The DIY Wedding Cake and You; A Quick How-To Guide
If you’ve ever considered making your wedding cake, but found that it might be too daunting, this is for you! Richard Bracke, a self-professed food who loves to dine at new restaurants and try out new food combinations in an attempt to be constantly refining his tastes and palate, has shared these incredibly helpful tips with us about designing, baking, decorating, and displaying your own DIY wedding cake.
Here is what Richard has to say:
When it comes to your wedding day, you want everything to be in top-shape and perfectly in line with your aesthetic and theme. At some point in your whirlwind of planning you will need to enlist the help of others to help lighten the load of stress that comes with throwing the perfect ceremony. Traditionally, when it comes to the cake, the brides (or even grooms) have not been considered the ones who are suited for its baking and construction. But how times have changed. We are deep in the throes of the days of Pinterest and DIY blogs, and things that were once outsourced are now hailed on your Facebook and Instagram as, “amazing.” Designing your own wedding cake doesn’t have to be the laborious task you might imagine. Even if you don’t have the vaguest clue where to begin, I’m here to show you that anyone with a smidgeon of creativity and a little elbow grease can create the wedding cake of their dreams.
Where O’ Where to Begin
So you might consider busting out the apron and starting on a cake of your own, but wonder where to start. Close your eyes and visualize your wedding. What colors are you thinking about? Do you want certain design elements from the bride’s dress to carry over to the cake? What about the theme? Are you channeling Moroccan or going classic and simple? Make notes and even sketches of some of the ideas that come into your head. You’ll then need to decide if you want a tiered piece or something less demanding, but still elegant. Whatever you chose, make a note of it as well. These little annotations will help you later when it comes to decorating and putting the finishing touches on your cake.
Satiate Your Tastes
The next hurdle you’ll need to pass is picking the flavor. The days of white sheet cakes are long gone. Creating a complex and satisfying array of flavors is as easy as adding a little of this oil and a sprinkle of that. Options such as lemon ginger, cayenne pepper infused dark chocolate, or green tea are quite common finds at most local supermarkets and grocers. Choose the option that you think will best suit you and your guests, and do a quick Google search for an appropriate recipe that matches the desires of your taste buds.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Even if your wedding has 200 scheduled guests, there is no need to panic. On the surface this may seem like an exorbitant amount, but let’s break down the math. Those 200 guests translates to about 18-20 batches of your typical cake recipe. Find a great place to store your creations and tackle 2 or 3 over the course of two weeks. Wedding cakes do really well in the freezer. I suggest clearing out a space and popping these guys in there one by one, covered in a little tin foil or saran wrap. If this bogs you down, keep thinking of all your hard earned money that you are saving and the pride you can take in supplying your wedding guests something made from your very own heart and hands.
Ditch the Frosting
That’s right, I said it. When it comes to the frosting, don’t even bother. Let the natural color and texture of the cake do the pleasing. Plus, who wants all those extra calories anyways. You may be crying, “that’s absurd, who would want a wedding cake without any icing or frosting?” Well, lets look at the plus side to this. Axing the frosting is not only going to cut out all those fat and calories, it is also going to save you a boat load of time in the baking process. The logistics of transporting your creations also become a little bit trickier when it comes to splattering them in buttercream and fondant. Also, can you think of the last time when you ate a cake and thought, “wow that frosting really brought out the flavor and nuances of that cake!” I’ll go ahead and answer this for you, no, you haven’t said that, in fact, you probably will never say that.
“But I want to have a layered cake!”, you say, “how can I do this without any sort of frosting?” Well, I’m here to tell you about my little friend, whipped cream. I have created several handfuls of cakes, layering them with nothing but some simple whipped cream. The textures a whipped cream creates when applied to a cake really gives it a nice, rustic and hand-crafted look that doesn’t translate to tacky and cheap.
The Decorum of Decorating
Instead of that no-no traditional frosting, think outside the box. What else can you do to your cake to really knock it out of the ballpark and get your guests talking? Fresh cut flowers are a great way to add some pizzazz and flair to any DIY cake creation (I’m a big fan of rose petals and rose leaves arranged elegantly on top). Consider lightly dusting them with confectioners sugar or cocoa (depending on the color).
Any DIY wedding cake is not complete without a little marzipan or gum paste love. If you want, you can whip up some of your own gum paste, but if you’re like me and want to save on time, head over to your local health food store or natural grocer and pick up a slab that is already prepared. Now is the time to go back to those notes you took in the conception stage of your cake. What designs are standing out to you now that you have had a little more time to think about them? Start to play with the gum paste and see what sort of designs and sculpting you can achieve. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make your very own, homemade, and personalized toppers and decorations for your cakes.
I rarely present any of the cakes I make on tiered stands or ornate platters. For one, I find the practice a bit overused and tired, and two, those things are expensive! For something you will probably only use once, I don’t suggest spending the $60 to $100 these pieces of plastic can run. Instead, make it simple. Keep it modern and classy. Present the layers individually and instead place them on different elevated surfaces. You can achieve a wide range of stunning visual affects with some well placed books under a table cloth.
So that’s it. I won’t beat around the bush, making the plunge into DIY cake-land is not a simple task or for the faint of heart. The process takes time, and trust me, you will make some mistakes along the way. But deciding to make the cakes for your wedding can be a really great opportunity for you and your spouse to give something really intimate and heartfelt to your guests, and hey, those kudos and compliments on your social media page don’t feel so bad either.