Here you’ll find a full recipe and cake decorating video tutorial for a DIY homemade wedding cake. This simply decorated and elegant vanilla wedding cake has 2 tiers and comes with full assembly instructions. With the help of this carefully detailed post, this wedding cake recipe is perfectly manageable for any home baker.
You are watching: Homemade Wedding Cake Ideas
By the request of many readers, let me present you with a homemade 2 tier wedding cake recipe. Adapted from my trusted vanilla cake and 6 inch cake recipes, this from-scratch wedding dessert is not only beautiful- it tastes remarkable, too.
(Isn’t that what counts?)
Fully equipped with complete details and recipe instructions to make this one-of-a-kind dessert, you will wow the bride, groom, and wedding guests alike. This post has it all.
This DIY Homemade Wedding Cake Is:
- Completely from-scratch
- Manageable for any home baker
- Simple, yet elegant- rustic chic meets traditional
- Complete with a full list of helpful kitchen tools
- Perfect for a small wedding (approximately 30-35 people)
- Wonderful for a larger wedding if other dessert options are available
How to Make a DIY Homemade Wedding Cake
This is a 2 tier wedding cake. Both tiers are buttery, soft, and moist. In lieu of traditional fondant, this homemade wedding cake recipe uses my vanilla buttercream, but in a higher quantity. To avoid (1) overwhelming your mixer with excess cake batter and (2) over-mixing or under-mixing the batter, make each cake separately.
- Make each batch of frosting separately too.
Unless you have extra oven(s) or oven space, prepare the cake batters and bake the layer cakes one at a time. Cool the cakes completely before assembling and decorating, which I cover in a separate section below.
Same Ingredients for Both Tiers
Both cakes use the same exact ingredients and each has a special job, so I do not recommend substitutions. Use sugar, cake flour, egg(s), extra egg whites, sour cream, whole milk, and proper room temperature butter. (Among a few other ingredients.) If needed, use this cake flour substitute. Here are recipes that use leftover egg yolks.
- 2-3 batches of lemon curd, which uses egg yolks, would be fantastic as a filling between these cake layers.
The bottom cake is my vanilla cake recipe, but I swap buttermilk for whole milk and sour cream. I do this so you don’t need any varying ingredients for both tiers. (Because the top tier uses whole milk and sour cream.) Sure, you could use buttermilk to replace both the whole milk and sour cream in the 6 inch cake, but whole milk and sour cream are more readily available to most than buttermilk.
Other Flavor Options
This is vanilla flavored, which is a classic choice to please a variety of wedding guests. You can have fun with frostings, fillings, and flavorings. Here are 5 other cake flavor options:
- Carrot Cake: Use my carrot cake recipe for the bottom tier and make a half batch of the batter for the top tier. Use the same 6 inch cake baking instructions described below.
- Red Velvet Cake: Use my red velvet cake recipe for the bottom tier. You can divide between 3 9-inch cake pans as instructed in the recipe notes. Use my red velvet cupcakes batter for the 6 inch cake. Use the same 6 inch cake baking instructions described below.
- Lemon Cake: Use my lemon cake recipe for the bottom tier. Use my lemon cupcakes batter for the 6 inch cake. Use the same 6 inch cake baking instructions described below.
- Marble Cake: Use my zebra cake for the bottom tier. Use my smaller zebra cake recipe (see this 1st birthday cake) for the 6 inch cake on top.
- Chocolate Chip: After adding the milk in both batters, fold 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) mini chocolate chips into the 9-inch vanilla cake batter and 1 cup (180g) of mini chocolate chips into the 6-inch vanilla cake batter. Regular size chocolate chips would be fine, but mini chocolate chips mean more in each bite.
*These are the only flavors I’ve tested with tiers. At this time, I don’t have a sturdy enough chocolate version to use as the bottom tier.
Want to mix and match flavors? Stick with the vanilla cake on the bottom (or other flavors listed above) and use any cupcake recipes listed in my 6 inch cakes post for the top tier. As explained in that post, cupcake batter yielding between 12-15 cupcakes makes the perfect 3 layer 6 inch cake.
Filling ideas: The filling in my cake is vanilla buttercream, but feel free to use other frosting flavors if desired. You can add extracts to the frosting such as almond, lemon, orange, or coconut. (Start with 1 teaspoon, taste, then add more to taste.) You can even mix a few Tablespoons of raspberry jam into the vanilla buttercream for the filling.
The 6-inch cake batter (left above) is light and creamy. The 9-inch cake batter (right above) is thicker because the bottom tier is a bit denser (for extra support).
Prepare the Wedding Cake Pans
Prepare the cake pans by lightly spraying the bottoms and sides of each with nonstick spray or greasing with butter. Add a parchment paper round, then grease the round as well. Parchment paper rounds aren’t something special you need to buy. Simply trace the bottom of your cake pan on regular parchment paper and cut into rounds. Parchment paper rounds guarantee the cooled cakes will seamlessly release from the pans.
See my 10 Baking Tips for Perfect Cakes for all my advice on baking the BEST cakes.
