Wedding Cake Practice: Day #1

It has come the time to start practicing my wonderful hubby to be and my wedding cake for our upcoming special day in June. I have heard a thousand times that I should relax and enjoy getting married, not make our wedding cake, but I LOVE to bake, so naturally let's get practicing.

So my hunny decided that white cake would be best, classic and yummy. I am thinking 3, maybe 4 tiers with each tier having a different filling, for practice purposes however, I will only be doing one tier per time. As for fillings, I will do the top tier with plain vanilla buttercream. The second with lemon curd (my favorite) and the bottom tier I haven't yet decided, coconut cream, pralines and cream, whipped cream, something I will have to try some fillings out in future posts. But as for today's post, I am going with a white butter cake, lemon curd and swiss meringue buttercream-by far the BEST frosting ever created!

To start a few quick cake baking tips...

-To ensure that your cake will not stay in  your pan, place a parchment circle in the bottom. Best way to do this is to draw around the bottom of your cake pan and cut the circle out. Place circle in the bottom of the pan, butter the entire pan (parchment included) and finally coat pan with flour.Voila...no sticking.

-Always make sure your cold ingredients are room temperature, otherwise you will have a very difficult time getting your cake batter to be creamy.

Ok so now for the recipe...
Source: White Butter Cake from Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes
Difficulty: wedding cakes are not exactly easy, and I would say this recipe follows suit!
Satisfaction: still searching for a good white cake recipe, this left a lot to be desired, mostly moisture!

Yields about 6 cups of batter (enough for an 8 inch 2-layer cake)
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pans; line with parchment paper. Butter lining; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside. 
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Stir milk and vanilla; set aside. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in a steady stream; mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; mix until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
This is how the batter will look once you have
finished the above steps. Thick and creamy. 

In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites just until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of egg whites into batter. Gently fold in remaining whites in two batches. Divide batter among pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Firmly tap pans on work surface to release any air bubbles.
Egg whites in the "foamy" stage...keep whisking!
Egg whites in the "soft peak" stage...just a little longer!
You've made it, these are stiff peaks!
Here is a photo of folding the whites into the
creamy batter. When the whites are fully incorporated,
the batter will be a light and airy texture, unlike
the thick creamy texture pre-egg whites.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean and tops are springy to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes; turn out onto racks to cool completely.

In case you are a beginner, to know whether cakes are done, there are a few key signs.

-A skewer or toothpick inserted through the center of the cake will come out clean.

-The edges of the cake will "pull away" from the cake pan and you will start to see space between the cake and the pan.

-The center of the cake will spring back after applying gentle pressure.

Once you have got the cake in the oven, you can get started on the lemon curd. This is by far my favorite lemon curd recipe, it uses whole eggs which is nice because you are not wasting egg and I think it tastes better than traditional curd with yolks only. It is also very simple to do, unlike other curd recipes I have tried. I found this recipe on another great blog called Figs with Bri and have been using it for years! After finishing the cake, I feel that the curd was a little on the thin side for cake filling, so what I suggest is to add a little cornstarch while you are whisking the curd over heat, this will allow it to get thicker. Just sprinkle in the cornstarch a 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

Lemony Meyer Lemon Curd (copied from Figs with Bri)
3 Meyer lemons
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 C.), cut into 6 pieces

Finely grate zest from lemons, and squeeze enough juice for 1/2 cup (my Meyer lemons were so juicy, I only needed 2 1/2 lemons to get 1/2 cup juice.
I use regular lemons because I always have
them on hand and they are delish!
Whisk juice, zest, sugar and eggs in double boiler (can just set a bowl over saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water in it). Once the eggs are well incorporated, and the sugar has dissolved, add butter, and continue whisking over the simmering water about 10 minutes. It will become opaque, lighter in color and thickened quite a bit, but still pourable. Since this recipe calls for both the white and yolk of the egg, there will be little bits of cooked white. While it’s still hot, carefully pour the lemon curd through a fine strainer/sieve. This step is also why you don’t need to be too careful about the lemon seeds. 
start whisking...
keep it going, whisk whisk whisk!
At the end of 10 minutes, this is what you
should see, opaque light yellow liquid.
Now pour the mixture in the sieve and you get thick
creamy luscious lemon curd! You can chill the curd
for a bit until you are ready to use it. Just make sure
that you put saran wrap directly on the surface so
as to avoid a film forming and ruining your texture!

Lastly, it comes time for the frosting! I use Martha's Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe, which is nothing short of divine.
Makes about 6 cups
1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine sugar and egg whites in mixer bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer bowl to mixer; whisk on medium-high speed until whites are fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Continue to whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter by the tablespoon, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using; beat on lowest speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

So now we have all of our components, let's put them together.

Once the cake is cool, you will want to cut the rounded top
of the cake off so that your cake is flat, not rounded. Next, split
cake in half in order to place your filling between the layers
Take a piping bag fitted with a coupler and pipe
a damn of frosting to hold your lemon curd in
place. If you skip this step, you will have filling
running out of the middle and through the
decorated part of your cake, not too pretty!
Place the filling inside of the damn
Place the two layers (or more) together
trying to make the top as level as possible
Slather on lots of frosting to get
the surface as smooth as possible.
As you can see from my poor exposure and
quick decorating job, I was running out of time
before I had to run off to work, blah blah!
Yummy, just look at the oozing lemon curd!

The purpose of my practice is to figure out the recipes I will be going with for the big day. So far as I see it, I will be in search of a better white cake recipe. I will without a doubt be using the lemon curd recipe (thickened up a bit) and the Swiss meringue buttercream. Until next time...happy baking...happier eating!


  1. Wow! I can't wait to taste the finished product on your wedding day! I vote the coconut or pralines :) Love u!

  2. Me too! I think I am leaning toward coconut, fresh and summery! xox!

  3. Allison Oswald2/07/2010 12:36 PM

    Oh my gosh, this looks so delicious! FYI, I am always available as a test taster...xox

  4. Ali you can be a taste tester anytime my dear! I love to bake for you and Pete! xox!


Ask a question or leave a comment! I will get back to you soon!