Ah, yes, I’ve been waiting for a day when I would have enough patience to post my wedding cake recipe and assembly tutorial. Well my good friends, this is the day! We set our cake up next to two photos, one of my parents at their wedding and one of his parents at their wedding. It was so cute – and we have some good-looking parents!
The photo above is from our photographer, Ciras Photography. That’s my cake! So how did I do it? Well, a few things you should know about what’s hiding under all that fondant and royal icing…
1. The base tier is fake – it’s rice krispie treat made into a 12 inch round. It’s still delicious, but it’s not cake. We didn’t serve our cake since we had an awesome dessert table (whoopie pies, rice krispie treats, cookies, milk shots, cupcakes, M&M’s, jelly beans, so much more).
2. The second tier is an 8 inch round with four layers of vanilla cake. Apricot filling every other layer. Amaretto buttercream every other layer after the apricot filling. The top tier is a 6 inch round with the same four layers.
3. I used moistening syrup! This is the first time I’ve ever used this in a cake, and it helped. The cake recipe was a classic vanilla cake, but I don’t think it would’ve come together as well without the amaretto moistening syrup.
4. Finally, I’m so glad I made my own cake. It made my wedding day THAT much more special.
You can see my gumpaste peony flowers in this post. Now for the cake recipe, I got this from Dede Wilson’s book Wedding Cakes You Can Make.
Classic Yellow Vanilla Cake
From Dede Wilson’s ‘Wedding Cakes You Can Make’
Yield: two 8 inch cake rounds (about 1 inch tall)
- Prep two 8×2 inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper lined on the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- Beat the butter using the flat beater attachment until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl once or twice and beat in the vanilla.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down each time. Add the flour mixture and alternate with the milk until both are gone. Beat until smooth on low medium after each addition.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake for about 23 minutes. Cool in pans for about 8 minutes before unmolding. They should look slightly browned like below.
- You can wrap these cakes after completely cooled and refrigerate/freeze if not using within 2 days.
This was a great vanilla cake recipe, delicious and dense so good for stacking. I doubled this because my layers ended up being short, about 1 inch tall each. The recipe said that it made 2 inch layers, but I didn’t get layers that tall. Here is the recipe for the moistening syrup:
Amaretto Moistening Syrup
- Combine the sugar and water in microwave safe bowl.
- Microwave on high until the sugar dissolves about 1 minute.
- Add amaretto liqueur in after it cools slightly. Feel free to add more than 1 Tbsp if you want a stronger taste.
- This recipe can be altered using different types of liqueur.
I found the Amaretto buttercream recipe from a great site, Modern Domestic. It was used with almond cupcakes.
Amaretto Buttercream Frosting
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. On medium speed of the mixer, beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add sugar slowly, one cup at a time until each cup is incorporated before adding another cup. Start adding some of the milk each time to help the frosting come together.
- Add the vanilla and amaretto. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add some more milk if needed, but I like adding the rest of the milk last in case I don’t need all ¼ cup of it.
- This icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It can be stored longer if refrigerated. Remember to bring to room temperature before using if stored in the refrigerator.
The apricot filling I did not make myself. Instead I got a delicious jam – the Bonne Maman Apricot Preserve. I really only bought this brand because it looked homemade because of the packaging. Turns out, it was really really good and had huge chunks of apricot in it. The rice krispie treat faux bottom I used directly from the box. The only difference was that I pressed the rice krispie treat really hard down and tried crushing the krispies instead of keeping them airy. The recipe is here on the site. Then the royal icing I used to decorate the fondant is here on an older post of mine.
Now the assembly (I told you this post would take a lot of patience to write…but also to read!).
Directions for Making this 3-tiered Wedding Cake
1. The Faux Layer – Make the largest 3rd tier ahead of time to save yourself time before the wedding. I made mine 2 weeks in advance.
a. Use the rice krispie treat recipe in the above link. I used 3 boxes of rice krispie with 3 bags of marshmallow. I originally underestimated the amount of rice krispie I would need and after I made two boxes worth I decided I wanted a taller 3rd tier.
b. Line the bottom of a 12 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan. Press all of the rice krispie mixture in this pan very hard. Make sure to fill in all gaps especially near the sides of the pan. You don’t want large divets in your cake sides. Use a piece of parchment paper to help you push the rice krispie down in the pan so it doesn’t stick to your fingers. In the second photo below I ran out of rice krispie and had to use cornflakes to substitute.
Then I just glued the third layer to the other two layers.
c. Take white candy melt or white chocolate and melt it, then spread it over the rice krispie treat with a smooth spatula to fill in the little nooks and crannies. You can see how the other two layers I had already done that, and I just did it to the third layer to finish it up.
d. Then saran wrap and store until you’re ready to fondant that layer. I did my fondant the week of the wedding so it wouldn’t dry out. When you are ready for covering the cake, use your buttercream and spread a thin layer over the whole bottom to act as glue for the fondant covering.
e. After you have your buttercream spread on the “cake”, roll out enough fondant to cover your 12 inch round “cake” plus two times the height of your cake. For me it was about 18 inches (plus two inches for error). If you haven’t rolled out fondant you can look at my post for tips and shopcountrykitchen.com has a pretty good tutorial on YouTube.
