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1st Wedding Cake - practice cake

PrettyKitteh's picture

I have the house to myself today so I thought it would be a good day to do a practice cake for the wedding cake. We are going to a friend's for brunch tomorrow and they will be my taste testers. This cake is for taste, timing, assembly and a bit of basic decorating. Here is the synopsis so far:

I made 4 cakes in total - 2"x9" and 1.5"x8" since that is what I have on hand while waiting for my wedding cake pans to arrive.

I made the 9" with all-purpose flour and the 8" with Swans Down flour just to see what the differences would be like taste wise and how much "stronger" the all-purpose cake would be in comparison. The all-purpose recipe was from Food and Wine and the 8" from the Swans Down website. I tried to have all the other ingredients similar for comparison purposes and these two seemed to match the best.

Right now the cakes are cooling and I'm going to make one batch of RLB Mousseline so I can crumb coat the cakes.

A few questions have come up at this point.

Would you put any soaking syrup or jam on the cakes for extra moisture/flavouring?

When I crumb coat each cake to seal in crumbs does it also provide a moisture barrier from the fresh fruit? Do I want that?

Do you prepare the fruit in any other way besides washing and thoroughly drying? When I put the next layer on do I want to press down at all or try to keep fruit whole?

Do I add another layer of buttercream before putting on the fruit or is that too much bc? I thought it might hold it in place better?? Do I also put a thin layer of bc on the underside of the upper layer?

So far things have been going OK and if it looks somewhat acceptable I will take photos later. Heck, even if it isn't I'll post the pictures.

Thanks

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #1 of 31)

Yay! It's great that you're getting the chance to do a test run. :)


Would you put any soaking syrup or jam on the cakes for extra moisture/flavouring?


I wouldn't, but I personally don't really care for the taste/texture of cakes with soaking syrups. Also, I think that's usually done with a more dense/finer textured cake like a sponge or genoise, rather than a butter cake (though I could be wrong!).


When I crumb coat each cake to seal in crumbs does it also provide a moisture barrier from the fresh fruit? Do I want that?


It should, and I think that would be nice for your filling layer. You could also do a thin coat of jam or ganache if you wanted to add additional flavors to your filling.


Do you prepare the fruit in any other way besides washing and thoroughly drying? When I put the next layer on do I want to press down at all or try to keep fruit whole?


I wouldn't prepare the fruit other than washing, drying, and slicing (if it's larger fruits like strawberries). You should press down just enough so that you can be more certain the layer isn't going to sink any further.


Do I add another layer of buttercream before putting on the fruit or is that too much bc? I thought it might hold it in place better?? Do I also put a thin layer of bc on the underside of the upper layer?


You could do a thin layer of buttercream before putting on the fruit. And you'll definitely want to pipe a relatively thick circle of bc around the perimeter of the cake after the crumb coat but before you add the fruit, so it can contain the fruit and keep it from coming in contact with the frosting you put on the sides of the cakes.


I don't know that I'd bother frosting the underside of the top layer. It might absorb some juices from the fruit but that's yummy, IMO.


Hope everything's going great... can't wait to hear a full report! :)



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor


Edited 7/11/2009 10:08 pm ET by TracyK

Adele's picture

(post #65164, reply #2 of 31)

When I crumb coat each cake to seal in crumbs does it also provide a moisture barrier from the fresh fruit? Do I want that?


I'm not sure I'm understanding this question.  You crumb coat so the frosting adhere's to the cake without picking up the crumbs.  It also smoothes the cake. 


Your using the fruit as a layer between the cakes, yes?  What I do is pipe frosting around the cake layer that is getting the filling.  Then you fill it with what you are going to use- fruit.  Then you put the top cake on top of the piped frosting/filling, then crumb coat, then frost.  


Or maybe your talking about crumb coating the top of the cake that the filling is going to go on?  I'd think I'd want any juices to be able to go right into the cake.