Other Cake Pan Sizes
This recipe uses one 9-inch 3 layer cake and one 6-inch 3 layer cake. The 9-inch cake is 8-9 cups of batter and the 6-inch cake is 4 cups of batter. If you need to substitute other size cake pans, see my Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions post to determine the appropriate amount of batter you need for your desired cake pans.
Wedding Cake Video Tutorial (Decorating)
Give the video a few seconds to load right below this text. It’s a faded horizontal image of the cake. Click on the play button in the center to play it. Make sure any ad blockers are temporarily paused on your browser.
How to Assemble & Decorate a Homemade Wedding Cake
You are literally making 2 completely separate cakes and placing one on top of the other. For guaranteed support and stability, place 4 cake dowels in the bottom tier. Cake dowels are sticks that will support the top tier. You’ll have to measure and cut the dowels so they are flush with the surface of the bottom cake. Place the small tier on top. A 6 inch cake board, which I describe next, is crucial between the tiers for added support.
*As shown in the video tutorial, crumb coat and decorate both cakes separately before layering the tiers. Decorating instructions are next.
Decorate both tiers on cake boards. You can remove the cake board from the bottom tier, if desired, before placing the cake onto a serving platter or cake stand. (This can be tricky!) However, I usually just leave it. A piped frosting border around the bottom of the cake hides it. Do not remove the cake board from the bottom of the top tier. The cake board sits between both tiers for added support and stability and ensures that when you cut into the top tier, the whole cake doesn’t sink down.
A wedding cake is literally the dessert of a lifetime, so it shouldn’t only taste great- it should look stunning, too. To reduce the possibility of flaws or mistakes, stick with simple decorating. A crumb coat on both tiers is necessary to protect the outer layer of frosting from catching any crumbs.
- What is a crumb coat? It’s basically a very thin layer of frosting around the cake before the beautiful exterior frosting is applied. You can see me crumb coating the cakes (as shown in the video tutorial, photos, and described in the recipe below), refrigerate the cakes to help “set” the crumb coat.
As you can see in the video tutorial above, it’s helpful to use a bench scraper to apply the crumb coat and exterior frosting layer. In fact, I use a bench scraper for decorating all layer cakes. I also like to use an icing spatula for the top of the cakes. (I use a small icing spatula for the small cake and a large icing spatula for the large cake.)
After crumb coating the cakes, they must be refrigerated to help “set” the crumb coat. This is another reason why cake boards are necessary- to help transfer/transport the cakes around.
The textured look of the exterior frosting is very easy. (A big shoutout to my assistant, Stephanie, for suggesting this look!) As shown in my video, use a small icing spatula and run it around the cakes while spinning with the cake turner. You will love this look because it’s very easy, but resembles beautiful ruffles.
After placing the small tier on top, you can pipe frosting around the bottom of it. This covers up any spaces or smears that may have appeared when arranging the top tier. I pipe dots of frosting with a round piping tip between the tiers as well as around the bottom of the whole cake. They resemble pretty pearls. To smooth any peaks on these “pearls,” moisten your fingertip with water and gently press down on the peak.
More Decorating Inspiration
- Naked Cake style with flowers and berries
- Buttercream Flowers
- Two-Toned Frosting Roses
We’ll use my vanilla buttercream recipe (an increased amount, of course) for the decoration. Make two separate batches of frosting, 1 batch for each tier. There’s too much frosting for 1 batch- it will overwhelm your mixer.
You need at least 8-9 cups of frosting total which includes the filling, crumb coat, exterior ruffled frosting, and piping. If you desire other flavors of frosting, be sure to find a recipe that yields or adjust to yield 8-9 cups.
How to Keep Air Bubbles Out of Your Buttercream
Over-whipping vanilla buttercream creates air bubbles. The taste is no different, but the buttercream is no longer smooth and velvety.
Here’s how to get rid of air bubbles in your frosting: Ditch the mixer. Grab a wooden or metal spoon and begin stirring the buttercream by hand. Mash the frosting up against the side of the bowl to “pop” the bubbles. Do this until most of the air bubbles pop, about 1-2 minutes. This trick requires a lot of arm muscle!
Recommended Special Tools
- Mixer (Handheld or Stand Mixer )
- Egg Separator
- 3 9×2 inch Cake Pans
- 3 6×2 inch Cake Pans
- Cake Boards (I use 1 6 inch and 1 10 inch. 9 inch works for the bottom cake, too. Or purchase this set which also includes cake dowels.)
- Cake Dowels (You need 4. You can use plastic cake dowels too. Plastic dowels are easier to cut.)
- Large Icing Spatula (for large cake)
- Small Icing Spatula (for small cake and for ruffled edge)
- Bench Scraper
- Cake Turner
- Piping Bag (disposable or reusable)
- Round Piping Tip
- Artificial Flower Decor (I used “Cozy Blush” color. Love these!)
- Large Serving Platter or Cake Stand (Pictured is a wooden cake stand I found at Target last year.)