The ultimate test of baking: Sue Ade offers how-to tips for homemade wedding cakes

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making a wedding cake is something most home bakers would rather leave to the professionals and for good reason.

Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
A homemade three-tiered wedding cake, enough to serve 85 people, is pictured with heirloom silver and champagne-filled crystal glasses. Garnished simply with buttercream frosting and fresh white roses, this wedding cake is the image of understated elegance.

They require a lot of planning, a few days to complete and a foolproof recipe that can be made in multiples.

In addition, once the cake is made, it must be sturdy enough for stacking, yet possess a crumb that is tender and yields willingly to frosting.

A good buttercream frosting, a critical component of a wedding cake, should spread onto the cake effortlessly and smoothly and possess a velvety, silky mouth feel.

"Anna's Swedish Butter Cake," the delectable recipe from award winning author-illustrator, teacher and journalist, Susan Purdy, is the cake of choice for our wedding cake and is evenly matched with a flawless buttercream created by renowned pastry chef and cookbook author, Nancy Silverton, co-founder of the famed La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles, Calif.

Before you embark on baking, frosting and constructing a large wedding cake, have a dress rehearsal with a smaller version of the cake.

Work on decorating techniques using pastry tips and bags and begin to strategize the overall design of the finished cake and the logistics concerning where the cake will be displayed and how it will be transported.

The splendor and simplicity of a homemade wedding cake defies comparison. It needs no formal detail other than to be made with a good heart, using fresh ingredients and a reliable oven.

For a brief time, the wedding cake will be the center of attention, but it still does not have to be perfect. It is homemade, after all, and everybody will love it just the same.

For more information about Susan Purdy and her latest work, "Pie in the Sky, Successful Baking From Sea Level to High Altitude," (W. Morrow/Harper Collins, 2005), visit Purdy's site at and Readers wishing to visit the La Brea Bakery Web site may find it at

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