Like Tracey, I wouldn't use a soaking syrup.  This will make the cakes heavier and your using tiers.


No need to put anything on the underside of the cake.


Sounds like you are having a good time with this, it's really great your doing a test run.


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!


Edited 7/12/2009 6:10 pm ET by Adele

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #3 of 31)

Brunch went longer than expected. I will post tomorrow with pictures.

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #4 of 31)

Before I start my follow-up post are there any "rules" about how many pictures I can include? I looked in QA and I didn't see anything pertaining to what is OK to post and what isn't. My plan was to post the inspiration cake, a couple along the way and a few of the completed cake. Would that be too many?

Thanks

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #5 of 31)

Hi Adele ~

Thanks for your comments. I'm not a professional baker so my terminology is lacking sometimes - sorry. I do understand the purpose of the crumb coat but I was also curious to know what most people do when baking a wedding cake with fresh fruit. You did answer my question as I wasn't sure if I needed to keep the cakes "clean" without any juices soaking into the cake.

I'm just downloading the photos to my computer [another crazy day popped-up] so I will try and do my post tonight, if not, tomorrow when I get home.

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #6 of 31)

OK......I survived making the cake! The day was a lot of fun and I'm so glad I made a practice cake but my goodness I was exhausted at the end of the day. Baking is hard work but I have a new appreciation for professional bakers. I started baking at noon and didn't finish until 10PM. The practice cake was so I could workout timing, what I liked or didn't like, what to change and mostly to figure out what didn't work so I can resolve those problems.

The actual wedding cake is going to be a 3 tiered cake - 10", 8", + 6" with buttercream icing and fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in-between the layers, minimal piping decoration and fresh flowers on top. I'm awaiting the arrival of the baking pans so I used what I had on hand which were 9", + 8" and living in the Caribbean when I went to the grocery store there were no fresh strawberries so I ended up using fresh blueberries, blackberries and frozen raspberries. I've ordered the requested fresh fruit for the wedding cake and I really hope it comes in for the wedding.

I used two different cake recipes for the 2 cakes as I wanted to see the difference between cake flour and all purpose flour. I used a recipe from the Swans Down website for the 8" cake and a similar recipe from Food and Wine for the 9" with the only real difference being the flour used and proportions to make a larger cake. Both cakes baked up nicely, released from the pans and the crumbs tasted fine. At brunch yesterday most preferred the texture of the all-purpose flour cake. I liked the cake flour one as well as another friend but I think I will go with the all-purpose flour recipe.

For the buttercream I used RLB's Mousseline recipe which I loved. I left small bowl out for a few hours to see how it would do in the heat and the buttercream held up very well. The cake also held up well at the brunch yesterday too.

For the fruit I defrosted the raspberries and drained as much liquid as I could and then I washed the fresh fruit and let it dry as much as possible [we have high humidity here]. The fruit tasted sweet enough so I did not add any additional sugar..

Assembly -

I looked at the cakes and they all seemed level. How do you know for sure? Do bakers use a carpenter's level?

Starting with the larger cake I put a splodge of buttercream to hold it in place on the cake circle and then put the first layer down. I crumb coated that layer entirely. Tracy and Adele suggested piping buttercream around to keep the fruit contained and I will definitely do that next week. Then I added a layer of buttercream to hold the fruit in place. I did crumb coat the underside the bottom layer of the cake that would go on as I was worried too much juice would be absorbed and also wasn't sure if I should try and keep the cakes "clean". Crumb coated the rest of the cake and put it in the fridge to cool. After it had cooled for a bit I brought it out and added the final buttercream layer. Are there any tricks to make it nice and smooth?

Then with the second layer I did the same thing setting the lower layer on the cake circle [which everyone was right about - barely absorbed anything]. Then I proceeded with the fruit, crumb coat, and final coat of butterccream. At this point - I noticed that the cake didn't seem level even though before it had so I tried to even up with some buttercream. Since this was a practice cake I didn't worry too much about it but I know I need to figure this out for next week. What do you do if you discover that it isn't level at this point?

