Cake Decorating 101: At-Home Wedding Cake

Categories: How To, Sweets

Photos by Molly Dunn
Making a wedding cake at home is a lot easier than it seems.
After learning the basics with cake baking and decorating, and learning how to create special shapes and designs out of fondant, like Dogwood flowers, it's time to put all of these skills together to make a spectacular, eye-catching cake.

Now that we are halfway through wedding season, I thought it would be fitting to create an at-home wedding cake that is not as difficult to make as it may seem and won't put a dent in your wedding budget.

I am not claiming to have made this cake by myself. My mother is the mastermind behind the concept and the design, so thanks to her amazing help, we were able to put together a beautiful at-home wedding cake. Too bad we had no one to give the cake to... anyone getting married who wants a green and gold wedding cake?

Bake the cakes a day in advance so that they have plenty of time to cool and rest before you start assembling. This cake requires four layers -- requiring two nine-inch round cake pans and two six-inch round cake pans. We used a golden butter cake, but next time we want to use a pound cake so there are fewer crumbs. However, if you prefer a butter cake, it will work just fine.

Follow the steps in prepping the pans to bake the cakes, just as we discussed in the first installment of the cake decorating 101 series. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap once they are completely cooled and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Paint the insides and the tips of the flowers with luster dust.

During the same day you bake the cake, prepare the fondant flowers so they can harden overnight, allowing you to easily paint and decorate with them the next day. Make any type of flower you feel comfortable with, like the Dogwood flowers, or just buy real flowers that match the colors of the wedding. Real flowers will look just as beautiful as (if not more so) the fondant flowers.

Day one is complete once you have the cakes baked, wrapped in plastic wrap and sitting in the refrigerator, and the fondant flowers shaped and drying in an egg carton.

Day two is for assembling and decorating the cake.

Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting.

Start by preparing a white chocolate buttercream frosting. My mom and I decided to use a buttercream frosting to cover the cake instead of fondant because we enjoy buttercream more than fondant; it's smoother, creamier and, in my opinion, a lot tastier.

To make the white chocolate buttercream frosting, boil ½ cup of water and add two 4-ounce bars of white chocolate, stirring until melted. Let the mixture chill for about 30 minutes, then beat the chocolate with a cup of softened butter until fluffy and creamy. Slowly incorporate one two-pound sifted package of powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of salt until everything is completely mixed together.

To make the frosting stiffer (so it doesn't run off the sides), add more powdered sugar.

You will need to make this recipe twice so you have enough to fill the layers of the cake and frost the entire cake twice.

Meanwhile, paint the insides of the Dogwood flowers green and gold with luster dust and vodka. Add a little bit of gold to the tips for more texture and design. Let these dry while you assemble the cake.

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