Our cookery editor Sue McMahon shows you how to make and decorate a wedding cake with tips on baking, icing and decorating this stunning cake.
How to make a wedding cake: Baking the cake
How to make a wedding cake: Covering the cake
- 15cm (6in) cake, 20cm (8in) cake, 25cm (10in) cake
- Rum: 2 tablespoons, 4 tablespoons, 6 tablespoons
- Apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam: 3-4 tablespoons, 4-6 tablespoons, 6-8 tablespoons
- White marzipan: 500g (1lb), 600-750g (11⁄4-11⁄2lb), 750-1kg (11⁄2-2lb)
- Pink sugarpaste, eg, Regalice: 600-750g (11⁄4-11⁄2lb), 1-1.25kg) (2-23⁄4lb), 1.5-1.75kg (3-31⁄2lb)
- 500g packet royal icing sugar, made up
- White powder lustre colour, eg, Squires Kitchen Metallic Lustres Snowflake
- Rose water, alcohol based, eg, Star Kay White
- 15cm (6in) round cake card, 20cm (8in) round cake card, 35.5cm (14in) round cake drum
- Spare cake drum 20cm (8in) round or larger, and spare
1/ Cut the top of the cake level, if necessary, upturn it and place 2 smaller cakes on cake cards and largest cake on cake drum. The 2 smaller cakes should then be placed on larger spare cake drums, just while they are being covered. Spoon rum over the tops of the cakes and leave it to soak in and moisten. Warm glaze or sieved jam and use a palette knife to spread it over the top and sides of the cake. Knead the marzipan to soften and then roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar so it’s large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake. Lift the marzipan over the cake, and press it down over the top, then ease in the fullness around the sides.
2/ Cut away the excess marzipan around the base of the cake. Use the icing smoother and/or sidescraper to rub the surface of the marzipan smooth.
3/Knead sugarpaste to soften it and roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar until it’s large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake, and for the largest cake to cover the top of the cake drum, too. Brush water over the marzipan and lift the sugarpaste over the cake and cover the same way as for the marzipan. Rub the surface smooth. If there are any air bubbles, then pierce the sugarpaste using the scriber tool or pin, press the air out and then rub over the surface to disguise the hole.
4/ For the largest cake, it’s easier to use a turntable if you have one, and brush water over the top of the cake drum as well as the marzipan. After lifting the sugarpaste over the cake as in Steps 1-3 press the sugarpaste against the cake drum, too, and then cut away any excess around the edge of the cake drum, smooth and re-trim if necessary.
5/ To make a template for the sides, wrap a piece of narrow baking parchment around the largest cake and cut it so it fits perfectly around the cake. Mark it into a 2cm (3⁄4in) grid. Use a couple of pins to hold it in place around the cake, taking care only to stick the pins into the icing and not right through to the cake. Use the scriber tool or pin to mark dots around the cake, at each point where the lines cross. Remove the template and use it to mark the middle and top tiers.
6/ Stack the cake with dowelling in the bottom and middle tiers — 4 pieces in each one — to support the weight of the tiers above. Cut a square of baking parchment as a guide for positioning the dowels, spreading them out as far as possible while ensuring they will be covered by the cake above. Insert dowel into the cake at a corner of the baking parchment, until it touches the cake drum. Mark the height of the dowel at the level of the sugarpaste and then remove it from the cake. Cut that dowel and 3 others to the same length and then insert each of them at the corners of the square template and remove the template.
7/ Spread some royal icing between the dowellings and then slide the next-sized tier off the spare board on top, leaving it on the thin cake card. Repeat the stacking, placing the smallest cake on top.
8/ Cut the end off the piping bag, fit with the piping tube and fill it with royal icing. Pipe a “snail’s-trail” border — a fine piped beading — around the base of each cake, to hide the joins.
9/ Pipe dots over alternate, marked holes and then leave them to dry.
10/ Mix some of the lustre colour with the rose water and paint over the dots and the snail’s-trail.
11/ Use royal icing piped on to the back of the flowers to stick a flower over each alternate hole. Fill the posy pic with some of the pink sugarpaste and press it centrally into the top tier. Press the wired flowers into the posy pick on the top tier, so the wires go into the pic and not the cake. Use double-sided sticky tape or a glue stick to attach ribbon around the base cake drum.