Topic Title: When to assemble a wedding cake Created On Wednesday March 21, 2012 8:06 PM
Posted: Wednesday March 21, 2012 8:06 PM
I'm doing my first wedding cake in July and am trying to be fully prepared for the upcoming endeavor. I was wondering if any of you fine fellow bakers could help me determine what weight and structure require finishing touches at home or is in absolute need of a disassembled commute. Also, how does the cake cutting work? Do you stick around and pass a few slices or do most caterers come equipped with that action?One last question, I am looking for a guide on what quantity of cakes to provide for a specific number of people. Anybody have one? Thanks so much! Any help would be much appreciated.
Whenever humanly possible, I carry the tiers separately and assemble the cake at the venue. You have to then allow time to add finishes touches such as borders, etc. but there is great piece of mind that comes from not transporting a tower of cake. Plus, a tiered cake is heavy, and the more tiers there are, the heavier it is! That adds a whole new concern to the moving and transporting.
I would say that unless it is arranged beforehand that you are to cut the cake, that you don't have to worry about that. If the caterer doesn't step up to do that job, then someone who is attending the wedding will. You should not have to stick around during the reception unless you have been hired to do so.
This guide, provided here on the Wilton site is invaluable. The slices are a little larger than the standard "wedding cake slice" but it will give you some cushion so that you don't run out of cake if someone does slice the cake on the generous side. There is a similar guide for wedding cakes, but I like to err on the side of too much cake rather than not enough. On the menu to the left there is a selection for Cake. Click that for a whole world of information on this and assembling and so much more.
I also take the cake tiers to the venue separately. It's not worth running the risk of something happening on the way with a stacked cake. I follow the wedding size pieces which are 1 x 2 x 4" high so for example a 14",10",6" round should serve 116 not counting the top tier. (that one is usually saved for the bridal couple's first anniversary) So, you just have to look at the charts and determine how many servings you will need and go from there.
Cake cutting isn't your responsibility unless you're hired to do it. Usually the caterer does it or the bride can ask a friend or family member to do it. Make sure they know how big the pieces should be to get the amount of servings needed.
Bubble tea straws work well to use as supports in the tiers. They're strong and easy to snip off with a scissors rather than having to saw wooden dowells. They're available online or in Asian markets. For the lower tiers which support all the weight, I also put a smaller McDonald-size straw inside of the bubble straws for added security.
All of your frosting, side decorations, supports, ribbon etc. can be done at home so all you have to do is stack the tiers at the venue and apply the borders and flowers or whatever. It also helps to place an extra cardboard over the dowells (same size as what the upper tier is sitting on) so it's easier to set the upper tier onto the cardboard below. More questions, feel free to give us all a holler or you can email me if you want.
I will admit that I have stacked all my cakes at home and dowelled the living daylights out of them. I have never had an issue but ask Salsaman- you only have an issue once to change your ways.
I use bubble tea straws- one less than the cake size above (so if it's a 6" cake, I use 5 straws). I press and seal all of my cake boards to keep them strong. and I centre dowel until I can feel the little point pricking through the cake drum at the bottom.
I have stacked Thursday night for a Saturday wedding. I will admit that It was the most nerve wracking Friday I have ever had. I wished I had a webcam on it so that I could check on it from work. I prefer to do it Friday night.
You can also use the SPS system if you want to move it assembled. Works like a charm.
I have thought about offering a service to cut the cake cause heck- if the cater is going to charge more per slice to cut it than I am making of the darned thing, why shouldn't I offer it...ok maybe not.
I gave up assembling on-site years ago and have never looked back....I HATE finishing cakes at the venue. Now, completed cakes ARE heavy and you will need help carrying them (as I do), but I love to literally "drop n' go"! I saw this method years ago at OSSAS (Oklahoma State Sugar Arts Show) and Marina Sousa used it, so thought I would give it a try!
Good luck! If you would like detailed instructions, feel free to email me at email@example.com
I'm so glad to hear that some of you deliver your cakes assembled. I usually deliver mine partly assembled...a 3 tier fully assembled, 4 tier is delivered in stacks of two tiers each, etc. The last wedding cakes I did I stacked the entire cakes on site and I HATED it!!! I'm going back to pre-stacking from now on!! I have waay less problems that way!
Thank you so much for the welcome! The guide provided for the cake quantities is absolutely agreed " invaluable". I found out that at the venue the bride and mother will be there sort of over seeing the event and the assembly so, hopefully the carefully observing eyes will not be disturbing ones. Thank you so much for the advice! I'm totally going to use bubble straws! What a brilliant idea!
I have a 3 tier cake I am doing for a friend for Sat the 7th. 6,8,10 inch. I bought the SPS system and am hoping that will make things run smoothly. I'm a nervous wreck because she's a good friend and I want to do a good job for her. I'm also a guest so I'll be cutting the cake for her. I jokingly told her I'm not having a drink until we cut that cake! LOL I'm assembling at the venue because there's no way I could lift a 3 tier. Kathy, do you know if I could insert the SPS plates in the 8 & 10 inch and put everything else together on site?
I use the SPS and I have put them together on site and stacked on site with it. If the cake is fondant, i will more likely stack on site because even with something reliable like the SPS, i'm worried that if I had an accident on the way, at least an unstacked cake can be salvaged whereas a stacked caked is going to fly! (crazy, I know!) but if it is a buttercream cake that will have time to come to temp during transport, I'd rather stack completely or leave the top one or two off. I hate trying to get a soft buttercream cake in place with lifters and not being able to use my (gloved) hands like you can with fondant cakes.
As far as moving a heavy cake, I call ahead to the venue to see if they have a bus cart or someone available to help me carry in the cake.
I'm not Kathy, but I put my SPS plates in right after the cake is frosted and before it has had time to chill up hard overnight before delivery. Here is a photo (on my old blog) that shows how i transported this cake boxed and ready to be set up on site (though the site was 5 hours away!) I brought along fondant and an extruder to attach the border once it was stacked. http://www.loriemakescakes.blogspot.com/2010/08/congratulation-in-four-tiers-to-hootie.html