If your heart is set on a four-tiered, fondant-covered wedding cake, but the budget is coming up short, try making your own cake. In just a few easy steps, you'll have a gorgeous cake fit for the stateliest of affairs. Keep in mind that the days leading up to your wedding can be busy and stressful, so it is a good idea to appoint a responsible family member or friend to help keep your cake project on track.
Visit a cake supply store or shop online to gather materials and tools. Some craft stores carry baking supplies too. There are several options for fondant. Wilton makes a popular brand of fondant that you can pick up at most craft stores where cake supplies are sold. Satin Ice fondant is available in almost any colour, but is often available only online.
Bake the cakes according to package or recipe instructions. You will end up with eight single-layer (2 inches deep) cakes. Let layers cool completely on wire cooling racks, then level each tier with a serrated knife.
Apply a small amount of buttercream to each cardboard circle and turn one layer, cut side down, onto the cardboard. Stack the second layer on top of the first with a layer of buttercream or filling of your choice in between. Use your offset spatula to spread a thin, even layer of buttercream over the tops and sides of each tier. You'll now have four separate tiers (each with two layers of cake). Let the iced tiers chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Dust a clean, dry surface with cornflour. Use a rolling pin to roll a sheet of fondant to about 1/4 inch thick and large enough in diameter to cover the largest tier. Pick up the sheet of fondant, taking care not to tear it or poke holes with your fingers. Use your rolling pin to help steady larger sheets. Center the fondant circle above the iced cake and gently lower it into place.
Use a fondant smoother to smooth the top of the cake first, then use your hands and the smoother to slowly stretch and mould fondant to the sides of the cake, taking care not to tear the fondant. Trim excess fondant around the base using a pizza cutter. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all tiers are covered.
Insert dowels or drinking straws in a circular pattern into the top of the largest tier until it hits the cardboard circle below. Trim the dowels so they are flush with the top of the cake. This will prevent the cake from collapsing under its own weight. Only insert dowels where the above tier will cover the holes completely. Repeat this step on all but the very top tier.
Adhere the largest tier to the cake plate or stand with a small amount of buttercream. Use buttercream as an adhesive as you stack the remaining three tiers.
Finish your cake by measuring four lengths of ribbon, one for each joint where the layers meet. Wrap one length of ribbon around the bottom of each tier and secure the ribbon to the cake with small dots of buttercream. Decorate the base and top tier with fresh flowers.
Make a small practice cake several months before your wedding to build confidence. Recruit family and friends to bake and help decorate. Purchase plenty of fondant. A four-tier cake calls for about 2.27 Kilogram.
Make sure your hands and work surface are completely clean and dry before rolling out fondant or you may ruin it. Use only nontoxic flowers that have not been treated with chemicals or pesticides.