skip to content

FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $60! *Limited to domestic U.S. orders only.

Discussion Forum

Topic: How far ahead of time can you make a wedding cake?
GrandmaKathy 08/25/2009 2:21 PM
Hi, I am new to this site and fairly new to cake decorating. I have made several birthday cakes, baby shower cakes and one wedding cake. My son is getting married in May and I very much want to make the wedding cakes including the groom cake. I work full time so time is limited in making and decorating both cakes. I know I can bake the cakes and freeze them and thaw them out when I'm ready to ice them. My question is how far ahead in advance can I decorate the cakes and still have them be good the day of the wedding? It takes me a long time to ice a cake since I am new at this and don't do it on a daily basis.
I will be taking off work the Friday before the wedding but with so much to do that day I don't know if I will have time to do everything and make the cakes too so I was wondering if I can start a day or so earlier. How well will the icing keep on the cake or how fresh will the cake stay? Is there something I can store it in or should I even do that. I plan on using buttercream icing with maybe fondant flowers or royal icing flowers. I haven't decided yet. Please help! I would appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks.
lovegrace 08/25/2009 3:46 PM
About 4 days is usually the max. I prefer 3. But for a wedding where it's all (or at least MOST) of it is eaten that day, 4 days early would be fine.
GrandmaKathy 08/25/2009 4:25 PM
Thank you. Do I need to put in something like a box to keep ithem covered between the days of working on them?
Jeanne G 08/25/2009 4:32 PM
I learned to decorate in order to make my son's wedding cake, several years ago. It was a very satisfying role -- such a nice addition to the usual MOG role of "wear beige and keep your mouth shut."

You say "It takes me a long time to ice a cake since I am new at this and don't do it on a daily basis." -- Ah, but my friend, by next May you WON'T be new at this! Even if you don't do this daily, each cake you do is more experience under your belt, a little more confidence in your movements, a lot more pleasure in the activity. My son got married in May, too. I took classes in Feb and March, starting from scratch. My slogan was "a cake a day from now till May" -- and I really did do tons of practicing those few months. You have a whole 5 months more than I did. You'll be fine!

If you are hesitating, I say go ahead and committ to doing this. It will be a wonderful experience, and you really and truly will be able to handle it. Say Yes!

You don't need to figure out all the details in August. Just be assured that you can do enough ahead, one way or another, to make the project feasible. Hang around these forums and you'll see plenty of discussions of do-ahead tasks over the next several months.

lovegrace 08/25/2009 5:02 PM
Nope, I don't put them in a box or anything, although you could. Don't cover them in plastic wrap, they need air. I wouldn't use perishable fillings either, then no refridgeration worries
cakes06 08/25/2009 10:29 PM
If you have freezer space, you can bake them a week ahead of time, double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. If the wedding is on a Sat., being that you have alot to do on Friday, take them out of the freezer and get them situated on their boards, filled and crumb coated on Wed. Either put them back in the frig. loosely covered untill Thursday, or leave them out in a cool place. Then, on Thurs. put your final coat of frosting on and decorate. They should be fine until Sat.
GrandmaKathy 08/26/2009 8:25 AM
Ok with the risk of sounding stupid, what do you mean by "filled" when you say filled and crumb coated? Sorry I don't know much about all the little things you have to do, just picking up little bit here and there as I go. I have been going at this cake decorating thing on my own so I'm still learning tricks of the trade.
sweetgrandma 08/26/2009 8:55 AM
filled means putting the filling between the layers....I'd use either buttercream or some other non-perishable one.

Crumbcoat is putting a thin layer of buttercream frosting on the cake to hold the crumbs in and keep them out of the finished frosting. It also keeps it moist. Once the crumbcoat dries you can add the buttercream frosting.
lovegrace 08/26/2009 8:56 AM
"Filled" is when your put your 2 cakes together to form a teir. You put buttercream (typically) or any filling you choose inbetween the layers.

"Torte" is when you actually cut the 2" cake layer in half so you have two 1" layers, fill with filling, and put back together.

So, because each teir is made up of TWO 2" cake layers, you would have FOUR 1" cake layers and 3 layers of filling if you torte. If you don't torte, then you have your TWO 2" cake layers put together with ONE layer of filling, make sense? Your total tier height will be 4" approximately.

Crumbcoating is when you ice your cake with a VERY THIN coat of icing. Then your crumbs stick to that coat, and don't come up when you put your regular coat of icing on.

I'm a visual learner, so I use YouTube a lot for cake decorating. They have many wonderful tutorials!
Jeanne G 08/26/2009 9:09 AM
Wedding cake tiers are usually layer cakes. Typically you bake 2 cakes, 2" high each, put a filling between them, and stack them, making a 4" high cake. If your cake is, say, 3 tiers, you bake 6 layers. Make sense?

Here is an illustrated description of filling cakes:

The filling can be buttercream, jam, preserves, ganache, etc. You life will be much, much easier if your filling is something that can sit at room temperature for a few days. If you use something perishable like mousse or custard or cream cheese frosting then the cake has to stored in the fridge and everything becomes more complicated!

A crumbcoat is just a thin coating that seals the crumbs against the cake so they don't go wandering around in the final frosting. That is where it gets its name, but perhaps an even more important function is to seal in freshness and to give the final frosting a good surface to cling to. I use the same buttercream that I will frost the cake with, but spread it VERY thinnly. You can see the cake through it. It is not pretty -- but it will be covered.

When I freeze cakes I have them already filled and crumbcoated. After they are thawed they are all ready to frost and decorate. That makes the final cake sessions very pleasant!

I baked, filled, crumbcoated, and froze my son's wedding cakes about a month ahead, if I recall. Up to three months is fine.

I wish I had had this discussion board when I did that first wedding cake. I did a lot of trial and error. For example, I wondered if the commercial lemon filling I was using would freeze well, so I made a small layer cake with that filling, froze it, and thawed it the next week to see how it would do. Now days I would just post the question, "has anybody frozen this filling?" and 4 people would assure me they have done it and it works great. It is great to learn from other people's experience!
nabikolo 08/26/2009 9:43 AM

nabikolo 08/26/2009 9:50 AM

please tell us some more about YOUTUBE
lovegrace 08/26/2009 9:56 AM
You go to and do a search for "cake decorating" or "fondant cakes" or whatever you want. Then a list of videos that people have made will come up and you can look through them. Like I said, I'm a visual learner, so seeing someone do the steps is how I learned.
Jeanne G 08/26/2009 10:25 AM
nabikolo, fruit cakes are not used for wedding cakes in the United States. My husband makes a fabulous fruitcake in November that he bastes with brandy until Christmas, but that is about the only time you'll see fruitcake in the US -- the winter holidays.

Isn't it interesting how different food customs are from place to place? Where are you?
GrandmaKathy 08/26/2009 11:38 AM
Thank you for your advice. I thought that was what it was but I wasn't sure. I have done the crumbcoating before but I didn't know that you could fill and crumbcoat and then freeze the cake. That will help me alot so I think I will be attempting to make the wedding cakes for my son. I am either going to attempt make an ice chest filled with beer and ice that I seen on this forum for the grooms cake or a 4 wheeling 4x4 truck. Anybody have any ideas for me?
Jeanne G 08/26/2009 12:38 PM
For the beer chest or the truck, switch over to the Life Celebrations forums. Even though you would using it as a groom's cake, you'll get more exposure for these themes in that forum.
anderson1926 08/31/2009 3:16 PM
Jeanne ~ If I am doing a wedding cake and using a cream cheese, cool whip with raspberries filling could I fill, crumb coat and freeze this also? I love the idea of just taking it out of the freezer and frosting it!