DIY: Can you make your own wedding cake?

What can a DIY Bride achieve with a Wedding Cake?

As a general idea, I suggest a competent baker could make this cake the day before the wedding, provided they have most of the day at home, and of that time at home, around 5 hours of labour time.

I made this for my birthday last year (click photos to enlarge), it took about 2.5 hours to bake 5 tiers in 3 flavors, 1.5 hour of baking time and 1 hour of icing and glitter decoration (after leaving them a few hours to cool).  A buttercream cake of this size might cost approximately $300-500. So you could say that my hourly rate would be $60-$100 per hour (less cost of ingredients). Ask yourself what those 5 hours (and the pressure) are worth to you the day before your wedding?  As for me… I’m leaving it to the professionals! 🍰how to organise your catering and wedding cake

And in my case, those professionals are PaulaJane Cakes. Theirs are second-to-none for taste and design, I can’t wait to share with you all the custom design for my wedding!

Other things to keep in mind if you’re going to bake your own cake:

  • Do a test run! Of course, this will reduce your hourly rate even further (and cost you ingredients…) but it’s the kind of thing you’re going to want to practice first!
  • Get a great recipe. You want something that’s firm enough to hold up the tiers above it, and that will withstand movement, and possibly transport and heat (reconsider buttercream if you’re taking it in a hot car!).
  • Consider a cake-buffet or dessert station instead of a large, elaborate classic-tiered wedding cake.
  • Watch YouTube videos before you choose to go ahead with this idea – just for an idea of the time and skill involved.
  • Consider a cake-decorating course like that offered by PaulaJane Cakes – see
  • If you rate your baking but not your decorating, get on trend with a ‘Naked’ Cake, or ask a cake-decorator to create a stunning sugar-flower topper for your DIY cake.

Head to the wedding planning page for an index of our content, and if you haven’t already seen our wedding organiser and diary, take a little look at the little white book.

Rosalind Miller (UK) suggests the following recipes for wedding cakes – you can read more of her advice in the Telegraph.


Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

3 large free range egg whites
250g caster sugar
300g unsalted butter (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla extract

Pour the egg whites into a heat proof bowl, add the sugar and salt.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir, keep stirring until the sugar fully dissolves and the temperature is 160 F.

Take the bowl off the heat and whisk until it turns into a thick meringue.

Add the vanilla extract.

Chop the unsalted butter into chunks, add them to the bowl and whisk – the mixture may go runny, keep whisking it at full speed until combined.

Rich fruitcake recipe

This is the traditional recipe used for wedding cakes. If wrapped well in greaseproof paper and tinfoil, the cake can be kept for up to a year, and it’s customary to keep the top tier of the wedding cake for the christening of the first child or the first wedding anniversary.

Make your fruitcakes at least six weeks in advance so that they have time to mature. A mature fruitcake cuts well and doesn’t crumble.


To make an 20cm round cake

1 x 20cm x 7.5cm high round tin

575g currants
225g sultanas
225g raisins
60g glace cherries
60g mixed peel
60ml brandy (or cognac, armagnac, rum or sherry)
275g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¾ tsp mixed spice
60g chopped almonds or other nuts to taste
275g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
275g unsalted butter
300g egg (about 5 large eggs)
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 large orange

Two days before baking, put the fruit and peel in a large bowl and cover with the brandy (or other alcohol). Leave to soak for 48 hours.

Heat up your oven to 120°C on a fan-assisted oven, or 140° on a regular oven (gas mark 1).

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt and spices) together in a large bowl.

Cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about five minutes in a stand mixer).

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each one. If the mix starts to curdle, add a teaspoon of flour with each egg.

Fold in the dry ingredients (flour, salt and spices).

Add the soaked fruit and peel, nuts, treacle and lemon and orange zest.

Tip: heat a metal spoon in boiling water before using it to measure out the treacle. The treacle will slide easily off the spoon.

Pour the mixture into a lined cake tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper and tie. Cover the top of the cake with a double layer of greaseproof paper with a small hole cut out of the middle.

Bake until cooked (approx 4 hrs for a 20cm cake, 3 hrs for a 15cm cake or 5 ½ hrs for a 25cm cake).

Vanilla sponge recipe


To make an 20cm round cake

2 x 20cm x 7.5cm high, round tins

480g unsalted butter
540g caster sugar
480g eggs (approx 8 large eggs)
480g self raising cake flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml milk

Heat up your oven to 130°C on a fan-assisted oven, or 150° on a regular oven (gas mark 2).

Cream together the softened butter and caster sugar until it’s light and fluffy (this takes about five minutes in a stand mixer).

Sift the flour into a separate bowl.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each one. If the mix starts to curdle, add a teaspoon of flour with each egg.

Add the vanilla extract and beat for 20 seconds more.

Fold in 1/3 of the flour

Fold in ½ of the milk

Fold in 1/3 of the flour

Fold in ½ of the milk

Fold in the last 1/3 of the flour.

Pour the mixture into the two lined 20cm cake tins and bake until cooked (approx 1hr 20min).

Royal icing (for between the tiers, and for piping)

1 x egg white
250 grams icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Beat well till the icing turns white and glossy. (About 3 minutes on a slow speed in a mixer)

For piping icing, beat in more lemon juice, one drop at a time, till it reaches the consistency of double cream.