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Decorating Your Own Wedding Cake

wedding cake 2

Your wedding cake is just as important to you as your dress, or your honeymoon location, probably even more so as your guests will be admiring it, commenting on it and of course more importantly tasting it.  You will want it to look great, taste great and certainly be one to remember.

Whether it is your personal preference or whether you are on a budget, one way to make your cake stand out and be remembered is to decorate it yourself.

The Taste

Many people have a preference as to the ingredients of a cake, but one good idea which will suit a range of guests is to mix and match the flavours (i.e. one layer made of traditional fruit cake and the other layer made out of your favourite flavour, for example chocolate sponge cake).  Once the cake ingredients have been decided you can go about designing the layout and the decoration.

Maybe you could buy different store bought cakes and use them as a basis for your own decoration.  Perhaps cut them up into shapes or use them as individual tiers.

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Choosing the Wedding Cake for You

There are plenty of styles and colours to suit every wedding, from the simple one tier cake with no decoration or perhaps a simple flower on the top to a flamboyant series of cakes perhaps depicting the countries around the world where the couple have travelled to or where they are going on their honeymoon etc.

From the traditional to the weird, there are plenty of examples all over the place for you to get your ideas.  Try checking out the internet, cake shops, and bridal magazines and of course your friends and families who each will have stories about weddings they have been to, cakes they have seen and of course their own wedding cakes.

Not everyone will want to have cake but there are plenty of alternatives including:

  • wedding cake 3A tower of doughnuts.
  • Bem Casados: traditionally from Brazil this is pastry with a caramel like cream.
  • Cheese fountain or fondue.
  • Chocolate fountains: hot liquid chocolate cascading over a fountain where you can dip in sweets, mini doughnuts, marshmallows or fruits.
  • Ice sculptures: wonderful carved centrepieces which will eventually melt but will last a very long time.
  • Large cupcakes these are a new craze popular in America.
  • Pie: this could be pumpkin pie, cheesecake or even apple.
  • Stack of pancakes with a choice of fillings.
  • Sugar sculptures: sugar moulded into the design of your choice.
  • The French Croquembouche: a pyramid of little cream filled choux balls with caramel, spun sugar and almonds on the top.
  • Wanda: the Italians use this cookie type cake and it is picked at during the dancing.

In Japan and India there are even dummy cakes which are used as a decorative item but of course no one can eat them however this would certainly reduce your costs!

Getting Started Decorating your Wedding Cake

As with choosing and buying a wedding cake from a shop you should firstly set yourself a budget of how much you want to spend on decorating your own cake.

If you are making your own as well as decorating it, ensure you have everything you need with regards to space, cake tins, decorating tools, storage and of course transport for the day.  It might be worth seeing if the venue can store your cake a day or two beforehand.

Remember if you are making a fruit cake for your wedding, it will need some time to mature so should be made in advance.

The Wedding Cake Baking

If you have never baked a cake before you should most definitely do a few practice runs before hand, some people have a real knack for baking and their attempts come out moist and tasteful whereas others, if not practiced enough can be dry and tasteless and that is the last thing you want people to remember about your wedding cake.  Following are just a few tips on getting the most out of baking your own cake:

  • wedding cake 4Ask any cake makers you know for tips and advice, perhaps they use substitutes in their recipes, for instance instead of milk they may prefer buttermilk for a nice taste and texture.
  • Be sure to cool your cake thoroughly before you even think about decorating it.
  • Check your oven temperature; buy a thermometer to test it perhaps as some ovens can be out slightly.
  • Do not put too much mixture into your cake tin, about half way is sufficient.
  • Don't be tempted to keep opening the door to check it; you could ruin the cake with the constant air rushing in and out of the open door.  Don't slam the door shut either, this action can knock the air bubbles out of the mixture.
  • Ensure you follow the recipes to the letter, i.e. if it says to beat the mixture for ten minutes, do it for ten minutes and make sure you have measured out your ingredients.
  • Ensure you have all the equipment you need and also that the cake tins fit into the oven.  Use shiny tins for baking as they reflect the heat better.
  • If you are making a fruit cake, mix your fruit with a little flour before adding it to the cake mixture, this will prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the tin.
  • If you are stacking your cakes one on top of the other with no gaps it will be easier to decorate if you layer it up first.
  • Keep the ingredients you are using at room temperature, this will ensure the best results for your cake.
  • Keep your cake in the middle of the oven during cooking.
  • Make sure you have the cake pillars if you decide to make the tiered and raised cakes.
  • Sieve your flour two or three times for better results.
  • Use non stick tins of good quality and grease them well.

Trial and error is the key to getting the right flavour cake, have a little patience and confidence in yourself and your guests will be wowed with your culinary skills.

Wedding Cake Decoration

The decoration is personal to the bride and groom, be it their favourite colours or a specific design.  Choosing how to decorate your cake should be considered in great detail, and a few practice runs would not go amiss, particularly if you are planning to decorate at the last minute.  Some ideas on what to decorate your cake with are:

  • Cake Toppers: These can be unique toppers made from clay, sugar paste or even marzipan, styled and designed to your specifications and colours etc.  Or you can opt for the standard bride and groom plastic option which can be purchased from many cake and card shops.
  • Dusting with icing sugar, be it all over the cake or a pattern dusted on the top.
  • Edible flowers made from marzipan or even your favourite sweet like chocolate or fudge.
  • Fresh flowers that coordinate with your wedding colours.
  • Fresh fruit: Seasonal fruits can look lovely on a wedding cake.
  • Icing patterns and butter cream.
  • Jewellery: A new craze becoming increasingly popular.  These can include crystal monograms, wire and beaded sprays, pretty much anything that you like from butterflies and dragonflies to, hearts, stars and flowers.
  • Material: bows and ribbons.
  • Themed cakes: You may wish to style your cake relevant to your wedding theme, if for instance you are getting married at the beach at a tropical location, perhaps your cake could be a palm tree shape or decorated with starfish and dolphins.  If Las Vegas is your choice of wedding location, a casino chip style cake would be appropriate.

Tips - Once you have decided on the best decoration for your cake

  • Ask for advice from family and friends and gather as many tips on styles and matching colours together as well as ideas.
  • Don't attempt something too excessive, especially if you're not overly confident about baking or decorating.
  • Give yourself plenty of time.
  • If you are making decorations that are edible, do them in advance so all you need to do when the cake is baked is add them to the top.
  • If you are using fresh flowers, perhaps speak to your florist about using the same flowers that will be used in your bouquet.
  • Look for step by step instructions for the decorations you decide to use.

Try to feel positive in what you are attempting, have fun and most of all, enjoy it.  Do plenty of trial runs and let the artist in you come alive!

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