Wedding cake for my boyfriends sister...

Discussion in 'Cakes' started by lucyrose, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. lucyrose

    lucyrose New Member

    Feb 23, 2019
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    Hi guys,
    I’m new here so all help and advice will be appreciated!
    I bake lightly on my days off, mostly simple cakes, some are good and others are a bit meh - I guess I just haven’t quite got the art of cake making fully down yet but last night I had a call from boyfriends sister asking me to make the cake for her wedding in October. I obviously was delighted and agreed but now I’m a bit worried about it, has anyone got any advice they can give me? I’m happy to take anything on board from your tips to (hopefully) foolproof cakes or even tips on just not worrying about getting it right!! I’ve never really thought much about decorating cakes as they have always just been cut up and given to my family and friends so any advice on that would also be hugely appreciated!!
    Thanks in advance!
    Lucy x
    lucyrose, Feb 23, 2019
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  2. lucyrose

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2017
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    Northern California

    Baking a wedding cake is a major endeavor for even experienced bakers.

    You should start by asking her what she expects and wants in a wedding cake. The style of the wedding cake will determine the type of cake and filling, as well as all the logistics in baking, assembly, and transportation.

    An example is a naked cake. A naked cake has to be made with a sturdy, but high fat cake, like a pound cake, because it will dry out from exposure to the air. Since an un-iced cake cannot be exposed to air for long, the cake has to be assembled on site. There’s also a tight window of about four hours from assembly to serving. Any longer and the cake will be like stale bread.

    Another example: If she wants a fondant covered cake, then a butter cake instead of a delicate chiffon cake should be used as the weight of the buttercream/ganache base, the fondant and decorations could cause a chiffon cake to collapse.

    Another factor is venue. If it’s outdoors and no refrigeration is available on site then it’s not advisable to make a cake with a filling that requires refrigeration.

    So the first step is understanding what the bride wants in a cake. That in turn will dictate the recipes and skill sets you’re going to have to develop between now and October to deliver on that cake.

    The basic things to know when making an event cake:

    • Learn safe food handling requirements including food storage and proper sanitation of work area/surfaces and tools. If the guests become ill from your cake, you could be liable even if you are not a professional baker. While food poisoning cases are difficult to prove, a host can be liable if they were negligent.

    • If you intend to use fresh flowers for decorations 1) confirm they are not toxic; 2) purchase them through a florist that provides organic flowers for the food industry.

    • Learn how to properly insert decorations into a cake. Just because a flower is non-toxic doesn’t mean you can shove the stem into the cake. See link.

    • If you do not already bake by weight, start now. Read up on the fundamentals of Baker’s percentages. Weight measurement is the only way to control quality and consistency. It is also the only way you can scale a recipe up or down.

    • Once you know the type of cake, start testing your recipes. Brand of ingredients matters because no two brands of flour, butter, baking powder, or even salt are the same. For example the protein content in King Arthur all purpose flour is 11.7%. In Gold Medal all purpose flour it’s about 10.5%. King Arthur flour is unbleached and it is malted. Gold Medal flour is bleached. These differences will produce two entirely different cakes.

    • Learn how to determine size an event cake. Event cakes are sliced differently than a cake we serve at home. Event cakes are cut in much much smaller portions. Look at the cutting charts to determine how much cake is needed. Trust me, you need s lot less cake than you think. See link.

    • Always us aluminum free baking powder as aluminum can produce tiny clumps of bitter baking powder in the cake.

    • Use Diamond Crystal brand salt. It is the brand of choice by chefs and pastry chefs because it is less salty than other brands.

    • Use cloth baking strips to bake a level cake. See link below

    • Avoid refrigerating cake layers baked in advance. The refrigerator will dry out the cake. If you break the layers in advance it’s best to double wrap them in a good quality plastic wrap and freeze.

    • If the bride has her heart set on fondant, take a fondant class. Working with fondant is not straightforward.

    • Don’t use Wilton brand fondant for anything other than practice as it’s the most inferior fondant on the market in taste and workability. Fat Daddio is a good brand that is reasonably priced. If you need a fondant that holds up in humidity, then Massa Ticino Carma or Mona Lisa. These two brands are very expensive because they are specially formulated to hold up in humidity and they were developed for the trade.

    • Learn how to de-gas a cake. If a cake has not be de-gassed it will form air bubbles under the icing and fondant. See link below.

    • Learn how to properly fill, dam, and layer a cake. If the cake is not damned the filling will ooze out the side and caused the cake to bludge. See link below

    • Learn how to properly stack tiers. And depending on the number of tiers, stacking may need to be done at the wedding venue. See link

    • Learn how to box a cake. See link

    • Get the name and contact info of the wedding coordinator at the venue. Well in advance confirm when the cake should be delivered and CONFIRM CAKE STORAGE REQUIREMENTS ON SITE!

    • Place a note on the cake box with your contact information. Also note all of inedible items that are inserted in the cake. This includes the number of dowels for supports, straws for flower stems. Whoever cuts the cake needs to know what inedibles inserted in the cake. Also include a copy of the cutting chart so whoever cuts the cake knows how many servings they are to cut.

    • Make and take a emergency cake repair kit. See Link

    How to cut a wedding/event cake. Caters know how to slice event cakes. But always including a chart and note the number of servings you expect.

    How to wash and prep flowers for cake decorations

    How to de-gas a cake

    How to bake a level cake

    How to dam and fill a cake.

    How to stack a cake

    How to box a cake

    How to make an insulated cake box

    Things to pack in a cake emergency repair kit. What you actually pack really to depends on the type of cake.

    Good Cake cookbooks

    The Cake Bible and Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

    The Well Decorated Cake by Toba Garret

    Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 24, 2019
    Becky likes this.
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  3. lucyrose

    Becky Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2013
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    Welcome to the forum @lucyrose! :)

    That's certainly quite a commitment you've agreed to, and as @Norcalbaker59 rightly says there is a lot you need to consider. How big is the wedding? And what kind of cake does the bride want?
    Becky, Feb 25, 2019
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