this unsweetened puree very very very slowly to the buttercream. This is tricky because the buttercream wants to break and turn to a curdled mess when you add that much liquid. I had to add the cold puree one spoonful at a time to hold the emulsion. Then it had to be used fairly soon—freezing caused this buttercream to separate. If it works, it will be a soft buttercream that’s not good for piping but will cover a cake nicely. A little red food coloring helps intensify the color.

  8. LOL I never knew there was a such thing as a groom’s cake. I showed this to my husband and he was like “awwwe thats not fair” XD. Amazing Cakes both of them. I love to bake and decorate, but im no where near that good or talented at it. OMG amazing i say absolutely Amazing.

  9. That is just gorgeous, my sister is looking to do just this and make a wedding cake for her friend so we are sitte here doing so research it’s great to come across somebody elses that’s done the same.

    Thanks for sharing what you did.


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