Making a wedding cake is STRESSFUL! Anyway, it is stressful in my opinion. If it stressed everyone out, we wouldn’t have wedding cakes. haha. Most everyone I talk to agrees (with each other) that the reason I get stressed out with a wedding cake is I’m too much of a perfectionist.
Up until here recently, I had only ever made 1 wedding cake that was for an actual wedding. The second wedding cake (or technically first) was for the cake decorating classes I took back in 2007 or 2008. That one didn’t stress me out other than I had to figure out how to do them for the class. Otherwise, easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
That’s why back in roughly that same year I agreed to do a wedding cake. I can’t find pictures of it right now, but it was a disaster. I cried and cried. I cried to the point I swore I’d never make another wedding cake… until 2020. I guess the year 2020 is a year of many weirdnesses.
My husband’s cousin got engaged. The wedding date was set for sometime in May. Then Coronavirus hit. No one got married. Around the 4th of July, they told me that they were finally getting married later this year. The date would either be, September 4th (my 10th wedding anniversary) or November 21st. Turns out, they got married on September 4th. (Picture courtesy of my sister-in-law.)
I had agreed to do their wedding cake when the wedding was in May. September created a few hurdles. It was my 10th wedding anniversary and we were leaving town that day. I would be lying if I didn’t say that stressed me out… But I got their cake done. They got married. We went out of town. All was well with the world.
The Wedding Cake
I asked her for her thoughts on the cake. Flavor, decor, etc. You know, all the basics. She said she had been somewhere one time where she had a Cherry Almond Cake and it was amazing. Check.
Then she sent me a couple of pictures… she liked the blue & purple idea of the first picture. The bottom layer of the 2nd picture, but for her middle layer. She wanted a 3 tier cake.
okay, fairly easy. I can do that. (ever-famous last words.)
I was told they had invited around 200 people. They were getting married Labor Day weekend so that takes out a few. Coronavirus takes out more. And then you always count on people you invite not coming. General Rule of thumb if you invite less than 200 people, expect 85% to show up. If you invite more than 200 people, expect 75% to show up.
Okay, with that in mind… You might expect around 170 to show up. Now… with all the other odds thrown in there, it makes it a little harder to estimate. No pressure.
Portioning the Cake:
Here’s an interesting fact… cake slices served at a wedding are smaller than cake sizes served for a party. Go figure.
- Wedding cake sizes: 4 inches tall by 1 inch wide by 2 inches in length.
- Party Cake sizes: 4 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide by 2 inches in length.
While this sounds like a small difference, it can add up quickly. You want to make sure you have enough cake so that all guests can have a piece, even if all guests don’t eat a piece.
Current trends have taller cakes than 4 inches these days. If that is the case, that changes your sizing portions just a little bit. If the cake is taller than 7 inches, cut it 1 inch wide and then cut it in half. So you get 2 pieces per slice. Simple math, right?
So let’s add a little more fun into the equation. A single-tiered cake has a “set number” of servings. This varies on the shape of the cake though. A square cake will give you more servings than a round cake. Is your head spinning yet, because mine is?
Okay, so now we know that we will have a 3 tier cake. It should be 4 inches tall. And it’s going to be round. Whew. Now, what size to make it. Oy!
Are there going to be decorations on each layer, such as flowers cascading down? If that’s the case, you want to use say a 6, 9, 12 method. 3 inches difference in the pans will give you a better “shelf” than say a 4, 6, 8 with only 2 inches difference.
I took stock of the pans I had access to. I had a 6, a 9, and a 12. That’s how I chose which direction to go.
So with the help of Wilton.com, here is a batter guide to help determine how many cups batter per pan to get the right serving size of cake. Your most common pan sizes are square and circle, but I included others partially because… partially for future reference for me, and partially because I thought when I got married I was going to do the paisley pan set. I didn’t… mine was round.
At this point, I almost felt like Monica from Friends… I planned and I planned and I planned, turns out I didn’t plan enough time to do. Referring to the episode where she catered Ross’s ex-wife Carol’s wedding to Susan.
Cherry Almond Cake
I searched high and low to find a recipe for a Cherry Almond Cake. Most everyone either had Cherry Chip cakes OR Almond cakes with Cherry icing. To get cherry icing, you get pink icing. I didn’t want pink icing. So I put my brain to work (cleared out those cobwebs) and decided to do an almond cake with cherry jam filling and a vanilla/almond buttercream.
I wound up using 2 recipes for the 9 cakes I made. Yes, you read that correctly. Each tier was 3 layers plus icing to get the height I wanted. One of the best ways to make sure you get a cake
And seeing as though this is a long post and I”m still not done, we’ll break it up into a couple of posts because wow!! My head is spinning, again!