Step 1: Plan
This cake was to feed 200 people. We needed about 15 cake mixes, 4 lbs of powdered sugar, 45 eggs... you see where this is going. Thankfully my mom had a few old cheat sheets that made the math a little easier
Step 2: Bake
This only took us about 4 hours to bake two 18in cakes, four 12in cakes, and two 8in cakes
Step 3: Freeze
For perfectly moist and delicious cake you must wrap in layers of plastic wrap and freeze for one day to a month in advance. Trust me, this make all the difference. This is also the time to cover your cake boards. The bottom board can be
larger than the cake while the top and middle tier need to have their
boards the same diameter as the cake so they don't show.
Step 4: Constuction
Remove from freezer, unwrap, make a frosting dam if using a filling (like we did), make sure it is level and then stack layers making sure the bottom of the cake is facing up. This will give you the most even surface to work with.
Step 5: Make Frosting
We made a double batch of french butter cream frosting which requires some fancy ingredients including a white margarine to keep it from turning yellow.
Step 6: Crumb coat
You need to use a base coat of frosting to catch all crumbs that could potentially work their way from your decorating tools onto the outside of your perfectly frosted cake. The crumb coat will also help you find any problem corners and allow you to rebuild where needed to make sure you have an even surface.
Step 7: Frost
Use a giant decorating tip (2in by 1/8in opening) to put on a generous layer of frosting. This needs to be thick enough that any texturizing will not dip down into your crumb coat.
Up until this point it was my moms game, really. The texturing was where I got to put my style into it and create my own wave tossed sand texture.
We had to cut and place 8-10 dowels in a circle perpendicular to the plate that would hold the tier that would be stacked atop it. Each dowel had to be placed in the cake, marked, pulled out and cut with a hand saw, and replaced. Next place your stabilizing plate directly on top of your circle of dowels.
Step 10: Transport
The most stressful part of any creation is getting it from point A to point B in one piece. To make sure they go down on a flat even surface on towels that will keep them from sliding into each other, and driving slowly so you don't make the frosting slide right off the sides.
Step 11: Rest
Once they were on location they had to go right in the fridge to tighten up overnight before setting up the tiers and doing the final decorating.
We brought extra frosting to touch up where my palm had slipped into the cake and to cover up the cake boards and make it look like one connected piece.
Step 12: Decorate
The mother of the groom had these amazing shells to decorate the cake with and it really made all the difference. They were beautiful and I felt like a kid in a candy store going through them with my mom. Together we found the focal points for each tier and found little accents to create a cascading effect. I love how it turned out and I could not have done that with out my mom and those shells.
Step 13: Cut the Cake
Cut, serve, and cut up the remaing layers for the the wedding helpers to take home. We made enough cake for 200 and only ended up serving about 50 slices. That meant we could save the top tier for the bride and groom on their honeymoon and divvy up the rest for anyone who wanted it.