Use Tried and True Recipes
Nothing spells disaster like using a brand new recipe for a wedding cake. If you don’t know of any sure bets for cake recipes, it’s time to start looking. Bake boxed cakes, bake recipes from your grandma and try the ones in your cookbook. The more you try the more you’ll know about what makes cakes work at your altitude and in your humidity. When you’ve had more than one successful round with a particular recipe, you can consider it for a wedding cake.
Frostings are less likely to change in different areas of the world, but it is important to have a recipe that is workable as well as to have one that the bride and groom like. Flavorings and colors can make a big difference. Shortening frosting is pure white and very easy to spread and pipe, but you’ll lose out on flavor. Some frostings dry too quickly and others may look greasy. Make sure you know what to expect from the recipe you choose.
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Leveling a Cake
The easiest way to get professional looking results is to begin with level cake layers. It is impossible to bake a level cake, so to make the process easier, always bake your layers much deeper than you will need them to be in the end. Try adding 25% more batter to your pans. (For example: a standard cake mix/ recipe will fill two eight inch layers. When baking a wedding cake, use 1 1/4 cake mixes/ recipes for two eight inch layers.) By using more cake batter, you will bake taller cakes. Trimming the crowns from the taller cakes will leave you with level cakes that are still of acceptable height.
To level a cake, place it on a turntable. Hold a long knife parallel to the table and turn the cake until the top is completely removed. If this method is not effective for you, you may buy a commercially available cake leveling tool. Whatever method you use, it is essential to level each layer such that they will all be of equal height.
Be Careful with Color
It is not recommended to use colored frosting on a wedding cake. Colors are very difficult to match. If you must have color on the cake, use ribbon or flowers that match something else in the wedding. The effect is much more dazzling than the dullness of dyed frosting. In the case that you dye frosting, make sure that you can match the color in a trial long before the wedding.
The last thing to consider when preparing to bake a wedding cake is your ability to reproduce the same effect in decoration on the entire wedding cake. Elaborate designs that are not consistent will only look messy. If you are unable to maintain a consistent design, commit only to simple borders and decorations. Swiss dots can be easily marked with toothpicks for even spacing, for example. Cornelli lace, however, takes a steady hand and the ability to improvise as the design takes shape.
Wedding cakes are, in almost every case, time consuming and difficult. They are also fun and rewarding. If you are ready to offer your experience and creativity in the form of cake, consider the tips listed above and make something beautiful.
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