Pipe Dream #19: To Level Precisely – Anatomy of a Wedding Cake

I made my first “wedding cake.” It’s in quotes because technically, this cake was for a bridal shower/party prior to a wedding, but the intention was for the cake to look like a wedding cake. So I’m just going to call it as I see it and say “wedding cake.” This was an especially fun adventure because my hairstylist extraordinaire was helping me. She was so good about keeping things clean and organized, which basically made my life. Plus, she has an amazingly creative eye for color and detail.

If I could bake and never have any mess to clean up, I would bake every day. Which, if we follow our logic to its inevitable conclusion, would have both positive and negative consequences. Mostly negative.

To save effort, we baked the cake in all separate layers instead of slicing them through the middle and filling. I’ve heard that this can lead to a drier cake. The best best best advice I ever heard about making a layer cake was realized in this cake. Before slicing and decorating, we wrapped them well in plastic wrap, froze them and then took them out of the freezer right before we cut them. Weirdly enough, the results made the perpetual knots in my shoulders melt away instantly. I may never experience anxiety again! Ahem. Anyway,

They cut like a dream!

They didn’t melt my frosting because I was too impatient to wait until they were cool!

The crumb-age was minimal!

Apparently, I was a little too happy about the cake cutting so easily, because see how I didn’t level it down quite far enough? It caused problems later. I’ll get back to my problems-that-are-not-anxiety in a minute.

We decided to fill the cake with lemon curd, so we put a thick layer of frosting around the edge of the cake layer to keep the curd from splooshing out the sides. That would have made me unhappy. By the way, we bought the frosting at Lynn’s Cake and Candy. It is to die for. I want the recipe.

Then we gave the layered tier a quick crumb coat of frosting to seal in all the crumbs. I think of the crumb coat like a girdle–an invisible layer underneath it all that holds everything in. We hope.

After sticking it in the fridge while frosting the second smaller tier, we frosted the cake.

And here is where my problems came in. Because we hadn’t made the layers perfectly level and had left a little bit of a dome, the top layer stuck out a bit farther than the bottom layer, making it really hard to get the frosting thick and smooth. Luckily, we had decided to go “rustic” with it. The bride-to-be is super romantic and chic, so we had some license.

So so fun. Besides the layer issues, everything went off without a hitch. I would do this again.

Tune in tomorrow for the finished product!

I used many exclamation points in this post,


2 Responses to “Pipe Dream #19: To Level Precisely – Anatomy of a Wedding Cake”

  1. 1 Bert Tisher May 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I like a cake with lots of layers of icing. So why not slice the cake layers in half and put about a 1/4 ” of icing or filling between each layer? Yummy! And a thick cover of icing over all. I think I actually like the icing more than the cake. Maybe it should be all icing.

  2. 2 thor27 May 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Interesting useful perspective. Wedding cakes or any cakes can be
    cataclysmic if something in the process goes poof. it’s an exact science baking. Good blog. Today I’ve added another article on my blog also.

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