There are many reasons you may be looking to create the perfect DIY wedding cake.
Maybe you just calculated the price for all your necessary wedding expenses.
Or maybe you just really love to bake and want to have a hand in creating such a special part of your big day.
Maybe you’re creating a cake for a friend or family member.
Whatever your reason, taking on such a monumental task as creating a wedding cake may seem daunting,
Whatever your reason, taking on such a monumental task as creating a wedding cake may seem daunting, but with a little bit of DIY baking education, you will be on your way to success.
A beautiful wedding cake is a key part of the day: a delicious focal point at the center of a wedding reception.
Cake even seems to be the universal symbol of celebration, whether it be a birthday or an anniversary.
Chances are, you are picturing all kinds of disasters occurring as you create this iconic part of every bride’s and groom’s special day.
But in reality, baking any cake, even a big, beautiful wedding cake, just takes the right combination of talent, skill, and knowledge to end in a delicious treat everyone will enjoy.
Here's what you need to know:
Different Cake Shapes and Styles
To start, you will want to find the best cake shape and style for the wedding. There are a few things to consider before making your final decision.
Ultimately, a DIY wedding cake’s design is only limited by your imagination. So if you can dream of the possibility, you can make it a reality.
Look at these ideas:
Rustic cake style
Including rustic elements in your wedding is one of the most popular themes.
You can add details of burlap, raw wood, and many natural features.
This nature-inspired cake is a perfect example of a natural look. This DIY wedding cake style is ideal for outdoor weddings, barn weddings, and country weddings.
As a bonus, rustic cakes are easy to DIY, since they naturally have a homemade feel.
TRADITIONAL TIERED CAKES
When you think of a wedding cake, you probably picture a traditional tiered cake in a round shape.
Traditional cakes often have smooth finishes, but some use piping, ribbons, or floral elements as added adornments.
If you want to make a traditional wedding cake, you’ll have to master the use of fondant icing and learn the art of “tiering” a cake.
Luckily, it’s a lot simpler than you might think:
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a naked cake, it is probably not at all what you think.
A “naked cake” with hardly any frosting is a hot trend in the world of wedding baking.
These cakes with exposed layers and minimal embellishments are a perfect DIY option because many bakers argue that icing a cake is the toughest part.
This is another excellent “rustic” cake option. Give the naked cake trend a try, and let the cake speak for itself without icing to steal the spotlight.
MINI CAKES OR CUPCAKES
Using mini cakes or cupcakes for your wedding has many advantages, especially as a DIY wedding cake option.
They’re easy to transport. Less expensive. Easier to serve to your guests. Not to mention, they’re adorable, gorgeous, and undeniably trendy.
And as a bonus, some wedding cupcake displays are so beautiful, and they add a magical element to any wedding reception.
These cupcake displays can stand alone, or be combined with a cake so the bride and groom can participate in the traditional cake cutting ritual.
You cannot go wrong with classics like chocolate or vanilla, but if you’re looking to take your DIY wedding cake to another level, trying a unique cake flavor may just be the ticket.
Here are some ideas:
One of the hottest trends at the moment is to provide a mix of cake flavors, with each tier featuring something different.
That way guests will have options to choose from, and everyone will get to try something they like.
Try a lemon or raspberry filling, to brighten up your wedding cake with a little fruity flavor.
Guests will love biting into a cake filled with a sweet hint of surprise fruity filling.
If you are looking for a richer cake, it might be best to try this dark chocolate espresso cake.
If you’re getting married in the fall, this pumpkin cake is ideal for the season. Add a maple cream cheese frosting, and this wedding cake will be one to remember.
Just remember, the more creative you get with your cake flavors, the more irresistible your DIY wedding cake will be.
A square cake is perfect for a bride who wants to put a modern spin on the traditional classic. These cakes create an excellent juxtaposition for the delicate floral embellishments.
They also really pop when done in different, less traditional icing colors or fun geometric patterns.
A square cake is also decorated well with bows and ribbons.
If you’re not convinced that these square cakes make a knock-out statement, check out this gorgeous one:
UNIQUELY SHAPED CAKES
There is more to the world of wedding cakes than just round or square cakes! These uniquely shaped cakes speak to a baker’s creativity, and often offer special flair to the day.
A scalloped or petal-shaped wedding cake is a unique design that is gaining more and more popularity.
