Wedding cake recipe

(38 ratings)
Wedding cake recipe

For the dried fruits, we used Waitrose Tropical Dried Fruit Medley and Wholesome Vine Fruit Mix. If you can't find these then replace the Tropical Dried Fruit Medley with a mixture of papaya, dried pineapple, mango and melon and the vine mix with sultanas, raisins and currants - the exact weights of the replacement ingredients doesn't matter, as long as the overall total weight is the same.


Buying your wedding cake can be an expensive part of the day, with the average cake costing around £650! So why not save money by following our step-by-step guide to making a beautiful three-tiered wedding cake, covered in sugar blossom flowers. It's going to take a lot of planning and you might need a friend to help, but the results will be amazing. It's a big challenge, so to help you on your way we've created step-by-step videos for each stage. Good luck and let us know how you get on. We're always here to help.

A little different from the usual, dark, fruit cake, this contains
dried tropical fruits as well as sultanas and raisins, and is golden in

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Makes: A three-tiered wedding cake. Cut into small slices, this should serve 80-100 guests.

Cook time: 3 ½ hours per cake


For the three cakes (small, medium, large measurements listed below):

  • Tropical Dried Fruit Medley (see tip box): 300g (10oz), 500g (1lb), 750g (1/2 lb)
  • Butter, softened: 150g (5oz), 250g (8oz), 400g (14oz)
  • Light muscovado sugar: 150g (5oz), 250g (8oz), 400g (14oz)
  • Golden syrup: 1/2 tbsp, 1 tbsp, 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Ground ginger: 1 tsp, 2 tsp, 1tbsp
  • Ground mixed spice: 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs, medium: 3, 4, 6
  • Plain flour: 200g (7oz), 300g (10oz), 450g (15oz)
  • Vine fruit mix (see tip box): 300g (10 oz), 500g (1lb), 750g (1 1/2lb)
  • Rum: 2 tbsp, 4 tbsp, 6 tbsp
  • 15cm (6in) round, 20cm (8in) round, 25cm (10 in) round cake tins, lined with baking parchment
To cover the three cakes:
  • 15cm (6in) cake, 20cm (8in) cake, 25cm (10in) cake
  • Rum: 2 tbsp, 4 tbsp, 6 tbsp
  • Apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam: 3-4 tbsp, 4-6 tbsp, 6-8 tbsp
  • White marzipan: 500g (1lb), 600-750g (1¼-1½lb), 750-1kg (1½-2lb)
  • Pink sugarpaste, eg, Regalice: 600-750g (1¼-1½lb), 1-1.25kg) (2-2¾lb), 1.5-1.75kg (3-3½lb)
  • 500g packet royal icing sugar, made up
  • White powder lustre colour, eg, Squires Kitchen Metallic Lustres Snowflake
  • Rose water, alcohol based, eg, Star Kay White
  • 15cm (6in) round cake card, 20cm (8in) round cake card, 35.5cm (14in) round cake drum
  • Spare cake drum 20cm (8in) round or larger, and spare cake drum, 25cm (10in) round or larger
  • Icing smoother and/or sidescraper
  • Scriber tool or pin
  • Icing turntable (optional)
  • 2 pins
  • 4 lengths plastic dowelling
  • Disposable piping bag
  • No. 2 plain piping tube
  • Plastic posy pic (plastic flower holder)
  • Double-sided sticky tape or glue stick
  • Approx. 1.2m x 15mm wide double-faced satin pink ribbon

To make the flowers:

  • Approx. 200g (7oz) flowerpaste, eg, Squires Kitchen Sugar Florist Paste
  • Cornflour, in muslin bag, for dusting
  • 4-6 tablespoons royal icing sugar, made up
  • White powder lustre colour, eg, Squires Kitchen Metallic Lustres Snowflake
  • Rose water, alcohol based, eg, Star Kay White
  • Green plastic flower-making board and small rolling pin
  • Blossom plunger cutter, eg, PME extra-large flower blossom plunger
  • Firm foam pad, eg, Orchard pad
  • Veining modelling tool
  • Curved formers, eg, quails' egg boxes or chocolate box inserts
  • Scriber needle or modelling tool
  • Disposable piping bag
  • No. 2 plain piping tube, eg, PME
  • 28-gauge white floristry wire
  • Tweezers (optional)
  • White floral tape, cut to half width


To make the cake: 

1. Place one of the shelves just below the centre of the oven oven, so the cake will be positioned centrally when cooking. Set the oven to Gas Mark 2 or 150°C.

2. Finely chop the Tropical Dried Fruit Medley.

3. Beat the butter, sugar, golden syrup, ginger and ground mixed spice until the mixture is light and fluffy and pale in colour. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour along with each egg to help prevent the mixture curdling. Beat in the rest of the flour. Fold in tropical fruits and vine fruits.

4. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin, and level the surface. Rub over the top of the cake with a wet hand to give a smooth surface.

5. Place the cake in the centre of the oven. The 15cm (6in) round cake will take about 2½-2¾ hours, the 20cm (8in) cake will take about 3-3¼ hours and the 25cm (10in) cake will take about 3¼-3½ hours. To test if it's cooked, insert a fine skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean then it is cooked, but if it comes out with some sticky mixture on it, then it needs a little longer. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, cover the top with a sheet of baking parchment.

6. When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then spoon over the rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

7. If the cake is not being decorated immediately, wrap it in baking parchment, and then foil, excluding as much air as possible, and keep in a cool, airy place. 

To make the sugar flowers: (watch the videos now!)

1. Knead some flowerpaste to soften it. Roll the paste out very thinly on the plastic board using the plastic rolling pin and cut the flower shapes with the blossom cutter. Use the plunger to eject the flower from the cutter, and place flowers on the foam pad.

2. Use the veining tool to mark 3 lines on each petal of each flower, and then rest the flower in the curved former and leave to dry, preferably overnight. Before they're dry, make holes in the centres of about 25-30 of the flowers with needle, for top decoration. The three-tier cake will take approximately 200 flowers for the sides, but make extra to allow for breakages.

3. Cut the end off the piping bag and insert the piping tube. Pipe a ball of royal icing in the centre of each of the flowers for the sides of the cake (not the flowers with the holes in them) and then leave to dry. 

4. For wired flowers for the top decoration, cut some white wires into 4 to give shorter lengths. Bend one end of each wire over to make a small hook and then bend that over at right angles to the main wire - using tweezers, if you have them, makes this a little easier. Pull a hooked wire down through the centre of each flower with a hole in it until the hook rests on the top of the flower, then pipe a ball of royal icing over it. Place wires in a small glass to hold the flowers upright while icing dries.

5. Mix the lustre colour with the rose water and paint the flowers to give them a sheen. Leave the colour to dry.

6. To assemble the top decoration, group together several of the wired flowers and tape them together. Gradually tape in extra flowers, a few at a time, to form a ball shape for the top. Cut the wires to give a short stem and tape over the cut ends of the wire. 

Sue's tip: Flowerpaste dries out very quickly, so only work with a small amount at a time, and all the time it's not being used, keep it well wrapped in a plastic bag.

To cover the cake in marzipan: (watch the video now!)

1. Cut the top of the cake level, if necessary, upturn it and place 2 smaller cakes on cake cards and largest cake on cake drum. The 2 smaller cakes should then be placed on larger spare cake drums, just while they are being covered. Spoon rum over the tops of the cakes and leave it to soak in and moisten. Warm glaze or sieved jam and use a palette knife to spread it over the top and sides of the cake. Knead the marzipan to soften and then roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar so it's large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake. Lift the marzipan over the cake, and press it down over the top, then ease in the fullness around the sides.

2. Cut away the excess marzipan around the base of the cake. Use the icing smoother and/or sidescraper to rub the surface of the marzipan smooth.

To cover the cake in sugarpaste: (watch the video now!)

3. Knead sugarpaste to soften it and roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar until it's large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake, and for the largest cake to cover the top of the cake drum, too. Brush water over the marzipan and lift the sugarpaste over the cake and cover the same way as for the marzipan. Rub the surface smooth. If there are any air bubbles, then pierce the sugarpaste using the scriber tool or pin, press the air out and then rub over the surface to disguise the hole.

4. For the largest cake, it's easier to use a turntable if you have one, and brush water over the top of the cake drum as well as the marzipan. After lifting the sugarpaste over the cake as in Steps 1-3 press the sugarpaste against the cake drum, too, and then cut away any excess around the edge of the cake drum, smooth and re-trim if necessary.

To stack the cake: (watch the video now!)

5. To make a template for the sides, wrap a piece of narrow baking parchment around the largest cake and cut it so it fits perfectly around the cake. Mark it into a 2cm (¾in) grid. Use a couple of pins to hold it in place around the cake, taking care only to stick the pins into the icing and not right through to thecake. Use the scriber tool or pin to mark dots around the cake, at each point where the lines cross. Remove the template and use it to mark the middle and top tiers.

6. Stack the cake with dowelling in the bottom and middle tiers - 4 pieces in each one - to support the weight of the tiers above. Cut a square of baking parchment as a guide for positioning the dowels, spreading them out as far as possible while ensuring they will be covered by the cake above. Insert dowel into the cake at a corner of the baking parchment, until it touches the cake drum. Mark the height of the dowel at the level of the sugarpaste and then remove it from the cake. Cut that dowel and 3 others to the same length and then insert each of them at the corners of the square template and remove the template.

