This is a three tiered, stacked cake, with cream cheese icing, decorated with beads, ribbon and chocolate roses. I cooked three different cakes, one caramel mud cake, one white chocolate and raspberry mud cake and one gluten free butter cake. However, I was only happy with how one of the cakes turned out, so I would recommend sticking with one recipe for your cakes, that you know is good, and that you have been successful with before.
All up it took me about 20 hours of effort.
I hope that this instructable will give you some great tips, ideas and lessons learnt for if you want to tackle your own wedding cake project.
Step 1: Construct a Timeline
Keep in mind:
- How long will it take to bake the cakes?
- Do the cakes need to sit before they can be iced?
- How long will it take to ice the cakes?
- Does the icing need to set before decorating?
- How long will it take to decorate?
- How long will it take to buy anymore supplies that you may need?
Things that can be prepared in advance:
- Prepare the cake decorations (e.g. stringing beads, preparing ribbon, chocolate roses)
- Prepare cake bases and lining for tins (cut out cardboard bases for cakes, cut out baking paper for tins)
- Shop for all required materials and ingredients
- Since the cakes I made are mud cakes these can even be prepared ahead of time, mud cakes taste better if they're left to rest at least 3 days before eating them, and they also freeze really well, so you can make them as far in advance as you wish
Step 2: Materials
- Cake tins - note that spring form tins will not work for the recipe I've provided, since the cake mix will seep out the bottom
- Baking paper
- White chocolate
- Self raising flour
- Brown sugar
- Thickened cream
- Icing sugar
- Cream cheese
- Icing sugar
- Wooden dowel
- Pencil sharpener that is big enough for the dowel
- Medium base cardboard
- Baking paper
- Sticky tape
- Fishing line
- Sticky tape
- Cotton - to string the beads
- White and dark chocolate
- Melon baller
- Marble slab (Could probably use a plate or maybe a chopping board instead here)
Step 3: Recipe
Also, don't forget to take volume into account when calculating the recipe changes for different tin sizes, otherwise you may end up with too little, or too much cake mix! A spreadsheet works wonders for this step!
In case you're interested, I used the volume of a cylinder to figure out the recipe changes to make. My original recipe was for a 9 inch cake tin, which is 3 inches high, this gives a volume of 190.85 cubic inch (Pi x (radius x radius) x height - (3.14 x (4.5 *4.5)) * 3). I divided each of the ingredients by this amount, to get the amount needed for each cubic inch. Then I calculated the volumes for each of my tin sizes, and multiplied each tins volume, by the amount of each ingredient required for 1 cubic inch. (See the attached spreadsheet)
For a Caramel mud cake the recipes for each of the tin sizes I used are as follows:
- 276 grams of white chocolate
- 474 mls of water
- 316 grams of castor sugar
- 177 grams of butter
- 2.3 eggs
- 316 grams of self raising flour
- 432 grams of white chocolate
- 740 mls of water
- 493 grams of castor sugar
- 277 grams of butter
- 3.7 eggs
- 493 grams of self raising flour
- 622 grams of white chocolate
- 1066 mls of water
- 711 grams of castor sugar
- 400 grams of butter
- 5.3 eggs
- 711 grams of self raising flour
This recipe has several yummy variations:
Replace the brown sugar with white sugar
Replace water with orange juice, and brown sugar with white sugar
Omit 50 to 100g of flour for ground hazelnuts, and white chocolate for dark or milk chocolate, and replace brown sugar with white sugar
Lemon and Poppy Seed
Replace 1/3 of the water amount with lemon juice, and brown sugar for white sugar
Replace brown sugar with white sugar, and white chocolate with milk or dark chocolate
Step 4: Ready, Set, BAKE!
Line your tins with baking paper. Trace the outline of your tin onto baking paper, cut two of these circles out, one to line the bottom, and one to place on the top of the cake mix, to help is rise evenly. Also cut a strip of baking paper that is about three inches taller, and long enough to fit around the circumference of your tin. About one inch of this extra space is folded up and cut into slits, to sit on the bottom of the pan, and the rest sits above the lip of the tin, giving the cake extra room to rise without spilling out of the tin.
I like to put a little bit of butter around the edge of the tin to help the baking paper stay in place.
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Heat the butter, chocolate and water, in a saucepan, over low heat, until it is melted and smooth. Cool the chocolate mixture slightly before continuing onto the next step.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, now slowly mix the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs.
Now whisk the sugar and flour into the chocolate mixture, I like to mix the sugar in first, then use a sifter to gradually mix the flour in, while sifting at the same time. You want to make sure you don't get any lumps of flour in this step. Mix until it is smooth. You will end up with a very runny cake mix, don't worry, this is normal, this is why we can't use a springform pan, otherwise the mixture will seep out the bottom.
Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin, place the second baking paper circle on top, and place into the oven, for a cake that is 8 inches in diameter, it will probably take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook. After 45 minutes start checking whether it is cooked every so often by inserting a knife or skewer into the middle, cook it until the knife/skewer comes out clean. I found that a knife worked better for this step.
Once your cake is cooked take it out of the oven, cut the excess baking paper off of the top, so that it's easier to turn out of the pan. It is best for this step if you have two baking trays that are the correct size for your cake, turn it out onto one, then flip it over so it's resting on it's bottom onto the other.
