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Wedding Cake Worries (Long with questions)
Posted: 30 April 2009 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello fellow bakers,

Well, it was me who spontaneously offered to bake the wedding cake for friends of mine as a gift.  I’ve never done a tiered cake and my large cakes always seem to be dry.  Let’s just blame it on the Merlot for now.  And yes, me again who decided to whip up a sample cake the evening before Easter for the bride and groom to sample.  6” white butter cake (2 layers) with strawberry cloud filling and an almond flavored neoclassic buttercream.  All CB recipes of course.  They loved the cake (who wouldn’t), thought it was the best they’d ever tasted.  Especially the buttercream.  Gotta love friends with good taste!  The bride said she was “chuffed”, she’s from Englad.  That’s good right? lol

I’m nervous about the project though.

I’ve read and re-read this forum.  Thanks to you all for the many great tips.

Background~ The wedding is May 17TH, evening affair in Phoenix, AZ.  The colors are Black, red, and cream.  We approximate that there will be 180 guests.  She wants a square cake, so I bought 12”, 9”, and 6” pans all 2” high.  I told her that I’d do a half sheet for more cake.  And now the groom wants his own cake so I’ll use the same half sheet pan for his.  The pan measures 12x16x3.  The groom’s cake will either be red velvet with white chocolate cream cheese frosting or yellow butter with a ganache glaze.  I’m thinking I should stick to the yellow butter since I don’t have a great recipe for the red velvet but it seems a shame to deprive the guests of the most spectacular WCBC in the world! 

Do you think I’ll have enough cake?  These aren’t small piece kind of people.  The facility will cut it, should I give them slice specs? 

What in the world was I thinking, doing a whipped cream based filling??  It’s hot out here!  I’m thinking of changing it to a strawberry bavarian cream just for the stability of it all.  She wants fresh strawberry slices incorporated into the filling.  Any suggestions?  They really liked the lightness of the whipped cream filling.

My half sheet pans make the most delicious albeit DRY cakes.  I’ve purchased a rose nail to plunk down into the center of the cake before it bakes, hopefully I can cut my baking time down.  My oven reads the correct temp but that pan seems to need more time than is called for.  I also use the baking strips.  And I’m going to try the honey/sugar substitution.

I should get started, this is a lot of cake.  I just don’t want the cakes to dry out or lose the proper texture by freezing.  And I’ve never had great success with syruping cakes. 

Oh, another thing….I’m thinking of using black ribbon around the bottom tiers.  The ribbon that’s sold at my cake decorating store is more for a powdered sugar type frosting.  They swear it doesn’t bleed through, but I’ve had it happen.  Would grosgrain be better?  Should I soak it first to release any excess dye?  Should I oil it?  Would it even work?  I need to have crisp corners, it’s a square shaped cake.  I’ll chill the cake before applying the ribbon, correct?  And I need to buy a scraper for smoothing out the frosting.  Who was it that described an L shaped scraper for better control?

I’m trying to remember my other questions…...

Anyway, I need to set this project at the forefront of my mind, so any suggestions, etc.  would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Veronica

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Posted: 30 April 2009 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hello, Mocharoni

The wedding cake pros will be by shortly, but I did have a few thoughts:

Regarding the strawberry filling, you could try stabilizing it with agar, which has a higher melting point than gelatin.  Or, you could just go with a cooked puree stabilized wiith agar.  Or, you could lighten the agar-puree with italian meringue (similar to Rose’s lemon illusion).  And there’s always strawberry mousseline, very stable.

You could try making a band with dark chocolate, it wouldn’t be perfectly black but it would be edible!

Good luck and consider posting pics!

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Posted: 03 May 2009 12:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hello all

Just as Mocharoni has, I too have offered to do a cake for my niece as a wedding gift [and yes I was drinking wine!!].  How about all of you doing a “two for one” and helping me along as I “tag along” and we can both get the job done.  Some of my issues are the same as Mocharoni’s especially regarding the filling [strawberry fruit cloud cream, page 264]. 

The planned components:
-cake will be rose’s favorite yellow cake [recipe on this site] which is the same one in TCB on page 35 called “sour cream butter cake”.
-3 tiers, 6-9-12 which serves 150 “wedding cake size” servings
-I need 250 servings. 
-each tier must have 4 layers and therefore 3 layers of filling
-fillings will be 1 layer of lemon curd [page 340 in TCB] and 2 layers of strawberry cloud cream filling. 
-covering will be moussseline BC maybe with almond flavoring? 


