Today I have a small three-tiered chocolate wedding cake for 10-12 people for you. This is a chocolate cake, which is filled with blackberry cream and frosted with a delicious chocolate frosting. I decorated it with fresh blackberries (duh), figs, and rosemary sprigs. I wanted to do three tiers even though there were few guests because I find it looks prettier than one plain cake. As the wedding took place at the end of September, I wanted to make sure to use seasonal ingredients and for it to taste like fall. Other than the wedding cake with chocolate drip, this one would remain plain, the main feature it being a chocolate wedding cake. I knew I was going to decorate it with fresh fruit and herbs of the season.
Let me introduce you to this festive single-tier (wedding) cake adorned with a world map crafted from buttercream—a true masterpiece! In this reel you may get an impression. You may think of this as an impressionistic painting, with the cake serving as my canvas. Like an artist, I dabbed at the cake; however, instead of using oil paints, my tool was buttercream. Yes, I designed it freehand using buttercream. Initially, I delicately carved out the outlines of the world map onto the cake’s side using a toothpick, and then I filled them with white buttercream. The most fun part was when I deftly “spackled” the cake with colored buttercream, much like applying layers to a canvas. The lower image shows this technique.
Initially, I was thinking of using a “stencil,” but I ultimately abandoned the idea due to the fact that the cake’s proportions might not align well. The crucial point is that the cake’s size should adapt to the stencil, rather than the reverse. My cake had a diameter of 26cm and was about 14cm in height. The cake was designed to accommodate 25 guests. In this post, I will elaborate on how I created this world map cake. My focus will be more on detailing how I crafted the map using buttercream, rather than providing an exhaustive recipe description.
Since I have been asked by several people now whether I could publish the recipes for this very fruity and fresh wedding cake (each tier had a different flavor combo), I decided to give in and finally let you have the recipes. You can also see a summary in my highlights in Instagram. Yes, just making the cake base requires 43 eggs already (because I used sponge cake as the base) and yes, we need 18 more egg whites for the Swiss meringue buttercream and almost two kilos of butter, but hey, this is for a large crowd. Since I am frequently asked about some further details, let me first give you the most important facts. The wedding cake consisted of:
- 18cm Apricot Rosemary Filling with Fluffy Vanilla Sponge Cakes, based on this apricot rosemary cake
- 24cm Raspberry Filling with Fresh Raspberries and Chocolate Sponge Cake, based on this raspberry chocolate cake (I did change the cake base though)
- 30cm Blueberry Lemon Filling with Lemon Sponge Cake, based on this blueberry lemon cake
This is going to be a slightly different coffee date to the previous ones. I decided to show you a few pictures of the second wedding cake I had the honor of making in August this year. I will try to keep it short, but I will let you know the few lessons I learned along the way. If you are interested in the recipes, please check this blog post. For more details on the process, check out my highlights on Instagram.
Lesson #1: A three-tiered cake requires much more work than a two-tiered cake. For that reason I made the cake layers at home in Munich and decided to freeze them. As you can see, I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and also used a plastic bag to keep them fresh. I decided to do this as the wedding was 600km away and I was simply too scared to carry a cake long-distance for such a long amount of time. I am glad I went this route, I ended up 7 1/2 hours on the road.
You can see that I wrapped the cake layers in plastic wrap and a bag in order to freeze them
Lesson #2: Cooling boxes are my new favorite toy. I carried the frozen cake layers for 7 1/2 hours in this box, wrapped in ice and it was not problem at all to continue freezing the cake layers in a freezer. Yes!
Lesson #3: I finished the wedding cake in an Airbnb. Obviously, I carried with me a lot of the tools, including my KitchenAid. But it was very convenient to have an empty fridge for the cakes at hand.
Lesson #4: Unfortunately, larger cakes tend to look smaller and bulkier than they actually are. I made 4 cake layers for the top tiers, but decided to use five cake layers (as you can see below) for the bottom tier. Reason for this being that the bottom layer somehow looked smaller otherwise. This is something you should keep in mind when you calculate your sizes, I had to add one extra layer to my bottom tier!
