by Rosanna Haller
It feels great to have guests marvel over your wedding cake at your wedding reception and be able to smile and say, I made My own wedding cake. Making your own wedding cake is something to be proud of, and it is much more budget-friendly than hiring a professional cake designer. But before start pulling out all your cake pans, mixing bowls, your electric mixer, and your rolling pin, take a close look at the pros and cons of a DIY wedding cake.
Lots of brides think about tackle making and decorating their own wedding cakes. Brides really need to think long and hard about whether you are up to the challenge before you commit to doing it yourself. Time is the critical issue for the bride, even working within an inexpensive wedding budget. Even if you have the expertise in making wedding cakes, or are a skilled baker, you just might not have the time or the energy to create a culinary masterpiece in the days leading up to your wedding.
Many brides on a limited budget approach and ask a cake decorator friend or relative to bake their wedding cake or to assist with major help. If you are approached by an acquaintance offering pro bono wedding cake decorating, do not say yes before (tactfully) asking to see samples of their previous work.
Once you begin to look for wedding cake recipes, you will find that there are lots of choices out there for every palate. Old standards like vanilla, white, and chocolate are just the beginning. Cheesecake, carrot cake, fruit cake, red velvet, and coconut-pineapple are also popular favourites.
Extensively Research Wedding Cake Design at Stores, in Bridal magazines and Online
Choosing your wedding cake design and style starts with good, solid research. Browse bridal magazines, online wedding cake galleries, or even brochures from local bakeries for ideas. Note the sizes, shapes, and styles you naturally gravitate toward.
If a friend is actually doing the baking and decorating for you, make sure that you have pictures or sketches to describe what you want. Also ensure that they feel comfortable with the designs you've selected, and feel confident in their ability to do what you are asking.
Brides will quickly realize that a DIY wedding cake does not mean a free cake. Just the ingredients for baking and frosting a large wedding cake can cost a hundred dollars or more. Someone will also have to pay for any specialty molds or decorating supplies, as wells as the cost of boxing the cake and transporting it to the reception.
Even if the baker offers to make the cake for only the cost of the ingredients, realize that they will be spending hours on your cake. It would be a nice gesture to compensate them for at least some of their time, or leave some extra money in your cake budget to buy them a big thank you gift.
If you are making your own wedding cake, it is highly recommended to do a trial cake.
Perfect practice makes you really ready for the major job of baking and decorating a wedding cake. Select your favourite cake recipe and then bake a tier of the wedding cake to make sure you like the taste of the wedding cake (make sure your groom has some, too!)
The actual wedding cake tiers can be made up to a month before the wedding and can be frozen. Professional bakers suggest that for the best results it is a good idea to bake no more than one week before the wedding day. The wedding cake decorating should be done 2-3 days before to allow for any unforeseen disasters, and then refrigerated until the day of the reception.
Before transporting the cake, box each tier separately and carefully carry them to the car. Use extra caution in hot weather to prevent the icing from melting or sliding down, so crank up the A/C and use coolers.
At the reception site, make sure there are extras of everything you will need: sturdy bases to put below each tier of the cake, dowels and dowel cutters to stack and stabilize tiers, and any other pillars, stands, flowers, or decorative items you'll want to display on the cake table.
Determining Your Wedding Cake Size: Just How Much Wedding Cake Will We Need (not too much and not too little)?
After you select wedding cake colours and conceptual design you need to decide on how much wedding cake you will need for your reception, then you will need to select the size, shape, and number of tiers.
How Big is the Normal or Usual Wedding Cake Slice Size as Part of Holding Down Your Budget of Your Inexpensive Wedding Cake?
The wedding cake slice is usually much smaller than a normal birthday cake slice. The usual wedding cake slice size is 1 inch wide and 2 inch deep. Many couple are surprised about how many slices can be cut from the wedding cake because of the smaller serving size.
Figuring out the size for your wedding cake is one area where it really pays to work with an experienced professional wedding cake baker, or friend with considerable wedding cake experience or wedding catering experience.
For your wedding reception, even with the recommended advice from your professional wedding cake baker or experience friend, you need to make the final call within your limited budget. Remember - Do not include the top wedding cake tier, so you can freeze it for your first anniversary.
The number of servings in each tier of your wedding cake depends on the shape and size of each tier, so the question of how much wedding cake you need is not always as straightforward as it may seem.
(The tables below are for the customary 1 inch by 2 inch wedding cake slices)
Round cake pans come in standard sizes from 6 inch to 18 inch in diameter, making the brides job at least a little easier in selecting the size of her wedding cake.
Diameter # of Servings
6 inch 14
8 inch 25
10 inch 39
12 inch 48
14 inch 77
16 inch 100
18 inch 127
There are more wedding cake slices on each wedding cake tier in a square shaped tier than a round tier.
Length # of Servings
8 inch 32
10 inch 50
12 inch 72
14 inch 98
16 inch 128
Even though you have got a firm guest list in your head, know that the number of guests at your reception may be larger than you expect. Sometimes your wedding guests will change their minds and come at the last minute. Some of your wedding reception guests bring extra guest to your wedding and you may be faced with stretching your wedding cake. You can have the person that you have assigned to cut the wedding cake slices just slightly smaller such as 1 inch by 1.5 inches which will stretch your wedding cake to give everyone a slice. Another solution to the wedding cake issue is to have at least 1 extra piece on hand for every 12-15 confirmed wedding guests. A basic sound guideline, if you can within your wedding budget, is to just round up your wedding cake size slightly.
The finish your inexpensive wedding cake you will find wedding cake topper are available online, at bakery supplier and even at craft store. Maybe a family friend can help with ideas. How about decorating the cake with some of your wedding flowers for a unique beautiful, yet affordable wedding cake.
DIY wedding cakes are not only cheaper, they are more satisfying. It feels great to stand back and look at something beautiful that you have created with your own two hands. And after all, what better way is there to symbolize what hard word and dedication you will put into your wedding and your marriage?
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Rosanna Haller is a Professional Wedding Planner, specialising in DIY Wedding planning and Inexpensive Wedding Reception Planning. She is Editor-in-Chief & CCO of Celestial Publishing, which owns Inexpensive Wedding US, the Complete Online Planner for an Inexpensive Wedding.