To be totally honest, making your own wedding cake is not for the faint of heart. It’s for brides like Jess, who have a love of crafting, baking and DIYing running through their veins. But for those brides up to the challenge, we’ve got the step-by-step to make the whole process stressless as can be. And the end result? Pretty darn sweet.

From Jess’s Mom, Dawn Carberry…
This recipe is for 150 guests. It makes a 3 tier wedding cake (12”, 9”, 6” stacks) and two 9”x13” sheet cakes for serving. If you want to calculate how much cake & frosting you’ll need for a different number of guests, I highly recommend looking in the The Cake Bible which has very mathematical calculations for determining the amounts needed.

Equipment

(2) Kitchen Aid Standing Mixers (borrow an extra from a friend if you can!)
Cake Stacker System that included 12”, 9” and 6” rounds (optional- helps keep the cake secure while transporting)
Wilton Large Bake Even Cake Strips
Regency Round Parchment Paper – 12”, 9” 6”
Rectangular Cake Boards – 10” x 14”
Cake Flower Nail (spray with pam) – used in center of 12” pans to help the cake center bake
Nordic Ware Cake Lifter
Battery Operated Flour Sifter
Wilton Aluminum Performance Round Cake Pans, 2” deep x 12”, 9”, 6”
Wilton Aluminum Performance Rectangular Sheet Pan – 9” x 13”
Cooling Racks
Offset Spatulas for frosting
Candy Thermometer

Timeline

One Week Prior
Gather all the ingredients & equipment. Remember that each recipe needs to be made in multiple batches, so be sure to buy multiples of the ingredients as well! If you can, enlist a helper for the frosting & cake mixing days to cut your time in half.

Three Days Out
Clear out your fridge and freezer to make a lot of room for the cake. Re-arrange the shelves in the fridge so that you will have room for the height of the tiered cake. Make 25 cups Almond Italian Meringue Buttercream. Blend 8 cups of the buttercream with 2 cups Strawberry Puree (or to taste) and reserve for filling. Set the rest of the buttercream aside for the final frosting.

Two Days Out
Make 5 double batches of the Almond Sour Cream cake batter. Bake all cakes. You will need 2 layers of each 12”, 9”, 6” cake, and 2 layers for each 9×13” cake. Let the layers cool. Trim the tops so they’re level and split each layer in half. Spread almond simple syrup on each cut side to seal and retain moisture in the layer. Fill layers with Strawberry Buttercream and stack so that each cake size is now a 4 (half) layer cake. Make sure each stacked cake is level (eyeball it and/or use a ruler). Cover cakes with thin layer of buttercream frosting. Freeze cakes until the frosting is firm. Take out, wrap well in saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze overnight.

One Day Out
Unwrap cakes. Use the offset spatulas to frost each with a thick layer of buttercream. Stack the round cakes (use the cake stacker system if desired). Pipe on any frosting decorations.

Day of the Wedding
Add on fresh flowers for garnish, if desired. Carefully drive cake to the reception venue and hand off to the catering staff.

 

Almond Italian Meringue Buttercream
Make 5 batches (25 cups)
Adapted from Warren Brown’s CakeLove Book

ingredients

5 large egg whites
1 ¼ cups extra-fine granulated sugar
¼ cup cold water
1 lb unsalted butter (at room temperature- about 35-45 mins out of the fridge)
1 tsp almond extract
Candy thermometer
1 quart saucepan

directions

step-1Slice the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside.
step-2Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into the saucepan and stir gently. Pour the remaining ¼ cup sugar into a small bowl and set aside. Place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the sugar water over medium-high heat. Partially cover with a lid.
step-3While the sugar syrup is cooking, separate the egg whites into a standing mixer (fitted with the wire whip attachment). With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue.
step-4Pour the ¼ cup of sugar into the meringue while the mixer is running, and keep whipping.
step-5Bring the sugar syrup to 245°F (raise the heat if you need to). When the syrup is at 245°F, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue while the mixer is running. After a few minutes reduce the mixer speed to medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled. Add the almond extract, then add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.

* Makes 4-5 cups buttercream

 

Strawberry Puree
Make 2 batches
Adapted from Local Kitchen

ingredients

5 cups (20 oz) fresh strawberries, frozen overnight (freezing overnight helps fresh berries to release their juice)
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt

directions

step-1Thaw the strawberries completely in a colander over a bowl to collect the juices. This will take several hours at room temperature, or you can slowly defrost them in the microwave (do not allow berries to cook). Press on the berries to force out the juice, about 1 ¼ cups.
step-2Boil the juice in a small saucepan, until it is reduced to ¼ cup (the juice will thicken and become syrupy).
step-3Puree the strawberries in a food processor, making about 1 liquid cup of puree. Stir in the reduced strawberry juice, lemon juice and salt.

* Makes 1 ¼ cups puree. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days.

 

Almond Simple Syrup
Make 5 batches

ingredients

6 Tbs Sugar
2/3 Cup Water
3 Tbs Almond flavored liqueur such as Amaretto

directions
step-1Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
step-2Cover with a tight fitting lid, remove from heat and cool completely.
step-3Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and stir in liqueur. If syrup has evaporated slightly, add more water back in to equal 1 cup syrup.

* Makes 1 cup simple syrup.

 

Almond Sour Cream Cake
Make 10 batches
Adapted from Win Beckler

ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 whole eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp almond flavoring

directions

step-1Preheat oven to 325° F. Prepare pans by brushing with shortening and coating with flour. Wrap with Bake Even cake strips, and place cake flower nail (flat side down) in the center of the 12” pan.
step-2In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine flour, salt, sugar, & baking powder, stirring by hand. Add remaining ingredients and mix with the mixer on low speed. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes until well blended.
step-3Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325° F until the center of each cake is done. You can test by inserting a toothpick in the center- when it comes out clean, the cake is done. A rough estimate of the time it took to bake was 20-25 mins for the 6” pan, 25-30 mins for the 9” pan, and 35-40 mins for the 12” and large rectangular pans.

* Makes approx. 5-1/2 cups batter.

 

Photography: Style Me Pretty