Friday, January 21

Angelyn Bakes a Wedding Cake! (Part 1)

That's right, a wedding cake! What was I thinking?? : ) I'll share with you the nitty-gritty details of making the cake, but first, here's a preview of what it currently looks like, all ready to be decorated.


My brother, Steven, and his fiance, Roberta, are getting married in July in Natal, Brazil, her hometown. I am so excited!! I'm excited about the wedding, excited to go to Brazil, but most of all, excited that my very special big brother is going to marry such a wonderful girl. She's so much fun and she'll be a great sister-in-law. Check out their sweet engagement pictures here.  
You may need to be facebook friends to see them.

I was honored when they asked me to make their wedding cake, especially considering I've never made one! Since I'd rather spend my vacation time with family than with cake I need to get in plenty of practice before the trip. So, this one isn't for eating. In fact, it's already going stale because I can't fit it in my refrigerator. My plan is: A. to learn the process of putting the cake together and B. to use the assembled cake as blank canvas to practice several designs.

To get started, I bought a pan set for a four-tiered cake, which includes 12-, 10-, 8-, and 6-inch pans. I also got some cardboard cake circles the same size as my cake tiers and some wooden dowels (much cheaper at Lowe's than the craft store) to use for support. Some other handy things that I already had include large and small offset spatulas, a cake leveler, a candy thermometer, and most importantly, a KitchenAid mixer. <I love you so much, sweet KitchenAid!>

Then, I bought my ingredients. I decided to use cake mix for convenience since one of Beta's family members is going to bake the real cake. I also bought frosting, which I only used to fill and crumbcoat the tiers. I originally planned to cover the cake with fondant and thought that the frosting wouldn't really matter until I talked with my friend/boss Erin, who makes wedding cakes as a side business. She convinced me of several things: 1. Fondant might be hard to work with in beach humidity. 2. Store-bought frosting is not firm enough to support fondant as well as buttercream. 3. A good buttercream recipe is very forgiving of mistakes. She was absolutely right on all counts. Check out Erin's bakery website here.

Gorgeous cake Erin made for a friend's shower

So, here's what I've used so far:
  • 6 boxes yellow cake mix
  • 7 tubs store-bought buttercream frosting
  • 18 whole eggs and 16 egg whites (anybody have good recipes using egg yolks?)
  • 16 sticks butter (!!!)
  • 2 2/3 cup oil
  • 4 cups sugar
It's a good thing we're not eating it, huh?

Well, that's enough for this post. A girl's gotta get some sleep! I'll post the baking and frosting steps tomorrow. But first, here are a few pictures of cakes that make me swoon!

Doesn't that just make you want to get married all over again?


  1. Don't know if you know these tips yet or not but just in case:
    1.) You can use straws (not the bendy kind) instead of dowels so long as you won't be stacking 12 pounds of decorations on top of the cake. For one they are much cheaper, they are just as sturdy once inserted because they are then filled with cake and not hollow, and I find most people think they are much more sanitary to put in cake than wooden dowels.
    2.) You can stick to using cake mix for the real thing if you want to, using food coloring and pure extracts to make different flavors. Make sure you add an extra egg and reduce the oil to make the cake more dense and able to support tiers on top. In fact many bakeries use cake mixes as a cheat because they tend to stay more moist than scratch cakes.
    3.) I have a superb recipe for Italian Buttercream which will definately cut your egg and butter amounts if you would like it. It is oh so light, fluffy, and delicious! In fact I used it when I made my wedding cakes and it works very well holding fondant.
    Good luck!! Looks like you are off to a great start : )

  2. Hey! Thanks for the tips!
    1. I didn't know about bendy straws until a few days ago. I think that's what I'll use in Brazil, because they'll travel better and be easier to trim. Will that work even for the bottom layer? Do you still use one long dowel to hold all the tiers together?
    2. I was surprised how well the cake mix turned out. And it's really sturdy for splitting, etc. Beta's grandmother or aunt (can't remember) is making a traditional Brazilian recipe, which I know nothing about yet.
    3. Erin gave me this recipe for Italian Buttercream, which I love! But it does use 8 sticks of butter and 8 egg whites per recipe (enough to fill a standard KitchenAid). I'm all for saving money on butter, so what's your recipe?

    Thanks, dear!

  3. The one dowel through the center of the entire cake from teir 1 to teir 4 is for stabilization, not sturdiness. It basically ensures that no teir will slide our of place. If it will be sitting for a long time, I would suggest it especially with heat. But look around for alternative dowels, it does not need to be wooden. Straws will definately work for the botttom teir but I suggest using the "big mouth" ones. And come on with the CIA recipe?!?! JWU totally has a better one, I can tell even though I have never tried it :D (As far as rivalries go in the culinary world JWU vs CIA has to be at the top). Give me your email address and I will type mine up later and send it to you.

  4. That should read "out of place"