This is the first (and only-- so far) wedding cake that I have ever made. My uncle and his financee asked me to make the cake while they were at my 15th birthday party (well, actually, just decorate, but I'll get to that part in a bit). I was ecstatic and, of course, nervous. A wedding is a very special day, and I didn't want the cake to downplay the event at all-- it had to be spectacular!
Although I definitely think that I did a spectacular job (especially considering I really hadn't mastered the elusive buttercream rose until quite recently at that point), this cake is certainly not a fancy, Ace-of-Cakes expensive, over-the-top cake. That being said, even if this cake didn't cost a couple thousand dollars, in my humble opinion, it turned out beautifully and served its purpose of celebrating a wonderful and special occasion.
Now let's get to specifics. The bottom layer is a chocolate cake (absolutely tasty), but I didn't make it. No problemo. One less thing I needed to worry about. The bride's mother made the two tiers and I must say that she did a delicious job! The top tier was carrot; certainly not my favorite cake flavor, but tasty nonetheless (especially if its homemade as this one was). She also made the cream cheese icing, a nice compliment.
Now my part comes in. I actually got to miss a day of school for this. :) I assembled and decorated at my grandparent's house because they live closer to where the wedding was held. The cream cheese icing was spread over the bottom cake layer in a nice, healthy layer. Most people ice both the layers, then put the top layer on top of the bottom layer. Well, I didn't do that. Probably because the icing wasn't the crusting variety and I was apprehensive about messing up. And I didn't!
It was necessary for me to put dowels in the cake for support. I owe many thanks to my grandpa for cutting them down to the right size for me. After the support was done, and I carefully iced the top tier, the fun part could begin!
(This is turning into quite a long post, isn't it?)
First stop was the buttercream roses. I learned early on that these roses are especially finicky in the hot, Georgia October weather. That's what a ceiling fan is for, huh? :)
The way I do my BC roses is to freeze the cone for a few minutes before preceding with the rest of the petals, so that the base is a bit firmer and easier for me to work with. I also freeze the entire flower before putting it on the cake, that way the icing is firm when I peel it off the wax paper (essential for making BC roses) and plop it on the cake. The icing can then harden while on the cake. Otherwise, I would have to wait for the roses to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours (at least overnight) to harden enough to handle without breakage. I didn't have the time (I did most of the work the day before!), so my method (well, really, the method of my mentor and aunt) worked wonders.
(I used tips #104 and #12 as well as flower nail #9)
To make the roses sparkle, I used Wilton's Elegant Shimmer Dust (which I bought because I thought was pretty... not because I had a specific usage in mind). I lightly brushed the dust on with a new unused make-up brush (no need to get Covergirl all over the cake!), and bam! sparkly roses that matched the bride's dress and shoes!
For the final touch, I felt a boarder was in order. Despite this gut feeling, though, I was apprehensive about learning a new skill on such an important cake. However, I managed to create something very pretty and, although not perfect, really good for the first time. It may be hard to tell in the photograph (or easy, if you know for what you're looking, as I do), but the garland border isn't even. They have these fancy little tools that give you even garlands, but I had to get creative with wax paper and toothpicks. (I have since bought a cake diving set from Wilton.) After I marked with icing with toothpicks, I used a 3 tip to go over the dots so that I knew exactly where to put the border. I haven't done this border in a while, but I'm pretty sure that the wide end of the #104 tip should be touching the cake.
And that is how (in great detail, I might add) I made my first wedding cake. Everything went relatively smoothly, and we put the cake on no-skid mats in the car, and my grandpa carried it in for the reception, so that part went well too. None of my little cousins stuck their fingers in the icing, even though they really wanted to (I think I also told one of them that I would make him a cake one day... I need to work on that). Most importantly, the wedding was beautiful and everyone had a good time! :)
Oh, and I got a really cool cookbook for making a really cool cake. [=