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Wedding Cake or Cupcake Experts Please Advise

(36 Posts)
ReineDeSaba Fri 06-May-11 11:41:21

I know there is currently a thread berating cupcakes but I inajetlaggedhaze have offered to 'do' cake for my brother's upcoming nuptials.

I cannot decide which would be the better option and am also looking for tips.

Even if the cake is a tiered job no fruitcake will be involved due to personal preferences.

Think their preference would be cupcakes but not sure how do-able that is because wedding 3hrs from where I live and we will go there friday whilst wedding not till sun.(registry Sat. so time to decorate cakes but not bake)..will cupcakes go dry by then..can I freeze undecorated then keep cool for journey refreeze when we arrive(in fiance's family's freezer)

Also summer wedding so will cupcakes go 'melty'

TBH think cupcakes easier to decorate but want them to taste ok too!

Also if go for tiered job with fondant how long before that would go dry

Is this the longest question ever confused ..sorry!

thanks for any advice/tips

4merlyknownasSHD Fri 06-May-11 12:21:31

Instead of Cup Cakes, you could do mini cakes i.e. vertically sided and not in paper liners. You can get pans/sets in Round, Square, Hexagon or Heart shaped. If you bake a Madeira recipe, these should keep for several days without going dry, particularly if iced. The baked edges will keep them moist, something that would not be the case if you cut a larger cake up.

Having vertical sides and no paper cases would actually allow you to be more adventurous with your icing designs if you wanted to be.

redllamayellowllama Fri 06-May-11 13:03:22

Have just popped over here after consulting the Harry Eastwood book - each tier can be frozen in advance and would need 24 hours to defrost. Icing and assembly would take 2 hours. Could work if they can be persuaded not to go for cupcakes.

Greythorne Fri 06-May-11 13:05:23

Cupcakes can be made and decorated the day before if the whole of the surfacevof the cake is covered in icing as that keeps the cakevfrom drying out.

blossoming Fri 06-May-11 13:13:58

I rate the Good Food website and they have a 3 tier Jane Hornby cake with a video. The smaller top layer is a fruitcake, and there's a lemon cake and a chocolate cake layer. I know you don't want a fruit cake (I love fruit cake best personally!) but maybe you could do 2 lemon, or 2 chocolate instead.
Here it is Has great reviews.

ReineDeSaba Fri 06-May-11 15:10:48

DB and his fiance have just gone on holiday..I wanted to work out what was doable before we all chatted about possible cakes..

If they are really keen on cupcakes grey I will do some trial runs icing day before they are eaten and see how they taste(i.e if I can do an effective icing job)..I could do sugar syrup I suppose but adds to the faff..

4merly the mini cake idea is brilliant but the good thing about cupcakes is even with frosting and a few sprinkles they look lush..I might go into mini meltdown with my 2 small DDs under my feet too,trying to do fiddly designs on 80 or so cakes.

red and bloss lovely to see you stylish ladies smile ..both your options look lovely..part of me thinks bigger cakes easier to transport etc,part of me visualises the whole thing collapsing but practice!practice!practice!

bloss embarrassingly it's me who doesn't like fruitcake so it's not happening as I have no idea how a 'good' one should taste..I can't stand dried fruit normally but I got tempted by 'your' welsh cakes when I made them for the girls and they were amazing!

does anyone know any other good websites for cupcake or cake decoration tips?thanks

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 15:36:42

I made my DH a cake for his 50th birthday a couple of weeks ago. I used a madeira recipe and froze the sponges. I defrosted them over a couple of hours. Prior to this I put fondant on a cake board and let it dry out. Once the cake was assembled and decorated it actually kept for a good week without going dry. I just put a piece of kitchen foil over the cut end (also using the end bit I had cut off) just so the open bit kept fresh.

ReineDeSaba Fri 06-May-11 16:06:22

bella your cakes on your profile are fabulous..have just had message from brother and still haven't ascertained which size cake fiance prefer but requesting chocolate so madeira out I guess.

do you bake your large cakes in several shallow tins or one deep..are there issues with the centre cooking?do I need to use a cake core?

I quite fancy doing a square cake if they 'go large' but have only done fondant on round much harder is it?

