DIY Wedding: Cakes!

This time last year, I was blogging a lot about marathon training. And running. And lifting.

This year? There’s almost no running to speak of. I don’t have a race to train for and I’m enjoying finding all of the other ways my body can work – and trying to maintain a balance between work and extracurriculars and life.

I’m also knee-deep in wedding planning, which is proving to be a whole other adventure, let me tell you. A fun adventure, but definitely an adventure.

Because my fiance and I are trying to keep or wedding simple and small, and because we’re working with a very modest budget, we’ve decided to DIY a lot of it. Flowers, music, booze, desert, maybe even my dress. Fortunately, having a small wedding means that coordinating all of this won’t be terribly outrageous.

The thing I’m the most excited about DIY-ing though? The cake! I love to bake and while I had never made a wedding cake before, I felt pretty confident in my ability to figure it out. I’m no professional by a long shot, and I’m not even that well-versed in decorating, but I am preeeetttyyy good at following instructions and my Pinterest project success rate is super high.

In addition to baking a lot of cookies and bars and other treats, my primary preparation for this project has been to watch way too much of The Great British Baking Show (which is arguably the best show on television, and if you’re not watching it, what’s wrong with you?).

So, two weeks ago, while home alone for the weekend and having the kitchen to myself, I decided to get started. This is how much cake baking I haven’t done in recent years: I didn’t even own a cake pan. I went out and secured a couple cake pans and got to work.

So. Much. Butter. In. Here.

So. Much. Butter. In. Here.

This batter is so light and fluffy and YUM.

I started with a simple vanilla butter cake recipe, but I didn’t have the called-for cake flour, so I just forged ahead with AP flour and kept working. I also thought to myself “hey self, you’ve never tried to make fondant before, why not try now, since you have all of the ingredients.” I wish I’d thought to take pictures of THAT hot mess, because whoa. The mess was real. Melted marshmallows and powdered sugar literally everywhere in my kitchen. And then I threw together some vanilla buttercream frosting. The end result didn’t turn out half bad.


The cake was slightly underbaked and a little bit more dense (thanks, AP flour), but the taste was great and everyone in my office who got to taste test enjoyed it.

For our second trial, I decided to play with flavors and still not worry too much about decorating or overall aesthetics. This time, I opted for some blueberry jam as the filling along with almond buttercream. No fondant this time and to keep it simple, I just did one size cake.


I had actual cake flour this time around, so the crumb of this bake was a little looser, but the taste was just as good and stayed just as moist. The almond buttercream was a big hit and Clay (who famously doesn’t like cake) asked for an even bigger slice than the test one I gave him. He thought that there could be more blueberry – I tend to agree.

As the wedding gets closer, there will be more test bakes with a few more flavors and a greater attempt at decorating. Ultimately, I want a naked or semi-naked cake, so I’ll be working mostly with fruits and flowers to decorate. I’m still looking for other cake recipes, so if anyone has any reliable ones, I’d love to try them!

Recipe Box: Lemon Buttermilk Loaf Cake

When we first started talking about coordinating posts for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Million Mile Run (check out the Scoot a Doot page, if you’d like) and there was mention of recipes with lemon, I knew exactly what my contribution would be. Maybe it should have been harder to choose, since I love lemon, and cook with it often, but this was a no-brainer for me.

Cake. (See. Total no-brainer). Cake is almost always the answer. And sometimes the question. (Cake? Cake. CAKE!) So, without further waxing poetic about my love of cake, let’s get cooking!

This is adapted from an old Weight Watchers recipe, from the Takeout Tonight cookbook. Long before Points Plus, so I don’t know those values. And I played with it a little. Because I’ve never met a recipe I didn’t think I could make better. I love baking, love the way it makes the house smell, and clearly, love the finished, baked product. But baking is like science. All the measuring and precision. I’m a ‘throw some in there’ kind of girl. But for the purposes of this recipe, I kept that in check. Mostly.

Lemon Buttermilk Loaf Cake



1-2/3 cup all purpose flour (mod: the recipe calls for 1-1/3 cups all purpose and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. If you do this, you’ll want to use whole wheat pastry flour. I skipped the wheat because I just had regular and I don’t like eating bricks).
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
5 TBSP butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBSP lemon zest (basically, the zest of one good sized lemon).
1 tsp vanilla (mod: I just threw some in. It’s vanilla. I was feeling whacky.)
3/4 cup buttermilk (mod: I hate buying buttermilk for recipes because it only comes in quarts. I use a buttermilk powder that gets reconstituted, or you can make your own buttermilk).
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (I just juice the whole lemon I just zested and use that)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8×4″ loaf pan with cooking spray. I like the cooking spray with flour built in to avoid sticking. The actual recipe calls for cutting out wax paper and putting it in the loaf pan, but I’ve never bothered and I’ve always had perfect cake. Plus, I’m super lazy.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter, granulated sugar ,egg/egg whites, lemon zest and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.

With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until done. Place pan on wire rack.



And after!

And after!

Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice ( you may have to add additional juice). Spread over hot bread. Let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully remove bread from pan to a serving plate.

Let cool completely.


Now, I forgot that the glazing gets done when the bread is hot, so I went to bed. And now it’s morning and I’m debating whether I should glaze or not. Probably no. The glaze is delicious and makes the cake more lemon-y, but I promise, it’s good without it.

If you’re thinking you can skip your trip to Starbucks for a slice of lemon cake…well, you can, but this cake isn’t the same. It’s not overly sweet and it’s not light or fluffy. This is a dense cake, but delicious, and not terribly bad for you, so all in all, it’s a winner in my book!

Hope you guys enjoy!