Saturday, October 4, 2008

My First Buttercream Wedding Cake

I was so amazed that I pulled off my first wedding cake!
I have always been inspired by individuals who make such elaborate and delicious cakes. However, I have only recently started doing wedding cakes. In school, I would read tons and tons of wedding cake books on how to assemble and how to bake and make your own wedding cakes. After many years of reading, I finally decided to apply my skills.
I tested many recipes to find the one in which I thought was the right texture for wedding cakes. Typically the cake recipe you use for wedding cakes cannot be too soft and moist because it will not be sturdy enough for hold up for the length of a wedding reception or ceremony. That is why the typical wedding cake would not be a cake that is really light, crumbly and airy for that reason.
The key to making your own delicious wedding cake is preparation, good equipment and quality ingredients. It is very important to prep all ingredients before baking day. It is also key that when you make wedding cakes that you prepare in stages. As a wedding cake baker you will need to make sure you plan accordingly.
The most essential piece of equipment that you will need if you are doing large cakes is a Stand Mixer. This will allow you to save time and mix ingredients more efficiently because a lot of recipes are very time based, which do not allow you time to stop between ingredients.

Prepare 1 Month in advance:
- Buttercream filling for cake layers
- Moistening Syrup / Cake Wash
- Any fondant decorations or sugarpaste flowers to dry
- Line the cake pans with parchment
- Pre -measure the Dry Ingredients
- Order all ingrefients and supplies
- Prepare the single use center of the cake dowel

Prepare 2 days before the Wedding Delivery Day:
- Bake the cake layers
- Defrost the buttercream in the fridge (if frozen)
- Flavor the Buttercream - (like fruit buttercreams)

Sally's Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe
Make two 9" inch round layer cakes

Dry Ingredients:

2 ½ cups Cake Flour
3 tbsp. Potato Starch
1 tbsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. Instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. salt

Liquid Ingredients:

¾ cup. egg whites (about 6 – 7 egg whites)
¾ cup. – whole milk
1/3 cup. – half and half
1 ½ tsp. – Clear Vanilla Extract

Creaming Ingredients:

1 ¾ sticks - Unsalted Butter
2 ¼ c. granulated sugar or extra fine sugar
1 - Vanilla bean pod ( or *2 tbsp of Vanilla Bean paste)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

~Line the bottom of the plans with parchment paper

In separate bowl sift the flour and whisk all the dry ingredients together for about 15 seconds.

Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk to combine; whisking the egg whites will require more effort than usual to incorporate.

Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until creamy and fluffy for 3 - 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile slice the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the creaming butter and sugar mix. Reserve Pod for another use. ( Or add the tablespoons of vanilla bean paste at this time.

3. Add the dry Ingredients mixture alternating with the liquid mixture in 3 -5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Don’t wait for the dry or liquid ingredients to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 minutes.

4. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don’t miss the clumps in the bottom middle of the bowl. Now mix on medium speed for 20 – 30 seconds to develop the batter’s structure.

5. Prepare the pans. Deposit the batter in 3 separate sections of the pan and smooth out with the rubber spatula or an offset spatula. The pans should ½ half full. Drop the pan on the counter a couple of times to settle the air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 35 minutes and transfer to rack to cool.

6. The 9-inch round cakes should cool from about 25 – 30 minutes before removing from the pans. Invert each pan onto a flat surface and remove the layers. Remove the parchment from the bottom of each cake and wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap.

*TIP* - If you are decorating the next day, the cakes can be left out at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap to use on the next day. If assembling cake a couple days later, it is easier to cut the layers if the cake is cold; refrigerate the layers overnight or for up to 5 days before frosting.

~Assembling the cake layers with Buttercream Filling~

Once you have completely baked the cake layers and allow them to cool. You will want to tort each cake layer horizontally in half. One layer of cake will become 2 layers when split in half.

Then brush each layer with moistening syrup (also called cake wash.Once you have brushed the layer with cake wash then pipe the buttercream filling.

Then repeat with the top of the layer. You want to make sure each tier of the cake has a flat bottom piece and that the top layer is the bottom even layer of another layer. So the cake layer will look like this.