Let the cake cool
Mud cakes freeze really well, I've tried freezing this recipe before, and it was still delicious after being defrosted! For the best taste, you should also let the cakes sit for three days before they are eaten. Though, they still taste great if you don't have that long to let them sit :)
Also, mud cakes are best served at room temperature, so don't worry so much that it will sit out for so long at the reception.
Step 5: Layer It Up
Place toothpicks along the halfway mark all around your cake.
Now take some new fishing line, wrap it around the cake, placing it underneath the toothpicks, as if you're going to tie it onto the cake, instead of tying it up though, pull each end of the fishing line.
Keep pulling until you have cut cleanly through the cake.
This should leave you with two even layers
You can do this step before putting the cake in the fridge, but will probably need to repeat it when you take it back out, my layers stuck together again after being in the fridge.
Step 6: Delicious Fillings
Ingredients (Makes enough for a three tiered cake )
- 900 mls of thickened cream (don't use light cream, as it doesn't have enough fat to whip properly, you need at least 35% milk fat in cream for it to whip)
- 125g of Oreo cookies
- 3-4 tablespoons of icing sugar (just to sweeten the cream a bit)
Crush the Oreo cookies, I used a food processor, but you crush them in a freezer bag if you don't have a blender or food processor
Whip the thickened cream until it has stiff peaks
Add the icing sugar, you can add more or less, depending on how sweet you want it. Keep in mind that the cake is also very rich though
Mix the crushed Oreos into the whipped cream
Cover the bottom layer of the cake with the filling, once done, place the top layer back on.
Fill in any gaps with the filling, and smooth it out, to get ready for the icing step
Step 7: Cream Cheese Icing
Ingredients(Makes enough for a three tiered cake)
- 8 x 250g packets of Cream Cheese
- 500g icing sugar (I used soft icing sugar, to make sure it didn't clump up, and mixed in well)
- 500g butter
You will probably need to make the icing in batches, I made a batch for each cake
Leave cream cheese and butter out for a few hours to come to room temperature
Trace each of your cake tins onto cardboard, cut out a base for each of the cakes, I like to stick some baking paper on the cardboard as well.
Beat the cream cheese with the butter, beat in icing sugar. Don't add all of the icing sugar at the same time, add a little bit at a time, so you can make sure that it doesn't get too sweet
Now we will put a thin layer of icing on the cake, called the crumb layer, this will prevent crumbs getting on the final layer of icing. It is helpful to place the icing for the crumb layer into a separate bowl, so that we don't get any crumbs in the final icing.
Put the final layer of icing on the cake, try to smooth it out as much as possible, this is where a cake decorating spatula comes in handy.
Make a bowl of boiling water, preferably big enough that you can dip your entire spatula into it. Dip the spatula into the boiling water, wipe the spatula dry with a clean tea towel, now run the hot spatula over the icing to smooth it out even more.
Step 7 (Optional)
If you want an even smoother finish, after putting the iced cake in the fridge for half an hour or so, until the icing has set a bit, you can smooth it out even further with good quality baking paper, or paper towel. Lay the paper over a section of icing that you wish to smooth, rub your hand over the area to smooth out any imperfections.
Keep some leftover icing for later steps
Step 8: Stack the Cakes
Starting with the bottom layer, cut several lengths of straws that are the same height as the cake layer, these will be supports for the next layer of cake,
Use the next layers cake tin to estimate where the next layer will sit.
Insert straw supports in the cake layer where the next layer will sit. Try to keep center of the cake free, as we will be putting another support there once the cakes are all stacked.
Place the next layer on the cake, and continue adding supports for the next layer
Now we will prepare a piece of dowel, which will be pushed through all of the layers of cake, to prevent the cake from moving during transportation.
Cut the dowel to the height of your stacked cake. Using a pencil sharpener, sharpen the end of the dowel to a sharp point.
Push the dowel down the middle of the stacked cakes.
Cover the hole in the top of the cake with leftover icing, or just cover it with decorations
Now cover up any dents made in the icing with leftover icing, you could also use a piping bag to cover up gaps where the cakes meet
Step 9: Decorate Away
If you are going to use ribbon with cream cheese icing, then cover the back of the ribbon with sticky tape first. Otherwise moisture from the icing will seep through the ribbon.
Melt the chocolate, you can do this in a double boiler, or, my preferred method, in the microwave.
Place the chocolate a microwave safe container. Set your microwave to defrost, check the chocolate every 20 seconds or so, giving it a mix at the same time.
Spread a thin layer of chocolate on the marble slab, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Scrape the melon baller along the layer of chocolate, if it is set enough then it will curl up on itself, creating chocolate curls, put them in the fridge to set before using them for decorations.
An alternative technique is to place the marble slate in the fridge or freezer before spreading a layer of melted chocolate on it, since the marble slate stays cold it will set the chocolate quite quickly. I tried this after placing the slate in the freezer, and found that it was hard to get the slab to the correct temperature, the chocolate was setting too quickly, and was snapping, rather then curling up.
Decorate the cake with the chocolate roses, ribbon and beads, in any way you like!