Operation Wedding Cake (with tips)

sunflower_wedding_cakeAin’t she purtty? This is my first wedding cake. My bother in-law and sweet fiance asked me if I would make their cake, I said yes..I was honored. Then the nerves set in. The sweaty palms began.

I have only make a handful of cakes for people..a cute Sponge Bob cake..a graveyard cake..a bugs and butterfly cake..and a Little Mermaid Cake. I had never made a “Big” cake before, so the research began. You Tube and Cake Central are two great sites for all sorts of cake related information.
The cake was 2 tiers of chocolate with raspberry filling and 2 tiers of vanilla cake with strawberry filling, frosted with buttercream then covered in buttercream fondant. I was super pleased with the final product. I think I did a pretty damn good job, don’t you?
I took some photos along the way.

My sister-in-law, Megan loves lady bugs, so I placed just one lady bug on the cake. Too cute!

50 Carrot Cake cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Me, looking oh so sexy. HA!

Above is how I level my cakes. Sure you can buy one of those fancy cake levelers, but honestly I get a better result with the toothpick method. Measure up the sides of your cake and figure out where your cake needs to be leveled off. Then place a toothpick in the spot. Then take the same measurement and place more toothpicks around the cake.

Then take your long serrated knife and cut he cake along the tops of the toothpicks. You will always get a perfectly level cake.

Ohhh yeah,my husbands favorite part..the scraps!!

This is my secret to moist cakes…Simple Syrup. It’s equal parts water and white sugar, melted in a saucepan until the sugar melts. You can add any flavorings you want, vanilla, almond, etc.

Brush it over your cakes, but not too much or it will be mushy.

To fill a cake, always make sure you make a dam with your frosting about 1/4 inch from the sides of the cake. Making the dam insures that you filling does not leak out the side of your cake.

mmmm.delicious raspberry filling! No way it’s sneaking out of the cake with that nice buttercream dam.

2 cakes meet for the first time. Love at first sight.

My MAC has other uses other than browsing food blogs. You see, when you do a larger cake with a filling and covered in fondant, sometimes there can be unsightly bulge on the side of the cake where the two cakes meet in the middle. So what I do to prevent this is, I assemble the cakes, and then place something a bit heavy on-top of them..to settle the cake and the frosting. I leave it there for an hour or so.


The crumb coat. Try to get your buttercream as smooth as possible. This honestly just takes practice. You need a nice big off-set spatula and a cup with warm water. After you get a thick coat of frosting on there, dip your spatula in the warm water and do your final smoothing on the buttercream. The warm spatula “melts” the buttercream, making it easier to smooth out.

Here is the naked cake assembled. I wish I could have taken some photos during the fondant process, but you see, me and fondant have a love- hate relationship. I love love love the clean look it gives cakes, but I hate working with it. It honestly stresses me out. It is soooo temperamental..like a woman with PMS, you never know how it is going to behave.

At 2 feet tall, the cake was quite tall. I was terrified about the delivery, however I purchased a fancy cake support system from Cake Stackers that was a true life saver. The cake support system is a crazy contraption of metal plates and rods that holds the cakes together. No more cutting dowels and no more lopsided cakes.

I made the sunflowers first, 102 of them(some were for the cupcakes). They are made of a mixture of 50% fondant and 50% gum paste and hand-painted with gold luster dust.

And I know some of you are going to ask..how long did it take to make??
About 24 total hours. Sounds like a long time, but I split it up over about 4 weeks. A little bit each night. It was totally worth it!!!


The happy couple, Travis and Megan. Thank you for giving me the honor of making your wedding cake!

Comments

  1. 1
    vanillasugar says:

    heyyy
    do we even have to say how fine this is?
    those ladybugs are just perfect. i had no idea you did these types of cakes? do you have any idea how bad i am at something like this? everyone thinks i'd be so good, but i'm awful–no patience, no training.

  2. 2
    Baked Perfection says:

    The cake looks amazing!

  3. 3

    This is awesome! I love to cook but cannot decorate a cake for any money!!

  4. 4

    Happened upon your blog.
    That cake is beautiful! I can't imagine how many hours went into all those flowers!
    I took my first cake decorating class a few months ago–mostly so I could help my kids with their 4H projects. Can't see myself tackling something like that.
    Great job!

    http://www.whoisthegrownup.blogspot.com

  5. 5

    Wow, you did an amazing job Leslie! I would have been totaly stressed trying to do such a big project.

  6. 6
    Mrs.Green says:

    Leslie, my dear sister-in-law seeing the cake again on your blog brought tears to my eyes! It was the most beautiful wedding cake ever. The sunflowers were gorgeous and how could you not love the ladybug. Also, for the lucky ones who got to eat it, amazing! We love you!

  7. 7

    Gorgeous job! I love it!!!

  8. 8

    Gorgeous cake! I love it! Great job!

  9. 9
    Fahrenheit 350° says:

    Gorgeous – you and the cake! I've missed you, I've missed my reader and my blog! I'm so impressed. One of these days we'll have to get together!

  10. 10
    Healthy and Homemade says:

    Leslie, you are such a freaking rock star!! I'm not even surprised this cake came out so beautifully since I've seen the other cakes you've made. Omg though, this puts my wedding cake to shame. It's gorgeous! Great job!!

  11. 11

    You did do a damn good job! Beautiful! I want some scraps too.

