Baking our Wedding Cake


Note:  Do not assemble and decorate a wedding cake the morning of your wedding!  It is a lot of work. You will be nervous. And there isn’t time to fix mistakes. When I finished the large roses, there was a noticeable gap between the cake layers. As soon as I started to pipe the border around the base of the layer I knew I had made a huge error. But there was no time to scrape off the icing and start over. The trial run of the cake for Shep’s birthday turned out much nicer ( 

White Velvet Wedding Cake

Makes 7½ cups batter, enough for two full 8″ round pans or one 9″x13″ sheet.  Use 6 cups batter for one 10” round pan.

1-1/3 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
¼ teaspoon Creme Bouquet by Magic Line (optional)
3 eggs
½ cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
18.25 ounces Pillsbury or Betty Crocker White (or Yellow) cake mix (Note: you will need to buy 2 boxes of cake mix since a box is now less than 18.25 ounces.  Weigh out 18.25 ounces for this recipe.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons cake flour (NOT all-purpose flour)
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom of pan. Insert a parchment circle.

2.  For a 10” cake pan, grease and flour a rose/flower nail and then place it upside down in the center of the pan and poke it through the parchment circle. The rose nail acts like an “Ateco 1449 Cake Heating Core”.  It evens out the heat distribution in the center of the cake pan.  If the cake pan is 14″, consider using three rose nails arranged in a triangle in the center of the pan.

3.  Grease and flour entire inside of pan.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the water, extract, Creme Bouquet (optional), eggs, melted butter and sour cream.

5.  Add cake mix, sugar, cake flour, and salt.  Mix with paddle attachment at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until most lumps are worked out. It is not necessary to work out all the lumps.

6.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a crumb or two clinging to it.  For a 10” cake, it will be about 50 minutes.

7. Cool for 7-10 minutes and then turn out cakes onto a cooling rack.

Size of Round Pan Number of servings
(2 layer cake)
Cups of batter for each 2-inch high pan Baking
Baking Time
Approx. Cups
Icing to Ice
& Decorate 2 Layer Cake
25 – 30
30 – 35
30 – 35
30 – 35
35 – 40
50 – 55
55 – 60
3 1/2
4 1/2
7 1/2

Nutella Cloud Filling

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Nutella
2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 ½ cup marshmallow fluff (or use entire 7 ounce package of fluff)

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar and whipping cream and beat until combined.  Add melted/cooled chocolate, beat until just combined, scraping bowl as necessary.  Add Nutella, vanilla and marshmallow fluff.  Beat until smooth and satiny.

Note:  For our wedding cake, I used the SMBC recipe from Woodland Bakery.  Now I prefer to make Italian Meringue Buttercream (“IMBC”) instead of the Swiss style (SMBC).  I go even a step further now and use Summer Stone’s “scientific” alternative to SMBC, where she doesn’t whip the egg whites into a meringue.  That recipe is at the bottom of this page.

Woodland Bakery’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream (“SMBC”)

Yields 6 cups

6 large egg whites (180g) (or pasteurized egg whites in a carton, or reconstituted powdered egg whites)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
300g granulated sugar (1½ cups)
240g powdered (confectioners) sugar (2 cups)
170g shortening (¾ cup) or preferably SWEETEX high ratio vegetable shortening
454g unsalted butter (2 cups/4 sticks/1 box)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon Cream Bouquet by Magic Line (optional)
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

Dampen a paper towel with lemon juice or vinegar and wipe down all of your items to ensure that there is no fat residue on anything.  Fat will prevent the egg whites from whipping up into a meringue.

Simmer 1” or 2” of water in a pan.  Do not allow the water to boil.

In a room temperature bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cream of tartar and the egg whites.  Place the bowl on top of the pan of simmering water, ensuring that the pan does not touch the water.  Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar grains have dissolved and are no longer gritty.

Pour the mixture into a room temperature Kitchen Aid mixer bowl.  Attach the whisk and whip mixture on high speed until it is thick, glossy and has stiff peaks.

Sift the powdered sugar to ensure that there are no lumps.  Add this all at once to the meringue and stir on low speed.  Once the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to medium high and continue until it is all mixed.  At this point, be sure that the meringue is at room temperature.  If not, continue to mix on low speed until it cools to room temperature.

Switch to the paddle attachment.  Be sure that the butter and the shortening are also at room temperature.  Add butter and shortening to the mixer bowl in three additions.  Then add the vanilla, Cream Bouquet and the salt.  Mix on LOW (not even medium low).  Beat on low for up to 15 minutes.  This allows the fat in the butter to emulsify with the meringue followed by the water in the butter.  The mixture will probably turn soupy and then curdled during this time.

If you want to color the buttercream use gel paste (such as Americolor or Chefmaster) or an oil-based color.  Add the color gel, then turn the speed to high and mix until smooth.

The buttercream can be stored:  4 days room temperature, 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer.

If you store it in the refrigerator or freezer, be sure to take it out hours before you need it and allow it to return to room temperature.  Then use the paddle attachment and beat the buttercream for low or medium.  It will look broken or curdled at this point.  Then turn the speed up to medium-high and continue beating until smooth.  If buttercream still doesn’t have its satiny finish after re-whipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

Scientific Swiss Meringue Buttercream (“SSMBC”)

Adapted from Summer Stone’s recipe online at:


1 cup [8 ounces] (227 grams) egg whites, from whole eggs or a carton of pasteurized egg whites

2 ¼ cups [16 ounces] (454 grams) granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon [½ ounce] (14 grams) corn syrup (OPTIONAL)

2 cups [16 ounces] (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened to between 60° and 65° F

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) vanilla extract

OPTIONAL:  1 cup [3 ½ ounces] (99 grams) high quality cocoa powder

  1. Whisk egg whites, granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a bowl that is safe for the microwave. Be sure to whisk well so that the sugar protects the eggs while they are heated.
  2. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals for a total of 2 to 4 minutes, whisking after each 30 second interval. Heat until mixture reaches 160° F (72° C). A spoon scraped along the bottom should glide smoothly without the feeling of grit.
  3. Cool the mixture to between 45° and 60° F. There are two ways to do this: (1) Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight, or (2) Pour the mixture into a cake pan (to maximize surface area) and pop it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is cooling, using a stand mixer’s flat paddle attachment, beat the butter on high for 2 minutes until creamy and slightly lightened in color. If using cocoa, add it to the butter now.
  5. Add half of the cooled syrup mixture to the butter and then beat for 1 minute. Add the second half of the syrup mixture and beat for another 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat 30 seconds.


  • You can make up a quantity of the egg-sugar syrup and store it in the freezer to aliquot as needed. It will not freeze solid and is easy to measure out. You can warm it slightly in the microwave for 10-20 seconds before adding it to the butter.
  • This recipe is formulated at 1:2:2 for eggs:sugar:butter by weight. More sugar gives a sweeter but less creamy final product. Less sugar results in a creamier and more buttery tasting buttercream.
  • The buttercream can be stored at room temperature for 2 days. The buttercream can be stored (tightly sealed) in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.