Simple elegant wedding cake design

Wedding cake is a quintessential part of American weddings. It is often the centerpiece, but not only that: the bride and groom share this sweet treat at their reception to symbolize that they are now officially 'one'. And what better way to build on that metaphor than with a rich buttercream frosted cake?

To make a three-tiered wedding cake, all you have to do is double the base cake mix and sundae - and take your time!


  1. For the bottom layer, triple the quantities for an easy vanilla cake recipe, then pour the spoon into a prepared, deep lined 30cm cake pan. Bake for 2 hours and 15 minutes on the middle rack at the same temperature, until fully risen and cooked through. During cooking, prepare four times the syrup from the same recipe - this will be enough for all three cakes. Cool the cake and soak it in syrup as before.
  2. For the middle and top layers, double the quantities for this easy vanilla cake recipe, then spoon them into 15cm and 23cm cake tins, each about two-thirds full. Bake together on the middle rack, remove the smaller cake after 1 hour and 15 minutes, and leave the larger cakes to bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes total. If you know your oven has hot spots, quickly stir the cake after 50 minutes. Cool and immerse in syrup as before.
  3. Now, put a layer and cover the cakes. Make the buttercream as in this easy vanilla cake recipe. You'll need 5 x the base quantity - that's a lot, so divide the weighted quantities into two parts before you start mixing. You may have some left over, but better than a little. Weigh the buttercream - you will need about 400g for a 15cm cake, 600g for a 23cm cake and 1.3kg for a 30cm cake. Spread a little buttercream on a 15 cm cake board. Level the cake if needed, then flip the 15cm cake over. Divide into three using a bread knife. We like to mark the front of the cake on each layer before lifting it up with toothpicks, so we can put it back together just the right way. Take the top third first (what was the bottom of the cake) and set it aside. Carefully trim the middle layer and set it aside as well. A flat baking sheet or cake lifter can be very useful here for moving cake layers back and forth.
  4. Spread a layer of buttercream over the cake on the board. Return the middle layer, lining up the toothpick marks, then spread another layer of buttercream over it. Add a little jam if you like, drip it and distribute it evenly. Cover with the last piece of cake, then scrape off any crumbs on or around the cake. Now grease the whole cake with a thin layer of apricot jam. This should prevent you from getting too many crumbs in the butter. Place the entire cake on a large sheet of baking paper.
  5. Spread the rest of the buttercream, starting at the top, then smoothing and swirling it around the sides all the way to the board. Repeat the entire process with the rest of the cake, using the appropriate plates and different amounts of buttercream. The cake is now ready to be frozen. You can leave it overnight if necessary, covered with a thin layer of plastic.
  6. Cover the cake. You will need about 500g of frosting for a 15cm cake, 1kg for a 23cm cake and 1.7kg for a 30cm cake. Sprinkle a work surface with powdered sugar, knead the icing until smooth, then use a rolling pin to roll into a circle large enough to cover the sides and top of the cake, leaving a little bit more. Use the string to check the size. Use a rolling pin to help lift the frosting over the cake.
  7. Spread the icing around the cake with your hands, loosening it from the edges all the way to the board. Then trim off the excess with a sharp knife, scrubbing it with the bottom of the cake board. Smooth out any marks with the tips of your hands, to polish the icing cream to a little shimmer.
  8. Once all of the cakes are frozen, cover the thick base plate. Gently brush them with cooled boiled water, then put cream on top. Trim the edge of the board with a knife (we do this as you would a pie crust, holding the board with your left hand, knife in your right), then leave the board and cake to dry overnight.
  9. Stack cakes. The nails, which are mainly plastic sticks, provide stability and strength to the stepped cake, and polystyrene blocks allow you to add a "floating" layer of flowers. By measuring and cutting nails the same length as the polystyrene, you will provide an even platform for the next cake to sit on, even if the cake below is a bit wonky.
  10. Place the 6" doll in the center on top of the largest cake. Insert four of the pins into the cake, around the outside of the doll, in a square shape. Push them down until they meet the cake board. Mark with a pen where the top of the doll is coming from.
  11. Carefully pull out the screws. Then, using the scissors, score around each dowel where you marked it. Close the plastic cleanly. Reinsert the screws into their original holes, rounding the end down. Repeat the process with a 23 cm cake and a 12 cm doll.
  12. Place the largest cake in the center of the covered board. Run a thin line of glue around the baseboard and secure the tape around it. Secure the tape around each bun using a spot of glue on the tape to secure it to itself. If you are going to move the cake somewhere, put the cakes in their tins now. Make a small kit that you take with you - glue, scissors, etc - just in case you have to re-do anything.
  13. One day, stack and decorate. We used hydrangeas - they are beautiful and you can achieve an interesting effect with relatively few flowers.
  14. On the day, keep putting flowers on the cake until as late as you can. Cut the stems of the hydrangeas to about 2-3 cm. Divide your less-favorite flowers into smaller pieces - this will help you fill in any embarrassing gaps later. Make sure to save one beautiful flower on top.
  15. Insert a length of floral wire into each stem (or wrap it around the stem), leaving a wire about 3 cm long. Push this into the polystyrene doll. Repeat until both dolls are surrounded by a halo of flowers. The bottom cake should now be in its permanent position - out of direct light and away from any radiators. Lift the 23cm cake onto the bottom polystyrene doll, being careful not to crush any petals, then repeat with the top cake. Fill in any gaps with the broken flower head you reserved earlier. Place the last bloom on top of the cake, and you're done! Cakes can be frozen in advance, without icing. However, if you bake them three days before the wedding, the cake will still be fine until the wedding day.
  16. Cut the cake into grids, not wedges. You should be able to get 50 servings of the large pie, 30 from the center and 12 from the top, when cut into 2.5 x 5 cm pieces.


And just like that, your wedding cake is done. Now it's time to cut into it, and share those delicious sweets with all those who helped make your day so special. And, at the very least, you can be confident that your guests will appreciate the design and attention to detail that went into your wedding cake. You'll have to forgive us for not going into much more detail - this isn't a cooking blog after all - but there are some great resources online for anyone looking to learn more about their pastries. Enjoy!
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