MSE Blog: Why I baked a wedding cake (and saved £430)

edited 5 August 2014 at 10:25AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
15 replies 4K views
Former_MSE_HelenFormer_MSE_Helen
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edited 5 August 2014 at 10:25AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
"As long as I can remember I’ve been into baking, be it cakes, scones, biscuits or flapjacks..."

Read MSE Rebecca's full blog:
Why I baked a wedding cake (and saved £430)


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  • Fuzzy_DuckFuzzy_Duck Forumite
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    I decorated a friend's wedding cake recently and that was stressful enough. It took 4 hours for the (much more capable than I) baker to make, and 4 hours for me to cover it with fondant and do a simple design. It probably took another 4 hours for me to make the toppers, but I used clay for that so at least I got to do it in advance.

    These were the issues I encountered and had not considered at the time:

    - Working out the size of cake needed.
    Every guide on the internet says different and I just had to guess in the end. Only half of it got eaten, but whilst it was a waste I'd have rather had too much than not enough!

    - Delivery and set up.
    More stress transporting the cake to the venue, and in my case there was last minute panic when I couldn't get through to the venue staff!

    - Serving the cake.
    Not necessarily a problem if you have a traditional wedding venue who will do it for you, but in my case I had to provide a knife and the bride ending up doing the slicing! Luckily I had insisted on a square cake to make this easier.

    - THE HEAT. Summer weddings are popular, but you don't think about how difficult it is working with rapidly melting cake and fondant when it's hot. I assume professional bakers keep their working conditions cool but I just had to do it as quickly as possible and pray the cake would hold until it was eaten.

    I felt so nervous on the day of the wedding and unable to relax until it was cut and eaten that there is no way in hell I'm doing that to myself again for my wedding! Unless you're a keen baker with plenty of time and you're not overly fussed if it all goes wrong, I really wouldn't recommend it.

    To be fair I wouldn't say £500 is an average price for a wedding cake anyway, unless you want a huge, fancy three tier. As with all things wedding, things get significantly cheaper if you go for something less traditional. A smaller, less intricate design would probably only set you back £100. I spent £50 just on decorating supplies, so with the cost of ingredients as well a professional made cake probably wouldn't have been that much more.
  • gardengullgardengull Forumite
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    A slightly less stressful, but not so personal version is what we did. We bought Marks and Spencer's iced occasion cakes in 3 sizes (about £80 in total), hired a fancy stand (£10 for the week - no dowels/columns or fiddling about with the cakes required) from a specialist cake shop and £10 on very small silk flowers, beads and ribbon (which we removed before serving!).
    Total cost about £100.

    http://www.marksandspencer.com/traditional-wedding-cake-large-tier/p/pb940042
    Whoops there goes another year, there goes another pint of :beer:
  • ajdjajdj Forumite
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    You have the weigh up the stress factor vs. a purchased cake.

    We're going the M&S route too but one of the chocolate cakes as we don't want an iced cake. They are very reasonable as other posters have already pointed out and you can add small details to individualise them.

    When I think of weddings I've been to, the cake isn't normally something I can remember afterwards...
  • LavendyrLavendyr Forumite
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    A friend (and ex professional cake-maker) made our cake for free. It was beautiful and it saved us approx £250. I would never have wanted the stress of making our own cake though. It's harder than it looks, and I had enough to think about for our wedding - if our friend had not very kindly offered, we would gladly have paid for a cake. Though as others have said, we would have probably gone down the M&S route.
  • coolreb1coolreb1 Forumite
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    I made my own wedding cake a few weeks ago. A fruit cake is least stressful as it can be made weeks in advance without pressure of making and icing the week before! Also it will keep so leftovers for the next few days (or weeks!)
    My cake was a 4 tier fruit cake with a large spray of sugar flowers down the side, cost £150 to make. It was based on a £1300 cake I saw at a wedding fair and loved. The most stressful part was allowing my husband to be and best man move it from the house to the venue the morning before wedding (it weighed 15 kilos!). I have done a couple of sugar flower courses, but mostly I watched youtube video tutorials for the flowers. Round cakes are easier to ice than square ones if your doing your own.
    Theres a photo of it here https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14488443859/in/set-72157645732342302set-72157645732342302
  • coolreb1 wrote: »
    I made my own wedding cake a few weeks ago. A fruit cake is least stressful as it can be made weeks in advance without pressure of making and icing the week before! Also it will keep so leftovers for the next few days (or weeks!)
    My cake was a 4 tier fruit cake with a large spray of sugar flowers down the side, cost £150 to make. It was based on a £1300 cake I saw at a wedding fair and loved. The most stressful part was allowing my husband to be and best man move it from the house to the venue the morning before wedding (it weighed 15 kilos!). I have done a couple of sugar flower courses, but mostly I watched youtube video tutorials for the flowers. Round cakes are easier to ice than square ones if your doing your own.
    Theres a photo of it here https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14488443859/in/set-72157645732342302set-72157645732342302

    It looks amazing!
  • Fuzzy_DuckFuzzy_Duck Forumite
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    coolreb1 wrote: »
    I made my own wedding cake a few weeks ago. A fruit cake is least stressful as it can be made weeks in advance without pressure of making and icing the week before! Also it will keep so leftovers for the next few days (or weeks!)
    My cake was a 4 tier fruit cake with a large spray of sugar flowers down the side, cost £150 to make. It was based on a £1300 cake I saw at a wedding fair and loved. The most stressful part was allowing my husband to be and best man move it from the house to the venue the morning before wedding (it weighed 15 kilos!). I have done a couple of sugar flower courses, but mostly I watched youtube video tutorials for the flowers. Round cakes are easier to ice than square ones if your doing your own.
    Theres a photo of it here https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14488443859/in/set-72157645732342302set-72157645732342302

    It's beautiful! You're very talented :)

    Totally forgot about the weight issue too. Mine was only one tier and yet lifting it on the cake board was still a terrifying experience!
  • sulphatesulphate Forumite
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    A friend of mine made our cake and the ingredients alone cost close to £100. It probably would have been a little less but I needed everything gluten free which increased the cost a bit. I can understand why wedding cakes are so expensive, apart from the ingredients I think my friend spent around 1-2 days actually making it! It was all sponge too so she couldn't make it that far in advance.

    http://s21.postimg.org/737afl2s7/cake.jpg
  • Former_MSE_AndreaFormer_MSE_Andrea Former MSE
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    Lovely cakes, thanks for those pictures!
    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


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  • evespikeyevespikey Forumite
    106 Posts
    We're doing our own cake too. We have a few days off before the wedding, and have already done two trials (for work cake club) so the leftovers were eaten. It's a three layer chocolate cake with white buttercream icing.
    The cakes on here look amazing, hope ours looks as good on the day :)
    Wins: my987wardrobe dress, Look show tickets! Seamus Heaney poetry collection, 9bar sample pack, palmolive large bottle, La Dolche Vita show tickets, Dorset cereals, 2xTim Minchin tickets, etsy necklace
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