Lesson #5: If the bride tears up when she sees the cake, I feel you have done a good job. And let me tell you, making a three-tiered cake requires a lot of work. I think I spent about 20 hours on this cake, let alone the many hours I did research, tried different cake recipes, checked many flavors, etc. Many of the guests came to me thanking me that this was the first wedding cake ever tasting fresh and fruity and was not so overly sweet. Of course each layer had a different flavor combo and as requested by the couple, I had used very little buttercream, but cream cheese, etc. for the filling. Below you can see how popular the wedding cake was, coffee time was not over yet when I snapped that picture.
If you are interested in further details or would like to know the recipes, feel free to leave me a comment. Update: I finally gave in and posted the recipes for the three-tiered wedding cake here. Also, I did do a whole series on the first wedding cake I made, you can check it out here:
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 2: How to plan a baking schedule
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.
Part three of my series on how to bake a wedding cake at home is about the recipes and amounts. Before I give these for each cake separately below, I will first give the full list of ingredients, which will help you when you buy them. I would strongly recommend getting more ingredients than you need, just in case something goes wrong. I hadn’t planned to bake three chocolate cake layers. Somehow they were thinner than expected, so I felt I shouldn’t cut them in half and decided to make three thicker layers instead. I was very happy I had enough ingredients at hand. As you can see on below picture, I ended up with three thicker layers of cake and two layers of filling instead of the planned four cake layers.
In this series I will explain how you can prepare a wedding cake at home. In the first part I already explained how I knew how big the wedding cake was going to be and how I decided on diameter, height, etc. The below blog post is going to explain how I planned the baking part and which utensils are essential when you bake a wedding cake at home. Let’s do a small recap before I dig into the details of planning and scheduling everything:
Top tier: 18cm/ 7 inches diameter, 15-18 pieces, height about 12cm/ 5 inches (not including decoration), recipe: American carrot cake
Bottom tier: 26cm/ 10 inches diameter, 40-45 pieces, height about 13.5cm/ 5 inches (not including decoration), recipe: chocolate caramel cake (Whisky was replaced with coffee)
Outside: Swiss Meringue Buttercream with 1 kilo (!) of butter and 12 egg whites. There was some left, but I think this was a good calculation. Obviously you will need less if you are going for the semi-naked look. But since I wanted this to look like a ruffled bridal dress, I needed a thicker coat. You can’t see the orange/brown color from the carrot cake or the brown color from the bottom tier.
Total: About 55-63 pieces
Tip # 1: Make a trial run (or several)
As I was going to bake this wedding cake in another country, I needed to be extra sure that everything was going according to plan. Since I needed to get used to the oven, I made a trial run and also tested the ingredients (which often have a slightly different texture in another country). I did a mini carrot cake a few days beforehand and was pleased with the oven. It did take longer than mine in Germany, but it was doing its job and that was the main thing. Obviously, I had tested a lot of recipes beforehand and made a lot of trial runs back at home in Germany. For that reason you do find quite a lot of layer cakes on the blog recently. You need to feel comfortable when you make a wedding cake so practicing is key. Practice every part of it, not only trying different flavors, but also how to stack it, how to decorate, etc. It doesn’t matter if the wedding isn’t going to take place for months, feel free to start early so you are really prepared well. You should feel comfortable with all parts and have tried them at some point or another.
Probably most readers are going to say that I am crazy. Because when I made my first wedding cake, I did this in another country (Spain) with different ingredients, and another oven. I guess I simply have to accept that because it is the truth. I guess I am crazy. But I decided to start a new series, which is all about how to make a wedding cake at home with a regular oven. I will start this series with some fundamental questions, which you should have an answer to before you even start thinking about baking that cake. Let’s get going.
#1 How many guests are attending?
#2 When is the wedding cake going to be served?
These two questions are fundamental to how large your cake is going to be. So please be sure to have a proper answer before you calculate anything. Let me try to walk you through this. So let’s assume that you are going to serve the cake right after the ceremony. People will most likely be pretty hungry. In this instance, it is easy to calculate. You should have at least the amount of pieces as you have people attending. So if 50 people attend, you should have 50 pieces of cake. Believe me, many people don’t manage to eat properly before the ceremony and will be happy to have some cake if served early on. Of course it does make a difference if you offer further cakes, desserts, etc. alongside the wedding cake. But as stated, if served right after the ceremony, people will eat more than if served at another time.
Cake of 20cm in diameter, height about 12.5cm, recipe Strawberry Stracciatella Cake