Both cakes went into the fridge to chill down. I used thick wooden skewers to support the layers and the 8" pan to mark the circle on the 9" cake. The bigger cake came out of the fridge and I used 1 wooden skewer to measure the depth and then cut another four. I put these in a circle about 1" in from the circle mark on the cake. Then I put the second cake on which seemed pretty easy to do. I definitely noticed the unevenness of cake now but didn't know what to do and since this cake was more about taste and timing just went ahead.

One big thing I learned is that I will not decorate the cake when I'm tired. At this point it was 8:30PM and I was exhausted but I wanted to get it done so it was ready for brunch the next day.

I piped the dots around the base and each layer like the inspiration cake. One issue I noticed is that as I was piping I could tell I was warming up the buttercream with my hands. Is there anything I can to prevent that from happening? I have no air conditioning which doesn't help. Then I used my basket weave tip but turned it backwards to get the smooth vertical design. In the inspiration cake I think that part of the decoration might be fondant but I really don't know?? As much as I thought I was doing vertical lines when I stood back I could see they weren't. Does anyone have a suggestion how to ensure they are plumb straight? I also think the width of the vertical design is too thick but I don't have time to order a tip. I went looking today on island but couldn't find anything. My only thought is to tape [what is safe tape] off the rough side of the basket weave so it is smoother and adheres better and to reduce the width a little bit. Would you do the dots or the vertical lines first?

By now it was 10PM and while I wasn't happy with the decorating I was happy the cake was done. Into the fridge it went overnight.

At brunch everyone said they liked it but I was asking for honest opinions and they agreed with me about the buttercream decorations - they liked the dots but agreed about the vertical areas. One friend noticed right away that the cake wasn't level and said it almost looked like it was leaning.

Even though there was a preference for the all-purpose flour cake everyone loved the taste of the cake, fruit filling [amount + distribution] and they all raved about the buttercream.

OK, if you are still reading this - thanks. Any input you can give me is much appreciated. Thanks for everyone's help so far too. Please ask me any questions too as I may have left something out in this long saga....

Hmm...not sure if I'm uploading pictures properly so I will post this while I work on the pictures....any idea how to make pictures smaller on a MacBook for uploading?

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TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #7 of 31)

Whew! I'm exhausted just reading all that, LOL. Glad your recipes turned out well and that you liked the mousseline buttercream. :)


I looked at the cakes and they all seemed level. How do you know for sure? Do bakers use a carpenter's level?


I have been known to use a level. Barring that I will measure with a ruler at several points around the perimeter. As you can probably imagine, it's best to trim them while they're on the rack, before they get frosted and stacked. Or you can play with the orientation... for example, if you have two funky layers, put the top layer on the bottom layer so it evens itself out (if that makes any sense).


After it had cooled for a bit I brought it out and added the final buttercream layer. Are there any tricks to make it nice and smooth?


Yep -- put it in the fridge and get it REALLY cold, then get the longest icing spatula you have, dip it in hot water, and run it lightly over the surface of the icing, as flat as possible.


For straight icing lines, you may want to use a ruler and a toothpick to make guide lines for yourself.


 


 



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #12 of 31)

I know, I was trying to keep it simple but also include enough information about how and why I did things certain ways but suddenly it turned into this very long post. I had to go to bed after I finally sent it out last night ;o)

Thanks for the information on level cakes. In the past and in my own amateur way I've always put the bottom of the cake up to cool figuring it would ensure that the cake is level. I will definitely do it top up. None of the cake seemed to dome that much at all but it must have made a difference. I do understand what you mean about trying to make two wonky levels equal by swiveling the cakes around until you get them as level as possible. Since the top tier was on a cake circle and supported by the measured skewers I think it was the top tier and I wasn't paying enough attention.

