Happy summer to all!! My summer started with a wedding. Not my own… I had the honor and pleasure of baking for my first ever wedding! I was nervous as all get out leading up to it so I thought I’d share 3 Things I Learned Baking Cake and Cupcakes for a Wedding with you all. 😀
My brother-in-law’s best friend and his now wife told me at a family function probably over a year ago that they wanted me to bake all the things for their wedding. That day finally arrived the first weekend in June! This is by far the largest number of cupcakes that I’ve ever baked at one time ever. I did four flavors… 208 cupcakes plus a 6″ wedding cake. I was quite nervous about getting everything done by myself, but with some preparation ahead of time and some helping hands it all came together beautifully. Best of all both the bride and groom were thrilled with what I made. When the bride says, “OMG, this is the best cake I’ve ever put in my mouth!” in the middle of the cake cutting, I’d say it’s a good day for the baker. #bestcomplimentever 😀
Let’s start with…
Nutella Cupcakes (without nuts or Ferrero Rocher garnish)
Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes (cupcakes were filled with strawberries instead of garnished on top)
Bavarian Cream Cake
3 Things I learned baking for a wedding…
- My first tip may seem rather obvious, but planning ahead is key. Print the recipes that you’ll be using and create a shopping list based on your recipes. Don’t forget to include any special decorative items like specialty cupcake liners, sprinkles, candies or other toppings you might be using. Also think about how you will be transporting all of the goodies. You will need to at the very least pick up some cake boards and boxes if you don’t have an adequate number of Tupperware type containers to get everything where it needs to go. In addition to this I created a checklist for everything I had to do the day of baking. For example, I listed out the cupcake flavors, the fillings, the buttercream flavors, the garnish, etc. Everything that required a step I listed out and checked it off as I made it.
- Once you have your shopping done, measure all your dry ingredients into large Ziploc bags. About a week before the event I measured out all the dry ingredients for each recipe into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Then I labeled each bag with the recipe it was for. When I was ready to bake all I had to do was sift all these ingredients into the wet and I was good to go. I can’t even begin to tell you what a godsend this was with t-minus 36 or so hours to go before the wedding. In fact I do this all the time now anytime I know that I have a big baking project ahead of me.
- Give yourself extra time. When it came time to bake, fill, and decorate 208 cupcakes and a wedding cake it didn’t take me as long as I thought it might, BUT looking back I would’ve benefited from giving myself even one more extra hour to put everything together and get it over to where it needed to be. So, if you estimate that it will take you 16 hours to get everything done let’s say, then give yourself 17-18 hours. Also don’t forget that you can’t drive as expeditiously with such precious cargo in your car. 😉 Leave a little early and be prepared to “Sunday drive” your way to the destination.
- BONUS TIP: Ask for help. Because I’m sure that there are others like me that aren’t so good at this a lot of the time… I’ll say it again, ask for help. While I can’t hand my husband a pastry bag and ask him to pipe buttercream over a couple dozen cupcakes, (Well I can, but it won’t look the way I expect them to look. LOL) there are other things I can have him do. Something as simple as sprinkling garnish over cupcakes after I piped them is a huge help. Or having my 12 year old daughter wash and cut up strawberries for me again a HUGE help. Coring cupcakes, filling cupcakes, sprinkles, drizzles, etc. You get the idea… these are seemingly small things that still do take additional time and can really lengthen the process when it’s just you doing it all. Don’t fall victim to your stubbornness and allow some trusting helpful hands to help you out. I couldn’t be more grateful to my husband and my daughter for the help they gave me. They really helped me finish everything up and get out the door. I also have to give a shout out to my sister, brother-in-law, and my mom because they made the table presentation happen. I love pretty dessert tables, but tablescapes are just not my jam. LOL
If you are a home or hobby baker like me then I hope that you find these tips helpful for tackling your first large special occasion baking project. Good luck and happy baking!
*If you have been asked to bake for a wedding or shower or other special event check with the venue the host is using to be sure that “homemade” goods are acceptable. Some venues and restaurants require that any desserts that are brought in only come from a commercial kitchen, in which case your home kitchen won’t work. This varies from place to place… so check it out beforehand. The last thing anyone would want is for all your hard work to be turned away because of the venue’s rules and the host be left without dessert to serve.