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Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

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asked January 9th 2013

Chocolate Wedding Cake

My daughter is getting married in September but her husband to be doesn’t like fruit cake. I made Paul’s chocolate cake last year and iced it with the ganache and it was very nice. My only concern is that because the ganache has fresh cream in it I would have to make it very last minute and, as Mother of the Bride, I think this would be difficult. Does anybody know how long a cake would keep with the chocolate ganache icing, or does anybody have any other suggestions for icing a chocolate wedding cake without the use of ganache? I have never used fondant icing on anything other than a fruit cake with marzipan!!!

By the way I am a complete novice at this. Only started making cakes when I discovered Paul’s website. Now my husband thinks I can produce a wedding cake. Please Help!!,

Sandra F

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Hi Sandra

You haven’t said what time frame you intend to give yourself for decorating the cakes, however, you could bake the cakes in advance and freeze them. Allow yourself three days to decorate depending on the amount or tiers and how elaborate the decoration. Bring each cake to room temp and ganache while still cold. Once the ganache is set you can just go ahead and ice. I usually leave the cakes to settle overnight before adding decorations. Flowers and models can be made up well in advance too, kept in a card board box to allow air circulation and free from dust. Ganache I always say is as good as the cream’s use by date but it will be good for at least two weeks if not more. I’ve had ganache out on the counter for two weeks without major depreciation but I do have a very cold kitchen so refridgerating is advisable. If you type into the search box ‘Using moist chocolate cake as wedding cake’, there is an answer there which may be useful to you.
As for the icing, because ganache sets very well it is a perfect surface for roll out icing. Any of the tutorials will
take you step by step on how to ice a ganached cake. In particular, the wedding cake section will give you
invaluable help from start to finish. You’ve got plenty of time to practice and enjoy creating a beautiful wedding cake for your daughter. If you don’t want to use ganache as the base, a thin layer of roll out icing can be used instead in the same way as you’d use marzipan or, the cakes can be crumb coated with butter cream made up stiffer than you would for filling and eating. In the free/beginners tutorials you will find how to fill and decorate cakes with butter cream.
If you need more help please post again, all our members have their own experiences from which to learn.
I hope some of this information helps.

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Hi Sandra

You certainly could do that but be careful so not to damage the roses on the fruit cake. I’ve made flowers in advance and attached them with royal icing, takes a bit of practice because you would have to support them for a little while until the icing starts to set .An alternative way is to stick them on with melted white chocolate. Just break the chocolate into small pieces and melt at first in the micro wave for 30 seconds, shake the container to agitate the choc and melt at 15 seconds until the choc is softened, give it a stir until it’s runny and place into a small piping bag, make a small hole at the end and use the contents as glue. If you’d be happier leaving the choco layer as last then go with it. I meant to say earlier that once you’ve iced your cakes don’t put them in the fridge as the fondant will absorb moisture and spoil your icing. In the Vintage wedding cake tutorial Paul has used a fondant which apparently can be placed in the fridge as it is formulated for use in hot humid conditions. I haven’t tried it so can’t comment on it’s performance. The fruit cake should be the bottom layer because it will be the heaviest and that is the safest place for it. While we’re on the subject of fruit cake, if it is to be dark rich then it is better to bake it about 3 or 4 months in advance so it can mature and develop into a lovely moist cake. I baked my Christmas fruit cakes way back last Spring and summer. Wrap the cake first in parchment paper then cling film and finally in foil. Store it in an air tight container and feed every fortnight with 30ml liqueur or brandy of your choice if you want. There is a lot of information on the site with regard to transporting wedding cakes, just put key words into the search box and it will eventually throw up something. If you find it won’t take you to an answer, keep posting, we’re all here to help.

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Thank you so much. You’ve given me so much information. I didn’t realise ganache would keep for so long. That means I can make the chocolate layer the week before AND get it iced with fondant, then just do the finishing touches at the last minute. I was going to make some fondant roses but Paul says that these should be made and put straight onto the cake so maybe that would be a bit too much pressure at the last minute. I suppose I could make the bottom layer fruit then I could ice it and make the roses well in advance, then add the chocolate layer in the last week. What do you think?

Sandra F

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Just need to start practicing the roses then!! At the moment every time I make one it turns out differently from the one before 🙂

Thanks again for all your help. Watch this space I might need you again soon!!

Sandra F

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Hi Sandra

I am a novice at cake making but managed to produce a couple of wedding cakes in the summer within a week of each other. I had the cakes in the freezer (except the fruit ones) and made the roses well in advance as they take a LOT of practice you may find adding some gum tragacanth to the fondant makes a better rose (1 teaspoon to 100grams fondant) I think Paul recommends you need to do about 50 roses before you get the hang of it. Be careful about doing the chocolate cake the week before though as it could end up being a bit dry – maybe up to 4 days I would suggest if you sprinkle with Baileys it will help to prevent drying out. The fruit cake can be marzipaned and iced well in advance. Ganache keeps in the fridge for absolutely ages – Happy cake making!

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Hi Grace

Thanks for your advice but I am a little confused about the roses. I thought Paul said that it was best to make the roses and put them straight onto the cake while they are still soft. This obviously makes it easier to position them snugly. If, however, you can make them way in advance it takes an awful lot of pressure off!!! Whilst I have your ear do you have any tips on making roses. I seem to struggle to get the petals all the same and the same thickness. Would you recommend a petal cutter?

Sandra F

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Hi Sandra

You could use petal cutters, there are lots of tutorials on youtube which show how to make unwired roses. If you google ‘how to make a rose with a five petal cutter’ it’ll take you to all the tutorials. The way Paul teaches them is the quickest way but as you’ve discovered, it does need a little practice, you have got lots of time, don’t stress just enjoy and make memories too! x

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I know there is plenty of time but now I am thinking how am I going to have time to go and set up the cake on the morning of the wedding??? What if it falls to pieces while I am transporting it? There are lots f road humps between us and the venue!!! Do you think I could set it up the day before? Would it be better to make a cake that doesn’t stand in tiers?? Sooo many questions!!!

Sandra F

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Hi Sandra

I sense panic in your voice so just stop because you’ll frazzle yourself. How many tiers are you making and how many roses were you thinking of? Cakes can be stacked at the venue if the management agree for you to have the function hall/room the evening before, it would be necessary to liaise with them. Stacked decorated cakes do have a degree of risk while transporting but you can buy especially constructed boxes for the job, if you google cake boxes for tiered cakes you’ll find all the suppliers. My personal preference is to stack at the venue if it is permitted. Most venues will allow set up the evening before providing the function hall isn’t being used for another engagement. They will not take responsibility for any mishap while the cakes are on their premises, so I guess that’s fair. There may be insurance you can take out, there is some advice in the question ‘due diligence’.
The safest way to transport would be in single tiers, carried flat in the boot of the car and padded so the cakes don’t shift. However, you are limited for time being mother of the bride and I appreciate your concerns
.Have a look at Paul’s answer by searching ‘transporting a wedding cake’.
Keeping the decoration simple will help, that doesn’t mean that the cake won’t have the WOW factor, sometimes simple is more. I made five tiers for my own wedding which were not stacked, they sat on a five armed stand. You have this option, and there are online hire companies who can supply virtually any type of stands. In any case, which ever way you decide to stack and transport, it is always advisable to carry a repair kit and extra decorations to the venue. Other members will also help you, have no fears and it’ll be fine, have faith! Keep posting with your questions. x