In my last post I briefly discussed how my brother-in-law baked my wedding cake and I promised in another post to discuss how I iced and assembled it. Well this is the “next post” I will attempt to recall (it has been 21 years!) what was involved. Because there are so many things to consider when icing your own cake this blog post will likely be broken up over several posts.
To start off with, the wedding cake my fiancé and I selected was a traditional fruitcake which my brother-in-law made for us. This post will detail how to ice and decorate an existing cake. The advantage of the fruitcake is that by its very nature, it needs to age, which is wonderful when you are trying to plan ahead. Most fruitcakes have alcohol content and this one was no exception as it was preserved in RUM (lots of it!).
I started with a trip to a wedding cake design store that made wedding cakes and also taught classes on how to ice the cake yourself. This store also carried all the supplies. I did not take the class as I love icing cakes and had for years previously, although not wedding cakes. The helpful store attendant advised me as to what supplies I would need to construct a four tier wedding cake. I wanted a more traditional cake and therefore I wanted pillars between the tiers. (Remember this wedding cake was made 21 years ago!).
You need to decide what type of cake you would like for your wedding. Both you and your fiancé need to choose not only the look and design (or custom) but also the type of cake you want. Mine was easier to plan being a fruitcake as it can be made months in advance. Although other types of cake can be baked in advance and frozen, some people claim the “freezing” affects the flavour. Since I had selected the fruitcake and it was baked and prepared for me this information will primarily focus on the icing, decorating and packaging of a wedding cake fruitcake although many of the principles and techniques are universal and will apply to any cake type.
Something to consider while preparing to ice and decorate the wedding cake is applying an apricot glaze prior to icing. This coats the cake with a glaze keeping the crumbs contained and making the application of the icing very smooth. The apricot glaze is something that can be bought at a cake design specialty shop (although there are tales of being also able to use apricot jelly). You heat the apricot base with a little water until it is boiling on a medium heat and then, using a clean (new) pastry brush (or paint brush), you paint this glaze on each part of the cake (i.e. each tier or layer) covering all sides and tops. If heated till boiling it becomes very thin and easy to apply. Once the coating starts to become sticky reheat to thin it out and aid in applying the mixture.
There are many types of icing out there including a fondant icing with an almond paste base that is like dough but needs to be rolled out. The icing I chose was the Royal Fondant Icing. It is very easy to work with but does harden once it is dry. The key to working with this icing is to keep a damp cloth over the bowl while you are icing the cake to prevent the icing from drying out (or setting) before the cake is completely iced.
Next time I will talk about the design and the icing.
Enjoy the information on icing and glaze I have posted below.
How to make royal icing
Seven Minute frosting…heating involved
Why to use glaze on a cake
The Apricot Glaze recipe