You can play up the flower-like appearance with floral detailing,
or use this shape as the bottom tier of a round cake, providing visual interest.
A hexagonal cake is an even more modern option that some brides are considering.
These cakes look best with minimal decoration. That way the shape itself is the star.
If a heart is a universal symbol for love and romance, why not capitalize on that with the shape of your wedding cake?
Create a piece of sweet art with a heart-shaped wedding cake. Keep the colors romantic by using red with roses or a beautiful blush pink to capture all the romance of the wedding day.
Ingredients and Tools Needed for a DIY Wedding Cake
Once you have chosen the style for your DIY wedding cake, you’ll want to get technical.
Learning about the “tools of the trade” will have you prepared in no time for getting down to business and baking a cake that will be (nearly!) as memorable as the bride and groom themselves.
BEST CAKE INGREDIENTS
Making the perfect DIY wedding cake starts with the ingredients.
There is something to be said about the quality and finesse of professional cakes, but sometimes the richest, most flavorful cakes are the ones made right in your kitchen.
How can you take that homemade flavor and combine it with quality and beauty?
It’s not as difficult as you might think.
Choose fresh ingredients, especially if you choose to make a cake flavored with ingredients like fresh fruit or herbs.
Maybe this is all too complex and time-consuming for you?
Not a problem.
Try this boxed cake mix hack that many professionals swear tastes just as good (or better!) than a bakery cake.
TYPES OF ICING
There is a reason that the phrase “it’s the icing on the cake” is so common. The right icing can be exactly what your cake needs.
Knowing your icings can be the difference between a wedding cake fail and a wedding cake win.
Some icing is best used for fillings and piping, while others will be better to craft the finer details and decorations.
Learning the ins and outs of the world of icing will better prepare you for what is arguably the most delicate part of the cake decorating process.
Take a look:
Flavor & texture
Sweet and buttery taste, smooth and easy to spread
Used for cake decorating
Made primarily of butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk
Keeps for two weeks as long as it is sealed in the refrigerator
Flavor & texture
Candy sweet flavor, very thin, dries to the consistency of hard candy
Best to create embellishments like candy flowers, small figures, or piping
Made of powdered sugar, lemon juice, and egg
Use immediately or store quickly to maintain softness
Flavor & texture
Bland flavor, not overly sweet, has a dough-like consistency and can be rolled smooth and molded into shapes
Used to entirely cover cakes or create decorations
Made of glucose syrup, gelatin, powdered sugar, and vanilla
Stores up to two months in a refrigerator
Flavor & texture
Sometimes called, “almond candy dough,” it is very sweet and has an almond flavor
Used to decorate cakes, or molded into creations and shapes on a cake
Made of almonds, sugar, glucose syrup, and water, with gluten-free options available
Wrapped in an air-tight container, it can last at room temperature for up to three weeks
ALL THE TOP TOOLS
Every baker knows that the difference between an amateur cake and a cake of genuinely professional caliber is possessing the right tools.
Except, the tools you really need are a little more delicate. With these, you will be up to the task of creating a cake to remember.
Be sure you have:
Learn even more about what the experts recommend for cake baking of all kinds
WAYS TO DECORATE YOUR WEDDING CAKE
Once you’ve baked and iced your cake, you’re ready for the finishing touches. And this is really where you can turn even the most amateur icing job into a professional-grade wedding cake.
Cleverly placed flowers, fruit, or decorations can hide a multitude of icing mistakes.
There are a few wedding cake decorations ideal for a DIY wedding cake. They are easy to find, easy to incorporate into your cake design, and ultimately easy to make every cake look like a million bucks.
Take a look:
Fresh flowers are the perfect choice for decorating a wedding cake.
Not only will they coordinate nicely with bridal bouquets and centerpieces, but it is usually easy to get fresh clippings right from the florist.
They will provide you with a selection of flowers that perfectly match the other arrangements.
Stick with a simple color and design to ensure a classic, elegant look. Use smaller blooms in small clusters and try to avoid large flowers that will dominate the silhouette of the cake.
Using other delicious elements as décor on your DIY wedding cake is a genius idea because then even the embellishments are edible.
And if you’re already overwhelmed by the prospect of baking and building the wedding cake itself, you can always pick up some affordable yet delicious items from your favorite local bakery.
Some of the best options for decorations are:
One of the classiest and most scrumptious choices is using fresh fruit as cake décor.
