Simple elegance wedding cake

Simple elegance wedding cake

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(9 ratings)

Prep & cook 3 days to stagger the work

A challenge

Cuts into about 90 slices
To make a three-tier wedding cake, all you need to do is multiply basic cake mixtures and icings, and take your time

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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    You will need

    • 5 x ingredients for Easy vanilla cake (see 'Goes well with' recipe below)
    • 5 x ingredients for Basic vanilla buttercream (see recipe below)



      The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…

    • 340g/12oz jar strawberry jam, optional (I used Tiptree Strawberry & Champagne)
    • 340g/12oz jar apricot jam, warmed and sieved
    • 4kg white ready-to-roll icing (I used Regalice)
    • 15cm, 23cm and 30cm thin round cake boards
    • 40cm thick round cake board
    • cocktail sticks
    • palette knife
    • a roll of baking parchment
    • a flat baking sheet or cake lifter
    • icing sugar, for rolling out
    • string, for measuring
    • 8 x long plastic dowels
    • kitchen scissors
    • 3½ m x 1½ cm white satin ribbon
    • tube of UHU glue, or similar

    To stack and insert the flowers

    • 12cm and 15cm polystyrene cake dummies
    • 18-gauge floristry wire, cut into about 20 x 10cm lengths
    • 15-20 white and pale green hydrangea heads (get some smaller, some larger, if you can); your florist can advise
    • 40cm, 30cm and 18cm cake boxes with lids, if you're transporting the cake


    1. MAKING THE CAKES: Make the basic Easy vanilla cake recipe (see 'Goes well with'), following the instructions below for each tier, then cool and drench with the syrup. The cakes can be frozen ahead, without icing. However, if you bake them three days before the wedding, the cake will be fine until the big day.

    2. For the bottom tier, triple the quantities for the basic cake mix, then spoon into a ready-lined deep round 30cm cake tin. Bake for 2 hrs 15 mins on the middle shelf until risen and cooked through as before. While this cooks, make up a quadruple batch of the syrup - this will be enough for all three cakes. Cool and drench the cake with syrup as before.

    3. For the middle and top tiers, double the quantities for the basic cake mix, then spoon it into ready-lined 15cm and 23cm cake tins, filling each to about two-thirds full. Bake them together on the middle shelf, taking the small cake out after 1 hr 15 mins, and leaving the larger cake to cook for 1 hr 30 mins in total. If you know that your oven has hot spots, quickly move the cakes around after 50 mins. Cool and drench with syrup as before.

    4. LAYER AND COVER THE CAKES: Make the buttercream as in the basic recipe. You will need 5 x basic quantity - this is a lot, so split your weighed-out quantities in two before you start mixing. You may have some left over, but better too much than too little. Weigh out the buttercream - you will need approximately 400g for the 15cm cake, 600g for the 23cm cake and 1.3kg for the 30cm cake. Spread a little buttercream over the 15cm cake board. Level the top of the cake if you need to, then upturn the 15cm cake onto it. Split into three using a bread knife. I like to mark the front of the cake on each layer before lifting it off, using toothpicks, so I can reassemble it in exactly the right way. Take the top third off first (what was the bottom of the cake) and set aside. Carefully cut the middle layer and set that aside, too. A flat baking sheet or cake lifter can be very helpful here to slide the cake layers off and then back onto each other.

    5. Spread a layer of buttercream over the cake on the board. Return the middle layer, lining up the toothpick markings, then spread another layer of buttercream on top. Add a little jam if you like, dotting it over, then spreading evenly. Top with the final piece of cake, then dust off any crumbs on or around the cake. Now brush the whole cake with a thin layer of apricot jam. This should stop you getting too many crumbs in the buttercream. Sit the whole cake on a large sheet of baking parchment.

    6. Spread the rest of the buttercream over, starting with the top, then smooth and paddle it around the sides and down to the board. Repeat the whole process with the remaining cakes, using the corresponding boards and the different quantities of buttercream. The cakes are now ready to be iced. You can leave them overnight if needed, loosely covered with cling film.

    7. COVERING THE CAKE WITH ICING: You will need about 500g icing for the 15cm cake, 1kg for the 23cm cake and 1.7kg for the 30cm cake. Dust the work surface with icing sugar, knead the icing until pliable, then use your rolling pin to roll it into a circle large enough to cover the sides and top of the cake, with a little left over. Use string to check the size. Use your rolling pin to help you lift the icing over the cake.

    8. Smooth the icing around the cake with your hands, easing it over the edges and down to the board. Then trim off the excess with a sharp knife, flush with the bottom of the cake board. Smooth any marks with the flats of your hands, buffing the icing to a slight shine.

    9. Once you've iced all the cakes, cover the thick base board. Lightly brush with cooled boiled water, then lay the icing over. Trim to the edge of the board with a knife (I tend to do this like I would a pie crust, holding the board in my left hand, and knife in my right), then leave the board and the cakes to dry overnight.

    10. STACKING THE CAKES: Dowels, which are basically plastic sticks, provide stability and strength to tiered cakes, and polystyrene blocks allow you to add a 'floating' layer of flowers. By measuring and cutting the dowels to the same length as the polystyrene, you'll provide an even platform for the next cake to sit on, even if the cake below is a bit wonky.

    11. Sit the 15cm dummy centrally on top of the biggest cake. Insert four of the dowels into the cake, around the outside of the dummy, in a square shape. Push them right down until they meet the cake board. Mark with a pen where the top of the dummy comes to.