So the cake tier is ready to be crumb coated. The crumb coat is just the initial coat of buttercream before the cake gets a final buttercream coat. The crumb coat is the coat where you can have crumbs of cake in the buttercream and the final buttercream coat is to cover all that up so the entire cake is white and has no blemishes :)

**TIP**- If you can buy a ginormous icing tip.. you can cut of the step of the crumb coat and just apply the buttercream over the entire cake and you just have to use an offset spatula to smooth the cake out. Using the icing tip helps save a lot of time and you can refrigerate right away after you smooth out the sides of the cake.

Now that I have the refrigerated cake tiers ready its time to pipe the swirly flower veins with the little leaf borders! Yay..its the fun part of cake making :)

Begin with piping the veins in swirly patterns over the sides of the cake. Use a Wilton round tip #3.

Once done with all the swirly veins, then pipe the leaves along the curves or the intersections of the veins. Use Wilton leaf tip #65 or 66 depending on how big you want the leaves.

The final cake tier will have the veins and lead design already piped on each tier. Only pipe the leaf border on the bottom largest tier, which is already iced on the cake drum. The cake drum is the base of your entire cake.
At this point once the buttercream has firmed up from refrigerating each cake. You will want to insert wooden dowels into each of the lower tiers that will support a cake that is stacked about it. So with the 12 inch cake I used the 9 inch pan to imprint a circle into the cake to know where to line up my dowels. Repeat with the 9 inch cake with the 6 inch pan. We leave the top most tier cake alone because nothing will be stacked on the top tier. That tier is for the bride and groom to keep for their anniversary :)

nce the individual cake tiers are completed. Go ahead and box them up in the correseponding boxes.

The cake tiers I made were 6 ,9 and 12 inches and the boxes I used were 8, 10 and 14 inch boxes. I actually tape 2 cake boards together so that I could put the cake tiers into the boxes without the sides of the boxes ruining my pretty leaf design on the cake. Once the cakes have refrigerated, you will use the pan the size of the tier above and make an imprint in the cake below. This will help you guide where the cake will go when stacked above.

The day of the Wedding has come!!!
About 1 hour prior to delivery you will need to assemble the stacked cake! YAY! Take out all the tiers and then remove the cardboard holding the 9 inch cake and then slowly lift and center the cake onto the top of the 12 inch base cake. Remember to pipe a little buttercream in a circle around the dowels before placing the 9 inch cake down. If its not center, gently press the sides of the cake board until centered. Don't worry if you made some blemishes that can be covered up once you pipe the leaf border on the cakes. Repeat these steps with the 6 inch tier as well.

Now that the cake is stacked. HOOORAY!!

Now.. I really reccommend the ol' dowel through the entire cake trick! ***

**TIP** Sharpen a wooden dowel , measured a couple more inches than the height of your stacked cake. Then push the sharpen dowel through the center of the stacked cake until you hit the cake drum/base. You will need to apply more pressure to get it through the cake boards but it will go through. This will ensure that your cake will not move or shift during the delivery.

When you have the dowel securing the cake in place, you can go ahead and pipe the final leaf design border on the edge of each cake tier. WOW ITS ALMOST COMPLETE>>> YAYAYAY!!!

So the cake is all stacked and ready for transport!! Yay... I order this special occasion box for a transport and cut some foam boards to wedge in the empty space. This is to ensure that the cake doesn't slide around in the box during the delivery.

**TIP** Drive slowly and it helps if you make a sign for the back of the van that says "Wedding Cake on Board!

Here is the cake on the minivan on a non slip mat, make sure the mat is taped to the floor of the van.

Here is the final stacked tier cake at the location. The wooden dowel has been removed and I have piped a little buttercream to cover up the whole for the dowel. At this point the florist can decorate the cake, or if the coordinator has the flowers I can arrange it for the couple as well.

Here is meeeee! FINALLY! Thank you for coming along for the ride :)

1 comment:

LondonCakeLover said...

Choosing unique decorations for a wedding cake is another way to set it apart from the pack. Wedding toppers aren’t just about bride and groom figurines anymore, stick with simple by decorate semi naked wedding cake with white blooms is a way to go!