Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wedding Cake Chronicles: An Introduction

Ahem. I have an exciting announcement to make. No mom, I'm not pregnant. I'm baking my first wedding cake!!!! Well, technically it's a "love party" cake for my friends, Bobby and Emma (I believe Bobby coined that one himself). These two love birds are such beautiful, down-to-earth people, I'm just over the moon that I get to contribute to their big day. I love making cakes for special occasions and this is just about as special as they get. Meet Emma and Bobby.


So when is this Love Party taking place? August 11th to be exact. I have two and half months to obsess about cakes. And obsess I shall. I've read blog after blog on first time DIY wedding cakes, I've had some great chats with bakers and cake decorators, I've flipped through books galore, and I've already baked two test cakes. I will be sharing all of my cake learnings here throughout the process. Hopefully this will be a comprehensive go-to guide for those planning their first wedding cake. Here are some initial questions to ask to kickoff the planning process: 

  • How many guests? Or if it's too early to know for sure, a min and max is a good starting point.
  • What is the time and location of reception?
  • Will it be indoor or outdoor, and if outdoor, what are the likely weather conditions?
  • Will there be enough space to assemble and decorate on site? Transporting beautifully stacked cakes sounds like a meltdown waiting to happen.
  • Name and contact info for wedding coordinator.
  • Does the reception venue have cooler space available for cake storage?
  • How many tiers should the cake be? This is both a matter of preference and practicality.
  • Does the couple prefer square or round cakes? Fondant or frosting?
  • What type of cake(s)??? One of the best parts of the planning process, for sure.
  • How will it be decorated? Are their prominent wedding colors or themes? 
  • And once you have all these questions answered, you can start figuring out what baking/assembling/decorating/serving supplies are needed. 

No need to cover all the details now (there will be plenty of follow up posts), but here's the gist of it. Summer wedding Love Party on a farm in Connecticut. 125-150 guests. Three tiered (12", 9", 6") round cake with two different cake flavors: a tiramisu inspired cake for the top and bottom tiers (because it's Bobby and Emma's favorite dessert EVER) and some type of lemon/seasonal berry combo for the middle tier and back-up sheet cake (hoping to get the berry's from the farm they're getting married at!). The final look will be saved as a surprise until the very end. And as with all of my baking, I will be using the very best ingredients available to me, choosing local and organic whenever possible. Not only will this make the cake 10x better, but it will truly be Emma's cake. Her passion for quality ingredients is inspiring.

Here are a couple pictures from my tiramisu test run. My mom and dad's birthday weekend lent the perfect excuse for some extravagant cake baking. Espresso soaked chiffon cake, mascarpone filling with scattered bittersweet chocolate chunks, Italian buttercream. This Tiramisu cake was divine. 

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

Pretty right? I got the cocoa decorating idea and bits and pieces of the recipe off Smitten Kitchen. Everybody loved this tiramisu birthday cake! I'll be experimenting just a tad more with the espresso syrup, type of liquor used (I used brandy in this first cake and it was good but very subtle), and I definitely need to find THE buttercream recipe. Lots to come, including final recipes, my recommendations for supplies, assembly tips, and pictures of the Love Party Cake. Stay tuned!


  1. How honored are we to have the goddess baker extraordinaire, Shanti Star, making my favorite all-time meal: dessert. This is not just a cake folks. It's a temple of love and good spirit. Namaste my love!

  2. How fun! I can't wait to see pics of what you create :)