Wed 30th Mar, 2011
With the expert help of award-winning, luxury cake designer, Janet Mohapi-Banks, we have a real treat for those of you who are looking to personalise a shop-bought wedding cake.
All the cakes shown here are created by Janet and can be used as inspiration for decorating your own cake.
So without delay, I'll hand over to Janet...
"In these current times of austerity people are finding it necessary to do more and more of their wedding design themselves instead of hiring professional suppliers.
One way of cutting the costs is to personalise a shop bought cake. This can be achieved by thinking about are colour schemes or themes that are present on your wedding day and then adding them to your plain bought cake.
A simple and easy way to incorporate colour schemes is to add ribbons around the base of each tier. If your dress or the dresses of your bridesmaids have ribbons and bows, why not put the same ribbons and bows onto your cake? This will tie the cake into the day, producing a cohesive event.
Ready-made sugar flowers are available from most good cake supply shops and these can be used to decorate your cakes, however, real fresh flowers prove to be more cost effective and are usually a better match to your day as the cake flowers can be purchased at the same time as your bouquet and will therefore match exactly.
Flowers can be used either as a flourish down one side of your cake or sitting on each separate tier either with or without some form of tier separators. If you would like the flourish, I would advise asking your florist to produce one as floristry is an art in its own right and producing an even, flowing bouquet is harder than it looks!
If you are artistic your cake can be decorated effectively with stencils that fit your occasion, or if you want to truly personalise your cake, stencils of your initials can be used. It is possible to buy stencils from good cake supply shops or you can make your own using parchment paper.
The stencils can be carefully pinned onto the cake and using a new or dedicated paintbrush, royal icing can be brushed onto the stencil. Once you have carefully removed the stencil the pin holes can be filled by gently brushing a dot of royal icing over it. Be careful not to use too much royal icing to do this as you will make the pin holes marks more noticeable than if you had just left the holes.
Creating cake tiers
If you are having a tiered cake, it is vital that you dowel it properly. Dowels are plastic sticks that you insert into the lower cakes to ensure that the cake tiers above do not sink in to them. If the dowels are not present or in the incorrect places your cake will sink; 100% guaranteed. As this is probably the most important aspect of creating your own tiered wedding cake, I have detailed below the correct way to dowel the cake for a round stacked wedding cake.
1. Make a template of the cakes to be dowelled using a piece of paper. This can be done by drawing around a cake card the same size as the cake.
2. Fold the paper in half and in half again to locate the centre of the cake.
3. Measure the diameter of the cake and using the pillar chart below, mark on the folds on the paper the correct distance to place the dowels. It is possible to only use 3 dowels but I find it safer to use 4, except on very small tiers.
4. Place the template on top of the cake and mark with a scriber or pin prick where the dowels will be placed.
5. Insert the plastic dowels into the cake where indicated and mark the dowels 1mm above the level of the cake.
6. Remove the dowel and cut to the required length. It is important that you measure each dowel separately and then return to the same hole in case of slight irregularities in the height of the cake.
7. Repeat for all cakes except the top tier.
8. Stack the cakes centrally on the larger tier below and decorate to your taste.
I hope that you have found these tips useful and you achieve the perfect cake for your wedding. After all, perfect days need perfect cake!"
Huge thanks to Janet for sharing her knowledge with us today. Fantastic advice for those of you who are planning on buying a ready-made cake and need to ides on how to personalise and decorate it.
Thanks also goes to the team involved in creating the beautiful photography:
Cherry Topped Bespoke Weddings
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