Wedding Cake Recipe

Homemade cake adds a personal touch to the celebration. Learn how to bake and assemble your cake.
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Serving Wedding Cake

Serving Wedding Cake

Disassemble the tiers and remove dowels and any decorations before preparing to serve. Disassembling a wedding cake isn’t always a pretty process and is usually done “behind the scenes”. Don’t forget to save that top tier to be enjoyed on the first anniversary. Freeze uncovered for about an hour before wrapping in plastic to make sure your beautiful piping remains intact.

Cake has been an important part of celebrating weddings since the time of the Roman Empire. In those days, icing wasn’t even invented and the cake of choice was a simple loaf of wheat and barley. How times have changed. The modern wedding cake is usually a bit more ornate: multi-tiered, decorated with spectacular feats of icing, flowers or spun sugar, and with flavors to dazzle any palate. Wedding cakes are works of art and they don’t come cheap.

The most expensive wedding cake ever, created in 2013, was adorned with more than 4,000 diamonds by the British bakery Cake, at a price of $52.7 million dollars. Although that astronomical price tag is atypical, the average cost of a wedding cake is still nearly $500 and can easily rise over a thousand, depending on the size and style.

What’s the frugal wedding planner to do?

Making your own wedding cake is a daunting proposition. Not only is it a feat of construction, it will be the centerpiece of the most important party you’ll ever throw, forever immortalized in the memories and photos of those who attend. The same things that give pause are great reasons to give it a shot. A homemade wedding cake elevates the value of this nuptial icon. Made with your own two hands, it becomes personal, special and not soon forgotten. And, not to take away from the heartwarming picture, it’s a dynamite way to make a dent in the high price of the most expensive party most of us will ever throw.

All majesty aside, cake is cake. Even when stacked into three tiers of three layer cake. Although it’s a lot of cake, you can finish baking in just a few hours and freeze the layers to prepare in advance. Construction of a multi-layered cake has its challenges, but knowing the process and planning ahead make assembly a—forgive me—piece of cake.

Our cake is a simple yellow cake with peach filling, but pick your favorites. Buttercream icing is a reliable choice because it is smooth and easy to spread evenly. Once you’ve decided on the cake of your dreams, take a look at the gallery below to learn how to put it all together. Congratulations on your wedding and that beautiful DIY cake!

Yellow Cake

Quadruple this recipe to bake three 6”, three 9” and three 12” cake layers per directions.

  • 5 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time.

Add vanilla extract and beat until fully combined.

Alternating in small amounts, slowly add flour mix and milk until well-combined and smooth.

Fill prepared 6” and 12” pans a little less than halfway and pour remaining into 9” pan.

In a 350 degree oven, bake 6” cake for 28 minutes and 12” cake for 40 minutes, rotating each halfway through respective baking times.

Allow cake to cool 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Repeat steps twice more to complete three 12” and three 6” layers.

For final batch, divide batter between two prepared 9” pans (third 9” layer should be ready to bake from batter added in previous steps.

Bake 9” cakes for 34 minutes.

Allow to cool 10 minutes and transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

Once cool, use a serrated knife to horizontally cup tops of layers to level.

Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to build cake.

Peach Filling

  • 3 cups dried peaches
  • 3 pints peach jam

Place dried peaches in a bowl.

Boil 3 cups of water and pour over dried peaches.

Allow to rest 10 minutes, then drain.

Combine peaches and jam in food processor and process until smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Buttercream Icing

Triple recipe, prepare when ready to use.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 8 cups powdered sugar

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, cream together butter and shortening until smooth.

Slowly add milk and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

Yield: About 90 slices

See the gallery below for cake assembly instructions:

How to Assemble a Wedding Cake

See All Photos

Homemade Wedding Cake

Homemade wedding cake can be a real money saver and adds an impressive personal touch to the big day. Making your own wedding cake is easier than it sounds!

Bake in Advance

Cake and filling can be made in advance to ease the process. In addition to the ingredients, a piping bag and tips, wooden or plastic dowels, cardboard cake rounds, a lazy Susan and a large, sturdy cake platter will be used to construct your homemade wedding cake.

Make Icing

Icing should be made fresh when it is time to build your cake. Adjust consistency with milk until a smooth and easily spread texture is reached.

Bottom layer

Use a dollop of batter to secure a 12” layer of cake to a 12” cardboard round and place on cake platter. Coat top with a layer of filling, leaving ½” uncovered at the outer edge.

Add a Layer

Place second 12” layer on top of bottom layer and top with filling. Each tier of the cake will be built and iced before assembly.

Apply Crumb Coat

Place the top layer of the 12” tier on top and coat cake with a thin layer of icing. This coat is called the “crumb coat” and prevents crumbs from clumping in the final coat. Once coated, place tier in refrigerator and continue to the second tier.

Second Tier

Build a 9” tier in the same manner as the 12” layer, including a cardboard round beneath bottom layer. These rounds will stay in place throughout construction and give each tier a stable base on which to rest. Place the 9” layer in fridge and continue to the 6” layer.

Top Tier

Assemble and crumb coat the 6" layer and refrigerate. When adding layers, placing them bottom-side-up will ensure the top of the tier is perfectly flat.

Icing the Cake

Remove bottom layer from refrigerator and place on cake platter positioned on a lazy Susan. Apply final coat of icing using a long icing knife. Rotate the lazy susan as you work to help create a smooth and even coat. Repeat the icing process on the 9” and 6” tiers.

Add Stabilizing Dowels

Dowels hidden within the bottom and middle tiers will keep the cake stable and prevent possible collapse. Cut four dowels to the height of the bottom layer. Use a cake round to approximate placement of next tier and press dowels into the cake below until level with the top of the cake. Repeat this process with the middle tier, using a 6” cardboard round to approximate the placement of the top tier.

Assemble the Cake

Time to put it all together! Carefully center and place the 9” tier on top of the 12” tier, using a cake lifter or cake round to gently slide into place. Add the top tier to the cake and gently adjust as needed to make sure the cake is level and even.

Pipe Trim

Use a piping tool to decorate the cake as desired. Icing used to decorate may need to be thicker than the icing used to coat the cake. Add powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.

Using Different Piping Tips

Different piping tips can be used to create different looks. Practice using tips on a piece of cardboard before applying to cake. This step goes a long way in reflecting your personal style to this elegant cake.


If desired, give your cake in impressive splash of color using fruit, silk or cut flowers or a classic “bride and groom” figurine. If flowers are inedible, consider plastic holders or barriers to prevent contact with the cake. Be creative. Once the bride and groom have cut the cake, remove accessories before cutting the cake into slices for guests.

Serving Wedding Cake

Disassemble the tiers and remove dowels and any decorations before preparing to serve. Disassembling a wedding cake isn’t always a pretty process and is usually done “behind the scenes.” Don’t forget to save that top tier to be enjoyed on the first anniversary. Freeze uncovered for about an hour before wrapping in plastic to make sure your beautiful piping remains intact.

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