Friday 23 October 2015

Three-Tier Red and Gold Wedding Cake - for BakingAddict

It was a great honour to be asked to make a wedding cake for a friend - and not just any friend, but a talented baker herself - Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker. She's given me permission to show you all pictures of the cake and to blog about how I made it.

I'd never made a wedding cake before, though I had done a short course of evening classes in wedding cake decorating, where we used polystyrene dummy cakes. You can see the two that we finished during the course here: a rose petal cake finished with a wired flower and brush embroidery and this three-tier cake with purple flowers and piping.

Ros and her husband had given me a lot of freedom to design the cake, asking me for red and gold accents on a white cake. She also told me that as the cake needed to feed 50 guests I could either make two tiers or three tiers but have the bottom layer as a fake cake. I liked that idea as it meant I could do the bottom layer well in advance, redo it if it went wrong, and not have to worry about baking a cake that would take the weight of two other layers.

She wanted the other two layers to be chocolate and lemon and I found some fantastic recipes on the BBC Good Food website. I did both cakes in advance as a practice and have already blogged about the chocolate cake here, which turned out perfectly. So when it came to making it for the wedding for real I did it in exactly the same way.

I used this recipe for the lemon cake and followed the recipe for the cake itself exactly, but didn't do the lemon syrup - I had been warned that the syrup would seep onto the layer below so I could only assemble the cakes at the absolute last minute and at the point of deciding on the recipe (when I did the practice a month or so ago) I didn't know how I was going to assemble the cake so thought it best to make without the syrup. As it worked well, when it came to the real thing I left the syrup out as well.

I used a 12 inch cake tin for the chocolate cake, which was the second layer (I bought a 14 inch cake dummy and 16 inch cake board which was huge!) and so did the lemon cake in a 10 inch tin. Those are quite big cakes but since only two layers were real, I didn't think if I did an 8/10/12 inch cake with only the 8 and 10 being real that it would be enough to feed all the guests.

The recipe for the chocolate cake turned out perfectly - 12 inches diameter and a good 3 inches deep with a flat top that I trimmed slightly. The recipe for the lemon cake said to use a 23cm tin which is 9 inches, so when I did the practice I scaled the ingredients up by a third.

That wasn't big enough by a long way so when I made the cake again I doubled the quantity given in the recipe, and found that filled the tin so the sides of the cake were 3 inches high. The cake did rise a lot in the middle so I trimmed it easily.

I thought about filling the cakes but worried that having something in the middle would mean they were less robust and when covered with fondant, if weight was applied on top the filling might spread and bulge out the sides. Thankfully both cakes were so deliciously moist and light that they didn't need filling at all.

I made a chocolate ganache buttercream which I spread around the sides and on the top of the chocolate cake, and placed the cake on a cake card (like a cake board or drum only thinner) covered it in fondant.

I made a lemon curd buttercream and did the same with the lemon cake, also placing it on a cake card the same size as the cake.

When it came to decorating, I did the bottom fake layer quite a long time in advance. I covered it with fondant and used a stitching or quilting tool  like this one PME Quilting Tool to mark diagonal lines all around the sides (I used a piece of cardboard as a guide) to give a quilted effect. I used some plastic tweezers like these Cassie Brown Plastic Tweezers Child-Safe, Blue to apply Dr Oetker gold balls (available in most supermarkets) using a little Culpitt Edible Glue 17 ml to make them stick.

I then stuck gold ribbon around the base of the bake and around the sides of the cake board, which I had also covered in fondant.

I didn't need to use dowelling in this fake layer but I did need to in the chocolate cake because it was going to have the lemon cake sitting on top.

My fiancé cut the wooden dowels to size - they need to be level with the top of your cake. Space them out at intervals making sure they are in the part of the cake that will be covered by the cake on top - this helps spread the weight.

I was going to leave the chocolate layer undecorated apart from the ribbon but I really struggled to cover a cake that size in fondant. I did the best I could but there were a few areas where I wasn't entirely happy with the fondant so I decided to add some red flowers - I had been thinking there wasn't enough red on the cake.

I used a flower plunger cutter from this set Kitchen Craft Sweetly Does It Flower Fondant Plunger Cutters, Set of 4 to cut flowers out of red fondant and stuck them around the side of the cake using edible glue, and finished the cake with a gold ribbon.

The top layer was decorated with the same quilting pattern and gold balls as the bottom layer, and gold ribbon as well.

I made the flowers to go on top well in advance using pre-coloured red flower paste using the technique that I've previously described here. I didn't attach the flowers - or indeed assemble the cake - until I got to the wedding venue. I bought different size cake boxes and discovered they didn't fit in the boot of my fiancé's car so we had to take mine!

Ros had bought a really cool cake topper but I didn't actually know what it looked like until I got to the venue; it turned out to be the perfect thing to finish off the wedding cake!

I was very relieved that the cake made it to the wedding in one piece, and though it took a fair while to make it was surprisingly stress-free and a lot of fun. And it tasted great - I heard lots of nice comments about the cake and the main thing was that the bride and groom liked it!

I'm sharing this with Alphabakes which I host with the recipient of this wedding cake as our letter this month is W, which is very appropriate!

I'm also sending this to Simply Eggcellent hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen as the cakes use an awful lot of eggs!


  1. aaawwwwww... so adorable! Such a beautiful cake and I think expertly made and decorated. I like that it's not too flashy but has just the right amount of stylish decoration. I bet Ros loved it. Well done, must have been a little stressful. Thanks so much for linking to Simply Eggcellent x

  2. Just stunning! Such an elegant design and so well done. Ros must have been thrilled with it.

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