The Life of a Cake (Part 4)

Once the cake has baked and is out of the oven I try to leave it until the next day before I start working on it.  This gives the cake plenty of time to cool thoroughly and ‘settle’, making it easier to slice and carve to shape if needed.

While it is cooling, if the cake is to be covered in coloured icing rather than white, I will prepare the coloured fondant.  I like to do this the day before I’m going to use it as it allows the colour to develop (especially important with dark colours).  Adding colour can also soften the icing or make it sticky so allowing it to rest overnight makes it easier to work with again.

The next step is filling and crumb-coating the cake.  This is something I’m improving on all the time. Its not a step that can be rushed.  If the cake is being filled with buttercream I like to put it in the fridge once it is filled to allow the buttercream and cake to firm up.  Once firm I’ll add the first crumb coat, then the cake is back in the fridge to allow that to firm also.  Sometimes I’ll add a further cover of buttercream if I feel the cake needs it but I find that can cause problems.  If when covering with fondant the buttercream gets too warm it causes the icing to sag and bulge at the bottom of the cake.  I have looked into a few ways to solve this problem, I’ve yet to test them!

The Life of a Cake (Part 3)

Its been a while!  I’ve been so busy with cake orders recently that I have not had a moment to get on here to blog.  Though, being a mum, its not just work that has filled every minute of the day.  I sometimes feel like I need a big sign for the back of my chair that says ‘I’m out at work, ask your Dad or do it yourself’. Its not that the family don’t take my work seriously but because I am ‘there’ that makes me available to hunt for lost items, help with homework, make meals etc and there are all the usual chores that need doing.  Anyway enough whinging on to Part 3.

The design has been decided on, I have everything I need to complete the order, its on to making the cake.

If possible I like to prepare my tin(s) and ingredients the night before I’m going to make a cake.  It means I can get on with baking early in the day and that the ingredients have come to room temperature.  First I line my tins in accordance with the instructions in my recipes from Quaint Cakes (see the Recipes post for link to the website).  Next I’ll prepare the ingredients, I’ll weigh out the castor sugar and margarine into a bowl.  Personally, I find using butter in my cakes makes them too rich so I use block margarine instead which seems to work well in the recipes I use. In a separate bowl I’ll weigh out the flour, add the baking powder and cocoa powder if its a chocolate cake.  I’ll get the eggs out of the fridge the night before I’m going to bake but leave them in the shells until the morning.

In the morning, I’ll turn on the oven and start mixing.  Once the batter is ready I’ll get it straight in the prepared tin(s) and then its into the oven.  Which, depending on the size of the cake, gives me several hours to kill.  If I’m not too busy that is my time to catch up on other chores or to sit down with a cup of tea and a good book or work on my next blog post!