1. See Assembling a Wedding Cake for step-by-step instructions on filling and frosting the cake layers. For more information, see our Cake Decorating articles.
2. Before you stack the cake tiers, add some extra support. You can simply stack the cake layer--still on its cardboard cake round--onto the layer beneath it, but the cake will be easier to disassemble and cut if you use cake supports, which give your spatula a little extra room to maneuver between the cardboard and the buttercream.
- You can buy cake supports or simply cut plastic drinking straws to the proper length
- Straws should extend no more than a quarter of an inch above the cake's top surface.
- A pair of tweezers can help you grip the straws and pull them out if you need to trim them further.
The style shown here is a "flush stacked" wedding cake: the layers are stacked directly on top of each other, without pillars separating the tiers.
3. Is your base layer flat? Place a clean cardboard cake round on the straw supports and crouch down to eye level to check. A small carpenter's level is a great tool for your baker's kit.
Carefully lower the next tier onto the base layer. Stand directly over the base layer to make sure it's centered. (This is easier to do if you have someone helping you.) A long off-set spatula can help you avoid digging fingertips in the icing.
4. When all of the cake tiers are in place, it's time to touch up any flaws and to hide the gap between the layers with piped frosting. You can pipe a shell border or round pearls. For an extra-special touch, you can use a parchment cone for fine detail work.
5. If you don't have a traditional cake topper, you can decorate the top tier with sugared fruit, flowers, or intricate piping.
Cornelli designs look like intricate lace patterns, and are made by piping a single fine squiggly line that loops back and around but never touches or crosses over itself. (Practice on a plate or sheet of parchment paper if you've never tried it before.)
6. Add flowers or fruit that corresponds with the season, the cake's flavors, or the color scheme. Be sure to use pesticide-free nontoxic flowers.