HOW TO MAKE A CHANDELIER WEDDING CAKE
If you’re looking for a real talking point at a wedding, a chandelier cake hits the mark. The apparent gravity-defying structure will have half your guests wondering how it’s done and the other half scrabbling for their camera phones.
Admittedly, this one’s for the more experienced cake decorator. Don’t attempt it if you’ve only ever done the odd cake here and there. Think of that scene in Only Fools & Horses with the chandelier and imagine your cake’s on the end (*shivers*).
So for the person who knows their cake smoothers from their cake edgers, keep on reading. You’ll need to enlist the help of another pair of hands to assemble it, but it’s totally worth it for the amazing finish.
(N.B. You may recognise the fab wallpaper from No.4 Clifton Village, the location for this particular cake; photo courtesy of West 70 Photography.)
Tools You’ll Need
Cake plate structure Cupcake tower with clear plates, separate rods & an 8mm threading hook
Four sponge cakes in increasing 2″ sizes, already covered in fondant. (I chose to use 8″, 10″, 12″ & 14″ round cakes.) Make sure they aren’t more than 3″ in depth or they may not fit into your stand. An acrylic cupcake stand tower with individual plates (transparent) which you’ll use upside-down (as it were) with the largest plate sitting at the top. You may need to source this from the US like this one. A hanging pendant (the sort you get for a light) which is one inch smaller than your smallest cake. I chose this one from Amazon because it’s the right size & looks fab. An apple corer. An 8mm threading hook, nuts & bolt (I got mine from B&Q for about four quid but here’s an online link to something similar). An S hook (something like this works well but you may also wish to look on ebay). A large washer (optional as it all depends on your pendant – we’ll get to this later.) Either a hanging stand (like the one in the picture above) OR a chandelier hook & chain (whichever you choose, make sure it can take at least 15kg in weight). Your wedding venue may have a chandelier hook you can use. I got my stand from a UK-based company who sadly no longer make them. However, you can buy this one in the UK or, as a fun DIY option, get a plant stand from a garden centre & spray it silver or gold. Just check its ability to take 15kg for 12 hours straight! Cakes & equipment you'll need. Cakes & equipment you’ll need. Close up of cake with centre hole. Close up of cake with centre hole. 4 acrylic plates, a small pendant, washer, 8mm threading hook & rods. 4 acrylic plates, a small pendant, washer, 8mm threading hook & rods.
Close up of an 8mm threading hook, nut & washer. Close up of an 8mm threading hook, nut & washer. Close up of an 8mm threading hook & nut. Close up of an 8mm threading hook & nut. Choose a beautiful pendant that hangs nicely & is smaller than your smallest cake. Choose a beautiful pendant that hangs nicely & is smaller than your smallest cake.
The first thing you’ll need to do is put a hole in the centre of each cake with your apple corer. This may sound easy but you’ll need to measure the exact centre of each cake or the weight balance will be off. I used a cake top marking template to make mine perfect & this one from Kit Box is excellent. Attach the S hook to your chain or cake stand. Arrange each cake on top of its corresponding plate (making sure the plate is one inch smaller than the cake so it doesn’t peek out at the sides). Push one of the metal rods through the biggest cake and plate. Screw in an 8mm threading hook at the top and another rod underneath. (This is where the second pair of hands comes in – you may find it difficult to do everything at once with such a massive cake!) Hang the threading hook onto the S hook. Your cake will now be dangling mid-air, supported by the hook above. Take the 2nd biggest cake and insert it up the second rod with its plate underneath. Screw the rod in tightly so the cake above is stable. Screw the rod in tightly so the cake above is stable. Close up of an acrylic plate (smaller than the cake) & rod. Close up of an acrylic plate (smaller than the cake) & rod. The cake begins to take shape! The cake begins to take shape!
Screw another rod underneath it so it stays in place. Repeat this process with the 3rd (and, if you’re using it, 4th) cake. Take the pendant and place it over the bottom of the final rod. If it’s got a large hole in the middle (as mine did – after all, this is really designed for lightbulbs) then you’ll need to put a washer underneath so the pendant doesn’t fall. Hold in place. To finish you’ll need either another 8mm threading hook or bolt to screw into the bottom, making sure the pendant is centred. (It all depends on whether you want to hang something from the bottom of the cake – if so, use the hook.) You can now relax – the hard part’s over! Choose a washer that's larger than your pendant hole. Choose a washer that’s larger than your pendant hole. Insert the 8mm bolt (or hook) through the washer & pendant. Insert the 8mm bolt (or hook) through the washer & pendant.
Close up of pendant & threading hook (if you wish to use one). Close up of pendant & threading hook (if you wish to use one). Hurrah! You've finished the hard part! Hurrah! You’ve finished the hard part!
This is the fun part – the bit where you can customise your cake in any way you please. I’ve chosen to use pearls, ribbon and lace but you may think of something else that will hang nicely from each tier.
Make sure you choose decorations that hang off the cake. Make sure you choose decorations that hang off the cake. Use exactly the same number of pearls for each loop. Use exactly the same number of pearls for each loop.
Finally, make sure you have something to go on top of the cake. Flowers look great but it’ll take an awfully long time to make enough in sugar to cover the top. If you opt for something non-edible instead, make sure there’s something between the flowers & the cake (like a hidden piece of baking parchment).
22 Finished cake with flower from above
As with all wedding cakes, it’s easiest if you assemble it at the venue. If you need to travel with it, the best way is to take each tier in a separate box. The cake is quite heavy to lift (aren’t all stacked cakes?!) so even if you think you can hold it in the car whilst someone else drives, you’ll probably wish you hadn’t.
So! Do you think you’ll be giving a chandelier cake a go? Report your exploits below!