Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cake baking Tips

Cake tips from a housewife that attempts to bake cakes. Yep- zero expert advice here just simply a couple things I have learned along the way- that work for me.

Use helps like parchment paper and baking strips. 
Lining your pan with parchment gives you even edges and an easy removal.
 Grease your pan and flour it if you don't have parchment- Use flour for white cakes and cocoa for chocolate cakes when dusting.
To better adhere your parchment spray your pan, use as a "glue" to affix paper, then lightly spray again.

Baking strips are available from Wilton, they come in various lengths and when applied to the outside of your pan will keep the cake from rising in the center creating a more dense cake that doesn't require much if any leveling. Be sure and follow directions when using- They MUST be soaked in water first!

Don't over bake or under bake your cakes but.... bake on the lesser amount of time required. What I mean by that is test your cake at the least required amount of time for baking. If they test in the center as done get them out! Any over baking at all begins to toughen the texture.
Always use a cake tester- everyone used a toothpick when I was growing up, feel free to use in a pinch but I recommend a metal one, mostly because when hot from the cake they clean up quickly with a wipe and can be reused eliminating the search for more toothpicks and spilling them on the floor and then jamming them into your feet- not that I have ever done that. Cake testers have a way of disappearing in the drawer so keep it where you can find it!

Let cakes cool!!!!!!
Best ways to ruin a cake you will decorate-
removing from pan too quickly
icing when warm
Let it cool- go make fondant or something- go clean the bathroom- get away from the cake if you have the urge to ice.
Trust me I have done this too many times.
In fact feel free to freeze your cake until tomorrow if you like. Wrap it in wax or parchment paper then seal with plastic wrap.

Use the right cake mix.
If your going to do any stacking, carving, or layering make sure your cake can handle it. A Box cake is great for a simple swirl of icing but if your going to try your hand at a topsy turvy cake- they won't cut it- literally.
Use a sponge or madeira or a trusted recipe from a cake book that specializes in cake making.

I will link some cake books I like at the bottom of the post.

When working in layers- try to keep them even. When they just are not even- happens to me all the time- use your icing as a filler. Always place an icing edge between your layers and fillings. The icing boarder will eliminate the gap and will keep any raspberry filling from oozing out and mixing with your finished layer.

Make butter cream icing;
1 cup butter, softened
4 c powdered sugar (adjust to consistency needed)
1/4 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
Cream butter, add 4 c powdered sugar, milk and extract. Add remaining sugar until smooth spreadable consistency. Adjust thickness of icing with milk and powdered sugar amounts. 

See the gap here in above photo- This occurs when the cake is uneven and the icing boarder is insufficient. If you refer to the top photo you will see this cake had massive orange flowers on it so I was able to hide the gap. It would have been better to trim  and level the cake!
But when you do......
you get crumbs!!! Lots of crumbs- so what then?

The crumb coat-

If you don't crumb coat, now is the time to start!
Ice your cake in a thin layer- Do NOT worry about how it looks or all the crumbs in it!
Now put it in the fridge for 30 minutes up to a couple hours.
 Ice your cake when the cake is cool and all those nasty crumbs are fixed in place. You will have a much smoother and easier time icing now.
crumb coat

icing over crumb coat

If you like to use fondant you can place it directly over your crumb coat. It is best to chill your cake before applying fondant like you would between icing layers.
Fondant can be bought at cake supply stores or where ever you find Wilton cake decorating supplies.
 Home made Fondant-
See recipe for marshmallow fondant HERE

Non marshmallow homemade fondant
2 pounds powdered sugar
5 tsp powdered gelatin- Like Knox unflavored gelatin
1/4 c water
1/2 c corn syrup
1 1/2 TBS glycerin- sold in Wilton aisle

Stir gelatin and water together in a sauce pan, let set for 3 minutes to bloom.
Stir in corn syrup and glycerin and heat on med until gelatin is dissolved, stir constantly- mixture will burn.
In a large mixing bowel place powdered sugar and mix in gelatin until well combined.
I do not have a powerful mixer so I do most of my fondant mixing and kneading on a silpat mat. I also use the Wilton fondant mat. Be sure and place powdered sugar onto surface to prevent sticking .
Tip- if mixing on a mat or counter, grease surface and hands with crisco then place large amount of powdered sugar and make a well, pour in gelatin and begin incorporating.

Some of my favorite cake books- not exclusive these are just some I have and use.
Cake Decorating for the first time
click Here for info

Cakes and Cake Decorating

Beginner's Guide to Cake Decorating (Love Food) (Making Cakes)


Party Cakes: 45 Fabulous Cakes for All Occasions, with Easy Ideas for Children's Cakes

Essential Guide to Cake Decorating

All things Wilton

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