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How To Make A Wedding Cake

Easy to follow directions to make a wedding cake from baking to cake decorating

Also see how to decorate a wedding cake table and free wedding cake and icing recipes

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With the price of weddings rising all the time, savvy brides are always looking for ways to save money. 

One of the ways to cut anywhere from one hundred to one thousand dollars off of your wedding budget is by making your own wedding cake

Although it is a big task, if you like baking and have the time you should have no trouble following directions to make a wedding cake.  Half of making a wedding cake is just knowing how to do it. 

Read on for detailed directions on how to make a wedding cake and with the right timing and a little practice, you can make a cake of your own.  

Directions To Make A Wedding Cake

Before you begin, you’ll need to think about a few things like your wedding cake budget and how many people will be eating the cake.  Once you know the answers, you’re ready to start.   

Decide what kind of wedding cake you'll make

The first step in making a wedding cake is to determine what kind of cake you’ll make.  Now that you have a headcount, you can decide on the size of the cake and how many layers it will be.  Also think about flavors that are appealing to you.  What flavor of cake would you like?  What type of fillings and icing will you use? 

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Part of learning how to make a wedding cake is also knowing what type of equipment you’ll need to bake your cake.  To make a wedding cake, you’ll need an oven and an oven thermometer, an electric mixer, cooling racks, a spatula for icing, a knife to slice the layers, parchment paper, cardboard rounds for holding cakes, a pastry bag and decorating tips for icing. 

You will also need heavy duty cake pans.  The best are made from aluminum and have a 2 inch depth.  Try not to use older cake pans that may be dented, they will give you a misshapen cake.  For assembling your wedding cake, you will need food-safe wooden dowels, and (if using them) pillars and separator plates.

Prep the cake pans

In any directions to make a wedding cake, one of the steps is to prepare your cake baking pans.  Spray cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Then cut parchment paper into a circle that fits on the bottom of the cake pan.  Spray the parchment with cooking spray.  Now your pans are ready to go.

Make the wedding cake batter

Follow the directions for your wedding cake recipe.  Be sure to use butter at room temperature and make sure that you’ve fully creamed the butter and sugar together before moving on to the next step in the recipe.

Fill the pans and bake

When you fill the pans, make sure that you fill them evenly.  If you put more batter in one pan than another, your cake layers will look uneven.  Test the oven temperature with an oven thermometer and if it’s the proper temperature, place your wedding cake in the oven for baking. 

Cool cake and store

Cool the wedding cake in the pan for about 20 minutes, then unmold the cake onto the cooling rack.  When the cake is cooled completely, place it on a cardboard round and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Leave the cake on a countertop at room temperature.

Make fillings and frostings

Follow the recipe directions to make the icing and any fillings that you’ll use to make your wedding cake.  If you’ve made them in advance, be sure to soften them before adding them to the cake.

Level the cake and cut the layers

This step in the directions to make a wedding cake basically involves making sure all of your cake layers are the same height.  Slice away any uneven parts of the cake with a sharp, thin bladed knife.  Then measure the cake height with a ruler.  At the halfway point, make a small indention with a toothpick around the entire circumference of the cake.  Cut the cake in half along the toothpick marks to make 2 layers per cake.

Add syrup and fillings

Moisten the cake layers with syrup (if using) and then add filling on top of a layer.  Once the filling is evenly distributed, place a layer on top of the filling.  Continue until all layers are placed.

Frost each layer and refrigerate

Lightly frost each layer with a “crumb coat” and then place the cake in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  The crumb coat will help your cake to look smooth when you do the final icing. 

Begin frosting

First frost the top of the cake layer and then frost the sides.  It may take a two or three different layers of frosting to achieve a smooth look.  Refrigerate the cakes in between frostings and then frost again until the cake looks smooth.  A warm icing spatula will help to smooth the icing.

wedding cake tiers, wedding cakes, directions to make a wedding cakeAssemble the wedding cake

This may be the most difficult part of how to make a wedding cake.  Now that the tiers of your wedding cake are frosted, it’s time to put them together.  There are two main ways of assembling your cake: with pillars or by stacking the layers directly on top of one another. 

If you’re using pillars, first mark the exact placement of the pillars on the cake.  Place the cake layers onto their respective separator plates.  Then use the pillar marks as guides and sink the pillars one by one into the cake.  The pillars should go all the way through the cake until they hit the cardboard cake platter at the bottom.  Attach the separator plates with the cakes on them to the pillars.  Continue for each layer. 

If you’re stacking the layers on top of each other without pillars, you’ll need to insert wooden dowels into the wedding cake’s center to support the layers.  You’ll place about 5 dowels into the bottom cake layer and then (if cake is made far in advance or needs to be transported) place a longer dowel through the entire cake from top to bottom.  Remove the longer dowel before decorating.

Decorate the wedding cake

The next part is to decorate the cake.  Use the pastry bag and decorator tips to add icing decorations to the cake.  Then use the icing to attach any other décor items like crystallized flowers or marzipan.

And that’s it.  Now you know how to make a wedding cake from start to finish.  It’s a big job, but can be very rewarding when you’re collecting compliments on the wedding cake that you baked yourself.  Just take your time and practice as needed before the big day.