Cake fillings

Fruits, jams, jellies, peanut butter, fudge, whatever you can think of usually can be put inside of a cake. Everyone likes a surprise filling inside that pretty white iced cake. How you fill your cake depends on what you are filling it with. I recommend if you are filling you cake to first add a circle of icing to the outer edge of your cake, so nothing leaks out. Some people like to add a entire layer of buttercream in the middle than a thin layer of peanut butter or jam over it.  Some people just want a thick layer of fudge or mousse with no icing under it.  So it is basically up to you how much of the flavor you would like in the center of your cake on what you do.

Flavoring Buttercream

Flavoring buttercream is not hard to do; all it takes is a bit of patience, a good extract, and a great buttercream. Place the buttercream into a bowl and add the extract a bit at a time and taste as you go along to find your right formula. Where I work we add 1 ounce flavor to 3 pounds buttercream.  Once you find that perfect combination, always remember to write it down so you have it for next time!

Which Recipe Should I Choose?

There seems to be a million of recipes out there. So how do you choose which one to use? I search a variety of  websites and find about 5-7 different recipes. From here I look to see which ones are similar to each other, I usually choose one of those. I usually go with the ones that are the most healthy for me.

Dark Colored Icing

Did you ever eat icing that contained so much food coloring it tasted bitter? This is usually due to dark icing having so much food coloring in it.  I have a solution though, instead of adding the color to white buttercream add it to chocolate buttercream. This will prevent that bitter taste that usually comes with adding a lot of  food coloring. By starting off with chocolate you have a nice flavor and a dark color, therefore you will need less color so less bitterness. Just remember to tell your customers you are now using chocolate icing just in case they have any chocolate allergies!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

I must say this icing is one of the best things I have ever made! I’m not a huge fan of buying store bought icing because I personally do not like the taste. However, I gave in the other day when I did not want to make my own cream cheese icing. Not to my surprise, I opened the container and did not like the taste so much that I did not want to use it on my cake. So I though maybe if I combined it with the dark chocolate ganache I made it would be better; well it was. I add about 60% ganache and 40% cream cheese icing and blended. When I finished blending the icing, I wanted to eat it by the spoonful. Needless to say everyone who ate the cake agreed and this icing is going on the menu permanently!

Coloring Icing

Coloring icing is very easy to do with all of the food safe colors on the market today. There is basically every color you can imagine available in food dye. However it would be costly to buy all of them for the possibly of using them one day. I recommend buying the colors you need now and than mixing 2 or more colors to get the ones you do not have when you need them. Color mixing can be difficult to do, so I would start with mixing a small amount of color at a time. This way you will gradually see if you are achieving the color you need.

Smooth buttercream

There are many different techniques out there from the paper towel method to a knife in hot water. Why do you want to add paper or water to your icing? The trick is to start off with a nice smooth soft buttercream in the container. Once you have this, smoothing out a cake will just take practice. Now I’m not knocking the people who use paper towels to smooth buttercream. The fact is the buttercream I use does not crust. So if I put a paper towel on top of my cake and tried to smooth it, I would either pull off all the icing or I would have to pull paper towel out of my cake. Now if I dipped a knife into hot water each time I had to ice a cake I would have water everywhere including all over my cake. Now that’s not to say I don’t use hot water I do, but just to heat up my spatula to smooth out small flaws in my cake. For example if I wrote on a cake and the name is spelt wrong, instead of scraping the whole cake I would just take off the name re-ice the area and smooth it with my hot spatula. Everyone can give tips on how to get perfectly smooth  buttercream. If you want to learn how to ice a cake smooth you just need the right equipment and practice.

Tempered Chocolate

Tempering chocolate will take a bit of practice to master. It will be difficult to learn at first but once you have done it correctly you will know when it is tempered. First set up a double boiler, than place 2/3 of your chocolate into your bowl and start to melt it; stirring occasionally. Place a calibrated candy thermometer into the bowl. Start stirring the chocolate more frequently until it melts and reaches an overall temperature of between 110-115 degrees, than remove it from the heat. Now place the finally 1/3 of your chocolate into the bowl and stir. We now want to cool down the chocolate to around 80 degrees. Once it reaches 80 degrees place it back on the double boiler; stir the chocolate until it reaches 90 degrees. Now your chocolate should look shiny because it was tempered properly.

Flood Work

Flood work is beautiful when done correctly. It’s  kinda like coloring but for adults, you need to stay inside of your lines. Flood work is done with thinned royal icing. Patters are drawn or printed onto wax paper and than outlined with royal icing. First outline your pattern, once your icing starts to crust it is time to start coloring in your design. I would recommend not to pipe your color to your outlined border. Instead once your are finished with your first color I would get a toothpick and drag the color to the outline. This way you will be less likely to hit into your outline. Finished coloring in your design. Once your design is finshed let it dry. Dry times vary and may take up to 24 hours depending on how thick your icing was. Now that your design is dry peel it off of the wax paper and transfer it to your cake.

Marbling Fondant

Marbling fondant is a great way to add extra color to your cake. I would choose either two color from the same color palette for a subtle effect or two totally different colors for a bold effect. Rolls your two colors of  fondant separately into long ropes, than twist them together like a candy cane, from here roll your fondant into a smooth ball; now your fondant is ready to be rolled out to icing your cake.  If you want a more marbled look just repeat the steps again. I prefer just to use two colors of fondant, some people use three or more. The look will be different each and every time you marbled fondant.

Cake Airbrushing Instructions

Using an airbrush machine to decorate cakes will save you a lot of time. It is a quick way to add color to your cakes.  While the airbrush machine is a bit pricey, you may find it worthwhile for the time it saves, allowing you to decorate more cake.

Cake Airbrushing Instructions

  1. Add a smooth layer of white icing to your cake
  2. Pick out what colors and patterns you will be working with
  3. Draw the pattern on your cake with edible black gel or just free hand airbrush it
  4. When airbrushing spray color on a paper towel first to make sure you are spraying at the right pressure
  5. I suggest airbrushing at a 45 degree angle a few inches away from the cake
  6. When filling the airbrush with color make sure not to over fill the color so it doesn’t spill out
  7. Make sure to clean your airbrush equipment with water or alcohol between each color

Now that you finished airbrushing your cake, you can add additional decorations as desired…

Cupcakes

CupcakesCupcakes appeal to all age groups; therefore they have become more popular in recent years. We have seen cupcakes go from something you had with desserts to being the main dessert. Cupcakes have become the main dessert at birthday parties and weddings thanks to some creative ideas. Cupcakes can be made into many shapes for birthday parties.  The cakes can be decorated simply or over the top. The cupcakes just break apart from the cake, so it is not as messy as a normal cake. There are also cupcake towers used for birthday parties and weddings. When using a cupcake tower you can have a variety of cake flavors, decorations for your cakes, and it usually it is a bit cheaper than a tiered cake. They can be filled with a variety of flavors, coated with different icings, and then decorated with sprinkles, flowers, fondant animals; whatever appeals to you.