    12. Carefully pull out the dowels; then, using scissors, score around each dowel where you marked it. Snap the plastic cleanly. Re-insert the dowels in their original holes, rounded end down. Repeat the process with the 23cm cake and the 12cm dummy.

    13. Position the biggest cake in the middle of the covered board. Run a thin line of glue around the base board and fix the ribbon around it. Fix the ribbon around each cake, using a spot of the glue on the ribbon to secure it to itself. If you're moving the cake to a venue, put the cakes into their boxes now. Make a little kit to take with you - glue, scissors, etc - just in case you have to re-do anything.

    14. ON THE DAY - STACKING AND DECORATING THE CAKE WITH FLOWERS: I used hydrangeas - they're beautiful, in season and you can achieve a dramatic effect with relatively few blooms. On the day, save putting the flowers on the cake until as late as you reasonably can. Cut the stems of the hydrangeas to about 2-3cm. Split your least-favourite bloom into smaller pieces - this will help you fill any awkward gaps later. Make sure you save one beautiful bloom for the top.

    15. Insert a length of floristry wire into each stem (or wind it around the stem), leaving a spike of wire about 3cm long. Push this into the polystyrene dummy. Repeat until the two dummies are surrounded with a halo of flowers. The bottom cake should be in its permanent position now - out of direct light and away from any radiators. Lift the 23cm cake onto the bottom polystrene dummy, taking care not to squash any petals, then repeat with the top cake. Fill any gaps with the broken-up flower head you reserved earlier. Sit the final bloom on top of the cake, and you're done!

    16. CUTTING THE CAKE: Cut the cake across, in a grid, rather than into wedges. You should be able to get 50 servings from the large cake, 30 from the middle and 12 from the top, when cut into 2.5 x 5cm pieces.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    1st Jul, 2018
    Did a trial run of this recipe 3 days ago. Followed it to letter although was a bit worried about so much vanilla as I am not keen on it. Turned out delish. Yes it is dense but I think it has to be if you are going to stack it. We are still eating this after 3 days and the taste is even better. Included raspberry jam in the layering. Am now repeating it for a four tier wedding cake needed in four days. Hopefully, will be perfect too.
    7th Oct, 2015
    I made this for my sister's wedding cake and was impressed by how it turned out and I'm not a particularly accomplished baker. Followed the recipe each step of the way.
    27th May, 2015
    I want to make a 2 tier cake for a birthday with a 10 inch and 7 inch tin. Can you advise on the quantities?
    6th Apr, 2014
    I love finding great advice for baking online, I'm a very enthusiastic hobby baker. I've just started using a great website called, anyone following this check out their dowel guide. It will just give you some added information about where to place them for the best support. I love this site so much. It's made baking a lot more fun for me and less stressful.
    21st Mar, 2013
    Hi. I am making a 3 tier wedding cake and this recipe sounds perfect. However, I will have to make it before the wedding and take it to Scotland. We will travel on Wednesday and the wedding will be Saturday. Do you think this recipe will keep fresh for that length of time. Many thanks
    31st Oct, 2016
    Sorry, I have just registered on good food, and pressed 'report this comment' by mistake really sorry.. I was looking for any answers to your commen!
    21st Feb, 2013
    I am making a wedding cake for my daughters wedding. She would like 3 tiers[ lower one fruit cake second tier sponge cake third tier choc cake. Can anyone tell me of their experiences in using a heating core for the large cake as researching baking larger cakes this is recommended?
    7th Jan, 2013
    before I try to make this as a wedding cake, is it possible to make the sponges beforehand & freeze them until ready for use ?
    22nd Dec, 2012
    hi i didnt see any of the ingrediants for each tier, would you please provide each recipie for each tier. thanks
    22nd Dec, 2012
    hi i didnt see any of the ingrediants for each tier, would you please provide each recipie for each tier. thanks


    23rd Jan, 2017
    Hello, I could have sworn this recipe had a scaling up guide but can't find it now. I'm doing 14, 10 and 6 inch round cakes, could anyone advise please? Thanks In Advance
    24th Oct, 2016
    This is great for general qtys and size help, thank you! Just wondering - the recipe says nothing about needing to refrigerate. Am I okay to assume the buttercream on the cakes are okay left out of the fridge for a day or possibly two (based on recipe)?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    1st Nov, 2016
    Thanks for your question. Yes, the buttercream will be fine, although on a warm day, you'd want to store the cake in a cool place.
    15th Jul, 2016
    What temperature is the oven set to?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    11th Aug, 2016
    Thanks for your question. This recipe uses the easy vanilla cake. The oven temp (160C/ 140C fan/ gas 3), all ingredients and method are there. Hope that helps!
    7th Feb, 2016
    My wedding is on July and I want to make my own wedding cake, reading through your recipe I see I have to drench the cakes with syrup but I can't see the instructions on where to make the syrup, am I missing something?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    21st Mar, 2016
    Hello. If you scroll down looking on the right hand side of the page you will see Goes well with… and this will show you the Easy Vanilla Cake recipe with the syrup. Congratulations for July, we hope your wedding goes well, you have good weather and it will be really memorable.
    1st Sep, 2015
    I've made this cake a few times now and although delicious I find when I add the Greek yogurt the mixture curdles can you tell me how to avoid this
    11th Jul, 2014
    I'm looking for a wedding cake recipe which will work if not iced but left un-iced, covered in icing sugar and fresh flowers. Would this one work?
    8th Aug, 2013
    youve lost me at the upturning the second cake onto the first and then removing it again. It seems youve removed the third layer without ever adding it?


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