I also like the suggestion to draw myself perfectly straight lines with a toothpick before piping over the buttercream. Would you do the dots first or the vertical lines? Also, is there a trick to keep the dots the same size? I swear when I wasn't paying close attention they were all equal and when I focused they changed size. There was a bit of buttercream leftover which I put in the fridge and it still tastes pretty darn good.

I'm still working out the photo issue.....must be some simple step but I haven't found it yet.

Amy's picture

(post #65164, reply #8 of 31)

One issue I noticed is that as I was piping I could tell I was warming up the buttercream with my hands. Is there anything I can to prevent that from happening? I have no air conditioning which doesn't help.

Keep a bowl of ice water and a towel next to you. Every so often, cool your hands in the water and then dry them off. Good luck! I can hardly wait to see your finished product!

MadMom's picture

(post #65164, reply #9 of 31)

Here's your picture, quite a bit smaller. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to resize pictures on a Mac, but perhaps someone else can help you.  Congratulations!



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PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #10 of 31)

Thanks for resizing the photo for me, I'm usually pretty geeky on the computer but I've just made the switch from PC to Mac and it wasn't as intuitive as I thought it would be to resize the photos....I will figure it out and post the pictures ASAP.

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #11 of 31)

Now that I can see the picture a little better, I have one more piece of advice. When you remove your cakes from the pans, flip them again so that they are cooling right-side-up. When you're looking at the very uniform surface where the cake has been contacting the pan, it's much harder to see uneven-ness or inconsistencies in height. It's a little easier to see it if you're looking at the actual top surface of the cake.


Also, pay very close attention when you take the cakes out of the oven... if they're significantly higher on one side than the other, they usually remain so even after they settle (as all cakes do as they cool).


Good luck! :)



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #13 of 31)

OK, I think I have this sorted out now......here are the photos. The one not so great photo of the cake on the balcony is for those who know Tortola and this is our view of the channel. Yes, it is a great view to look at from my kitchen although if it had been about 20 degrees cooler I would have been happy.

I can see how sloppy my piping work is and it is a lesson to me that I cannot leave the piping too late or do it when I'm tired. At that point I just wanted to get the cake into the fridge overnight.

The picture at brunch shows how it is leaning.

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TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #14 of 31)

Wow, your view is lovely! And the cake is MUCH nicer than you made it sound!


Was there a particular cake you're trying to duplicate? A picture of that would help, if possible.


At any rate... I would do the vertical stripes first, then pipe the round balls around the bottoms of the tiers, then the outer edges of the tiers. You can try to place the balls so that they camouflage the end bits of your vertical stripes.


When you're piping the balls, make certain to apply pressure *just* until the ball is the size you like, then STOP THE PRESSURE before pulling your tip up and away. You'll be much more likely to get nice round balls, instead of teardrop shapes with little tails going up. More detailed instructions (and LOTS of other techniques) here: http://www.wilton.com/technique/Ball


You could also try a bead border: http://www.wilton.com/technique/Bead


The only good way to develop consistency with piping is practice. Use the leftover buttercream to practice making consistent, non-pointy balls and bead borders, then scrape it off and try again.


 


 



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #15 of 31)

Uggh....I meant to put up a photo of the inspiration cake the bride had sent to me....I've attached it this time.

Thank you for the compliments. I'm pretty detail oriented so when I do something I've never done before I'm not happy if it doesn't come out exactly the way I wanted it to - tired or not.

Ahh...OK...I wasn't sure if I was supposed to have those teardrops or not! I notice now on the inspiration photo they are balls. Thanks for the links as I will definitely check them out and practice with the remaining buttercream. I'll probably end up eating the mistakes.

What is the difference between a bead and ball border? I guess I thought they were the same thing but will watch videos for the proper technique.