This is an especially good idea if your cake is flavored or filled with fruit. The fruit will add a fresh and appetizing appeal to your cake.
Choosing berries to decorate your cake is a classic.
This cake topped with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries looks so bright and refreshing.
But don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use slices of plums or peaches. Cherries, pomegranate, and even grapes can make the perfect toppings as well.
Adding a little piping to the borders around each tier of a wedding cake is an excellent way to add class to an otherwise simple and plain cake.
Piping can seem intimidating, but it’s not nearly as scary as it looks.
Here’s the deal:
The piping tip really does most of the work for you.
If you can keep a steady hand, hold the piping bag at a 45-degree angle and nearly touch the tip to the surface of the cake, you are halfway there. Then, just apply gentle pressure and let the icing flow.
Master some easy piping techniques, and you’ll be able to pipe your way around any cake for the most professional and polished look.
A cake topper is the finishing touch that gives every wedding cake that personalized touch.
Today, there are many options that go beyond the traditional “bride and groom” topper that many expect on a wedding cake.
You might want to try a unique, personalized topper that will be a keepsake for years to come.
Maybe you are interested in the classic couple cake topper, that adds a vintage element to your wedding cake.
There are lots of fantastic options found in all the unlikeliest of places, from flea markets to antique stores.
Maybe you even have a family heirloom you plan to repurpose.
Maybe you want to take the classic couple cake topper and put your own unique spin on it.
You might like a wedding cake topper customized to look like you and your spouse. Or maybe you’d want to include your pets on top of the cake with you.
Choosing a unique cake topper will add that individual element that your guests will absolutely love.
In the world of personalization and Etsy creations, laser-cut cake toppers are also very popular.
Many feature calligraphed words with names, monograms, or favorite phrases like “Just Married” or “Best Day Ever.”
These toppers are available from many vendors and add that extra element of personalization and elegance.
If you want a combination of vintage and modern, then a silhouette cake topper may be right up your alley.
You can personalize your topper in many different ways, often by adding pets, children, or other specialty items.
Save this cake topper after your special day as a keepsake worthy of display.
Choosing just a single letter initial as your cake topper makes a simple yet elegant statement. The best part is that you can customize this initial to match the style, theme, and colors of the wedding.
Whether you go full glam with a sparkly bejeweled initial, or you choose a natural, rustic initial, you can find a topper that best fits the couple’s style.
Top Tips to Make Your DIY Wedding Cake
Here are a few tips to ensure that creating a DIY wedding cake doesn’t become more of a headache than it’s worth.
The money you may have saved by baking your own wedding cake will hardly be worth it if you work yourself into a tizzy just days before the wedding.
Avoid chaos and keep calm with these tips and tricks in mind.
Be practical and keep it simple
Before you decide that baking a DIY wedding cake is something you’d like to try, ask yourself a few questions.
First of all, can you bake? (That’s pretty key.)
But nearly as important is whether or not you even like baking. Will this be a calming activity or something to add more stress to already busy time?
Do your cakes look nice? Are they aesthetically pleasing?
Deciding all this is important because if you are going to take on a task as monumental as making your own cake, you’ll want to be sure that it is worth it.
Otherwise, there are lots of other affordable wedding dessert options out there.
If you are confident that you want to make a DIY wedding cake, then it’s probably best to use a tried and true recipe.
Now is not the time to experiment with something exotic. Choose the method you’re most comfortable with and go for it.
Prepare in advance
Do as much as you can in advance.
Even the most prepared bride runs into last-minute issues that need to be addressed. Plus, you want to enjoy the time leading up to your wedding with family and friends.
Not covered up to the eyeball in flour and fondant.
Do a trial run ahead of time.
Even if you’ve made this cake recipe before, chances are you have not made it for 100 plus people. Shop ahead of time and do the little things in advance.
There are several things you can do in advance, and they will hold up well until you’re ready to use them.
Take a look:
Up to 2 months before:
Make and freeze your icing (although icing is best made fresh 1-3 days before)
Up to 5 weeks before:
Make the fondant and fondant decorations, to be kept at room temperature
3 weeks before:
Model your fondant, marzipan, and chocolate decorations if necessary
2 to 3 days before:
Bake your cake
2 days before:
Make fresh fruit fillings, but be sure to refrigerate
2 days before:
Assemble the cake and chill before frosting
1 day before:
Ice cake and leave in the refrigerator if it is buttercream frosting. Place at room temperature for fondant
Attach fondant decorations only to room temperature cakes. Complete any other finishing touches
The decorations make the cake
Even if you’re an amateur baker, the key to a professional, polished cake is the decorations.
