Making my wedding cake - advice appreciated!

Joined Jan 4, 2016
Hi everyone... just discovered this fantastic forum....

I'm a mad home baker and over the last 2 years, have been making celebration cakes for family and friends, with a few external orders recently, too!

My own wedding is coming up (March 5th, 2016) and have decided, after poor communication from the person initially booked to make my cake, to just make it myself... 

My usual process for making tiered cakes is:

2 days beforehand - bake cakes

1 day beforehand - torte cakes, crumb coating, thick buttercream coating, dripping ganache (if using) stack cakes (with dowels and cake boards)

Day of event - garnish with fresh fruit/flowers/etc.

Our wedding will be on a Saturday -late afternoon/early evening... I'll take the Thursday and Friday off from work, but I'll need to be setting up the venue with my fiance all day Friday (it's very much a DIY affair)....

I plan on making my family's favourite carrot cake (with lots of spices, diced pineapple, shredded coconut, glace ginger, macadamias and pistachios). I usually make this with a honey cream cheese frosting.

My questions are:

1) Will this be suitable to make a few weeks in advance and freeze. If so, are there any tips/tricks I should be aware of (other than making sure the cakes are very well sealed with cling film)

2) I've read of some ppl layering and frosting cakes from frozen... is there anything I should know about if I do this?

3) If I frost the frozen cakes on Thursday, and leave to defrost slowly in the fridge until Saturday morning when I I garnish - will the cakes have defrosted completely? Will the frosting be affected by the thawing cakes? I plan to do everything (frost (semi-naked), add dripping salted caramel and stack cakes on the Thursday, drive the cakes over Friday morning with my fiance, then Saturday morning add some fresh fruit and flowers (should take me an hour, tops on Saturday - so I don't think it will interfere with my getting ready. We will be staying at the venue Friday night and not leaving til Sunday))

4) Melbourne (Australia) weather is notorious for being unpredictable and changeable... March the 5th is the very start of our Autumn (Fall) - weather can be anything from 20 degrees C and pouring rain, to 40 degrees C with bushfire danger... How does cream cheese frosting hold up to hot weather (I usually use Swiss meringue frosting as I find this has good stability - but I don't think the texture/taste will compliment a carrot cake in the same way as cream cheese frosting).

If there are any other suggestions or ideas I would love to hear them - or let me know if there's anything about my plans that you think won't work...

Thank you sooooo much in advance! 

:) Nicole
Joined Sep 9, 2012
My advice is to make a beautiful detailed dummy cake frosted with royal icing to display then make your carrot cake in a layered sheet cake form. You can spend from now until your wedding date not stressing over mishaps or the cake going stale before its served, just relaxing and decorating the foam. No support system needed and the royal will harden nicely for stability. The sheet cake can be made in no time and cut in the back of house.
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Me playing devil's advocate.....

Some cakes can be frozen and defrosted no problem.... and your family's carrot cake recipe sounds delish (that honey CC icing is a brilliant pairing with the carrot cake ;-)

A few things give me pause tho.

Freezing does strange things to fruit and veg.

Release of juices for one.

I would want to defrost that cake and check the integrity of the texture before trying to ice it (I have frozen my carrot cake before and it was ok but I don't use so many add ins).

If it comes thru ok there is also the issue of the moisture from a defrosting cake soaking into the icing and making it runny (and/or soaking back into the cake and making it soggy).

In any case the caramel dripping would be best if done at the venue with the decos just to be safe.

Suggest you do an entire run thru ( bake cake, freeze and defrost on counter to check texture and then start over with another cake and follow your intended plan..all the way to icing the frozen cake and putting back in fridge to defrost, then removing to a warm room to sit for 4-6 hours) and see what happens.

My other concern is the amt of time your icing may be in the danger zone altho if the above run thru proves to be successful the icing may stay cold enuf to be safe to consume (don't guess re the temp...use an instant read thermometer).

My last bit of advice..... teach someone to make this family recipe and let them do it.

You want to look and feel your best on such an important day and adding the worry re a cake on top of everything else is IMO unnecessary and a bit crazy lol!

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Joined Jul 28, 2001
We've done a few wedding cakes over the years. Maybe 20K. I don't think I can recall a bride that wanted to do her own cake enjoy doing it.

If this is your first wedding, I would suggest having someone else do your cake and release that burden. I also can't count the number of frantic brides calling at the last minute asking us to do something for them they had planned to do themselves. The wedding environment is very unusual and one day I'm going to write a book on it. The closer the wedding, the hours seem to pass like minutes.

At best, I would have something to do with your formula ahead of time. Just my 2 cents.
Joined Jan 4, 2016

Just to follow up... I did end up making my own cake... (Pic is above!) My instincts told me it would be fine - and adding the fruit and flowers the morning of the wedding was actually incredibly relaxing... I did a run through of the whole process with a mini 11cm cake which I made, torted and froze, frosted (with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting with fleur di sicilia - both recipes i got from this forum!) and taste tested after letting the cake defrost in the fridge for a day... The mini version (made about 6 weeks before) went perfectly so I made the actual carrot cakes for the wedding about 3 weeks before the wedding... Knowing they were done in advance absolutely put my mind at ease.
Joined Jul 28, 2001
@Nicole McRae  ,

  I'm sorry my post was negative about making you own cake. My poor choice to profile based on your 'at home cook' and what appeared to be a lot of questions. To me, I think that cake is striking! Just enough garnish. Not too busy. Not rustic looking, but not a manufactured look.

  If I had made that cake for my wife I would have been very proud of it. I have not seen to many cakes like that. the placement of fruit and things is well balanced.It is very pleasing to the eye to look at.

Congratulations, I personally think it's a beautiful. I'm convinced that the design reflects you. It's got a lot of personality.

BTW I'm not blowing smoke. I've watched over 10,000 cakes  leave through the back door over the years.

Can I steal that design for personal use?/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif  

Hope you had a wonderful day, Congratulations on your wedding.

Joined Jan 4, 2016
@panini... Your points were all very valid! I'm a home cook (i.e. no formal qualifications) but I bake a lot and have done about 6 large tiered cakes beforehand (for family and friends), and delivered to the birthday party/wedding... I definitely wouldn't have attempted my own wedding cake without that prior experience! 

My main questions were around freezing and working with frozen cakes (as I'd never done that before). Doing the trial run with the mini 11-cm was the way to go to put my mind at ease.

Thanks so much for your compliments regarding the cake... I was absolutely thrilled with how it turned out :)
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