DIY Wedding Cake?

If someone were to write to me to ask whether baking and decorating one’s own cake is a doable project, I’d suggest going against the grain and serving something other than a troublesome tiered cake. Anything easily made ahead is going to save this hypothetical bride- or groom-to-be the heartache of mucking about with buttercream when they ought to be getting ready.

Sure, DIY wedding cake sounds wonderful in principle. The problem is that all cakes are not created equal — some can’t stand up to the weight of other tiers even with a complex system of dowls in place. Some icings won’t stand up and wander, glacier-like, down tier after tier, obscuring all decorations.

Not polished, but certainly tasty

Should you decide that the benefits outweigh the risks –whatever benefits those may be — except your wedding cake to look like this one created by Superspark rather than something from Mike’s Amazing Cakes. You’ll want to consult the Wilton guides, which include a ‘how much cake’ calculator; recipes; leveling, filling, and torting instructions; and step-by-step directions related to putting all the pieces together.

I recommend a full-scale trial run…especially if you happen to be a friend of mine, as I do love gifts of excess cake. A blogger I occasionally check in on did a trial run before baking a loved one’s wedding cake and discovered that her chosen medium slumped under its own weight. Her final project was successful, i.e., tasty and beautiful, but it would have been a disaster had she opted not to test the hardiness of the cake and icing she initially chose.

But what if the real McCoy turns out just as wonky as the trial run confection? You’ll need to quickly put together an emergency wedding cake like the one outlined here. Good luck!

5 Responses to “DIY Wedding Cake?”

  1. Chloe says:

    Cupcakes! Cupcakes would be a great way to make your own cake – you can even get really cute (and not tacky!) tiered cupcake holders too. You’ll still get the tiered “look”, but it’s waaaaay easier than a full cake!

  2. Pencils says:

    Martha Stewart has just published a large, gorgeous coffee-table book of wedding cakes. Not only does it have many recipies, it also tells you how to decorate, display, and even photograph your cake. My wedding cake was a beautiful and tasty three-tiered cheesecake from Martha’s old Weddings book, made my my mom. And, yes, it was filled with dowels to support the weighty upper tiers. Having my mom make my wedding cake was very special to me.

    That said, nearly anyone can make cupcakes, which look beautiful stacked on vintage cake plates, or on cardboard cupcake towers. There are beautiful laser-cut cupcake wrappers available these days (they didn’t seem to be around when I had cupcakes at my wedding less than a year ago!) They could make any plain cupcake look extra-special.
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  3. Twistie says:

    And I’d just like to note for any of you DIY brides in the San Francisco area, I’m more than willing to help you with any homemade cake tasting sessions you may have.

    Just putting that out there.

  4. Little Red says:

    I’ll volunteer myself for the DC metro area. 🙂

  5. daisyj says:

    At a friend of mine’s wedding they had individual bundt cakes in little boxes for all the guests, which the groom made over the preceding weekend (the cakes, not the boxes). They were lovely, though the variety of flavors did initiate a spate of school-lunchroom style trading.