Thank you sooo much for all of your help and advice. I will have to take pictures at the resort when it is all set-up. Even if it doesn't win full marks in the looks department I know they will like the taste. My biggest fear is to end up on the Cake Wrecks blog.

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TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #16 of 31)

It will be wonderful, and the bride will be thrilled!


I think the only difference between the ball and the bead is that the bead technique makes it slightly easier to pipe them one right after another. You could try both and see which feels more comfortable to you.



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #17 of 31)

OK, I see the difference now.....which one would you recommend? Which one is easier to make look perfect? I also noticed that they said if you get a tail you can just remove it which is good.

When I'm doing the vertical lines is it better to work bottom up or vice versa? I like your piping order too.

How big do you think the layers are in the inspiration cake? Do you think the tip I have is proportionately too wide? If yes, since I can't get any other tips on island do you think I can tape off one side a bit? Also, since it is the basket weave tip the underside was ridged. I was thinking if I did tape it off I would tape that ridged side as well. I just need a nontoxic tape or other idea.

RuthWells's picture

(post #65164, reply #18 of 31)

You are getting wonderful advice from Tracy.

Vertical stripes are tricky -- I would suggest piping from the bottom up (I find it a bit easier). Also, your striping tip does look a little disproporationately wide to me -- you may want to consider something narrower, if you have it. Remember, you can practice piping on clean cake pans and simply reuse the icing without waste.

I'm a little concerned about those skinny skewers you're planning to use as supports. If I remember correctly, you're planning tiers of 10", 8" and 6" diameter. That's a lot of heavy cake! First, do remember to have cake rounds in between each layer. Second, consider using bubble tea straws, if you can get them, instead of skewers. If you can't get bubble tea straws, at least use 1/4" to 1/2" dowels instead of skewers. You may also want to stack the tiers after delivery, for added safety.

Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw


www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com



www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Jean's picture

(post #65164, reply #19 of 31)

I'm no cake decorator, but have you considered using fondant for the verical stripes?  Seems like it would be easier than trying to pipe them.


Sometimes I wonder--why is that Frisbee getting bigger?--and then it hits me.



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PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #22 of 31)

While I agree it would be easier and I believe the inspiration cake might be fondant - the bride specifically requested all buttercream for her cake. Even if I wanted to try fondant there isn't a bakery supply on island and I doubt any of the local bakeries would sell any to me. I'm hoping with some practice over the next few days I will get better at it.

The practice cake was my first ever decorated cake with piping [other than basic birthday cakes] trying to follow an actual design. This isn't an excuse for how it looks but I know I shouldn't have tried to do the piping after so many hours in the kitchen and I was beyond tired. I'm hoping with an alert mind and steady hand I will do better!

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #23 of 31)

Ah, I see. Then I second Ruth's suggestion of piping the stripes from bottom to top. You can also use the toothpicks to mark off the proper distance between stripes so they'll be perfectly spaced. The beauty of a non-crusting buttercream is that imperfections can be easily smoothed! :)


"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #20 of 31)

Yes, I agree, Tracy has given me all sorts of great advice/suggestions in the last week compared to the month of online research I had been doing on my own. FC is my favourite food magazine so I'm not surprised the forum has so many experts to help.

I have ordered cake pans as well as proper cake supports but they hadn't arrived by the time I made the practice cake last weekend. I really hope the parcels arrive this week. If for some reason they don't I will go out and try to find the widest straws I can - we don't have any place here which serves bubble tea but I will do my best. For some reason I also thought those skewers were thicker until I pulled them out of the cupboard.

I've only got a few tips and I used a wide basket weave one backwards to replicate the inspiration cake. I was thinking of taping the tip off to get rid of the ridges as well as make it a little narrower. I would definitely practice with it to make sure it gives a clean line. I also found it tough to keep things smooth as I did the vertical line and I can see where I was hesitating but like Tracy suggested if I do the beads after I can more easily gauge my stop/start and correct with the beaded edge.

