How to Make a Beautiful DIY Wedding Cake, by Mich Turner

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011

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mich turner diy beautiful wedding cake
Making your own wedding cake is a culinary frontier few brave. Baking and decorating an upscale cake is hard enough: runny frosting, crumbly cake and sugar flowers are bound to give you trouble. The added pressure of displaying your culinary masterpiece for friends and family on your day of wedded bliss can be too much. We asked Mich Turner — who's made cakes for Gordon Ramsey, Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne and Paul McCartney — to give us troubleshooting tips on making a DIY delight. 

In Mich's new book, "The Art of the Cake," you can find instruction about royal icing, hand piping and stacking cake as well as a trove of edible beauty. Her multi-tiered wonders run between $1,500 and $3,000 (to serve 150 to 200 guests). Want to take the first step toward being a top-notch baker? Read on.
DIY wedding cake mich turner flowers
What are easy ways to adapt your ideas to a DIY wedding cake?
One of the easiest ways to decorate a simple iced cake is to use fresh flowers that match the rest of your floral design between each tier. Another simple but effective technique is to hand paint designs that color-coordinate.

If you want to learn how to decorate cakes, what's the best project to start on? 
It's best to start simple to build confidence. Learning to cover a cake really well is a great start. Learning to dress with fresh flowers is also a nice project.
Mich turner DIY wedding cake
If a baker is making a wedding cake, what potential pitfalls should he or she keep in mind? 
Timing — make sure that you leave enough time to decorate your cake but not too much, the cake will still need to be fresh. Don't take on too much of a challenge — play it safe and SIMPLE. Make sure that your cake is properly constructed with internal dowelling. Remember to consider the type of venue, the transportation to the venue and how the cake will be served.

What should a baker do if cake crumbs appear in the frosting?
Chill the cake until the frosting firms and then add another crumb/masking coat of buttercream before covering with marzipan and sugar paste. You must ensure that your work surfaces and tools are scrupulously clean between filling and covering with each layer.

How would you fix burnt cake?
A burnt cake cannot be fixed, it just has to be rebaked.
mich turner wedding cake
Are there any types of cake that are good to freeze and any types you shouldn't freeze?
Most butter or oil based cakes can be frozen — vanilla sponge, carrot cake, chocolate torte will freeze well for up to three months. Don't attempt to freeze fat free or whisked sponges.  

What kinds of frosting can you freeze and what types should you not? 
We make all of our frostings/buttercreams fresh. Marzipan and sugar paste should not be refrigerated but can be frozen on a covered cake — for example if you're saving a top tier. 

What basic tools should every cake decorator have? 
Basic tools include a good set of tins, palette knives, rolling pins, smoothers, work boards, a turntable, piping bags and nozzles, a sharp knife, dowelling rods and heavy duty scissors.
mich turner diy wedding cakes
Mich Turner is the author of "The Art of the Cake" and founder of the Little Venice Cake Company.

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