The rice krispie is so much easier to fondant than real cake since real cake is soft. Be sure to smooth it out like below.
Then cut the extra edges off of the cake.
2. The Cake Tiers – Now for the cake part! Below is how to assemble the two top tiers of the cake.
a. First cut your cake layer so you have four pieces of cake. You will be assembling one layer buttercream, the second layer apricot filling, and so forth. I had to cut the 6 inch cake. I used a cake leveler I bought from Walmart – I think it was only $5 or something. It’s pretty much the same wire they use for cutting clay and you can adjust the wire until it’s the correct level. Try to make your layers even!
b. Then take a 6 inch or 8 inch cake board and spread some buttercream on the bottom like a glue and place your first cake layer on that. Using a pastry brush, brush the amaretto moistening syrup on your first layer. I didn’t want mine too soaked with the moistening syrup since I didn’t know how the moisture would react with the fondant. It ended up being enough syrup for the cake, it kept it moist and not too soggy!
c. Then pipe a ring of buttercream around the edges. This is to prep the cake for the apricot filling so it doesn’t squeeze out of the cake when you put the other layers on top. And spread a layer of the apricot in the center of that ring.
I did the same thing on the 8 inch cake below…
f. Smooth around the sides of the cake until everything looks nice and pretty. I need to get a rotating cake stand, it would’ve been so much easier. If you’re like me and haven’t invested yet (I’m talking the $60 cake stands, not the plasticky type), you can put the cake on top of the cake pan you used to bake it in. It helps to raise it above the table for spreading the buttercream and when you fondant the cake.
g. Cover that cake in fondant now! I couldn’t get a photo since I had to work fast to cover the little cake. The 6 inch is the hardest to fondant. It did not turn out well for me, but the second time I did it I did much better. Just be prepared to smooth fast!
3. The Decor – Now the decor! My bottom tier and top tier I did a dotted design using royal icing. The second tier I just use ribbon. I did this because I knew for transporting the cake I would need to do it in two pieces. I carried the bottom tier on the cake stand as one piece and the two top tiers as another piece. This ensures your cake won’t topple over in the car and makes it much easier to carry. Then when I got to the reception room I would need to put the two tiers on top of the bottom tier, so I wouldn’t have time to decorate it. So I did ribbon.
a. Second Tier – The ribbon. Make sure your ribbon matches your royal frosting – or switcheroo and make sure the royal icing matches the ribbon you choose. place a dollop of royal icing (doesn’t need to be colored) near the bottom of the cake. Stick the end of the ribbon on the buttercream. Place a couple of other dollops of icing around the cake. Smooth the ribbon around and finish with another dollop of royal icing.
b. Bottom Tier – Now on the bottom tier I did a decoration using the royal icing.
1. Make 3 colors of royal icing – white (I guess this is really no color), black, and purple. My old post has the royal icing recipe. Match the purple icing to the ribbon.
2. Use a number 3 round tip and the white royal icing to pipe round pearls on the base tier. I did a similar design to Mich Turner’s Wedding Cakes book. If you don’t have these exact tips, just go from larger round tips to smaller as the numbers go down. You’ll get the same effect.
3. Next using the white royal icing and a number 2 tip, pipe pearls on the cake stand portion next to the larger pearls.
4. Next using the same tip and icing, pipe four round pearls on every other dot on the cake stand, making each dot of the four smaller. On the opposite every other dot pipe 8 pearls on the cake side, with each dot getting smaller.
c. Top and Second Tier – decoration!
1. Repeat a similar design on the top tier. See below for stacking the top tier on the second tier first. You can see that the consistency of my white royal icing was a little off, so the large white dots kind of liquified a little after a while.
2. Then I did a similar design on the top of the cake. First use a cake circle and trace a circle with a sharp knife on the top of the cake. Then use the black icing with the same #2 tip and pipe black pearls around the traced circle.
3. Assembling The Tiers – Let’s stack these beotches!
a. For the bottom tier, I used dowel rods. I wanted this to be reinforced really well because the two tiers were really heavy. So line up the dowel rod to the side of the cake and mark where to cut it. Use an exacto knife and just cut into the rod, rolling it around. It doesn’t have to go all the way through, once it’s cut just break it with your hands.
b. Then use a cake circle or cake pan to outline the second tier of the cake on the bottom tier with a knife.
c. Place dollops of buttercream on the top of the tier after inserting the dowel rods into the cake. I didn’t do the buttercream until after I was at the reception and place the two tiers on top. I used 5 dowel rods.
AND I’M FINALLY DONE! We cut the cake!
Lord, that was good cake…