Wedding Cake Tutorial

I had a cake order this past weekend so I thought I would explain how to make a stacked, layered cake.  The bride ordered a plain white cake with a purple ribbon around the bottom of each tier.  This is a small cake that could feed 38 people. It is a 10″ bottom tier and a 6″ top  tier.  The cake is white almond sour cream with chocolate kahlua buttercream as the filling.

Doing a plain white cake like this is actually harder because you cannot hide any flaws in the buttercream icing…so do not look too close!

The first thing I did was order an SPS system and a 14″ cake drum  (I ordered from Global Sugar Art).  I ordered a 6″ separator plate (so the 6″ layered cake can sit on top of it), and the four columns that attach to the bottom of the plate-this is the SPS system.

When you flip the plate over, it has little plastic rings where the columns snap in.  I take a knife and pry these rings off.

Before going any further, I take my 6″ cake board and set it on top of the 6″ plate and press down so it makes a hole.  Later you will slide your cake onto the plate until the point of the plate goes into the board…this is what holds your cake on.  I know it might not seem like a lot, but it really works. In fact, the SPS system is used so brides can pick up their own cake if they do not want to have it delivered, so it is very stable.

Then I cut my cake into 7/8″thickness.  I cut three layers of cake. Once filled with icing this will make a 4 inch tall tier, which is the same height as the columns of the SPS system.  I cannot cut straight, so I use a cutting tool:

 Once your layers are cut, set them aside. Take the 6″ cake board and the 14″ cake drum and smear some icing in the center. This will keep your cake from sliding around the board. 

Here is a picture of my three cake layers. I have 3 layers of both the 6″ cake and the 10″ cake.

Once you have your cake layers, set them to the side.  Take some of your white buttercream icing and put it in a separate bowl.  Add powdered sugar until you can roll the buttercream in your fingers…this will be the “dam” for the filling, and will prevent the filling from squishing out between your layers and ruining the outside of your cake.

Set your bottom layer of cake on the board.  (note: I put an 8″ board under the 6″ board so it is easier to handle).

Using your coupler (this is the small white thing next to the giant silver thing) and a small bag, you will pipe the dam around the outside edge of one of the layers.

The dam will keep the filling inside of he cake so chocolate does not squish out.  Fill your cake.

Add the next cake layer and repeat the dam and filling  just as you did before (I am always tempted to pick this up…like a sandwich and bite in). Then add the top layer of cake.  You should have three layers of cake, with two dam/fillings.

I put a layer of icing on the top layer with my coupler (above). 

Using the regular buttercream (not the buttercream that has added powdered sugar..this would be too hard to spread) I coat the outside of the cake (below) and smooth it out with the flat part of my spatula.

To smooth the icing on the top of the cake, I heat water in a pan and dip my spatula in the water to get it nice and hot.  I then wipe it completely dry and press it to the top of the cake to smooth it.  Wipe it clean, dip it back into the water and repeat until smooth.

Then add the icing around the cake.  You can do this with your spatula, or use a giant icing tip (silver one pictured in the beginning of the post). Make sure your side icing goes above the top of the cake.

Now it is time to smooth the cake.  Using a VIVA papertowel…with NO imprints on it, rub the sides smooth.  Get new pieces of paper towel as you need it.  Sometimes this step takes FOREVER to get smooth. I then take computer paper (clean-that i use for baking) and rub it the same way as the paper towel.

Then I cut a 4″ strip of paper and mark around the top of the cake at the 4″ height.  Once you have your line, I take my heated and dry spatula and put it against the line.  I then push in toward the center of the cake and smooth as I go.  I go around the entire cake this way.  Every time I touch the cake with my spatula, I wipe it off and heat it again. I repeat this until the edge is even with the top.

Once your cake is nice and smooth, take your SPS 6″ cake separator plate (without the columns attached) and center it on the 10″ cake.  Press down to mark where your cake will sit.  Take it off, and add the columns.  Make sure they are in nice and tight and then press the entire system into your cake. 

Take your 6″ cake (on your 6″cake board), and slide it on the separator plate until the point rests in the hole you made before.  Using an 8″ board under the 6″ board/cake, makes it easier to slide on the cake without getting icing all over your hands.  (When the cake is on, you should not see the 6″ board or the separator plate.)

I then cut my ribbon to the length I needed and wrapped it around the bottom of both tiers.  (tip: I put clear packaging tape on the back of my ribbon.  This makes it so the grease from the buttercream will not soak through the ribbon and make it look blotchy).

You can secure the ribbon with a pin, or double-sided tape…I use double-sided tape so you cannot see it, and because putting a pin into something people will eat makes me nervous.



4 thoughts on “Wedding Cake Tutorial

  1. I just found this post! Thank you so much, it clears up a lot of questions I had about the SPS system. I also was looking for an easy way to protect ribbon from grease. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have never used Satin ribbon (always use sheer organdy type ribbon) but need to on the wedding cake I am doing in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the tip. I read else where you can use press and seal food wrap with success if the tape or adhesive worry you. But the tape seems like it would give the ribbon body and lay nicely.

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