How To Make Your Own Wedding Cake

With wedding cake prices soaring, deciding to make your own wedding cake can save you a significant amount of money.

I have drawn up a few pointers and tips to help simplify your cake making process, and to help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls, so here are a few pointers.

I assume at this point that you know how many guests are going to be invited, as you will need this information to gauge what size your cake has to be. If not, as a very rough guide you can use the following (however check with your specific recipe):

The first thing you need to do when making your own wedding cake is figure out how much cake you'll give each of your guests.

It's normal to give a piece either 4 cm x 2 cm x the depth of your cake or 4cm x 4cm x the depth. Once you know this the rest is simple maths and don't worry about the depth for these calculations as it's not relevant.

  • Let's say your cake will have 50 guests. You want to each of them one piece of cake which is 4 x 2cm x the depth.
  • 50 guests will therefore need a cake with a surface area of (4x2)x50=400 cm²
  • If you're using a square cake, simply take the square root of 400cm² which is 20 and you have your answer. Your cake has to be 20 x 20cm.
  • If you are using a circular cake the formula is 3.14 x radius² = 400. Therefore radius² = 400/3.14, which means radius² =127.39. Therefore the radius of your cake has to be 11.29cm

To simplify things a little you can use my charts below. The first chart assumes you are giving your guests pieces of cake that are 2x4cm.

Cake dimensions for 2x4cm pieces:

No of guestsRadius of cake in cm length of each side in cm.
106.18.9
208.612.6
3010.515.5
4012.117.9
5013.520.0
6014.821.9
7016.023.7
8017.125.3
9018.226.8
10019.228.3

Cake dimensions for 4x4cm pieces:

No of guestsRadius of cake in cm length of each side in cm.
108.612.6
2012.117.9
3014.821.9
4017.125.3
5019.228.3
6021.031.0
7022.733.5
8024.235.8
9025.737.9
10027.140.0

N.B. in both the above charts I have made an allowance of 20% for the circular cakes to allow for the off cuts around the edges.

I also assume you have acquired the relevant cake tins, food mixer etc. So the next step is to decide what type of cake you are going to make.

Cake Type

1. Traditionally wedding cakes in the UK are fruit cakes. These take a little longer to prepare and should ideally be made around three months before your wedding in order to let it mature for maximum flavour. It could (at a push) be made a week before the wedding but the flavour will not be as good without the maturing process.

During this maturing period it must be kept in an air-tight container and in the dark. It must also be "fed" to keep the cake moist. Depending on which recipe you follow, this should be done either weekly or monthly by adding brandy or sherry (whichever you used in the recipe itself). This is done by either brushing or pouring the brandy or sherry over the cake and allowing it to be fully absorbed before storing it again. With both methods it helps if you put small needle holes in the cake to aid absorption.

2. Many brides now opt for sponge, chocolate or carrot cake as an alternative. Maybe you don't have the time to make a fruit cake or simply don’t like them. If so, don’t worry, it's your day and no one will judge you for it. Besides, alternative cake types can be cheaper and less hassle as they don't have to mature or be "fed".

The choice is entirely personal. You may even wish to make your own wedding cake tiers out of different types of cake to suit all tastes. You could even make a gluten and/or nut free tier if they have any guests with special dietary requirements or food allergies (gluten and nut are the two most common food allergies/intolerances). Use the following link to get more details on wedding cake recipes.

Another tip is to make all the tiers of the cake at the same time; after all you will want them all to taste the same. You will also need to allow enough cake mix to make a small tester cake, so that you can make sure it tastes ok.

Make your own wedding cak

Shape

Next step is to decide on the shape of the cake, and again this is purely down to personal taste.

Round and square are still most common, although hexagonal is a more contemporary option and is getting more popular (plus they look fantastic when finished with very simple, plain decorations, (which is conveniently cheaper!). You could even make a lob sided cake which if done correctly can look very cool.

contemporary wedding cake

One thing to consider if you are having lots of guests, or don't want too many tiers in your cake, is that a square cake will be easier to divide as you don't have round edges to try and divide up evenly.

Wedding Cake Decorations

Even if you are not an accomplished cake decorator but still want to make your own wedding cake, there is no reason to shy away from the decorations. With a little practice you can become quite proficient! A top tip is to prepare a "fake" cake (polystyrene mock-up) and then practise icing and decorating it until you are confident you have it right.

Only at this point should you move on to the actual cake. Supplies for decorating cakes are readily available. These include ready to roll icing and sugar flowers. You could also improvise with items you can buy on the high street such as costume jewellery, ribbon or cake toppers. Alternatively you could get your florist to make you a few small arrangements for the cake.

For more information see my article on cake designs.

Transportation etc.

Once you make your own wedding cake and then decorate it you still need to get it to the venue. The safest method of doing this is to use transportation boxes and pillars (which are all easily available on line).

By following these simple pointers you should be able to reduce the stress and hassle involved when you decide to make your own wedding cake.

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