  12. 12

    Hi Les,

    It is gorgeous. You are amazing!! Such the perfectionist!!!! I bet it tasted fabu!!!
    I love you!!! You are just the best!

    XOXOX
    The other Les
    Leslie
    Leslie Loves Veggies
    http://leslielovesveggies.net/

  13. 13

    That is so impressive, Leslie! And a labor of love!
    It turned out beautifully…no wonder the bride and groom look happy! :)

  14. 14
    ***Holly*** says:

    Loving the toothpick idea. I'm definitely going to try that. THe ladybug is too cute and cake and cupcakes are gorgeous. Great job lady!

  15. 15

    Whoa! My jaw is on the floor. That is absolutely gorgeous! Hooray for you.

    And the bride is radiant, too.

  16. 16

    WOW! That is a beautiful cake! I was asked by my younger sister (getting married in February) and a good friend (getting married in March) to make each of their wedding cakes and groom's cakes! It has been a bit overwhelming but I hope mine turn out just as beautiful!

  17. 17

    I LOVE ther ladybug touch. I'm impressed with your skills. I royally SUCK at fancy schmancy cakes like this.

  18. 18
    Heather @ Sweet Sins 2 Share says:

    You have got to be kidding me! This is amazing! I love everything about it! Not that you weren't already a goddess to me but you just proved it… AGAIN!!! The cake is amazing! I wish you were my neighbor so I could stalk you while you do this and learn some tricks for fondant! I have never attempted it because it freaks me out!

  19. 19
    Elizabeth says:

    Great job!!!

  20. 20
    pigpigscorner says:

    Wow, very impressive! Well done!

  21. 21
    Indie.Tea says:

    Wow, that is a beautiful cake!!! I'm sure the lucky couple was delighted with it.
    And thank you for the frosting tips. Very useful.

  22. 22

    Leslie, You did an awesome job. omg! You continue to amaze me. Keep doing what you do because you are the best at what you do.

  23. 23

    You did a spectacular job! You should be proud.

    While I'm not a baker, the photo of you measuring told me all I needed to know about the detail you put into this. When I do finish carpentry work, I'm intently measuring details like that. You rock, L!

  24. 24

    Absolutely Awesome!!! You did a terrific job and the bride and groom were lucky to have you.

  25. 25
    Donna-FFW says:

    Absolutely SPECTACULAR!! I love the trailing flowers. BEAUTIFUL! You rock, Leslie:)

  26. 26

    Fan-freakin'-tastic, Leslie! LOVE the sunflowers. GREAT job. Definitely be proud of that.

  27. 27

    Girl, you are truly amazing!!!

  28. 28

    Wow!! This cake is just gorgeous! I have a hard time believing you've only done a handful of fancy cakes before – you rock, lady! :-)

  29. 29

    Wow, wow, wow! It is absoulutely beautiful… you made their special day even more special.

  30. 30

    That is simply the best! Thank you for sharing your tips. I can't even make a good birthday cake for the kids, but your simple syrup idea might help.

  31. 31

    great tips and awesome job, leslie! the highlight for me would also be the pile of scraps. :)

  32. 32

    Hi :)
    I was actually sent your link by another blog friend, and I am IN LOVE with sunflowers- that is why she sent me this link.
    But, I was wondering if you do in fact make cakes- like for weddings & such. I am getting married May 27th, 2011 in Orlando (well, Disney) & I didn't know if you would be available to make a cake for the event? I have fallen in love with this cake! (you can see on my blog under the 'wedding' section the amount of sunflowers that will be in my wedding :) )
    I didn't know if it would be possible, and if you can- if you have a quote??
    Thanks so much & sorry about the totally random comment :)
    -Holly

  33. 33

    Yup! You can pat yourself on the back. Gorgeous cake, Leslie!
    ~ingrid

  34. 34
    Delicious Dishes by Debbie says:

    You are so TALENTED!!! I totally adore you. I am so impressed and the cake is beautiful. Thank you so much for sending me the link. Please keep in touch. Love you,
    Deb

  35. 35

    I am in awe. Like I'm sitting here slack-jawed and everything. You did an amazing job. This kicks the sponge-bob cake's ass all over the place :P

  36. 36
    Chef Fresco says:

    Aww great job!! I am so impressed! Happy marriage to the newlyweds!

  37. 37
    Heather from Multiply Delicious says:

    Leslie your cake is amazing!! Wow! Way to go. I'm sure the bride and groom loved it.

  38. 38
    Stephanie says:

    Hey Leslie, what a beautiful cake! You know the detail is what makes it and you can see that you make this cake with lot's of detail and love. A+ for you. Very nice and I will say it looks straight perfect too! ~ Steph

  39. 39

    GORGEOUS! That is stunning!

  40. 40
    Diana's Cocina says:

    WOW! Way to go girl!! The cake is amazing. Love the little lady bug. Well done.

  41. 41
    larissagunlugu says:

    woow, too much work. I have appreciated that. it looks amazing.

  42. 42
    Olga @ MangoTomato says:

    you did an amazing job! the colors are gorgeous and I'm sure the taste was even better.

  43. 43
    cookies and cups says:

    GOrgeous! You are my hero! I would have said yes and then broke down in tears :( And how cute are you??

  44. 44

    LESLIE!!!
    Why didn’t I ever see this????
    Especially when I did my 1st wedding cake????!!!
    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!
    I loved loved loved this post! Thanks for the leveling tip, too. ;)
    Thanks in advance, in case I ever do another weddin’ cake. heart you!!!