The DIY movement is in full swing and it's made the average Josephine confident enough to give it the old college try in practically all areas of life. From amateur carpenters swinging their first hammer to novice farmers raising chickens and growing their own veggies, tackling jobs with your own two hands has an undeniable appeal. Part of the nature of DIY is saving money you'd normally pay a professional, but there's also the allure of learning and possibly mastering a new skill; not to mention the gratification that comes with doing something successfully all by yourself. But the key word here is success. For every car repair or plumbing job that goes well, there are 10 more horror stories where a professional was eventually called in after a failed DIY attempt.
While it may be OK to risk an error in a simple home construction job or a DIY garden, there are other big events in your life that don't get any do-overs; namely, your wedding day. Planning and executing a wedding is not an easy task, and most DIY wedding planners save at least a few things for the professionals, with the dress and the cake leading the way.
Baking isn't rocket science, but unless you know your way around an oven, it definitely has enough pitfalls for beginners that your wedding cake probably shouldn't be your first effort. But if you've got even some basic baking skills, there's no reason you shouldn't give a DIY cake a go if you're feeling brave. Flip the page for a few tips on how to get it just right on your big day.
DIY Wedding Cake Tips
So, the big day is approaching and you've decided to tackle your own wedding cake for a truly DIY experience. If you're a pastry chef, then you're probably going to be OK. If you aren't, that doesn't mean that you can't still pull it off in grand fashion. There are just a few things to keep in mind. First, you should definitely try a test run a few weeks before your wedding day. Don't wait until a few days before, because there are going to be too many things on your list as the big day approaches. Of course, there's no guarantee that the dry run means a 100 percent success rate on the wedding day, but it will definitely help. For this reason, the second bit of advice is to have a backup plan in place. Check with a local baker about their timeframe and have a worst-case-scenario plan at the ready. You may not be able to get the fanciest cake last minute, but at least you'll have something.
Next, you need to pick out a recipe that's within your skill range. Fondant is beautiful, but unless you've successfully worked with it before, you may want to stick to a more basic recipe. This means you probably shouldn't try to tackle a four-tier cake that looks like it rolled out of the royal wedding. Be honest with yourself about your skills and go for a recipe that's doable but can still impress your guests. Remember, the goal is something that looks nice and tastes great. You don't have to knock everyone's socks off with a complex design.
Finally, if you have time, take a pastry or cake decorating class beforehand as well. Even if you're a fairly experienced baker, you could learn a lot of tricks of the trade from a professional. If you don't have time for a class, get on the Internet and peruse the scores of Web sites and video tutorials that could help you along the way. There are plenty of articles about DIY cake making, and you might find a recipe, as well as tips and inspiration. It also doesn't hurt to get some help from friends or family that have more experience than you do. In the end, it can be a lot of fun baking and decorating your own wedding cake, so we say, go ahead and give it a shot.
- "DIY Rose Wedding Cake." Projectwedding.com. March 23, 2012. http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/diy-rose-wedding-cake
- "DIY Wedding Cake Tips: Preserving Your Top Wedding Cake Tier." Theknot.com March 23, 2012. http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-cakes/articles/how-to-freeze-a-wedding-cake-tier.aspx?MsdVisit=1
- "DIY Wedding Cakes." Marthastewartweddings.com. March 23, 2012. http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/231263/diy-wedding-cakes/@center/272429/diy-weddings