Stage One, Planning: this stage can vary anywhere between “do whatever you think will look good, we trust your judgment” to five different changes and variations from the beginning up until two days before the wedding.
Stage Two, Baking: I always bake my cakes in two pieces per layer so they are easier to trim, stack and fill (instead of having to cut each layer in half). They are also baked one day ahead of assembly so the cakes can cool and the structure has time to set up.
Stage Three, Icing: I take all of the cake layers and lay them out on my workbench and begin trimming them to an even height on my turntable. Then flavored simple syrup is applied and filling spread and the layers are stacked together. I ice each layer next usually starting with the biggest with a skim coating if fondant is going to be rolled and put on later or a regular layer of finished icing. Next I put the cakes on flat sheetpans and refrigerate them so the icing can harden.
Stage Four, Assembly: I stack the cakes on the appropriate platter or tray and push straws into the layers, one at a time, cutting each straw so it is flush with the top of the cake. The next layer’s cardboard then sits on the straws of the one under it and so on until all of the layers are assembled. The reason for this is to keep the layers from squishing together while it is on display at room temperature and the icing begins to soften.
Stage Five, Decoration: Piped borders on the bottom and top of each layer, sometimes ribbons around the bottom of each layer, buttercream flowers, fresh or gum paste flowers, Swiss dots, swags, this stage is the most fun and where I can get creative. In the case of gum paste flowers it adds another day to the process so I have time to make all of them and can let them dry.
So as you can see it is quite a process to “build” a wedding cake, but it is one of the things I love to do and you couldn’t pick a more beautiful place to have a destination wedding in Sedona than here in Boynton Canyon.