Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wedding cake!


3 dozen eggs
4 pounds of butter
4 cups of sugar
4 pounds of sour cream
4 cups of oil
8 pounds of raspberries
8 pounds of fondant
8 cake mixes + 8 packets of pudding mix
24 cups of powdered sugar
6" cake pans
9" cake pans
12" cake pans
16" cake pans


1. Stress out
2. Go shopping at 4 different stores to purchase all the required ingredients for the best price you can find them. Make sure one of the places is the only cake store in Chicago, a 50+ minute drive away from home, to buy a 20 pound pail of fondant for $73.
3. Stress out.
4. Spend 5+ hours making 15 fondant roses. Revel in their beauty.
5. Bake. Bake. Bake. Bake. Bake. Bake. Bake. Bake. (Literally, 8 batches of cake)
6. Stress out... and vow to never do this again.
7. Make 15 cups of the most delicious raspberry filling ever (recipe below) and 16+ cups of overly sweet American style buttercream frosting. Split, fill, and frost the cakes.
8. Knead 8 pounds of fondant until your knuckles are raw to color it a deep ivory shade. Cover cakes with said fondant.
9. Drive said cakes to my uncle's awesome wedding banquet hall and assemble cakes on site. Complete decorations.
10. Be proud of the most amazing, elegant, and relatively flawless fondant cake you've ever made.

Giant wedding cake (my biggest to date), enough to serve 180+ people. 
Chocolate cake with raspberry filling. 16"/12"/9"/6" cakes, each ~4" high.

I took a bunch of photos and couldn't decide on the best ones to post, so here's a crap-ton of the cake, gumpaste flowers, and fondant draping. Enjoy!!!

(You can click on each photo to enlarge it if you like. But please do not judge the flaws in my photography...)

All the roses, smallest to biggest

Artsy flower shot 


Birds eye view 

Flower closeup. To make the flowers I used a combination of the instructions in my Wilton flower making set along with tips I saw in videos from Ron Ben-Israel (good ones here and here).

The top of the cake. Who needs a topper when you've got beautiful handmade fondant roses?? 

More draping

The draping was a bigger b*tch to do than I originally thought... 
but all turned out in the end!

Yours in taking on giant challenges,

And now, for the recipes and tips. I decided to use box mix for the cake since there was just too damn much to bake. But I doctored it up to make the best chocolate cake you've ever have from a mix. I also decided to make my own raspberry filling from scratch to make up for the fact that I wasn't making the cake from scratch.

I can't even describe to you how delicious the raspberry filling was. Tart and sweet and fresh tasting! And with a perfectly thick consistency it doesn't ooze out the sides of the cake. And it doubles as jam in your PB&J sandwiches!

Best Box Mix Chocolate Cake, from my good friend Jenn's mom


1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix, any variety
1 pkg. (4 serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 (8 ounce) container good quality Sour Cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped small.

Note: the chopped chocolate is optional, and I didn't use it when making this particular wedding cake because I didn't want to buy/chop that much chocolate for this massive cake. But it gives the cake an extra kick of chocolateyness and an awesome crunch-- so if you're making this at home I highly recommend you add the chopped chocolate!


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan or two 9" round pans; set aside.

2. Beat all ingredients except chopped chocolate in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, stopping frequently to scrape side of bowl. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly. (Note: the batter will be very thick.)

3. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out (relatively) clean. (Note: it's a bit hard to determine doneness, because the chopped chocolate in the cake will stick to your toothpick and make it look like the cake isn't done yet. But you can tell the difference between uncooked batter and melty chocolate.)

4. Cool cakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen cake from side of pan with metal spatula or knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool completely.

If you're making a wedding cake, note that one box mix can give you:
* two 6" and an 8" cake ~or~
* two 9" cakes ~or~
* two 10" cakes ~or~
* one 12" cake + some cupcakes/ 6" cake ~or~
* one relatively thin 16" cake 

Seedless raspberry filling, adapted from Cake Boss

I reduced the amount of sugar called for in the original recipe and pureed my raspberries in the first step. If you want your filling to have fruit chunks it in, I'll copy the Cake Boss recipe (as-is) below.
Also, I used ~1.3X this recipe (16 oz of raspberries) for a single 9" cake-- it all depends on taste. Check out my recommendations below for how much filling I used in this wedding cake.


