This is the first of the wedding cake series. In this series you will find recipes, tips and techniques on making a beautiful wedding cake without spending a fortune.
As mentioned in my previous post, one way to save on wedding cake is to have a gourmet cake that doubles as dessert. This Italian Cream Wedding Cake found in one of Martha Stewart’s cookbook definitely qualifies as a gourmet cake.
This recipe is not hard to follow, especially with the help of a Kitchen Aid Mixer. Decorating depends on the style you choose, and can be challenging. If you have a baker in the family and is willing to help out, send that person to a Wilton cake decorating class ~ it’ll be time and money well spent. How fancy the decorations depends on how skillful you are. Consider decorating with fresh flower (see below) to keep things simple. Styrofoams in the shape of your wedding cake make good canvas for practicing. As with anything DIY, practice and experiment until you find the right fit for you.
Italian Cream Wedding Cake
(makes 1 round 2″x11″ layer, or 6 1/2 cups of batter)
This Italian cream cake is a dense, moist white cake made with buttermilk. You could also try making cupcakes with this recipe, but the baking time will vary.
- 5 extra-large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk (or heavy cream), at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter and flour cake pan, then line with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar until the mixture thickens to a meringuelike consistency. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream the remaining sugar with the butter, vegetable shortening, and vanilla. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until the batter is thick and well blended.
Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk and set aside.
Sift the salt together with the flour, and add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling it two thirds full, and bake approximately 55 minutes, or until the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes; remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.
Golden Rules for Wedding Cakes
- Use cake flour, sifting it before measuring and then sifting two or three more times with the other dry ingredients.
- Use room-temperature large eggs.
- Use unsalted butter.
- Don’t forget to butter and flour the cake pans, then line with buttered and floured parchment paper.
- For nice and even sides, form a collar of parchment paper and line the side of each pan.
- Fill cake pans 2/3 to 3/4 full of batter.
- Different layers require different baking times. Check the cake layers several times during baking for doneness.
- To test for donesness, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center. It should come out clean (with the exception of some chocolate cakes, which may still be moist in the center). The sides of the cake should be pulling away from the pan when the cake layer is done.
- If the center doesn’t seem to be cooking, reduce the oven temperature and extend the cooking time. Check on the cake constantly not to burn or brown the cake.
- Cool cakes in the pans for at least 10 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks. Carefully peel away the parchment paper, invert the cakes and cool completely, right-side up.
- All layers should be the same height. Uneven layers make an uneven, crooked-looking cake. If the cake has risen higher in the center, trim it off with a sharp serrated bread knife.
- To freeze the cakes, let it cool thoroughly, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze on cake cardboards. Be careful not to bend or damage the individual layers. Make sure you have plenty of room in your freezer for all layers.
- Always frost the cake the day before the wedding and refrigerate it so the icing will be thoroughly chilled. Decorate the cake with flowers, spun sugar, etc. as close to serving time as possible.