One of our food editors has made wedding cakes for family and friends and, in
fact, made her own, based on the following recipe. The techniques involved are straightforward,
although the endeavor takes a bit of planning, the proper equipment, and sufficient
freezer and/or refrigerator space.
Once you have all the components ready to go, allow 3 to 4 hours for assembling
the cake, depending on your level of experience.
For each batch of batter
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
Two separate batches of this batter are required in this recipe (do not
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Zest of 1 large lemon removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons eau-de-vie de framboise
2 (9-inch) cardboard rounds*
2 (7-inch) cardboard rounds*
2 (6-inch) cardboard rounds*, trimmed to form 5-inch rounds
Lemon Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)
About 5 cups raspberries, picked over
5 (8-inch) plastic straws
#66 leaf tip
#70 leaf tip
#113 leaf tip
Note: A cake-decorating turntable* is extremely helpful for assembling and decorating
a wedding cake.
Crystallized edible flowers and mint leaves*
* available at specialty baking stores
Creme Fraîche Ice Cream (recipe follows)
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
8 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
10 sticks (5 cups) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons eau-de-vie de framboise
Creme Fraîche Ice Cream
1 pound (about 2 cups) creme fraîche*
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
* available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets
Batter: Make first batch of batter: Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line
a buttered 10-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) with a round of wax
paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess. Into a bowl
sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl with an electric
mixer cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy and beat in eggs, 1 at
a time, beating well after each addition, and vanilla.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending
with flour mixture and beating until just combined after each addition, and
beat in zest (do not over-mix).
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven 35 to 40 minutes,
or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and
invert onto rack. Peel off paper and cool cake completely.
Make second batch of batter: Line a buttered 6-inch round cake pan and a
buttered 8-inch round cake pan (each at least 2 inches deep) with rounds of
wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
Make batter in same manner.
Pour 1 3/4 cups batter into prepared 6-inch pan. Pour remaining batter into
prepared 8-inch pan. Bake 6-inch cake in middle of oven 30 to 35 minutes and
8-inch cake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cakes
in pans on racks 5 minutes and invert onto racks. Peel off paper and cool cakes
Cake layers may be made 2 weeks ahead, wrapped well in plastic wrap and
foil, and frozen. Defrost cake layers (without unwrapping) at room temperature.
Make syrup: In a small saucepan combine sugar, water, and zest and bring
to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and let syrup
cool completely. Discard zest and stir in lemon juice and framboise. Syrup may
be made 2 weeks ahead and chilled in an airtight container.
Assemble cake: With a long serrated knife halve each layer horizontally.
Put each 10-inch layer, cut side up, on a 9-inch cardboard round. Put 8-inch
layers similarly on 7-inch rounds and 6-inch layers on 5-inch rounds. Brush
cut sides of all 6 layers generously with syrup, dividing it evenly among layers,
and let layers stand 15 minutes to absorb syrup.
Spread about 1 1/2 cups buttercream on top half of 10-inch layer, cut side
up, and arrange enough raspberries, side by side and open ends down, in concentric
circles to cover entire layer. Invert bottom half of 10-inch layer, cut side
down, on top of berries and gently press layers together to form an even tier.
(Discard top cardboard round.) Frost top and sides smoothly with some remaining
buttercream and chill while assembling remaining 2 tiers.
Assemble and frost 8-inch tier in same manner (use about 1 cup buttercream
between layers) and chill while assembling remaining tier. Assemble and frost
6-inch tier in same manner (use about 2/3 cup buttercream between layers) and
chill until buttercream is firm.
Cut 3 straws in half and insert 1 straw piece all the way into center of
10-inch bottom tier. Trim straw level with top of tier and insert remaining
5 straw pieces in same manner in a circle about 1 1/2 inches from center straw.
(Straws serve to support tiers.) Carefully put 8-inch middle tier (still on
cardboard) in center of bottom tier.
Cut remaining 2 straws in half and insert into middle tier in same manner,
with 1 straw piece in center and remaining 3 straw pieces in a circle around
it. Carefully put 6-inch top tier (still on cardboard) in center of middle tier.
Fill in any gaps between tiers with buttercream and transfer remaining buttercream
to a pastry bag filled with a small (#66) leaf tip. Pipe a decorative border
around top edge of top tier. With a medium-sized (#70) leaf tip pipe border
in same manner around bottom edges of top and middle tiers. With same tip pipe
5 evenly spaced ribbons from top to bottom of cake. (These ribbons will support
cascades of crystallized flowers.)
Transfer cake to a cake stand or other serving plate and with a larger (#113)
leaf tip pipe border around bottom edge of cake. With same tip pipe mound of
buttercream on top of cake. (This mound will support crystallized flower arrangement.)
Arrange crystallized flowers and mint leaves decoratively on top and sides
of cake. Chill cake at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. Let cake stand at cool
room temperature (buttercream is sensitive to warm temperatures) 2 to 4 hours
Serve cake with creme fraîche ice cream and additional raspberries.
Make lemon curd: In a small heavy saucepan whisk together yolks and sugar
and whisk in lemon juice, butter, and a pinch salt. Cook mixture over moderately
low heat, whisking, until it just reaches boiling point, 5 to 7 minutes (do
not let it boil). Strain curd through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool, its
surface covered with plastic wrap. Chill curd, covered at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make buttercream: In a heavy saucepan combine sugar and water and bring
to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, undisturbed, until
it reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer. While syrup is boiling, in
a standing electric mixer beat whites with a pinch salt until foamy and beat
in cream of tartar. Beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks and add hot
syrup in a stream, beating. Beat mixture at medium speed until completely cool,
15 to 20 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until thick and
smooth. (Buttercream will at first appear very thin but as more butter is beaten
in, it will thicken.) Beat in lemon curd and salt, beating until smooth, and
drizzle in framboise, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating. Buttercream may be made
4 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container or 2 weeks ahead and frozen
in an airtight container. Let buttercream come completely to room temperature
(this may take several hours if frozen) and beat before using. Makes about 12
Creme Fraîche Ice Cream: In a blender blend together all ingredients, scraping
down sides, until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Chill mixture until cold and
freeze in an ice-cream maker.
Serves about 50 (including top tier) | about 1 quart Creme Fraîche Ice Cream,
serving 12 as an accompaniment to cake | about 12 cups Butter Cream