Remember this above all else:
The only person who will notice you’ve missed a spot with the icing is you.
A cake will look like a wedding cake once it’s got the flowers, fancy cake stand, and iconic cake topper.
One of the biggest perks of hiring a professional is that they handle all of the transportation logistics.
I am pretty positive there are few things more daunting than loading a 5-tier cake into the back of a car and hurtling down the highway.
You will need to consider whether you will build the tiers ahead of time or assemble them on-site.
Can you use a cake tin to transport your cake, or will you need bigger boxes? Who will be available to help you? You do not want to be moving your cake alone!
If you’re getting married in the summer, then you will want to be sure that your cake will be able to withstand the heat of the car. Otherwise, you might want to crank up the AC for your trip.
Ideally, you should drop off your cake at the venue the night before and assemble it then.
But if that is not an option for you, then you may want to consider who else is available to transport and assemble your cake on the day-of.
Have a back-up plan!
In the end, even the most accomplished bakers face disaster. In that case, you will want to have a back-up plan.
Research what local grocery stores sell white cakes or prepare your local cupcake shop for the possibility of a big last-minute order.
Keep these words in mind:
No matter what happens, there has been no cake incident that stopped a wedding. While the cake is a lovely centerpiece, it is nothing compared to the reason for the day.
And ultimately, no matter what dessert you serve to your guests, they will just be happy to have the opportunity to celebrate this special day.
How big should your cake be?
One of the biggest questions when it comes to preparing a cake is knowing exactly how much cake you’ll need to feed your guests.
Follow the guide of the diagrams below, and you won’t end up running out of cake. Or, having so much cake leftover, you’re eating it for weeks.
Have a look:
Now, all you need to do is a little math to calculate just how much cake you’ll need!
And don’t forget to create a top layer for the couple to save and eat on their first anniversary.
FOOLPROOF Wedding Cake Alternatives
Creating a structurally sound wedding cake for hundreds of people crafted exclusively from real cake is often beyond the abilities of even the most skilled amateur baker.
Without the specialty tools and transportation, you may go crazy trying to bake a confection of this proportion.
So, if you’re stressing about this possibility, there are a few great alternatives.
Look at these options:
1. Frosted faux cake
If you care more about aesthetics than the actual cake itself, then this option is for you.
Simply purchase three-tiered Styrofoam layers and top them with a real cake to be cut, smashed, and eaten traditionally by the bride and groom.
This option is easy to assemble on-site, looks just like the real thing, and gets to sit in all its glory for the entire reception.
That way, all that work doesn’t spend only a few minutes admired before it is deconstructed and eaten.
Don’t worry that guests will go without cake! Simply prepare lots of delicious sheet cakes to be cut and served at the wedding behind the scenes.That way you don’t need to sacrifice flavor for the style.
2. WEDDING DESSERT ALTERNATIVES
If after reading through all of the logistics, you decide against cake completely, this leaves room for dessert alternatives that are both creative and delicious.
Reinvent what “wedding dessert” means and choose a dessert that represents the bride’s and groom’s personality.
Some great possibilities include donuts, pies, cheesecakes, and fruit tarts.
Another fun idea is to make an ice cream sundae bar explicitly designed according to the bride’s and groom’s tastes.
Whatever you choose, whether traditional or unique, hardly anyone can resist a delicious dessert, and it will surely be a sweet ending to an already sweet day.
You're Just a Short Way from Becoming a DIY Wonder
Don’t be daunted by the prospect of creating a DIY wedding cake.
Give yourself lots of time to consider exactly what you envision for the cake designed for this special day. You can never plan too much or do too much taste-testing!
Be sure to consider your venue, your color scheme and the overall feel of your special day. That way, your DIY wedding cake can serve as a distinctive backdrop to this day of celebration.
Creating a DIY wedding cake can be an extraordinary part of the whole wedding experience.
Just remember to give yourself lots of time, and lots of grace. With this in mind, you will rock the DIY wedding cake experience, creating a cake to be remembered.
Have you made your own wedding cake? We'd love to hear about your experience. Share your story with us in the comments.
Featured Image: CC0 via Pixabay