There's nothing quite as special as a showstopping wedding cake—but we get it, every budget has its limits. And if the price per slice of wedding cake is giving you budget anxiety, don't feel like you need to nix the idea altogether. Instead, speak openly with your cake baker, tap into your creativity and use these straightforward tips so you don't have sacrifice this sweet detail.
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Once you have your smooth surface you can take care of any flaws that are left. Marks and cracks in the icing can be hidden by taking a small ball of icing, dipping it in some cornflour or icing sugar, and rubbing it over the problem area. The icing sugar will fill the crack and blend it into the surface, smoothing it out. Other marks such as cake smears or food colouring can often be removed by brushing on a little clear alcohol, such as vodka, and then rubbing lightly with some kitchen towel. Once the liqour has dried smooth out the surface again.
Planning your time can affect everything about your cake, right down to the flavour. Filled sponge cakes are best baked as close to the day as possible, and baking enough for a couple of tiers can take a lot of hours in mixing, baking and cooling. Opting for a traditional fruit cake, on the other hand, allows you to make the cake in advance. In fact this is preferable since an important step in making fruit cake is feeding it with a regular spoonful of brandy or sherry every few days for at least a couple of weeks, to make it gorgeously moist and alcoholic.
We find that standard carriers cannot guarantee the safe transport of our cakes. The best method to deliver our cakes is by cold vans, and this service is available from New York City to most points on the East Coast. Long distance delivery is both extremely complicated and very costly. While we have flown our cakes to distant destinations, it is a highly complex process to engineer the delivery via a private or chartered plane. Additionally, most designs require the presence of a staff member who must assemble the cake on-site.
Next work out how you will dry the flowers. The flowerpaste will take a few hours to dry out enough to not lose it's shape (longer if the room is humid). It is often best to dry flowers hanging upside down so the petals fall nicely, though this does depend on the type of flower. To do this bend the end of the wire a little and hang them off whatever you have handy. The could be a rail, jewellery stand, tacked up piece of string or my latest discovery, a martini glass.
Once the flowers are made and the cakes are covered the whole thing can be assembled. Even if you are transporting the cake to another venue and assembling it there, it is best to do a dry run first to check how everything will look. Start by wrapping a length of ribbon around the edge of the board and the bottom of each tier. Secure the ribbon to the board with a couple of pins, and to thecakle with some edible glue or royal icing. This instantly neatens up any dodgy edges.
Some wedding cakes could also use flowers that are in season to reduce costs, instead of expensive, intricate icing. Blooms that aren’t in season often need to be flown in so they can be more expensive. And don’t rule out supermarket blooms! They can last longer and if you’re going for something simple they can be a great way of adding colour without blowing the budget.
Almost as much as Ron loves baking, he thrives on teaching. He spends over 30 days a year wearing his professor toque. He is the only Guest Master Pastry Chef at the renowned International Culinary Center in New York City (founded as the French Culinary Institute), where he contributed to the creation of the Cake Techniques & Design program and works with students in the Professional Pastry Arts program. Ron also leads workshops, master classes and personally appears at industry events around the world, including Sugar Salon Paris, Cake Design Festival Milan, LA Cookie Con in Los Angeles, America’s Cake Fair Orlando, Cake & Bake Masters Mexico City, Tendencias in Cartagena, Columbia and many others.