Your wedding cake is undoubtedly the most significant dessert you’ll ever eat in your life. As kids, we dreamed of a cake tiered to the ceiling, trimmed with frothy white icing and topped with mini-me (and mini-him) cake toppers. We dreamed of that classic wedding picture of cutting the first slice with our other half. We dreamed of eating it respectfully and so not shoving it into each other’s faces, America’s-Funniest-Home-Videos style. It’s such an important, traditional element to a wedding, and yet these days, more and more couples are choosing to eliminate it as a way to cut corners. Why? Because a single cake can rack up quite the hefty bill.

If you want to keep with tradition but aren’t feeling the $1000 price tag, then why not whip up your own gorgeous gateau? Below, I’m showing a step-by-step guide to making your own wedding cake, complete with tiers, frothy icing and topped with pretty blooms.

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Decorating Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:
6 cakes (Follow this recipe for your classic white cake. You will need three batches.)
36 oz icing (Follow this recipe for vanilla buttercream icing. Again, you will need three batches.)
Flowers, for decorating

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Note: The prettier the flowers, the better your cake will look. Hit up a flower market to get some stunners like peonies and ranunculi. Don’t forget to add some greens to the mix. Try green leaves with a white, wishy-washy coat for a whimsical look.

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Directions:
1. Before you make your batter, heat the oven to your recipe’s advised temperature. Use unsalted butter to grease the sides of two cake pans, one 8” and one 10”, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. As for the cake I made… I cheated a bit. To save a little time and cash, I succumbed to a cake mix and pre-made icing. If you feel like taking the easy route like me, you will need three boxes of cake mix, which will give you two cakes per box, and three 12-oz containers of icing.

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3. I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to beat the batter. Cakes made with an essential baker sidekick come out so much lighter and fluffier than with a handheld beater.

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4. Divide the batter into your two pre-lined, pre-greased pans. Try to make them similar in depth. Bake them for the recipe’s advised amount of time, let cool, and move to a cooling rack. Repeat.

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5. When the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice off the top of each cake where necessary, to create an even surface.

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6. Take the parchment paper off the bottoms of each cake, and place your first layer on the cake stand. Add a few dollops of icing, and smooth over the surface gently, ensuring not to get cake crumbs worked into the icing.

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7. Smooth over the entire surface, add the next layer, and repeat.

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8. Add icing to the sides of the cake for a more whimsical finish. Apply it with your icing wand, and scrape off excess to even it out.

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9. I like to place the majority of the flowers on the top of the cake, so I only added a few subtle touches of flowers to the sides and base of the cake. I placed a piece of greenery to the bottom, and lightly pressed it into the cake to secure it into place.

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10. On the opposite side on the second tier, I added a small, blooming peony and more greens.

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11. For the top of the cake, I started with a few greens and filled it in with seven flowers.

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12. I had a brighter pink flower option but decided to keep it to the softer shades for a dreamier feel.

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Notes:
– Try to lay the flowers on the cake instead of puncturing the surface so you can rearrange the blooms as you see fit. You will also lessen the risk of contaminating the cake with the flower’s chemicals.
– Flowers should be placed on the cake just before displaying.

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Happy Wedding Day!

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headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.