In today’s economic climate, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.
Weddings are no different.
New brides and grooms are searching for ways to start their new lives together without breaking the bank.
One of the obvious ways to save money is by making your own wedding cake, the cost of which can easily run into the thousands of dollars.
While its relatively easy to find great wedding cake recipes, there are several pitfalls lying in wait to ensnare enterprising cake makers.
Selecting The Right Cooking OilEvery wedding cake or icing recipe requires fats or oils, which retain moisture and impart flakiness in the finished recipe.
In icing and fondant, they are responsible for creaminess, texture, flow, and ease of spreading. But fats and oils are mixtures derived from naturally occurring sources, so their composition varies. Choosing the wrong oil will hurt both texture and overall flavor.
In baked goods, most recipes call for vegetable oil, which is usually straight soybean oil. Well-meaning bakers will often try substituting canola oil, either for cost or perceived health benefits.
Unfortunately, in baked goods, some of the components in canola oil degrade to leave foods with a fishy, waxy residual flavor that most guests will find objectionable.
Choosing Between Fondant Or Butter Cream Icing
If the goal is to save money, making your own butter cream icing is a simple, straightforward proposition. By contrast, making fondant is extremely difficult, often requiring specialized equipment. Although its possible to buy pre-made fondant, there’s an added cost associated with that endeavor. Most of your most guests will agree that butter cream icing wins out for texture and overall taste, but decorating with butter cream icing is both time intensive and tiring.
There may also be external considerations that make fondant preferable. For outdoor weddings, where the cake will be exposed to sustained high temperatures, fondant’s ease of decoration, resistance to flow, and good heat stability makes it a good choice.
Assembling The Cake
Wedding cakes are heavy, with simple three-tiered cakes weighing as much as 50-pounds. When assembling a tiered wedding cake, the goal is to keep the layers flat for stability, while still retaining moisture. This provides a solid foundation for constructing the layers, while assuring the final product comes out flavorful and pleasing. The key to building a solid layered cake is leveling the layers before taking them out of the pans. This step requires a cake leveler, which provides a flat, even surface for building the layers.
Many cake building plans call for a glaze, which can be added to the cake after it has been leveled, but while its still in the pan. The glaze returns moisture to the cake, and through added weight, provide additional stability to the construction. However, the moisture can lead to tearing when the layers are being manipulated. One way to minimize this risk is to freeze the layers before removing them from their baking pan. If this step is done quickly, as the ice crystals thaw, guests will enjoy some of the most delectable wedding cake ever served.
Making your own wedding cake is one of many ways to save money while still having a beautiful wedding that will create memories to last a lifetime. All it takes is careful attention to a few details, and you’ll end up with a wedding cake that’s not only gorgeous, but tasty as well.
Greg Hayes is the author of Live Fit Blog, where he writes about fitting fitness into busy lives. Check out his blog to learn how canola oil and other types of cooking oil can influence health and fitness.
Pranavian via flickr