My plan, which didn't change after the practice cake is to bake all the layers at my home on Thursday and make the buttercream batches. I live 500 feet up a steep and windy road so for my own sanity I'm assembling the cake at the resort! Friday morning I will go out to the resort and assemble and decorate the cake out there and get it into the fridge so it has as long as possible to thoroughly chill. Right now our temperatures are hovering around 90F. RLB Mousseline seemed to hold up very well with the practice cake as I left it out on purpose to see how it would do and while the buttercream got very soft it held. Even though the cake was firm when it came out of the fridge on Sunday within minutes it was fine to eat and the icing was a nice consistency.

Thanks for your great advice.

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #21 of 31)

I'm a beginner myself, and I would never be able to accomplish anything without the advice from folks here (and cake decorating competition shows on the Food Network, LOL). There are lots of very knowledgable people here, and all very willing to share their advice and tips! I wouldn't have anything to say if so many folks hadn't said it to me already. :)


I was going to suggest possibly trying fondant for the vertical stripes, like Jean said. I find it quite easy to work with, particularly as a decoration (as opposed to covering a whole cake with it)... and if you can't buy it, you can make your own (a friend of mine swears by the marshmallow fondant, the recipe is all over the internet). At least then you don't have to fret over every stripe, and in a pinch they could even be scooted around a little bit.



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #24 of 31)

Now I understand when I see how exhausted they are at the end of 12 hours of baking and I'm not even doing it under TV cameras or the scrutiny of judges. Sometimes I find those shows too stressful especially when they make them move the cake.

My biggest question about using fondant is how do I "match" the colour to the buttercream? I will look for the marshmallow fondant recipe. How does it taste? I do have a tub of gum paste I ordered awhile ago in my fridge but I've never even opened it.

Maybe I could see if one of the bakeries would sell me some fondant but I couldn't say what I was using it for or they would not be happy I was taking away business from them. I'm sure I could come up with a "sugary" lie about a kid's birthday cake. I hate lying but if I try that how much should I try to purchase?

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #25 of 31)

I don't think you'd really need to worry about matching... the stark white on the slightly creamy buttercream would be gorgeous, especially with the flower garnish.


Here's a recipe for the marshmallow fondant... I've never made it, but a friend of mine did and had great results... she said it tasted better than the packaged kind as well.


Marshmallow Fondant
16 oz bag plain marshmallows (the small ones, not the jumbo ones)
2 Tbsp water
shortening, for greasing bowls
1-2 tsp flavoring
2 lb confectioner’s sugar, divided
pinch of salt


Grease a microwave safe bowl, a spoon, the dough hook, and the bowl of your stand mixer with shortening (grease it well).


Place the marshmallows and water in the greased microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir with the greased spoon. If all the marshmallows have not melted, microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in flavoring.


Place confectioner’s sugar and salt in the stand mixer bowl, reserving 1 cup, and make a well in the center. Pour in the marshmallow mix and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting. When it sounds strained, increase the mixer speed up one setting. Turn off the mixer once all sugar has been incorporated. If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup at a time.


Turn fondant out onto plastic wrap. Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in a ziploc bag, and let rest for at least 2-3 hours. Keep unused portions covered when not using. If the fondant becomes stiff, place in microwave for 20 seconds at a time until pliable.


Roll out on a greased mat/fondant circle to the desired thickness.


 



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #27 of 31)

I found marshmallows on the island and they haven't even expired! I will try this out tomorrow when I'm home all day.....thanks so much for the recipe.

Is there an easy way to cost out the cake? I did call around here to see what the costs might be like if the bride had dealt with a bakery directly and they base on the cost per 2"X2" slice at roughly $4.00. If I use that analogy I would be charging around $160 although I noticed on the form there are lots of additional charges.

