My sister and I also planned to have a cake celebration after my parents' church service, so I knew I would need to have cake for about 100 people.
My first impression of the cake was that it was very ornately decorated. I wasn't sure how much uninterrupted decorating time I would have, so my main focus was on the roses. I didn't have a rose tip or a flower nail, so I started there, even before making the cakes and was able to make 10 buttercream roses which I refrigerated.
I looking at square cake pans and figure out how much cake I needed. I found great tools out there for how many cups of cake batter for different sized pans. I decided to use devil's cake mix and white cake mix and instead of the directions, I added just under a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 egg whites and 1 cup of water. Both mixes turned into perfectly moist cakes that baked level using the guidelines for 8" square cakes and 16" square cakes. I ended up making the four cakes separately. First the 8" and made some cupcakes with the leftover batter, then another 8" with leftover cupcakes. Then I make the 16" cakes using two boxes of mix each and had a bit leftover each time too.
After the cakes cooled, I placed each cake on a cake board and wrapped them in plastic wrap. This sort of wasted some cake boards, but did keep my cakes level and prevented cracking when handling them. I cleared off and cleaned my top shelf of the refridgerator for the cakes knowing I would need a big space for once they were assembled and frosted.
I spent some time watching videos and looking at tutorials for stacking cakes and frosting. I decided to start frosting the two 8" layers. One video I liked in particular was with Alan at Global Sugar Art. One thing he did differently was to use a lot of frosting on the top and sides (applied with a decorator bag) and then take off the excess. I used angled spatulas which were great and also a pastry scraper which also worked well. I also already had a plastic cake turntable which was able to hold the weight of all the cakes.
The 8" white cakes sat on one 8" cake board and were layered with buttercream frosting. After frosting the 8" layer, it went back in the fridge and I went to work on the 16" layers. The devil's cakes sat on a 14" foil covered sturdy cake board with some frosting to stick it in place also layered with buttercream frosting.
Once the cake stacking started happening, it became apparent how heavy the cake was getting. I had already planned on using dowels under the 8" cake with it's cake board. I bought 1/4" dowel from the cake decorating department and needed to cut them down. I measured one dowel in the cake and cut four. I read sanding can be a good idea too to minimize splintering in the cake. I did wash and dry the dowels afterwards.
It was helpful to have the extra cake board I used for wrapping the cake layers individually and used that to figure out where the 8" layer would sit on the 16". I placed the extra board down and made marks with a toothpick.
Once the 8" cake layers were on the 16" layers, it was time to decorate and make more frosting. I placed the big cake on my shelf in the fridge and hung a sheet of waxed paper up to keep it safe.
For decorating the cake, I knew I had the roses. I also watched some tutorials which used the rose tip for making arches. another tip I picked up was to use half of a disposable cup to mark the arches. One more component I wanted to include were shells using a star tip. I did use the plastic cake turner I had and it seemed to hold all the weight well. The square cake was easy to decorate.
Finally I added a 50th cake topper I had purchased and I added extra roses on top.
Other things I researched were how to transport the cake and how to cut the cake. I found a box we had and was able to slide the cake in one end and then make a card board barrier so it couldn't shift. Having the square cake for transport and cutting actually seemed to make things easier.