Before Baking the Cake
Being prepared and organized is essential when creating a tier cake or a cake for a large party. Imagine having baked and decorated all the cakes for your design only to discover at the reception hall that the tiers and plates don't fit on the stand! Because a tier cake design can be adjusted to serve as few as 20 and as many as 400 people, you will want to be sure your cake set-up will work without any problems. This means doing a dry run of your cake construction.
To do your dry run, get all your construction pieces together including pans, plates, pillars, stand, even the fountain and stairs if your design calls for them. Now assemble the parts as they will appear on the finished cake. This way you can be sure you have the correct size plates and boards for your cakes and that your stairs or flower holder rings will fit properly in the set-up. This is especially helpful if you have to cut your cake boards for specialty shapes like petals or ovals. You can be certain that you've cut to the right size for the cake.
Determine how much batter will be needed for all of the cakes and have enough ingredients on hand to make the batter, and enough ingredients in the event you need to redo a layer. Make sure you have sufficient amount of Pan Release make ahead for all of the cakes.
Draw the design of your cake for you to follow if you are not using a design from a idea book. Prepare any patterns needed for your cake. If your cake calls for garland, determine how many garlands for each cake and how far from the bottom and top they will rest on the side of the cake. If necessary, make sure you have the proper size equipment to make outlines for the garland.
Check your design and make sure you have the icing colors, tips, boxes, etc. that you will need to complete the cakes.
Make a list of items that you will need at the reception hall or facility including an emergency kit. That way you will not be scrambling at the last minute trying to remember everything, and possible forget something important.