12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, or any other fruit, thawed
1/3 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
2 heaping TBSP cornstarch, dissolved in just enough water to make it pourable
2 TBSP raspberry liqueur such as Razzmatazz by DeKuyper, optional (I did not use this, but wanted to include it in the recipe if you wanted to try it out.

Directions for a smooth raspberry filling

1. Thaw frozen raspberries in refrigerator or in the microwave.

2. Puree the raspberries in a food processor or blender. Strain them through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all the seeds. Place raspberry liquid in a medium sized saucepan.

3. Add sugar, lemon juice, and dissolved cornstarch to the raspberries and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens.

4. Remove from heat and cool until warm to the touch. Add raspberry liqueur, if using, and chill in the fridge for at least a few hours. Filling keeps in the refrigerator at least a week, and I'm sure it'll freeze pretty well too.

Filling amounts for cakes*
I figured these out by making an 8" tester cake and determining that I liked 1.5 cups of filling in the entire 8" cake (split evenly between layers). I then used old school math to figure out the surface area of 6, 9, 12, and 16" cakes in proportion to the 8" cake and multiplied the amount of filling accordingly.

6" cake: 0.85 cups filling
8" cake: 1.5 cups filling
9" cake: 2 cups filling
12" cake: 3.5 cups filling
16" cake: 6 cups filling

*Note: I split my cakes and used 1/2 the filling on two layers with a thin layer of buttercream frosting in between the other layer. Feel free to split the frosting into thirds and use in between all layers of cake if you don't want to use any frosting.

For the 16" cake I didn't want to split the layers, so instead baked up 3 separate cakes (1 box mix per 16" layer). So for that I just had cake, filling, cake, filling, cake (and no frosting in the middle).

Directions for a chunky raspberry filling (from Cake Boss
Note: I didn't try the recipe this way, but I'm sure it works great.

1. Thaw raspberries and strain juice from berries. Add enough water to the juice to get 3/4 cup of liquid.

2. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat, set aside.

3. With a fine wire strainer, use a spoon to press the raspberries so that the seedless pulp falls into a bowl below. Strain enough pulp to get between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of pulp. *You can skip this step and just use the whole berries, but people at weddings and parties don't like to pick seeds out of their teeth.

4. To the cooled mixture in the saucepan, add 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur and the raspberry pulp. Stir well and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.

If you're filling a cake with jam, you can't just put the filling on the cake. If so, your filling will ooze out the sides of the cake and you'll have a giant mess on your hands. What you have to do instead is create a dam using buttercream frosting to keep the filling in place.

Step 1: Pipe a thick buttercream dam around the edges of the cake. Add your filling on top of the cake.

Step 2: Gently spread the filling to the edges of the cake, taking care to not disturb the buttercream dam.

Step 3: Take a photo of your hand in front of the giant 16" cake to demonstrate how monstrous the thing is!


Tamara Marnell said...

You are so talented! I've always wanted to make something like this, but I'd screw it up under all the pressure for it to be perfect. It's hard enough for me to pull off a simple birthday cake. Your friends and relatives are hella lucky!

Stacey said...

I love that you made a figure for this blog post. You can take the scientist out of the laboratory....

oh, and awesome cake! This thing is HUUUUGE!

Colleen said...

Jackie this looks great! And I love your scientific illustration about the cake assembly :)

Suzanne Jacobs said...

This is the exact cake recipe my family has been using for years (literally for several decades minimum) for the best triple chocolate bundt cake ever! I bring it to all sorts of events and it's always a huge hit. We add a cup of chocolate chips. And the superstition in our family is using Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate Cake mix, which is almost impossible to find.

Vissy said...

Delicious - just had one problem... my vitamix chopped up the seeds so they went right through my fine sieve. Had to then proceed to squeeze through a jelly bag which was brutal. Took brute strength and huge clean up. Next time, I'd forgo the blending before "sieving"...

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