Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Taking Care of Display Cakes

This post is a baby lesson in dummy cakes and how to repair them. I really liked this cake when I made it, but about a year later it had a little accident. I was storing/displaying it on a silver cake stand on top of a refrigerator. Next to the refrigerator was a cooling rack on wheels. One day I moved the rack and the stand was apparently being held by the rack because it the cake went flying across the room! My first hint is to put little pieces of shelf liner under each each foot or the entire stand. Every time you open the fridge, the cake stands moves a little bit so avoid the problem with shelf liner!

I use to cover cake dummies with piping gel to attach the fondant securely. My cake friend Kimberly told me to use Crisco to attach the fondant. When you are done with the display cake, you can soak it in hot water and reuse the styrofoam dummy! That is tip two! Since I had used Crisco, when the cake hit the ground, the fondant completely came off the top tier. Totally gone! Naked! There was also a big hunk out of the deer tier.

The cake was in good shape before the accident, so instead of trashing it, I decided to do some fixing! I recovered the top tier and then added the ruffles. I think I have to make an entire ruffle cake soon! I was going to leave it, but then I felt like I needed more height so I added the topper. Just some gumpaste and a bit of floral wire.

For the deer tier, I measured the thickness of the fondant still on the cake and rolled some fresh fondant. I cut a nice straight line for the bottom and then pressed it up against the cake. Basically this made an impression on the fresh fondant so I knew where to cut the patch piece. It then fit right in. I just blended it with my finger and it really wasn't noticeable. I added a few ruffles to hide some imperfections as well as some gumpaste flowers, pinecones and berries for a more wintery feel. Hide those boo boos with flowers!

Next tip, when adding flowers or something to a very hard display cake, you can add a good size piece of fresh fondant and attach it with gum glue or water. This will give you something to poke in to and hold your new additions. It this isn't feasible, because you can't hide the big piece of fondant, use a drill with a small bit to pre drill holes. You may have to use a really small bit first and work up to a bigger size. That will give you a nice hole to poke flowers into.

I am glad that I loved on the cake instead of trashing it because I think I like it better now. Maybe I was just tired of it :) My last tip is for dusting old cakes. If the cake is very dusty, take it outside and use a hair dryer on cool, an airbrush, or just a clean large paint brush and dust off the big part of the dust. If you just have a little dust left, use a clean paper towel soaked with PGA or vodka and wipe it down. If this doesn't get it clean enough, use a very clean dish rag that is wet but rung out well. Wipe off all the dirt or discoloration that you can't this way. It will make the cake gooey because of the water, but it will dry out and your display will look much better!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quatrefoil Wedding Cake

There are not a lot of really new cakes out there these days.   Occasionally I find cake goodies and I want to purchase them all!  This was the case when I found sugarartstudion.com.  Their pictures of gumpaste flowers make me want to make a flower half as pretty!  They are unbelievable!  Gumpaste spider chrysanthemums, really?... I mean really?!?  Just let those flowers inspire you and you will soon spend way too much money, unless of course you book the cake first and then buy the tools.  That's what we should do....

This little cake was made with the Ali quatrefoil cutter to make impressions on the bottom tier.  I really wish I could find a way to use these on buttercream cakes.  We were asked to make a simple display cake for one of our favorite venues, The Grandview on Lookout Mountain, Georgia.  They have a great cake room when you first come in the door of this beautiful old house.  The display cake is going to be there for all the brides that tour the facility as well as being there for a hopefully unneeded cake emergency.  That's one of the reasons I made the cake all white.  It should fit into anyone's decor, should any baker not arrive with the bride's cake.  

We used some garden roses from Cal-Java and the rest of the flowers came from wholesalesugarflowers.com.  I hope you like it and that we inspire you to give your favorite venue an emergency cake. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Golden Globes Red Carpet Birthday Cake

 I really love award season! The dresses, the hair, the jewels and oh, the awards. It all starts tonight with the Golden Globe awards! I got a last minute birthday cake request from a favorite long time customer. I was so happy she wanted a cake to match her Golden Globes party theme! I was asked to include the "Happy Birthday..." Inscription and use a red and gold color scheme. The cake was supposed to be a simple 9" round, but when I realized it was Mary Margaret's 16th birthday, I had to do more.

I choose an oval cake so that I had a flat front for the carpet to be draped. I made the stars out of a golden/spice mustard color and just painted the front with a gold glaze to make them sticky. I then sprinkled lots of edible gold disco dust. You could also do this by wetting the stars with a little bit of water so they are tacky.

The film was all Fondarific. I made a big round middle and made a ribbon of black with some side detail by using a ticking wheel . I cut a few squares out of ivory and drew some squiggles to add a little details. The Fondarific helped because of the added work time,I was able to manipulate the "film" so that it didn't crack and break.

For the spotlights, we just used black modeling chocolate and used a large diameter dowel to hollow out a space to drop the light inside. We let this firm up a little and cut a hunk off the bottom so they sit at an angle. We added a few strips and various poked holes for a little detail. I thought it was a cute, small way of adding some fun into this red carpet ready cake!

Items I used to create this cake: 
American Gold Disco Dust
Ateco 6-Piece Graduated Star Cookie Cutter Set
Fondarific Buttercream Fondant Black
Fondarific Buttercream Red Fondant
Edible Image Paper
FMM Sugarcraft Ribbon Cutter & Stitcher
Mini Party Lites

FULL DISCLOSURE:  As a member of the Amazon Affiliate program, I receive a small commission if you buy a product from the links on my blog.  I actually own the products I recommend and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Make Your Own Top Pot Doughnuts

As a baker, I enjoy cooking, but I'll admit that baking just cakes can become tiring at times.  But that doesn't mean that I don't want to experiment with other kinds of sweet treats.  For Christmas I received the most awesome doughnut book - it was Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker.  I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed this book.  It's not just a recipe book; you get stories about how Top Pot got its start, and you get loads of information on what ingredients they use and why.  It's amazing how different doughnuts are than cake.

To date, I have made the three basic doughnuts; yeast, sour cream, and cake.  The sour cream ones have been my favorite, but tonight as I was making a batch of cake doughnuts I thought this might be something that you guys might be interested in too. I'm going to provide the recipe here, but it you like doughniuts you should really get this book!

Basic Spice Cake Doughnuts
Taken from "Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts" (Chronicle Books)

2 3/4 cups cake flour,  plus more for rolling and cutting
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp iodized salt
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
2 TBS shortening
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup whole milk
Canola oil for frying

Powdered Sugar or cinnamon sugar, as a coating (optional, but not really ;-) )

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Set aside for later use.

2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the sugar and shortening for 1 minute on low speed, until sandy. Then add the egg and egg yolk, and mix for 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until mixture is thickened and light in color.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate batches, alternating with the milk, mixing until just combined on low speed each time. The dough will be very sticky. Transfer dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered directly with plastic wrap, for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).  I found that my dough was REALLY loose, so I added about a 1/4 cup of flour to the dough.  It worked much better!

4. Heat your deep fryer (or large pot of oil) to 370 degrees. Gently roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface until roughly 1/2 inch thick, using more flour as necessary. Using a doughnut cutter, cut as many doughnuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. Fold and gently re-roll the dough to make extra doughnuts.

5. Remove any excess flour off the doughnuts before adding them to the oil, taking care not to crowd them. Once the doughnuts float, fry for about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels, and roll in powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar while still hot.

Enjoy making your doughnuts!!

FULL DISCLOSURE:  As a member of the Amazon Affiliate program, I receive a small commission if you buy a product from the links on my blog.  I actually own the products I recommend and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


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