My issues [for now, more to follow I am sure]:
1.  The strawberry cloud filling- how long can the cake sit out at room temp in the hall?
2.  The lemon curd filling - how long can the cake sit out at room temp in the hall?
3.  Will the strawberry cloud filling be firm enough to support the weight of the cake layers? 
4.  Any ideas on how I can add almond flavor to the buttercream?

Depending on the answers to these questions, we may need to go back to the drawing board.  The wedding is June 20th.

Any help is appreciated

Thanks, Valerie.

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Posted: 03 May 2009 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I would suggest doing buttercream instead of the whipped cream filling because this is your first tiered cake.  That alone has a lot of stress associated with it, and you don’t want to add to that by having a filling that can soften and possibly cause some issues for you.

I don’t like to use mousse, whipped cream or pastry cream in wedding cakes because they sit out for a lot longer than celebration cakes.  You’re working on the decorations in your kitchen for however long it takes, then there’s the transport time, then the cake has to be there an hour or so before the guests arrive, and then it is cut after the reception begins so it’s usually out for three hours at least.  Don’t invite trouble smile to the wedding, is my motto!

I use chopped fresh berries in a strawberry buttercream - I use a dam of buttercream around the edge, scatter the chopped berries on the cake, then put buttercream on top of that, making sure each berry is submerged in the buttercream.  Use a sharp knife to cut the berries and that will help minimize any bruising and prevent the berries from weeping too much.

For serving sizes, I use Earlene’s serving chart which is on her website: http://www.earlenescakes.com - by these calculations, a 12/9/6 square serves 100 so you’ll need some extra cake. 

When using ribbon against buttercream the ribbon will absorb the fat from the butter and discolor.  It might not be as noticeable with black ribbon.  I like to use a double sided satin ribbon.  You might need to use two layers of ribbon; one will absorb the fat and the other will stay clean and true to color.

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Posted: 03 May 2009 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jeanne

Thank you for the advice.  I will follow it! The wedding cake is sorted out. 

I have come to realize that a good cake is more than baking, it is an exercise in logistics!  Always thinking of the end product, and the variables that will affect it right?  This forum has helped me so much. 

While I was planning the wedding cake [butter cake, lemon curd, strawberry cloud cream], my Mum was my tester for the fillings and she commented on how much SHE would love a cake with those flavors.  Since I will not be using it for the wedding, I thought why not make it for her for Mother’s day as I really want to use that combo somehwere for someone.  It is SOOO good!

Here is what I am planning for her Mother’s day cake:  10” round, 3 layer buttercake with lemon curd filling and strawberry cloud filling [all from TCB] covered in mouselline BC which I will flavor with almond.

My questions about the Mother’s day cake are as follows:

1.  How long can the whipped cream strawberry cloud filling and lemon curd filling sit out when I serve it?  I will keep it chilled during the
    preparation phases unless I am directly working on it [I will make some flowers ahead out of gumpaste and place them on it] and there
    will be minimal piping and details.  It is once it is cut that I am concerned about.     

2.  The butter cake with buttercream [Rose’s mouselline] can be chilled but should be brought to room room temperature to eat, right?  So, it
    should not be served cold, from the fridge.  How long will a 10” cake take to come to room temperature, do you think?

3.  I have had wonderful cakes in the past that have the cream fillings and are eaten cold.  What kind of cake could be used that could be
    eaten cold?  I was thinking it might be genoise but the cakes I have had are heavier than genoise, not as delicate and more like a “sponge”
    but with the texture more like a butter cake.  Any ideas? 

4.  If the mouselline buttercream can not be eaten cold, do you have a suggestion for a covering that is good cold?  I was thinking maybe the
    mousses, cloud creams, stabilized whipped creams in TCB.  Any favorites?

5.  Is is the butter that dictates that the cake be eaten a room temperature?  If so, could a cake made with shortening or oil be
    eaten cold?  Rose does not have a recipe for these oil cakes [except chiffon].  I generally do not deviate from TCB but I can see the need
    for a “good” shortening or oil based cake with the textrue close to a buttercake which could be eaten cold.  Am I on the right track?