As a ballpark what would a baker charge for a cake similar to mine? Three tiers - buttercream - minimal piping. I ordered in KAF and I use good quality butter from England which I can easily get here. The fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries will be expensive because they are imported - I estimate $50-$60 for 4 half pints of raspberries, 2 half pints of blueberries and 1 pint of strawberries. I'm ordering extra in case anything arrived damaged or moldy. Oh to be somewhere that had a local farmers' market right now......

Adele's picture

(post #65164, reply #26 of 31)

Yeah!  You go girl! 


You might want to cut the fruit for the filling so it's all the same size, will help the top layer sit better.


To make the top even- use a ruler, stick toothpicks in & use a bread knife to cut off the lopsidedness.


I'm with the ones that say use fondant for the stripes, and if your going to do that...use it for the balls too. 


If your not going with the fondant, you can use a ruler and make light scratches with a toothpick or just lightly indent with the ruler for width.


Very pretty practice cake, can't wait to see the real thing!


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

PrettyKitteh's picture

(post #65164, reply #28 of 31)

Thanks Adele -

If I slice the fruit won't it bleed too much or go mushy? If you slice the fruit would you add any sugar or other flavouring? Would you drain the fruit on paper towels before putting it on the cake layer?

I'm going to try the marshmallow fondant recipe from Tracy tomorrow and see what I can produce. I do like the idea that everything is the same - the OCD in me. If I did the balls in the fondant is there a trick to making them all the same size? Do you just get used to pinching off the same amount? Could I make the balls the day before? I think I might use the buttercream for the balls.....

When I roll out this fondant how thick do I want it to be? When they slice the cake can it be sliced through or does it tend to get knocked off?

TracyK's picture

(post #65164, reply #29 of 31)

For decorations, I usually roll the fondant about 1/8 inch thick, or thin enough to move properly but not so thin it tears easily. You'll get the feel for it!


For the balls, roll your fondant (using your hands) into one long snake, then practice cutting off bits of it and rolling them between your palms to make a perfectly round bead. Once you figure out how big a bit to nip off, nip off a bunch of the same size. That way all your balls will be the same size but you're not pinching off bits one at a time (keep any excess covered with plastic wrap to avoid them drying out).


You could make the balls now and keep them until cake time, they'd be no worse for wear. They would dry out somewhat but placing them onto the cake makes them soften up... ditto the stripes. The stripes will be soft enough to cut through with no problems.


If you have someone to help you roll the balls, that's REALLY helpful... and even kids can do it (my niece helped roll the balls for her birthday cake when she was 6 years old and did a fine job).


 



"Attend to the details. Teach your children manners. Write cogent paragraphs. Drive carefully. And make a good potato salad, one with some crunch, maybe accompanied by a fried drumstick with crackly skin -- the humble potato and the stupid chicken, ennobled by diligent cooking -- and is this not the meaning of our beautiful country, to take what is common and enable it to become beautiful?"

                                                            -- Garrison Keillor

Adele's picture

(post #65164, reply #31 of 31)

If I slice the fruit won't it bleed too much or go mushy? If you slice the fruit would you add any sugar or other flavouring? Would you drain the fruit on paper towels before putting it on the cake layer?


I wouldn't add any sugar, your going to have enough sweet from the cake and the icing.  I would let the cut fruit sit on the paper towels for as long as possible.


On rolling the fondant like Tracy says, you can also take a ruler after you are done rolling it into a log and mark it for the balls.  Then slice it all at the one time.  This is an easy job, best done sitting and watching TV!


I have found that when adding the confectioner's sugar to the fondant after your initial mix- to make it smooth- you will need more than you think.  I put a strainer in a large bowl, pour the sugar into the strainer then use a large spoon to to sprinle the sifted sugar over the fondant.  THis will take you longer than you think if it's humid outside.  Remember though, the fondant will keep, so you can make it ahead.  Just remember to take it out of the fridge either the night before if your starting in the morning, or early morning.  I just ball it and cover well with plastic wrap.


 


 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!