DIY Wedding Cakes

DIY Wedding Cakes for LDS wedding receptions
Photo Courtesy of Watasch Studios

How to Decorate Your Own Wedding Cake

It feels great to have guests marvel over your wedding cake at the reception and be able to grin and say, “I made that.” Making your own wedding cake is something to be proud of, and it’s much more budget-friendly than hiring a professional cake designer. But before pulling out your cake pans and your rolling pin, take a close look at the pros and cons of a DIY wedding cake.

Can I Make My Wedding Cake Myself?

Lots of brides tackle making and decorating their own wedding cakes, but think long and hard about whether you’re up to the challenge before you commit to doing it yourself. Even if you have the expertise, you just might not have the time or the energy to create a culinary masterpiece in the days leading up to your wedding.

Another option is to ask a cake decorator friend or relative for some help. If you are approached by an acquaintance offering pro bono wedding cake decorating, don’t say yes before (tactfully) asking to see samples of their previous work.

Gather Wedding Cake Recipes

DIY wedding cake
Photo Courtesy of Teresa K. Photography

Once you begin to look for wedding cake recipes, you’ll find that there are lots of choices out there for every palate. Old standards like vanilla, white, and chocolate are just the beginning. Cheesecake, carrot cake, fruit cake, red velvet, and coconut-pineapple are also popular favorites.

Research Wedding Cake Design

Choosing your wedding cake design and style starts with good, solid research. Browse bridal magazines, online wedding cake galleries, or even brochures from local bakeries for ideas. Note the sizes, shapes, and styles you naturally gravitate toward.

If a friend is actually doing the baking and decorating for you, make sure that you have pictures or sketches to describe what you want. Also ensure that they feel comfortable with the designs you’ve selected, and feel confident in their ability to do what you are asking.

The DIY Wedding Cake Budget

DIY wedding cakes for LDS receptions
Photo Courtesy of DeLane Robinson Photography

Brides will quickly realize that a DIY wedding cake does not mean a free cake. Just the ingredients for baking and frosting a large wedding cake can cost a hundred dollars or more. Someone will also have to pay for any specialty molds or decorating supplies, as wells as the cost of boxing the cake and transporting it to the reception.

Even if the baker offers to make the cake for only the cost of the ingredients, realize that they’ll be spending hours on your cake. It would be a nice gesture to compensate them for at least some of their time, or leave some extra money in your cake budget to buy them a big “thank you” gift.

Making Your Own Wedding Cake

If you’re making your own wedding cake, it’s highly recommended to do a trial cake. Select your cake recipe and bake a tier of it to make sure you like the taste (make sure your groom has some, too!)

The actual tiers can be made up to a month before the wedding and frozen, although for the best results it’s a good idea to bake no more than one week before the wedding day. The decorating should be done 2-3 days before to allow for any unforeseen disasters, and refrigerated until the day of the reception.

Transporting and Setting up the Cake

Wedding cake for LDS weddings
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Before transporting the cake, box each tier separately and carefully carry them to the car. Use extra caution in hot weather to prevent the icing from melting or sliding – crank the A/C and use coolers.

At the reception site, make sure there are extras of everything you’ll need: sturdy bases to put below each tier of the cake, dowels and dowel cutters to stack and stabilize tiers, and any other pillars, stands, flowers, or decorative items you’ll want to display on the cake table.

DIY wedding cakes are not only cheaper, they’re more satisfying. It feels great to stand back and look at something beautiful that you’ve created with your own two hands. And after all, what better way is there to symbolize what hard work and dedication you’ll put into your marriage?

♥ Jenny Evans
Exclusively for
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