Reading through this post, I see that I am now off topic from the [initial topic was wedding cake].  Being quite new to the posting process and “etiquette”, should I be doing something different now?  Or, can we just continue a conversation here?

Thanks
Valerie

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Posted: 03 May 2009 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Valerie, the Cake Bible’s sidebar for Cloud Cream says to remove the cake from the refrigerator up to 2 hours before serving.  If your cloud cream is only used for a filling and not on the outside, and your cake is large, you may be able to leave it out a little longer, but I don’t know how much longer.  Lemon curd is a little more sturdy, you can definitely leave it out for the amount of time that the cloud cream is out.

Regarding a cake to serve cold, look for one with no butter.  This could be genoise made with oil instead of butter (see TCB Genoise au chocolate, nut oil variation), or, more likely, Biscuit de Savoie.  Biscuit has no butter and makes great chilled cakes.  Just be sure to use the full amount of syrup.  Compared to genoise, it has a springier texture with a more open crumb.

As for Almond flavoring for mousseline, consider Amaretto, or a homemade nut liqueur (soak toasted chopped nuts in half water/half vodka).

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Posted: 03 May 2009 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hi Valerie - Welcome to the forums! 

For the Mother’s Day cake, I’d take the 10” cake out of the fridge about 1-2 hours before you want to cut and serve it; I sometimes tell clients not to leave it in direct sunlight next to a window.  You’d need an hour if you use a cream filling; longer if it is a buttercream filling.

Butter cakes benefit from a simple syrup splash - many people perceive a butter cake as dry when it’s just that they’re more used to the texture of a cake mix cake; the syrup will add moisture and helps to minimize the “dry” perception.  It is also better to eat it at rm temp.  If you have a good recipe that uses shortening or oil, by all means, use it.  The outside buttercream will be cold and not as delicious to eat (all people will taste is cold butter) but if that’s the only buttercream, you’d be fine for an hour at rm temp.

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Posted: 04 May 2009 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks for the replies, and welcome to the forum, Valerie!

I think I’ve finalized my baking plans, let me know what you all think…...

I’ll do the white butter cake, 3-4 layers torted with strawberry conserve and a super super stabilized strawberry fruit cloud.  I’ve filled cupcakes with super stabilized whipped cream for outside events with no ill effects, so I’m certain the fillings will hold up for the wedding.  As much as I’d love to try the mousseline buttercream, I just don’t have the time to test it out, so almond neoclassic buttercream it is.

The groom’s cake will be a red velvet with white chocolate cream cheese filling, and covered with a poured dark chocolate ganache.  I did this cake for a funeral a few weeks ago, pics are included.  It was moist but too crumbly.  Everyone loved it though, the WCCC makes this cake special.  I’ll try the honey conversion beforehand and post results.

I’ll get some double satin ribbon, a chocolate band may be too troublesome for me with no experience.  But I’ll try it soon, chocolate is my favorite!

The cake decorations will be up to me, so I’m thinking of using a floral or damask stencil using black royal icing.  The groom is a musician, so maybe a music stencil to surround his sheet cake.  I’ve save some pretty cool inspiration pics to my computer.

Question, how tall is too tall for each tier?  Is 6 inches OK?

Veronica

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Posted: 04 May 2009 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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A 6” tall cake slice will flop over the edges on a standard size dessert plate.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks for the tip, I’ll make the layers shorter.

So, I did a practice red velvet cake in my big pan.  I’d hoped that the cake would rise to 3”, but not so.  I’ll give the recipe and my technique for mixing and baking.  Let me know if any of you have any tips.  Because the cake pan was so big, I did the batter in 2 batches.

1C vegetable shortening

2 eggs

1.5 c superfine sugar

1 Tbsp cocoa powder ( sorry, forgot that in my first post)

1 oz. red food coloring

2.5 c cake flour (dip and sweep method)

1 tsp salt

1 C buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vinegar

I sifted the flour, salt, and cocoa powder first.  Then I creamed the sugar, eggs, and shortening together.  To that I added the food coloring and then added the flour mixture and buttermilk by thirds until fully incorportated.  I beat the batter for about 20 seconds at each flour/buttermilk addition. 

