Ask Auntie Alicia – How to Make an Affordable Organic Wedding Cake?



What makes a wedding cake a wedding cake is the icing. You could make or buy a simple cake made from organically grown ingredients and then pay a professional to ice and decorate it for you. OR you could ice it very simply with white icing yourself, and garnish with fresh flowers (make sure they are not from poisonous plants like plumeria or oleander). Dendrobium orchids, pansies, hydrangea, rosebuds, and leatherleaf fern are favorites of mine for this. They should match the colors in your bouquet, so you can put the bouquet on the table near the cake when you do your wedding photo of the cake cutting. Or, you could decorate the cake with sugared fruit, as my permaculture teacher friends Ryan and Tara Holt did for their eco-wedding (see photo above).

My mother taught me the secret to icing a cake on the serving plate, without getting icing on the plate:  tear waxed paper into long triangular pieces, and lay them on the plate before you place the bottom layer of the cake on it.  The long narrow points go under the cake.  You want to have all parts of the circumference of the cake layer resting on pieces of waxed paper, and all of the plate protected by the widest parts of the triangles of waxed paper.  Apply the icing with a flat spatula.  When you have iced the entire lower layer, place the next layer on top of it, and ice that.  Continue until you have coated all of the layers with a smooth, flat layer of icing.  When you are done icing, carefully remove the triangles of waxed paper, one by one.   Then you can add the sugared fruit or edible fresh flowers.

One way to save money on a wedding cake if you are having a big reception is to have the person baking the cake make a small tiered wedding cake (a 6” tier on top, a 10” tier underneath) to pose with in the cake-cutting photos, and make sheet cakes of the same batter and icing to feed the guests. You’ll get less than 30 servings from the two tiered cakes, depending on how the server cuts it. On 10” or bigger cakes, make a circular cut 3” in from the outer rim of the cake, and cut pieces from this outer section before you cut up the inner 4” diameter piece into 3 sections. Your tiered cake will look more elegant if it is presented on an elevated cake stand. You can buy the pillars to separate the layers at a floral supply store.

My very favorite organic wedding cake during the 11 years I had the wedding business was baked from an original recipe by organic pastry chef Diane Burr on Maui. It was a special order from a couple who wanted everything natural and organic (most of my clients didn’t care what was in the cake as long as the icing was perfect). The cream cheese, honey and vanilla icing didn’t look that great, but she dressed it up by garnishing it with fresh dendrobium orchids and leatherleaf fern. Inside, the cake was divine. Diane calls it her Jungle Cake. She added chopped fresh ripe mango, chopped dried pineapple, fine coconut shreds, chopped macadamia nuts, thinly sliced banana, chocolate drops, chopped candied ginger and ground cinnamon to some kind of rich cake batter and baked it in three pans of different sizes. I wish I had the recipe!

Congratulations on your engagement, Aleta, and thank you for going organic!

Love and Blessings,