Tips for homemade wedding cakes? Plan and “don’t go wild”

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This May 2018 photo shows a cake in New York City.  In these times of coronavirus, some couples are baking their own wedding cakes for their small home weddings.  (Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman via AP)

1 out of 2

This May 2018 photo shows a cake in New York City. In these times of coronavirus, some couples are baking their own wedding cakes for their small home weddings. (Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman via AP)

1 out of 2

This May 2018 photo shows a cake in New York City. In these times of coronavirus, some couples are baking their own wedding cakes for their small home weddings. (Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman via AP)

Even in a pandemic, people get married. And where there is a wedding – even a small one in the backyard – there is usually a cake.

Home bakers looking to bake their own wedding cakes don’t need a fancy tiered tower. But how can they create something that is beyond the ordinary?

First, don’t be too ambitious, says Jocelyn Delk Adams, cookbook author and founder of the Grandbaby Cakes Blog. People tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves when baking wedding cakes.

“Don’t be too wild,” she warns. Bake a practice cake or two to get you ready for the big day.

Preparation is key, agrees Ron Ben-Israel, special occasion pastry chef and owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes At New York.

“Prepare and simplify the process by noting all the different steps,” he says. “Separate the parts of the process and write down what each will need. “

List the ingredients you will need and make sure you find them all, as items like flour and baking powder can be scarce.

Ben-Israel emphasizes the need to find your cake recipes, including toppings and frostings, from a trusted source.

The good news is that cake layers can be baked and frozen, wrapped tightly, weeks in advance. Defrost wrapped cakes in the refrigerator. Ben-Israel says it’s easier to assemble and decorate cakes right from the fridge (not the freezer, due to possible condensation when defrosting).

Toppings and frostings can be made days in advance. Take them out of the fridge and let them reach room temperature, then mix them again and spread them out at room temperature.

And the shortcuts are OK. Adams says, “If you don’t feel like you’re technically good at baking, don’t be afraid to make a cake mix! There are so many ways to make a cake mix more special.

One thing I learned the hard way is the importance of a layer of frosting crumbs. This is the technique of applying a very thin layer of frosting to the cake and allowing it to firm up before applying the last thicker layer. The first layer can pick up crumbs, but then seals them, so the next layer of frosting won’t remove more crumbs and spoil the clean look of the cake. This is important when frosting a chocolate cake with white frosting, for example.

One-tier cakes are simpler, and if you’re looking to make more than one tier, Ben-Israel invites you to read How to Structure a Multi-tiered Cake. Watch videos on YouTube to learn physics. When I used to make rudimentary wedding cakes for friends, I placed the top layer on a cardboard round (camouflaged with icing), and before placing it on the bottom layer, I inserted straws cut to size. the height of the bottom layer of cake in a circle in the middle of the cake to support the top layer.

When it comes to decorating, Ben-Israel and Adams both advise keeping it simple. Ben-Israel says you can skip the piping entirely, or if you want to use a bag with pastry tips, “think of Keith Haring and cover the whole cake with doodles. Don’t go for straight lines.

He also advocates candy, nuggets and edible flowers (not sprayed with anything). He suggests using multi-colored candies to create a stained glass effect.

If you’re feeling extra-creative, says Ben-Israel, mix food coloring with clear alcohol like vodka and paint them like watercolors on the frosting. “What if the colors start to flow?” Great! Run the colors all over the cake. ”

One perk of baking a cake for a small wedding party: you can really think of the flavors the couple love.

“Your cake can reflect the personality of you and your fiancé in a way that might not have seemed possible when you’re having a big wedding and worrying about pleasing people,” Adams explains.

Erin Butler, Director of Volunteer Services for City harvest, an anti-hunger organization in New York City, knows exactly what she wants for her cake when she marries her fiance Ben Cohen this summer.

“The first time Ben came to visit my family in Florida, I took him to pick up a Publix supermarket cake, which totally reminds me of my childhood,” she says. It was the cake his family bought for every celebratory occasion, and Butler and Cohen scoured the Google forums, looking for the recipe.

“There are some traditions that we throw away, but this Publix-inspired wedding cake seems like a really important piece of the puzzle in making our wedding special,” she says.

Adams also suggests thinking beyond the cake.

“In fact, you don’t have to adhere to traditions so much right now,” she says. “The tradition is really to cut the dessert together, so you can cut a pie together, if that’s what you like.”

Try to have fun with the process, she says, perhaps baking the cake together and creating this keepsake.

“It will make it taste sweeter – the fact that you created this cake or dessert together for your special day.”

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Katie Workman writes regularly on food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focusing on family cooking, “Diner Resolved! And “The Mom 100 Cookbook”. She blogs on http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.


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