7. Spread some royal icing between the dowellings and then slide the next-sized tier off the spare board on top, leaving it on the thin cake card. Repeat the stacking, placing the smallest cake on top.

8. Cut the end off the piping bag, fit with the piping tube and fill it with royal icing. Pipe a 'snail's-trail'.

9. Pipe dots over alternate, marked holes and then leave them to dry.

10. Mix some of the lustre colour with the rose water and paint over the dots and the snail's-trail.

11. Use royal icing piped on to the back of the flowers to stick a flower over each alternate hole. Fill the posy pic with some of the pink sugarpaste and press it centrally into the top tier. Press the wired flowers into the posy pick on the top tier, so the wires go into the pic and not the cake. Use double-sided sticky tape or a glue stick to attach ribbon around the base cake drum.

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Your comments


do you have the recipe for the rolling Marzipan?


Hi My name is Maria and i am 13 years old i'm doing a project in business studies and my topic is Asian weddings versus English weddings and i want to make a wedding cake easy simple that is vegetarian i don't wan to use many ingredients or equipment i really need help please help thanks by the way my email is


Hi Sue, I have been asked to help with a wedding cake, if I make 1 fruit (as your recipe above) and one (or two) different lighter layers, is victoria sponge a suitable recipe? How far in advance of the big day do you recommend that I make the cakes, and when is the best time to assemble and decorate, bearing in mind that I have a 2 hour journey by car, 1 or possibly 2 days before the wedding day. I would prefer not to leave everything till the last minute, ie not the morning of the wedding! Also, how do I calculate the quantities so that the cakes are an equal depth, please? Thank you, Marian


Really useful videos! I learn much better when watching someone else! I've a ton of books on sugarcraft which are great but not as good as seeing it for yourself! I'm commencing my second series of sugar craft classes soon and i'm really looking forward to developing my skills as a cake decorator so thankyou for the help!


WOW when i saw the pic i was shocked never been to a weeding so is that how wedding cakes r sue??? thnx for showing me a piv lov u lots xxx


hi sue, i have put myself forward to make a pudsey bear cake for a raffle at work,just planning on making a 12'' round as a head. my question i do a Victoria sandwich with jam and butter icing?..if so sue, do i cover the cake with jam before covering with royal icing, why do americans cover the cake with frosting before covering with royal icing? i can bake but i have never done decorated cakes, let alone raise really has to be good, people are giving &#194&#1631 a ticket. any advice or recipes would be gladly appreciated. need it for the pressure then. thanks sue


The video link to the second part of the sugar flowers is not working. Also the main photograph is cut off so that we can't see the top decoration - what a shame!


Thank you so much for answering my questions. I am looking forward to giving this recipe a try now.

Sue McMahon

With regards to sponge wedding cakes - I usually make madeira sponges or sometimes almond madeira sponges (because adding ground almonds helps to keep the cakes moist). It's up to you whether you marzipan the cakes or not. If you do marzipan them then it's easier to get a better finish to the cake, particularly if you're going to be layering the cake up with any jam and/or buttercream. But I usually find that people who ask for sponge cakes say that they don't like marzipan, and that's why they have chosen to have sponge rather than fruit cake. So in that case I'd cover the cake with a slightly thicker layer of sugarpaste. However, if you're doing layers of different flavours, such as the bottom tier in fruit and then the top 2 tiers in sponge, you may find that if you've marzipanned the fruit cake and not the 2 upper tiers, then the cakes may look a bit out of proportion - so it would be better to cover all of them in marzipan.


If you wanted to make the wedding cake out of sponge is there a recipe you would recommend or will just a basic cake recipe do? Also would you still cover it with marzipan or go straight to the sugarpaste stage?


Aaah ok. Thank you for the explanation. I guess each cake maker has their own techniques, but I'm thankful for the tip and I'll bear it in mind for future reference!

Sue McMahon

In reply to Kerry's comment - I recommend not cutting each dowel to different lengths. The instructions are to cut them all to the same length because it will keep the cake tiers level. Yes, there may be a slight gap around the base if the cakes aren't level on one side, but that can be disguised by the piping. If the dowels are the same length then the next tier will be level - if it's only a shallow cake it may not make much difference, but if the cakes are deep or there are lots of tiers, then you may end up with a crooked cake if you cut them to match the height of the cake. If the cake looks like it's sloping, then I put the first dowel into the deepest area, and then cut the other dowels to that length - then the cake won't sink into the icing.


Just a quick tip - be sure to insert, mark and cut each dowel individually as your cake may be slightly out on one side and some of your dowels could be either too long, causing a gap between the tiers or too sort causing the tier above to sink into the icing.

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