Monday, September 28, 2009

Using whipped cream icing on cakes

I had a request for whipped cream icing on the last wedding cake I designed. The best whipped cream I have found to use on wedding cakes is a stabilized whipped cream made with Rich's whip topping base. You add 2 parts of the base to 1 part of heavy whipping cream and whip with the wire whisk attachment of your mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. For this particular cake, I also added vanilla and some ivory color. This is a great tasting whipped cream, goes on smoothly, and holds its shape well. You can also add other liquids to this base for different flavors. I buy it by the quart size, and it comes frozen, but I believe you can get it in larger sizes also. The flavors for this cake were spice with cream cheese filling, chocolate with coconut pecan filling, and banana split (layers of whipped cream with bananas, pineapple, and strawberries, drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with nuts). The flowers were very simple, yet elegant, as was the design of the cake. I displayed the cake on a 22 inch round silver plateau, which I believe adds greatly to the presentation, making it a beautiful centerpiece. The wedding venue was the officer's club at Petersen Air Force Base.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Combining fillings...

Yesterday we had a farewell party for our son-in-law Eddie, as he goes off  to AF basic training. He requested a yellow cake with raspberry filling. As I began decorating, I realized that I did not have quite enough raspberry filling to fill a half sheet, so I first put a layer of cream cheese filling, and then the raspberry over that. I called him after I had already filled and iced the cake and asked him if he liked cream cheese with raspberry, and thank goodness he said he did. I actually combine fillings quite often on cakes I do. Some of my favorites are cream cheese with fresh strawberries or lemon filling, fudge filling with raspberry, and whipped cream with fresh fruit. By the way, the cake was a big hit at the party!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Carrot cakes and new cookbook...

My son-in-law, Eddie, called and asked if I could have a 1/4 sheet carrot cake ready for him to take to work on Friday as a thank you to his co-workers, as it is his last day at T-Mobile. So I found this great recipe for carrot cake and cream cheese icing in my new cookbook, America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. The recipe calls for a whole lb. of carrots, which makes the cake moist, and a perfect blend of spices. I'm still having a little problem with my carrot cakes sinking slightly in the center due to high altitude, even though I added a little extra flour. I think next time I will try raising the oven temperature slightly and baking the cake for a shorter time. The cream cheese icing recipe called for an extra ingredient that I have not used before...sour cream. This recipe is not too sweet and whips up very nice and fluffy. This is not an icing you can do detailed decorating with, but it ices the cake very nicely, and tastes great!

Cream Cheese Icing

(2) 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese
10 T. softened butter
2 T. sour cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla together at med. low speed until smooth. Add the sugar slowly and beat at low speed until smooth. Turn up the mixer speed to med. high, and beat until light and fluffy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cake artistry...mixing colors

I have often considered myself an artist. However, because I am a cake decorator and not a painter, my medium is icing instead of paint. My tools are decorating bags, spatulas, and paste and/or airbrush food coloring. My palette is mixing bowls and plastic containers. I thought about this last night as I was decorating the above pictured cake. It had several different shades of browns. When I work with browns, I normally always use chocolate buttercream and add to that, because it tastes better than just using plain old brown paste color. For example, the shoes and the underside of the hat are done with full strength thinned down chocolate buttercream. The upper portion of the hat and jacket were made by adding white buttercream, and for the hair and middle part of the sunflowers, I added a touch of red icing to the chocolate. Even the gray color for the gardening gloves was made from white buttercream, with a touch of chocolate and a very small addition of blue. This was a fun cake to do. I designed it for Michelle, a friend of mine who works at a retirement home...hence the interesting birthday names. I wanted to do something with sunflowers, since this is sunflower season in Colorado, and I thought the woman with the green thumb and large nose added character. The flavor of the cake was strawberry with fresh strawberry mousse.