My Take on Cake

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 18-The Last Day

The combination of my last assignments involved making cupcakes and learning some new recipes. For these cupcakes, I used the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcake recipe. The recipe resulted in a delicious smelling apartment and very full cupcakes. I used the cupcake opportunity to practice with piping flowers and some other designs.

Upon the conclusion of this course, I have learned about many types of icing, many types of cakes, how to shape cakes, how to stack cakes, how to keep tiers from sliding, and how to make giant messes. Through reading some books on the history of sugar and cake, I learned about how the traditional wedding cake and groom's cake developed over time.

I'm excited to continue learning about cake decorating in my spare time (maybe after graduation). I now own an arsenal of baking supplies, and am certain I am just beginning my cake cook book collection.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 17-Suitcases

Today I made a cake to be eaten at another interim's cook off competition. The money raised from the competition supports the Wofford Travel Grant. In keeping with the travel theme, I made a two-tier suitcase cake. I made a chocolate cinnamon cake with buttercream filling and covered it with fondant.

Before I set out the decorate this cake, I googled "travel themed cakes" and the results were amazing. Out of all the cake pictures I have looked at this month, the suitcase cakes were definitely my favorite. Therefore, I tried to create on myself.

This cake was not very difficult to make, but it was difficult to decide how to make it. Luggage is a very diverse class of bag. Consequently, there were many decorating options. Based on the tools I had available and the amount of practice I have had with fondant, I decided not to recreate a Goyard trunk. Also, I had a bit of trouble with the luggage tags. As a result, these bags lack identification. Luckily they are not being checked.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 16-Winter Cake

Today I finished the Winter themed cake. I used three layers of cake for the bottom tier, and two layers for the top tier. I colored the fondant on the bottom tier with a mix of blues. To get the pattern on the top tier, I painted food coloring on the fondant instead of kneading the color into the fondant itself. I mixed a little bit of color in water and used a paintbrush to lightly sweep the color onto the cake. I found an icing with sparkles in it, and so I used that for the design on the top tier as well.

As added decoration, I made my first attempt at creating fondant figures by making some penguins. I briefly debated giving the penguins a separate head from their bodies, as well as feet. After a few minutes of molding the fondant, I decided that blob penguins were much more practical. Also, I made my penguins based on the assumption that they are all sitting on their feet to keep them warm.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 15-Theme cake day 1

My assignment today was to make a theme cake. Because we're supposed to have a huge ice/snow storm tonight, I decided to make a winter themed cake. After spending half the morning looking for a snowflake cookie cutter (which apparently are out of season in January?), I set out to make a two tier cake. After making a two tier cake a few days ago, I decided that I wanted each layer to be taller on the next multi-tier cake. Instead of having two layers for each tier, I am trying to make each tier three layers.

I spent the rest of the day working on my cake layers. I decided to make the homemade cake again because the layers are taller. The smell of cinnamon is still a little overpowering, but I now have seven layers of cake cooling on the counter. Tomorrow, I will try to stack them and decorate my cake.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 14-Valentine's Day

Today, I made a Valentine's Day Barbie cake. I used a Wilton mold for the skirt. The mold came with the top half of Barbie's body. I used fondant logs underneath the pink fondant to create the illusion of folds in the skirt. I used white gum paste flowers as decorations for the dress.

I had to cover Barbie's body and the skirt with separate pieces of fondant. Because Barbie is made of a hard plastic, I had to use royal icing to make sure the fondant stayed in place and that Barbie did not experience any wardrobe malfunctions. I'm still not sure how I'm going to get the fondant off of her when the cake is eaten. Royal icing is a pretty strong glue.

Barbie's hair is quite a mess because I haven't played with barbies in a while and have lost my skill as a Barbie hairdresser. I'm really not ashamed of that, I'm just glad that her hair is out of the cake.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 13-Art Eats Bakery

Today was a great day! I spent my day at Art Eats Bakery in Greenville. The owner, Jackie Bishop, shared the history of the bakery with me and patiently answered all of my questions while she made a ton of cakes, conducted cake tastings and consultation appointments, and decorated cakes. I learned a lot of general baking and decorating tips, as well as about the baking industry.

For example, I was shocked to learn that many bakeries use cake mixes instead of fresh ingredients. However, Art Eats Bakery uses all fresh ingredients and the resulting cakes are much tastier than the standard bakery cake. I also learned how to pour eggs into a mixer while making sure that no egg shells sneak into the batter, how to decorate a butter cream cake without getting crumbs into the icing, and how to make a sheet cake level. I also learned how much work a cake decorating bakery requires. I would definitely be intimidated by the sheer volume of dedication and drive necessary to make a bakery succeed.

I cracked close to four dozen eggs into a large bowl, and when I was finished I looked into the bowl. I was struck for a moment at just how many almost-chickens never reach chick status thanks to baking.

I definitely suggest going to Art Eats Bakery!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 12-Cakes for Kids

My assignment for today was to make a cake for children. I used a box cake mix because I thought children might like it more than the spicier, richer taste of the homemade recipe I used previously. The bottom layer of the cake is chocolate, while the top is a yellow cake. I tried to use fun, bright colors for the cake. I think the end result was a baby shower cake, which is still fitting because baby showers generally occur before children anyway.

I used buttercream frosting to decorate the cake because throughout this month, I have come to the conclusion that fondant is just not delicious. After my last vine attempt, I learned the importance of adding corn syrup to the frosting. My designs came out much smoother on this cake because of this addition. This cake seems a little bit busier than my past cakes, but I think that's fitting for a child's cake. I took this cake to the children's shelter.

My next assignment is a holiday cake. Unfortunately, I think the closest holiday is Valentine's Day. I also have a Barbie cake mold that I've been dying to use. The combination of Valentine's Day and Barbie might just lead to the tackiest cake ever, but I'm secretly pretty excited.