The Life of a Cake (Part 5)

Hopefully I now have a smooth, crumb-coated, chilled cake ready for covering in fondant. My cake covering skills are improving all the time.  I’ve watched many video tutorials on the subject and feel like I get a bit better every time.  The one item I use, without fail, to help me is The Mat.  I think I talked about it in an earlier post but it deserves a mention here too.  It is invaluable in covering large cakes, giving the icing support after rolling and also gives the ability to reposition the fondant if necessary.

Once the fondant is positioned over the cake and The Mat removed then it just takes time to smooth the fondant down using smoothers and hands.

A tip I learnt recently (apologies, I cannot at the moment remember who came up with the idea but I will give them credit when I find out) is to mix a little of the fondant used to cover the cake with water until it is a smooth, toothpaste like consistency and using a small angled spatula, spread the mix over any areas of the fondant that are maybe not perfect.  Again this takes a bit of work but as the water evaporates from the mix you can barely see where the icing has been ‘repaired’.

I haven’t yet attempted the sharp corner/edge technique.  I think this would be a lot easier to achieve with ganache rather than buttercream and most of my customers would not choose ganache because of the added expense.  I think I’ll attempt the technique using cake dummies first – watch this space for my efforts!

I now should have the perfect base for the decorations which can be anything from flowers to figure models, vehicles etc. The decorations take the most time in the process.

The main reason for starting the Life of a Cake posts was to give non-cake makers/decorators an idea of how much work goes into a cake and to help with pricing.  Working from home, working varying hours, its difficult sometimes to put a figure on how long a cake actually takes to make. When I make my next few cakes I’m going to try to time myself with a stopwatch, timing each stage of the process.  I’ll post the results and I’d be interested to see how I compare, speed wise, with other cake decorators.

The next few posts are going to be devoted to colour.  I confess to not taking colour seriously enough when planning out my cakes. I add a bit of this and a bit of that until I get a colour I like and I haven’t planned the colour scheme for a cake ahead of time.  I also hadn’t really taken the time to check which colours/tones each paste colour produced.  That has now changed.  I’ve spent a bit of time testing the colours I have, adding the paste to fondant to achieve light, medium and dark samples.  I’ve taken photos of them all and will post the results on here.  I made sure the photos matched the sample colours but I do appreciate that what you see on screen may not be an exact replica of the photos but I hope they will give you some idea of how each paste colour performs.

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