Monday, February 21, 2011

DIY: How to Make Your Own Wedding Cake

For all of you ambitious brides and grooms; all of you out there who are looking for a challenge; all of you who love DIY projects: this one's for you.

How to make your own wedding cake. And really, why make your own wedding cake. Faith Durand (a recent bride), featured in an article on The Kitchn, shares her tips for the 'how' and 'why' in making your own cake.

• Choose your favorite flavor - don't feel bound by the traditional white cake. For me this is chocolate and Meyer lemon. I realize I am rather disregarding seasonality; Meyer lemons are my one guilty splurge for this wedding!
• Find a recipe you're comfortable with - There's something meaningful to me in serving a cake that I often like to serve at home. Both recipes are also ones that I am very familiar with; there aren't a lot of surprises there.
• Spread out the work - Making cake for 150 sounds like a huge task, but that's only about 15 batches of a normal cake recipe. Do two each night for a week, or use larger baking pans, and you're done. 
• Use your freezer - Many cakes actually improve with a little aging. Wrap your cakes in many layers of plastic, then foil, and freeze until the day of the wedding. Let defrost at room temperature. Be sure to do a test run with one cake before the wedding so you know exactly how long it will take for each layer to defrost. Both cakes I am planning on making will do well in the freezer for a couple weeks.
• Forget the frosting - Wedding cakes look so intimidating because they are usually swathed in fondant and artistic icing. If you dream of a sleek, fondant-draped cake with elaborate decorations, we can't help you. I'm all thumbs with a pastry bag, so I'm sticking with the rustic look I prefer anyway. Besides, that frosting and fondant hardly ever taste good! You could dust powdered sugar or cocoa over instead for a simple and more modern look.                                                                             
• Whipped cream! - Even if you're ditching frosting you can still get that stacked look. We're planning on baking several sizes of each cake and stacking them with stiff whipped cream between the layers. This takes almost no skill - just slather on the whipped cream for a soft, rustic look. I'll make the whipped cream the night before and stabilize it with a little gelatin. Any reasonably experienced friend or relative can be delegated to stack and assemble. 1-2-3-done.
• Splurge on the decorations - A wedding cake with just whipped cream or powdered sugar can go over the top with just a few decorative touches. Check out Wendy Kromer's handmade confections for a treat to dress up your cake.
• Keep presentation simple - Unless you're just stacking layers simply by themselves or with whipped cream, forget the pillars and plates and expensive custom building materials. I would far rather buy a few pretty cake plates or stands and serve the layers separately.
• Think seasonally - fruit is your friend - And finally, I really think that all the fancy icing in the world will never be as pretty as   an in-season strawberry. (Or apricot, or fig, or plum...) Consider topping your cake with fruit and a little powdered sugar. You're done!

There you have it. Easy of enough, right? Keep it simple and add a touch of you. 

(Photo credits: Joshua Behan: to see more from this wedding, click here) Second photo by Maggie Conley

No comments:

Post a Comment