Deciding to make my own wedding cake was quite simple really. I had the necessary knowledge and skills to make a delicious cake and I knew that the week leading up to the wedding would be stress free with my Mom at the helm. As cheesy as it sounds, the kitchen is really my sanctuary and there was nothing I would rather do during that week than make cake. What I did not fully account for, however, was that I would be making cake for 200 people. By myself.
Thankfully for me (and my wedding guests), my best friend from culinary school, Emma (who happens to be in med school) offered to come help while she had time off to study for the boards. What could have been a complete disaster turned into an incredibly fun and rewarding week in the kitchen.
The week before starting, I made sure to have all the necessary tools, pans, and specialty ingredients.
Monday: I made the lemon curd filling and the white chocolate for the decorative flowers.
Once the chocolate set, I started on the roses – the cones are the base and each ball will be flattened into a petal.
Never thought I would find a need for petal dust. Never say never.
Tuesday & Wednesday: Emma and I spent two days just baking off the cakes – 17 10″ cakes total.
Thursday: We split the cakes, filled them with lemon curd and did a preliminary coat of frosting. The photo above is the rental fridge filled with cakes on the back porch – thanks to my cousin Lindsay for that suggestion!!
The tiered cake was mostly for presentation but also provided a wonderful late-night snack. I have given the cake recipe below. I have never been a plain vanilla cake fan but this one might have converted me. It is perfectly moist and tender, especially fresh out of the oven, it really doesn’t need anything else. But what makes it unique is that it holds up remarkably well, staying moist and fluffy, for several days. I used a simple decorator’s buttercream for the frosting but this cake would pair nicely with anything.
- 8 oz unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ cups cake flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbl baking powder
- DECORATOR’S BUTTERCREAM
- Yield: 2½ quarts
- 1 lb unsalted butter, at room temp
- 8oz vegetable shortening
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 lb confectioners sugar
- 4½ fl oz whole milk
- 3 tbl meringue powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 8in cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, on medium speed for 3 minutes. In those 3 minutes, whisk together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder and mix the vanilla into the buttermilk. Set both of these aside.
- With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and return speed to medium.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next (about 1 minute in between each egg). Scrape down the sides.
- With the mixer on low, alternate the flour and buttermilk in 3-4 additions and mixing until just incorporated in between each.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans. To release air pockets, lift each cake a few inches off the counter then allow it to drop (making sure it hits evenly and with a loud bang), repeat 3-4 times. Bake for 45-60 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.
- Make the Buttercream: Cream shortening and butter with the paddle of an electric mixer until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add the sugar. Add meringue powder (The mixture will appear dry).
- Add milk and beat until light and slightly shiny (approximately 5 to 8 minutes). Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 3-5 months.