When I decided to take on the adventure of making my own wedding cake, I knew the challenge was going to be two-fold. First, I was going to have to find the perfect recipe, whether that meant poring through recipe after recipe or altering recipes I found on my own until they perfectly fit my needs. Second, I was going to need to figure out how to actually decorate a wedding cake that I’ll want to see in pictures for the rest of my life…
Both are bound to require a lot of trial and error.
What am I looking for in a perfect recipe?
Well, aside from tasting GREAT and looking beautiful, I’m looking for a recipe that can be made in large batches, and something that will freeze well.
My personal tastes steer me towards a cake that is delicate in flavor – I’m personally not much of a chocolate cake person (I love chocolate! Don’t get me wrong. I prefer my chocolate in its purest form, though. Or in brownies…). I prefer a cake that is more… versatile in flavor. Something I can try a lot of different frosting flavors on (oh goodness, frosting recipes are another challenge of this project!). I’m hoping for something vanilla cake based with delicate flavorings such as fruit or almond. My favorite birthday cake I’ve ever made for myself was a lemon-coconut cake layered with lemon curd and covered in mascarpone coconut frosting.
Next up: a recipe that can be made in large batches because a wedding cake is HUGE. What do I mean by large batches? Yeah, you can double, triple, quadruple any recipe. In many respects, any recipe cake be made in large batches. What I mean by “can be made in large batches,” has a lot to do with the ease with which I can make it in large batches. How complicated is the recipe itself? How many different tools and ingredients does it require? The more it requires, the harder it will be very generally, but ever more so in a large batch. One cake recipe that I tried requires you to whip egg whites separately and then fold them into the already made batter (planning to write about the experience making that cake very soon!). I imagine that it will be quite difficult to gently fold egg whites into batter when there’s enough batter to feed 150 people! The amount of time and movement that would take to completely incorporate the egg whites into the batter would probably run the risk of beating the air out of the egg whites completely!
The last requirement that I have for my recipe: something that will freeze well. No, I do not plan to make my cake a year in advance and then freeze it for 365 days. Don’t worry!! I only need a cake that will freeze will for about a month. Why? Three tiers (the hope!), 9 layers of cake? There’s no way I can make all of that in a matter of days before the wedding. From my research, it seems like the cakes can be made about a month in advance in individual layers and the decorating should be done in the days leading up to the wedding. Some of the really ambitious things that I’ve read have even said you can freeze a good, completely decorated cake for a few weeks. My ideal would be to make my tiers, crumb coat them, and then freeze them for a few weeks, giving myself time to deal with last minute planning craziness, and still have time to decorate them just before the big day!
My plan is to try one recipe each month. That’s right, I’m trying to bake a cake a month. Hopefully my friends and family won’t get tired of eating cake so regularly. But really, who could get tired of that?
All of my cakes will have to pass the
- Taste test
- Freeze test
- Decoration test
- Frost test
- Batch test
I’ve only tested one recipe so far and am still waiting to determine if it passes the freeze test. In the meantime, I’m searching for new potential recipes to try and continuing to read up on what makes a great wedding cake.
My lemon-coconut cake with mascarpone frosting filled with homemade coconut lemon curd
Made for my birthday last year, June 2016
Recipe: COUNTRY LIVING MAGAZINE