For those of you that love baking and are willing to attempt your own wedding cake, the results can be beautiful. There is something so nice about having a personal touch such as this at the wedding that guests will appreciate (even if it is a little rustic and lopsided), and can be a fun activity providing you can remain calm and confident during the process.
Brave ones, we wish you luck with Elle's tips below! But if you need a professional, you can contact Tallent Made on Instagram.
My name is Eloise Tallent and I run a small baking business called Tallent Made. I am a self-taught baker who has always loved making (and eating!) sweet treats for family and friends. Initially, baking was just a stress outlet for me while I was working full time as a Secondary School Teacher. Over time, however, my desire to sell my products gained more and more momentum, and Tallent Made was born. I registered my home kitchen in Northcote, Victoria and the rest, as they say, is history!
As well as building my business over the past few years, I also became a Mum to our beautiful 18-month-old daughter, Penelope. This means I have spent the last year or so trying to navigate new parenthood whilst also juggling the demands of running a small business, as well as adapting to the limitations of COVID-19. In all honesty, this has not been without challenge, but it has led me in new and exciting directions, including the production and sale of ‘just because’ cakes, frozen cookie dough balls and brownie ‘slabs’. I am incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support I have received with this latest venture – whether it has been for a special occasion or for no reason at all, it’s been my great pleasure to bring a little bit of sweetness to someone’s day, especially during lockdown!
I hope you enjoy reading my top tips on how to make your own wedding cake.
1. Make a Plan
I know this may seem obvious, but I think it’s really important that you have a clear plan for your wedding cake. There’s no shortage of inspiration out there, especially on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, so start taking note of exactly what it is that you like about various cakes that catch your eye.
Here are some questions to help get you started:
- Do you want your wedding cake to be comprised of one tier or do you prefer the look of multiple tiers?
- What size (diameter and height) would you like the cake to be?
- What sort of style are you after – do you prefer a polished finish or a more rustic look?
- What flavour, or flavours, do you want your wedding cake to be and what icing will you pair it with?
- How are you going to present your cake – are you going to top it with beautiful fresh flowers and, or, a topper, and what sort of board or stand are you going to sit it on at the venue?
I know this sounds a little overwhelming, but I think you will find that your vision will come together fairly quickly once you make a start (if it hasn’t already!).
2. Make a Trial Wedding Cake
Once you’ve formulated a plan, save your future-self the stress, and make a trial wedding cake. Pick an event leading up to your wedding – your hens party, your kitchen tea, a dinner party with your bridal party or even just a loved-one’s birthday – and make a smaller version of the cake you plan to make for your wedding. This will allow you to become familiar with your recipes and the processes required to make your dream cake, and it will help to ensure that things run smoothly in the days leading up to your wedding. Make some notes about what worked, what didn’t work, how long you cooked the cakes for, etc. These will be super handy to refer back to when it comes time to make your actual wedding cake.
3. Must-have Tools
I use and have acquired a great many cake making and decorating tools, but these are my three must-haves:
High quality cake tins, like those made by Mondo, are truly worth investing in. They’re easily accessible at stores such as Kitchen Warehouse, Matchbox, etc. If you’re not sure where to start, I have found that I use my round 6” and 8” tins the most.
Trust me, you need one of these in your cake-making life! Anything sturdy with a smooth rotation will do. I use one called a SNUDDA which can be purchased from Ikea for just $14.99, so it won’t break the budget.
I use a palette knife every time I make a cake – to apply and smooth the icing. Depending on the look you are going for, you may also find a ‘scraper’ handy. This is a tool that will help you to achieve a smooth finish.
Again, depending on the look you are going for, I find that cakes that are more on the dense side are the best to work with – they are easier to cut and they are sturdier when it comes to stacking them. My go-to is chocolate cake, but raspberry and white chocolate mud cake works well, as does the likes of a GF orange and almond cake. I tend to steer clear of sponges and lighter cakes, like red velvet.
Before assembling your cake, always trim the top of your cakes to make sure they are level – this will help to prevent your cake from becoming a real-life replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Your lazy Susan will come in handy at this stage too, both when levelling the cake and cutting the cake into smaller layers (that you will stack together with icing).
Always put a cake board (or two!) at the base of your cake – without it you won’t be able to relocate your cake – and, depending on the size of your cake, you may also need to consider using internal structural supports.
Buttercream is my favourite icing to use when making event cakes. I find it easy to work with and it’s a great base to add other flavours to. Given its high butter content, it also firms up really nicely, which is a life-saver when it comes to transporting the cake.
In terms of icing, more is more. Please do yourself a favour and make more icing than you think you will need. It is so much better to have more icing than not enough (I learned this the hard way and was left making more icing at the eleventh hour, which is far from desirable given it’s quite a timely process!).
I always make sure my cakes are finished, except for the final details such as flowers, the night before the event. This means that it will have time to chill and firm up in the fridge overnight, and will make it far less anxiety-provoking to transport.
If you’re finishing your cake with flowers, I would suggest talking with your florist to provide flowers to top your cake with. This will help to tie everything together. Some florists may even be happy to do this part for you. If you choose to do it yourself, however, make sure you use flower tape, as many flowers are toxic and cannot be placed directly into the cake. Again, save your future-self the stress, and practice taping flowers prior to your big day. Perhaps you could incorporate this component into your trial wedding cake.
8. Have Fun with It!
The most important thing of all is to have fun! Don’t stress if it isn’t perfect, because I’m sure your guests will be amazed by whatever you create and, best of all, they will know it has been created with love; the most important ingredient of all.
Fairleigh and Tom, photography by Tony Evans.
Bottom tier: chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and vanilla buttercream.
Top Tier: raspberry and white chocolate mud cake with white chocolate ganache.
Amy and Scott, photography by Elsa Campbell.
Bottom tier: chocolate cake with roasted hazelnuts, homemade raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream.
Top tier: GF orange and almond cake with orange syrup and toasted almonds.
Chloe and Richard, photography by Ashleigh Kennedy.
Hannah and Chris, photography by Ali Bailey
Elly and Navin, photography by Jonathon Ong.
Isabella and Kade, photography by Tony Evans