Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cake Trials

Stepping away a bit from paper here, but lately I've been occupying most of my craft time with learning how to decorate cakes. It's my goal to do my daughter's wedding cake this coming October, and she wants autumn leaves on a brown cake. So....

cake #1 was my first cake ever. I tried store bought fondant, which tasted awful, but it was a good practice attempt at smoothing and icing. The cake itself was dry, and so I went on a major research quest to find amazing cake recipes suitable for a wedding cake. (I was eventually successful, so ask me if you're interested in either a white or chocolate cake recipe that will knock your socks off.)

cake #2 was really to attempt a square cake. Corners are harder, so now I know: I don't want to do a square cake. I also learned that I don't really want to make flowers out of fondant - too floppy.

cake #3 was for my daughter's 23rd birthday (she's the bride-to-be). Each layer was a different cake flavor. It was also my first (and last) time I will ever attempt to tint fondant dark brown. What an arm workout!

cake #4 involved gum paste leaves. I used cookie cutters purchased on line, and handpainted the leaves. They looked terrific on this cake design I attempted from an online picture, but edible gum paste isn't really edible unless you have no taste buds! Still, I may use gum paste as it was very easy to work with, and the caterer wouldn't have to serve up the leaves with the cake.

cake #5 was really all about the white cake recipe inside with a strawberry filling. All who tried this one thought the cake tasted amazing. I also started for the first time tweaking the fondant recipe to find a way to make it taste better. In this picture it was half white chocolate 'plastic' and half fondant. It was much better, but still not tasting good enough for me.

cake #6 is not fondant, as i decided to look for alternatives. Icing the cake the old-fashioned way with regular chocolate buttercream will taste great, but not be as easy to get that smooth, wedding cake polish. So I came across this rolled buttercream recipe, that rolls out like fondant. This tastes wonderful, but is harder to work with as it is softer and easier to tear. For this reason, I would not recommend using this for a cake bigger than 10" round. Those roses are chocolate plastic, and taste a lot like tootsie rolls.

(side note: the real cake #6 was completely covered in semisweet chocolate plastic, and tasted so amazing that I didn't have time to snap a picture before it was eaten.)

cake #7 was made for my other daughter to take to school for Valentine's day. It is a chocoholic's dream - the cake, the icing, the bark, the roses and the white-chocolate pink flowers.

Many thanks to the students, coworkers, and family members who have all been my guinea pigs lately! Thank you for taking all these experiments off my hands!

Next up, are plans to try using white chocolate for the autumn leaves, so that people can eat them. I'd also like to try my hand at airbrushing instead of handpainting them. And I still haven't tried homemade marshmallow fondant yet. My goal is to have a great looking, and great tasting 4- tier wedding cake, that can be done and still keep my sanity in the days before the ceremony. Wish me luck!


Merry said...

These cakes all look amazing...thanks for sharing all the photos...and love the little notes on each.

Tirza Enggelin said...

Looks AWESOME! thanks for sharing

Laura said...

I'd love to have your recipes for both white & chocolate cakes. Thank you, and have a very merry Christmas!

Cornerstone said...

Rich Chocolate Cake

1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups mini semisweet choc. chips

This makes 2 8" rounds, but be prepared to trim 1/2" off the baked cake, due to the oil in the recipe making the edges crisp. Mix everything, but chips for 4 minutes, then stir in chips before pouring into a greased and floured pan. I sometimes save 1/4 cup of the chips to spread between layers with the icing. This recipe is very moist and chocolatey!

Cornerstone said...

For the chocolate cake above, bake at 350 degrees for 55-55 minutes.

Cornerstone said...

White Almond Cake

1 pkg white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Mix all ingredients for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured pan(s). Bake at 325 degrees for aprroximately 25 minutes. Recipe makes 2 8" rounds.

No-cook Strawberry Filling

1 pkg of strawberries, cleaned and topped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla

Using only half the strawberries, puree everything in a blender. Then slice the remaining strawberries. Strain some of the liquid from the puree if it is too runny for the cake. Thinly ice the top of a cake layer, then create a moat out of piped icing to keep the filling from leaking out. Spoon the puree onto the cake, then layer the strawberry slices. Top with the other cake layer.

Cornerstone said...
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