Then I transferred the batter to a large glass bowl and repeated the process for the second batter.  Afther transferring the second batch to the first, I folded in 2 tsp of baking soda and 2 tsp of vinegar.  I thought this would be the best way to go, I didn’t want to mess with the leavening ingredients before I had to.  I believe I mixed them in adequately.

Pics are included, I’ll post the finished product in just a few minutes.

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Posted: 10 May 2009 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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After spreading the batter and inserting a rosenail, I baked the cake for 50 minutes.  The sides were just starting to separate from the pan.  I used cake strips.  The cake didn’t rise nearly as much as I’d liked.  I’d have been satisfied with 2”, but from the pics you can see that the sides are 2”, but the very center measures 1.25 inches.  Any thoughts on what went wrong?  I’m going to post a pic of the cake after it’s leveled (in just a minute).

Oh, I lowered the rack in my oven so that the cake would be centered.  This is the only thing I’ve done differently.  And no convection baking.

V

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Posted: 10 May 2009 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The cake is very moist and I like the texture of this cake better than the last I did ( see glaze covered pics above).  It’s a different recipe.  This one I use for my 9” layer cakes.

And for some strange reason, I have a notation in my CB under the mouselline BC.  That would have to mean that I’ve made it before, right?  So I’m going to whip up a batch tonight and maybe crumb coat the cake.  I can rebeat it tomorrow for the final coat.  I’m going to play around with my new stencils I got in the mail smile  I’ll cut the cake in half to make it taller.  What?!......no midnight bakers out there?  My kitchen is finally cool enough for frostings! lol

TIA for all the suggestions…....

V

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Posted: 14 May 2009 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Big baking weekend is upon me.  The red velvet held up very well in the fridge, very moist and better tasting after the first day.  So I’m going to bake the layers and put them in the fridge today (or this evening).  My friend loaned me her 6 qt Kitchenaid, so I have 2 mixers.  And I bought the Professional 600 so this will never happen again! lol

I’m almost done with the prep work, as we speak I’m working on my third batch of strawberry conserve.  I’m doing 4x the recipe, and didn’t know whether I couold double the recipe.  I’m going to stabilize it with agar, but I have no experience with it.  Should the conserve be warm when it’s added?  I do know I’ll have to dissolve the agar.  How firm does the mixture get, and how fast?  I’m using a white cake and I don’t want it to be liquidy on the cake and stain it badly.  Anyone have experience?

I’m going to make the mousseline buttercream tonight.  I’m also going to take the advice to use Amaretto.  I do have some concerns though.  Will it taste like alcohol?  Will making it a couple days ahead mellow the flavor?  I’m also concerned about the color.  Will my buttercream be much darker?  Is there any other almond flavored liquer I coulld use that’s maybe clear?

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Posted: 14 May 2009 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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mocharoni - 14 May 2009 08:40 PM

I’m going to make the mousseline buttercream tonight.  I’m also going to take the advice to use Amaretto.  I do have some concerns though.  Will it taste like alcohol?  Will making it a couple days ahead mellow the flavor?  I’m also concerned about the color.  Will my buttercream be much darker?  Is there any other almond flavored liquer I coulld use that’s maybe clear?

The alcohol will dissipate after awhile and it will not taste of alcohol. It will definitely mellow. I don’t think your buttercream will change colour that much with the Amaretto.

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Posted: 14 May 2009 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Thanks Rozanne.  The bride wants a cream colored buttercream anyway, so I won’t worry about it.

Thanks again!

Veronica

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Posted: 14 May 2009 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Mocharoni, you are going to use agar to firm up strawberry conserve to use by itself as a filling, is that right?  If you are working with the powder, it needs to be soaked a while first in a little liquid (conserve or water), them simmered until dissolved.  This takes longer with agar than with gelatin, maybe five minutes.  Agar also sets at a higher temp than gelatin, so it’s not a bad idea to add it to the rest of the conserve while the conserve is still warm, around 100-110F.  And depending on how much you use, you may find it hard to spread if you let it set completely before spreading it on the layers, so plan on putting it on while still a little warm, with a buttercream dam around the edges to hold it in until set.  If you are worried about it staining the cake, you can either spread a very thin layer of BC first, or, I had the idea that you could use the cake pan to mold a layer until well set, then set the intact layer on the cake.  I haven’t done that, and it would be hard to keep the thin layer from tearing while handling it, but it might be worth a try.

Good Luck!

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