ReineDeSaba Fri 06-May-11 16:08:23

also musing on doing 'brownie' cupcakes to avoid dry cupcakes if they go for minis..also now confirmed 'only' 60 guests though some guests flying in from The States and may unmask my cupcakes as frauds!

4merlyknownasSHD Fri 06-May-11 16:42:42

Reine, you can always do a chocolate Madeira cake; just exchange some of the flour for Cocoa powder.

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 17:35:12

I use several shallower tins rather than one deep one - although the fishing cake I did is quite deep and I did just use one tin - I had to use a 6" one.

Never had any issues with centre cooking.

I think that doing a square cake (which is what I did for DH) - is easier to fondant than a round one.

I will see if I can link a picture of the cake I did for DH - I also did the same one for my dad last year for his 70th.

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 17:48:25

Have found the pic from my dad's birthday. DH's cake was the same apart from when I did the circles this time I cut bits out so they interlocked instead of overlapping which gave it a neater finish.

This is two 8" madeira sponges jam/buttercreamed together, buttercream all over the two cakes, marzipanned and then fondanted.

The actual cake in the book I took the recipe/design from is only one 8" cake.

I agree about doing the chocolate madeira, just substitute some flour with cocoa powder.

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 17:48:49

pic should be uploaded on my profile.

serendipity16 Fri 06-May-11 18:24:16

Sorry to jump in but just wanted to say that your cakes are lovely Bellavita.

Hope you don't mind me asking but what kind of icing did you use for the top cake, the one with the circles?

I made a birthday cake for my MIL last month, my 1st proper cake but the icing started to kinda crack once it was on the cake. I used the icing stuff from tescos. Also did you colour the icing yourself?

Its my SIL birthday next month and i'd like to make her a cake, nothing fancy but it'd like it to look nice. Can't use marzipan due to allergies in the family.


geraldinetheluckygoat Fri 06-May-11 18:46:36

Hello! youve had great advice already, heres a bit more!
I would recommend a Madeira cake for one of the teirs, maybe just in vanilla, then do one and add lemon or orange zest, and lemon/orange curd plus buttercream in the middle, then one teir chocolate. If you choose a chocolate recipe that has melted chocolate in it rather than an adapted vicoria sponge, it will stay moist. The good food website that Blossoming recommends has some nice ones. Madeira cakes can be made a week or more ahead. If you find a good recipe, you can take a week decorating a madeira and allow a week for eating and it will be fine. The chocolate cakes that have melted chocolate in also keep for a good week while decorating, and another for eating.

to help cakes stay moist:
dont refridgerate
ice with ready roll icing as soon as you can, preferably the same day as baking to seal in the freshness
find a good recipe and practice it, dont overcook.

Transport the cakes separately so you dont worry all the way to the wedding, stacking properly for that distance takes practice!

If you use a stand that holds each teir separately, you will only have to remove cakes from the box and put on the stand when you get to the venue. Plus you wont have to faff around making the cakes perfectly level before you ice them and getting them exactly the same heights and so on.

Practice covering cakes with icing a few times before the big day, it takes practice to get pleats out, etc. Use a plastic cake smoother.

Polkadots are very quick and easy to do, fresh flowers in a small arrangement on the top look good too. Also check out ebay for hand made wire toppers, they look nice and modern and you can get them in every colour going. A wide ribbon round each cake will look lovely and also cover up any dimples in the icing wink you can use royal icing at the back to attatch, and tie a big bow at the front, attatched with RI too. You could even use a brooch on the bow, looks lovely and little work for you.

If you wanted to do cupcakes, you can make them up to two days in advance if you ice them over the whole cake, as others have already said, dont freeze/refridgerate/refreeze, they will probably taste ok, but you will likely have problems with the cases pulling away from the cakes when they defrost which will look messy. I rekon big cakes is the least stressful way ahead smile

Good luck!

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 18:50:13

serendipity - I bought the fondant from a proper cake shop. I did cheat with the blue one and bought it ready coloured, the brown fondant is also chocolate flavoured.

I have also coloured my own though - the fishing cake and others I have made I have coloured myself.

The fondant cracked probably because it wasn't kneaded enough. It needs to be really pliable - probably a good ten minutes of kneading.

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 18:54:31

Of course I didn't mind you asking smile and thank you for the compliment.

