Trial Run First
Firstly, if there is something you haven't tried before like covering cakes in ganache or fondant or making flowers then try it first! Never use a new technique or recipe on the final cake - that is just asking for trouble. For Andrina & Brent's wedding cake the actual cake and the decorating was all new to me so I made a trial cake. This allowed me to make any changes, see how long it took and most importantly I got the seal of approval from the happy couple.
|Trial cake all finished!|
Make sure you leave a good month or more to buy any tools, colours or ingredients you may need that are hard to find. If you're buying online at a cake decorating website it may take a while to arrive. A week before the cake's due date make a list of absolutely everything you will need (see below). Then make yourself a little timetable for the week so you know when everything needs to get done. I also like to add in when I'm going to exfoliate and fake tan myself (you know I like making lists right?) Here is a little weekly timetable planner, that's assuming the cake is due on a Saturday.
Buy ingredients for cakes, icings, fillings, ganache etc. If you're making roses or something made out of gumpaste or fondant that needs to be hard in time for the cake now is the time to start. For roses, make the rose buds today.
Make Royal Icing - you will post probably use royal icing at some stage on the cake. For A & B's cake I decorated the sides and borders with it, as well as using it to attach the cakes to each other and attach the roses to the cake. Also on Tuesday, make the roses. I used this tutorial (Part One, Part Two) which I found reasonably easy...after quite a few tries!
If you are baking all the cakes yourself then make them today. Usually the tiers are 2" apart and I usually go for 6", 8" and 10". Once cakes are cooled, cut them down to the same height and store in an air tight container overnight.
Make the ganache. I used a method I found on Erica O'Brien's (amazing blog by the way!) blog. I shall post the recipe with NZ measurements and instructions one day.
Cover the cake board with fondant and attach ribbon.
If you are not making the cakes yourself then Thursday is a good day to pick them up. I bought the top and bottom tiers from Eves Pantry without any icing or filling and it pretty much came straight out of the oven so you'll need to cut these to size and cut them in half for the fillings too.
Make your buttercream/filling of choice and fill cakes.
Cover cakes in buttercream or ganache and store in an airtight container overnight.
Cover cakes in fondant then decorate however you please. For A & B's cake I made myself a little paper device to be able to get even dots around the cake. I made gridded paper then highlighted where the dots needed to be. I then stuck the paper to the fondant using masking tape (you have to be careful when doing that!) and used a pin to make holes through the paper and in to the cake. I removed the paper and masking tape then piped small icing dots over top of the holes in the fondant. It worked perfectly!
Whenever you pipe Royal Icing you will get a little tip sticking up, if you want to get rid of that just get a little shot glass of water and a clean paintbrush and dab it on to the icing until it looks nice and rounded.
|Tape gridded paper to the cake and poke holes using a pin|
|Pipe dots over the holes|
If you are making a stacked cake then you need to reinforce each tier (except the top -duh!) I use wooden cake dowels which you can buy from cake decorating shops but you can also use skewers or straws. Just chop them down to the size of your cake and make sure they will be covered by the cake on top!
Now...deliver the cakes! It may seem like all the hard work is over but believe me this IS the hard part! It's terrifying travelling with cakes and there is always the risk that they will move around and get messy on the way. I usually put the cakes in boxes and use non stick mats to stop them from moving around. If you want to take your cake already stacked then you will need to put a long wooden dowel straight through the middle of the entire cake.
Remember to bring your decorating essentials, Royal Icing, pins, dowels, extra fondant, extra roses/flowers/whatever, toothpicks, piping bags and tips, lustre dust...pretty much anything you can think of that will be helpful! Remember to find the back of the cake (usually where there is a mistake, if you're like me!) and to set up each tier with the best side facing the front. Sounds obvious but sometimes I forget this then look back and realise there's a little dent in the front or something!
Take photos of the cake! Also, don't spill a shot glass of water on the table cloth, like I did! Oops!
|THE wedding cake, the finished product!|
Stuff you will need:
Buttercream/Ganache/Filling for cakes
Fondant -lots of fondant
Piping gel or syrup (for fondant to stick to ganche covered cakes)
Ribbon (for cake board and/or cakes)
Piping bags and tips
Little glass of water and paintbrush (for smoothing down royal icing dots)
Gumpaste & lustre dust (if making roses)
Pins (for making holes in cake or attaching ribbon on cake)
Spatulas (for smoothing down ganache/buttercream)
Cake leveler (to cut cakes evenly and slice in half)
I think that's everything...have I missed anything? Probably!
Good luck if you do plan on making a wedding cake or a cake for a special event. I'd love to hear all about it and see pictures, so let me know if you do!