Thursday, March 27, 2014

[Guest post - DIY] - How to decorate your cake like a pro!

Taken from The Creative Muslimah

Salam and peace!

Those of you who've seen my attempts at baking on this blog will quickly remember that things don't always turn out the way I want them to... :-) Though they may end up tasting good, I somehow always end up having to cover the muffins or cakes with bags of frosting or making designs with icing sugar to make them look nicer than when they came out of the oven....

Luckily not everyone has to go through such disasters. :-) There are people out there from whom we can learn and be inspired by! One of the people I've been incredibly inspired by is the very talented and fellow Danish blogger Camilla from Coco & Co, who shares pictures (and recipes!) of the most luscious foods and desserts that she makes all by herself and shows off proudly *mm..mmm...* (just check out her foodgawker gallery!).

Today I'm really honored and happy to have her over here on The Creative Muslimah as a guest blogger! And she'll be showing you all how to decorate your celebration cakes like a pro. B)



Have you ever seen elaborate celebration cakes, and thought it looked very complicated? Luckily it is not that complicated, and is easy to do yourself. Obviously, the more you make, the less difficult it is, but I urge you to give it a go.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I have not included recipes for the cake, fillings or icing, as they are very much a matter of taste, so you can make the cake with basically whatever content you prefer. But I do have a few notes regarding recipes. I like to make a simple vanilla sponge for the base, then a chocolate-based mousse and a berry-based mousse. In this case I have made a milk chocolate mousse and a strawberry one. My favourite icing is Italian Meringue Butter Cream, which not only tastes yummy, but it also very good to work with. The downside it that it is rather laborious, so feel free to use your preferred frosting. The only thing that is important to know regarding the frosting, is that it has to be one that hardens when cold, and therefore has to include butter. A lot of people seem to like this kind of cake not to include mousses but rather just have an icing as a filling, which is also a possibility, so again chose your favourite. Whatever kind of cake you want to make, make sure that all elements are ready before you start stacking and icing you cake.

This cake is made up of one 18cm/7inch cake and one 24cm/10inch 

What do you need?
- 3 18cm layers of cake and 3 24 cm layers of cake
- 2 types of mousse - each type made of about 500 mL of cream
- 1 frosting -for this cake, ½ a portion of IMBC is used - i.e. a 5 egg white portion
- about 700 gams of fondant or sugarpaste
- a turntable
- a smoother
- 2 adjustable cake rings - or the rings from spring forms in the correct size. (You can do without, but it makes the work MUCH easier)
- 2 strips of clear plastic suitable for food
- 2 (disposable) piping bags
- 1 small icing tip for royal icing 
- 1 pasteurised egg white
- 200-300 grams of icing sugar
- paste colour in your favourite colour
- 1 small offset spatula
- 1 silocone rolling mat
- 1 rolling pin - not wooden!
- 1 small knife or pizza cutter
- 2 straws
- 1 serving platter
- 1 18 cm cakeboard - or cut out a circle from a plastic place mat
- decorations of your choice

Start with three layers of cake

Place one layer in the adjustable cake ring, with the clear plastic on the inside. If you are making the bottom tier of the cake, place the cake ring on the serving platter. If you are making the top tier, place the cake board on a cutting board, so there is a bit of space outside the cakering. I have put a piece of masking tape on the cake ring, to make sure it stays in place. Place on top of the turntable for easier filling.

Put some frosting in a (disposable) icing bag and cut of the tip.

Pipe the icing in a thin layer on top of the cake, all the way around. This ensures that the mousse filling is captured inside the cake, and gives straighter sides to the finished cake.

Spread or pipe in your first type of cake filling, make sure it is quite level. Obviously, if you are only making the filling out of frosting, just spread a layer of that on the cake. No need to do the previous step.

Put the second layer of cake on top, pipe frosting along the edge, add the second type of filling and place the last layer of cake on top. For this layer, it it a good idea the use the bottom side up, to get a sharper edge.

Put the cake in the fridge for 4-6 hours, for the filling and frosting to firm up. You can leave it overnight, but I prefer to make my cakes in the shortest amount of time, but not shorter than the cakes need. If you do the trick with frosting on the outside of the filling, it generally doesn't need to cool for as long, since the butter in the frosting firms more quickly than a mousse filling.

Take the cake out from the fridge, remove the cake ring and the plastic strip, and your cake will look like this.

The next step is to put a layer of frosting on the entire cake. My preferred tool for this is a small offset spatula. As you can see in the picture below it is just slightly bigger than a dinner spoon. 

In order to get the best possible result, it is a good idea to frost the cake twice. The first coat to seal in the cake and the crumbs, and the second to make the cake as level as possible. My edge in this instance could definitely be nicer, but that was okay :o) Again, use the turntable for easier frosting.

Tint your fondant or sugar paste with the colour of your choice, unless you want the cake to be white, of course. You only need a tiny amount of colour paste, and kneed the colour into the fondant until there are no streaks. Roll out your fondant on a silicone rolling mat, and transfer it onto the chilled cake. Work your way from the top and down the sides, trying to avoid creases. If you start to get a crease, try to pull the fondant carefully away from the cake and smooth from the top. Small creases are difficult to avoid completely, but try to get as few as possible, and as far down on the cake as possible.

Use a cake smoother, to smooth the cake on the top and sides. This will make a huge difference to the look of the cake. 

When you have smoothed the cake, cut off any excess of the fondant at the base with a smalle knife or a pizza cutter. Repeat with the other cake, so that you now have two cakes covered in fondant. Cool for an hour, to make sure they are firm.

Your next step is to stack the cakes. This might seem complicated or worrying. But it is very easy, and the only thing you basically need is a couple of straws, or plastic dowels intended for food. Press the straw down into the bottom tier, and cut of at the level of the cake. Do about 4 for a cake this size. The reason for this step, is to have some support for the top tier, so it does not weigh too much down on the bottom tier.

Place the smaller tier on top and you cake will look like this.

Make a fairly thick royal icing using pasteurised eggwhites and icing sugar. Put a small amount into a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe a shell border around the base of the two cakes. If you are new to this technique, try piping on a cutting board first, or look on the internet for a tutorial.

After this step, your cake is just about complete. The only thing missing is decorations of your choice - flowers, dots, stars, name and perhaps a topper of some kind.


Thank you VERY much, Camilla! What did you guys think? Have you ever tried decorating a cake like this? Leave a comment below letting me know. I sure know I'll be trying this out, inshaAllah.

Don't forget to hop on over to Camilla's blog for more inspiration! But be careful; you may not be able to control yourself, hehe B)

Yours sincerely,
The Creative Muslimah


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