Part 4 How to assemble, stack and decorate a wedding cake

Anschnitt einer Hochzeitstorte

In the last part about how to sucessfully bake a wedding cake at home we will have a look at assembling, transporting and decorationg the cake. Just to recap, these were the previous parts:

Part 1: How to calculate the size of a wedding cake

Part 2: How to plan a baking schedule

Part 3: How to convert recipes for the different sizes

For this part, let’s start with the assembling

Tip #1: Divide your fillings prior to frosting so that each layer is equally thick

My 26cm chocolate cake consisted of three thick cake layers and therefore only two layers of filling. This meant I knew I had to evenly divide the filling between these two layers. I didn’t need to coat the cake with any of it as I was going to use Swiss meringue buttercream instead so this was pretty straight forward. If you plan on using the same frosting for the filling as well as the outside of the cake, as a general rule of thumb you need at least double the amount for the outside tan for one layer. So if I were to use my filling also for the outside, I would have divided it by four.

My 18cm carrot cake had four cake layers and thus I had three layers of filling, which I divided by three before applying. I did use the cream cheese frosting, which I made like the Ermine buttercream, so has a flour base as I wanted to be extra sure that it would be stable. I use it also for the frosting of the carrot cupcakes. The regular cream cheese filling I usually use for the carrot cake is a bt too thin as it only consists of whipped cream mixed with cream cheese. I was too scared that my cake would not be stable enough and was happy to report that it worked out perfectly well, even in the middle of summer in Spain. I even had enough frosting to apply a very thin outer layer on the cake before I generously frosted it with the Swiss meringue buttercream.

The cake on the left after the crumb coat, the cake on the right is placed in this ring to become extra straight

Tip #2: Use a high cake ring if you want to be sure to get a straight and even cake

I believe this is a rather German idea that you use the ring to make the cake straight, but I have to say it does work it’s magic. I had originally made the top tier by just eye-balling it, but I quickly realized it was not as straight as I had hoped. So I basically tightly wrapped it in the cake ring. I like to call it the cake corset as it does exactly that, make everything straight and even. Once I took the cake out of it after about an hour, everything looked perfect. It also helps to make a perfect and even top. That’s why I love this extra high cake ring, which fits any cake between 15-30cm.

Weiße_TorteAs you can see, the second coat is already much better than the first from the top picture

Tip #3: Be sure to dowel the lower cakes and to use cake boards for all cakes

Even though my wedding cake only had two tiers, I was surprised as to how heavy it was. So I measured the height of the below cake (which was 13.5cm) and used these dowels from Wilton to use them as pillars in my below cake (see picture below). I also measure the dowels to be 13.5cm so they are exactly the same height as the cake. As the top tier was 18cm, I used 5 dowels. As a general rule of thumb you will need more dowels if your cake is on the large side, smaller need fewer. I then took my cake pan from the top tier and simply carved out where it would be placed with a knife. If you look closely at the picture, you will see the thin line. Be sure that your dowels are only inside this diameter. You also need to be sure that they all have the same height as otherwise you top tier will look crooked. Even though my cake had chilled already for one full night, it was not hard to push the dowels down. Try to push them down as straight as possible.

In addition to the dowels, I also used  cake boards, which you will use to place each cake on. They usually are exactly the same size as the cake so that you can barely see them. These slightly thicker cartons are super helpful to lift the cakes without any problem. Also, as you use a cake board for the top tier, this will serve as a sturdy way to keep your cake straight. One of the horror scenarios I imagined was that the top tier would get so heavy overnight, it would sink into the bottom tier. It did not happen, I was very relieved. In my instance I had assembled both cakes already the day before and had doweled and stacked them, so they had to be stable for one full night and the day of the wedding. The entire wedding cake was left at room temperature for about four hours, but nothing happened. Of course I had glued everything together with buttercream. I used a bit of buttercream to glue each cake on the cake booard, but also to glue it on the wook stand and to glue the two cakes together. Everything should be as stable as possible. Be sure to glue everything together with buttercream.

Gedübelte HochzeitstorteIf you look closely, you will see the thin line, which I marked with a knife of where the top tier should sit

Tip #4: Transport your cakes separately in the trunk and put a (wet) towel below the carton and a dry towel inside the carton

I have seen Youtube videos of people carrying the fully stacked wedding cake on their laps inside a car. I don’t know, that’s not for me. If you do have the time to assemble the cake on location, I would definitely recommend that. Be sure that your cakes are chilled thoroughly, which will make it so much easier to transport. I placed a damp towel on the bottom, put the cakes inside a carton, which also had a dry towel inside. I have to say, they really didn’t seem to move at all and came to the location in one piece with barely any smears. But be careful, if you have to drive for a long time, you may not want to wet your towel as otherwise it may soften the cakeboards too much. My transport was only 10min, but still, it was a hot day in Spain, but everything was perfect. I think the chilling overnight helped the most.

Hochzeitstorte transportieren

Tip #5: Assemble the cake on location and glue everything together with buttercream

I had brought a lot of things for assembling the cake, the most important being the buttercream. It should be at room temperature, I had briefly rewhipped it. I had brought also the cake topper, the flowers (these were artificial), but also a damp towel, a piping bag with buttercream, an icing spatula, etc. I stacked the cakes right in front of the cooling room, you can see it in the back. I wanted to be sure the wedding cake didn’t need to be carried around too much after it was fully decorated. I glued everything together with buttercream. Be sure to check the cake from all angles and decide which is going to be the front. You will most likely see smears or spaces between the bottom and top tier. I ended up using my finger to smooth out the line between the two tiers. As you can see on the picture, I decorated the wedding cake completely the day before. I figured the green leaves (the only part that was not artifical) would survive one night in the cooling room. I got the cake topper from Etsy and it was custom-made. Fully decorated, it was left in the cooling room overnight and then taken out on the day of the wedding.

Fertig vorbereitete Hochzeitstorte vor dem KühlhausOK, so this was my serioes on how I made my first wedding cake at home (in my instance I was crazy enough to do it in Spain instead of Germany). If you have any further questions or you would like to know more details, by all means, feel free to leave a comment or email me. You can also contact me on Instagram or Facebook.

Please see also overview of the previous blog posts:

Part II How to schedule a plan when making a wedding cake at home

Part III How to convert sizes and recipes

Part VI How to transport and stack a wedding cake

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