DIY wedding cake: Indulgent Autumn
Our Decorate-it-yourself wedding cake is perfect for those couples who want a truly unique cake but are on a bit of a budget. You get amazing quality cake in your choice of flavours and you can decorate it exactly as you choose, but because decorating time is a large part of the cost of most wedding cakes, you can save a lot of money! You can find out more about how it works in our FAQs.
This month I wanted to show you how to make an incredibly luxurious and indulgent cake perfect for an Autumn wedding. I've chosen a rich, velvet ribbon in a deep purple shade, then decorated the cake with pears, figs and blackberries. Some of the fruit has been dusted with edible gold lustre and some have been covered with gold leaf to give the cake those warm tones that work beautifully in Autumn. This is a great way to match to the time of year without having to use the classic orange/yellow/red shades of Autumn. This is a bit more unusual and I think it looks and feels very expensive.
If you'd like more ideas, we have a Pinterest board to go with this theme.
So, how can you create this cake yourself?
15mm velvet ribbon in purple. You'll need 3.5 metres.
Conference pears, blackberries and figs. You can buy these from most supermarkets.
Edible gold lustre. I prefer this one but a lot of supermarkets are selling their own now and they are fine too.
Edible gold leaf. Depending on how much fruit you want to cover, you'll need 5 to 10 sheets, but please, please by transfer sheets! The loose sheets are horrible to work with.
2 small paint brushes. These need to be clean and new. You can buy ones designed for food, or you can buy cheap synthetic brushes from somewhere like Wilkos. You're looking for art-type paintbrushes with a soft bristle.
A large, soft brush. I like this one, but you can also use a new, clean blusher brush.
white greaseproof paper (optional)
I source my ribbon from Josy Rose. They have an amazing choice and provide good quality ribbon for a great price.
You will also need scissors and either pins or royal icing. If you don't know how to make royal icing, you can use a pack of pre-mixed writing icing that most supermarkets sell.
The day before the wedding, you'll need to prepare your fruit. Carefully wash and dry all of the fruit, then choose the prettiest of each type. These are the ones that you should leave plain. I chose 1 pear plus 3-4 figs and 8-9 blackberries to cover in gold leaf and a similar number to put lustre powder onto.
We'll start with the lustre. To do this, take one of your small paint brushes and in a saucer or very small bowl mix half a teaspoon of lustre powder with a little vodka. Add the vodka a drop or two at a time until it is just slightly wetter than a paste, then use the same paint brush to paint the lustre onto the fruit you've chosen, mixing up more paint if you need to. The vodka will evaporate off leaving just the lustre behind.
To apply the gold leaf, use your other small paintbrush to paint your fruit with vodka. Carefully hold the gold left transfer sheet by the edges, and place onto the fruit. Hold the backing paper against the fruit and dust over the entire sheet with your large brush, smoothing the backing paper round the fruit. The gold leaf will come away from the paper and stick to the fruit.
Now, package up your fruit carefully for transportation to your wedding. Try not to wrap them but, if you can, transport them on a tray or in a single layer in a box.
To assemble the cake, stack the tiers on top of each other, making sure that the cakes are central. We provide boards so that you can slide the tiers on top of each other more easily and food-safe gloves to minimise any marks that you may leave on the cake. The cake is fresh, so it's delicate and you may leave marks, dints or snags on the icing as you assemble it, but don't panic - just use the sides of the base cake drum to rotate the whole cake until you find the best side. Then add the ribbon.
You can pin the ribbon into the cake drum and the cake itself. Pick a line down the back of the cake and put your pins along this line so that they won't be visible in any photos. If you prefer, you can use royal icing to do this - just put a generous blob of icing on the cake, attach the ribbon and hold in place for a second or two, then take the ribbon round the cake. Overlap the ribbon a little and add more royal icing between the two levers of ribbon. You'll end up with cake, icing, ribbon, icing, ribbon for the most secure hold.
For the top tier, place a disc of white greaseproof paper on the top of the cake to protect from any moisture that may come out of the front. Choose the pear that will go on top, and slice a tiny amount of the bottom so it stands up, then arrange the other fruit around it.
You can then place other fruit around the cake. Slicing pears into halves and quarters can make this easier.
And you're done! So, if you do all of the work yourself, it takes around 10 mins to order your ribbon and other stuff, 30 minutes to prepare the fruit and 20 mins to set the cake up yourself. Easy! You could also make extra fruit and place them in glass bowls or on cake stands as centrepieces. And if you want to see how it's done, you can watch our film.
So what else do you need to know about the DIY wedding cake? At The Dandelion Bakery, we use the finest quality ingredients and we do not mass produce, so your wedding cake will be made just for you, with the same care and attention that we give to all of our cakes. We bake as near to your wedding day as possible to ensure freshness and quality. We provide the largest cake on a fully iced cake drum edged with white satin ribbon and the smaller cakes on cake boards that become invisible when the cake is stacked. We also cut and insert the support dowels for you, so the cake is ready to go. So, how come this is cheaper than our bespoke cakes? You collect the cake the day before your wedding, which saves the cost of delivery and set up to your venue. The majority of any cake cost is decorating time, so by doing this yourself you save a lot of money, and finally, the time it takes to design a cake is usually included in the price, but that's not needed for this cake so you don't have to pay it. Hurrah!
You can order your own Decorate-it-yourself wedding cake from The Dandelion Bakery to make your wedding day exactly how you want it.