I would also say, do not put the cakes into plastic tupperware boxes with lids - they will sweat once iced. You can buy cardboard boxes from cake shops that can be put together in a second.

ReineDeSaba Fri 06-May-11 21:01:25

geraldine I love your name,I love your cakes,I love your advice.

my only worries are that my sis-in-law to be only likes moist cakes..never really done it on the dry side?

pleased to hear square easier to ice bella

serendipity I have found asda ready roll more pliable than tesco's in the past but will buy non supermarket icing for this,i.e from a cookshop

bellavita Fri 06-May-11 21:48:50

Reine, tomorrow I will post the recipe for the cake I did. It froze (uniced) beautifully and lasted for over a week once defrosted and decorated.

geraldinetheluckygoat Fri 06-May-11 22:01:40

ahh thanks smile No madeira is very moist. As long as its not over cooked, it'll stay moist till you cut it. Try online for icing, much cheaper. Try cakestuff website, they are quite reasonable. Also try them or ebay for boxes. You can hire stands from the cookshop though usually.

I have heard that freezing big cakes can make them nice and moist, so I'd go with Bellavitas suggestion definitely!

ReineDeSaba Sat 07-May-11 07:50:48

Thank you again for all this fabulous advice..I am definitely thinking large cakes are the way to go..have been reading Alot about wedding cakes and was shock to find it doesn't just involve putting 3 cakes ontop of eachother grin

DB and DSil to be are veering away from formal stuff for their wedding so may not need to faff about with levelling etc and just go with

something like this

I think a selection of flavours is a great idea geraldine and will definitely look at cakestuff website.

bellavita really lovely of you find me a recipe and your tip about not using tupperware has saved me from at least one potential disaster!

I am definitely going to freeze and transport while frozen to Dsils family home(wedding there)then ice on arrival..I am amazed that cake can stay fresh for so most families it gets hoovered up very quickly before we have a chance to test that theory!

I will do some sample bakes tomorrow to stick in the freezer for the couple to taste on return so can see how the freezing thing works too.

Any advice re-fresh flowers on cakes please?

geraldinetheluckygoat Sat 07-May-11 08:39:42

beware, not all cake will keep for that need to find the right recipes...madeira type ones are fine, and Bellavitas, since its tried and tested smile Also then you can see how long your recipes last for. I would really recommend doing them over the weekend before the wedding, if you can. It gives you time to rectify any mistakes and you wont have hoards of stressy wedding relatives looking over your shoulder...grin Honest, if you use madeira cakes and a moist choc one you can skip the freezing part all together.

Seprate stands are great, and will be much less stressful. Check out your local independent cake/cookware shop, you can hire them in mine for about £12 for the weekend, you have to pay a deposit. You could also see if people have nice old fashioned glass cake stands in different sizes/heights. If they are going informal, cakes on these look Lovely!

Deninitely have a practice, it will be much easier to do on the day if you do (unless youre used to covering cakes already, of course!)

bellavita Sat 07-May-11 09:06:47


This is for one 8" square cake.

9oz butter or marg
9oz caster sugar
9oz self-raising flour
5 eggs - mine are always large
1 tsp vanilla extract

Baking time approx 1hr
160c (315f or gas 2-3)

Beat your marg/butter with the sugar
Add eggs one at a time (I put a tbsp of flour in with each egg)
Sift in flour, mix well
Add vanilla extract

DH's cake lasted for so long (normally baking does get scoffed straight away here too) because mine was two cakes sandwiched together and it was huge, even giving some away to family and friends there was still quite a bit left. DH doesn't eat cake so it was left to me and my two boys to finish the rest and of course I am always on a diet! grin

HubbaHubbaBubba Sat 07-May-11 09:13:12

Good website (although american, so some things need 'translating'


bellavita Sat 07-May-11 09:15:44

The recipe came from my May Clee-Cadman of Maisie Fantasie -Sweet and Simple Party Cakes. It might be worth buying a book like this one, as it gives all the measurements in for different sized cakes and gives recipes for chocolate fudge, carrot cake, fruit cake etc - shows how to decorate and do cupcakes.

If you google the book on Amazon, the cake on the front cover -I made last year for my mum's birthday. I only did one tier though.

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