Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lots and Lots of Ruffles...

Today I designed a 4 tier wedding cake all done in ruffles... even the flowers were "ruffly." When I got this order, I had never done a cake like this, and so I went online to see if I could find out how to make the ruffles, and instead I found an entire tutorial on how to make a ruffle cake, and another tutorial on making the flowers that the bride wanted... yeah for technology!

Each tier on this cake was a different flavor...
  • Yellow with cream cheese and fresh strawberries
  • Lemon with lemon curd and cream cheese
  • Swiss chocolate with raspberry mousse
  • Vanilla with raspberry and cream cheese
All tiers were covered with buttercream icing, and then covered in ruffles made from 50/50 modeling chocolate and fondant. The dough was rolled out thin and cut into 3/4 inch strips and ruffled with a wooden dowel dipped in cornstarch. The end result was just what the bride ordered. Not too difficult, just time consuming. The first tiers took quite awhile, but I got faster as I went along. If you want a cake that's a little different and impressive, give this one a try.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

My friend, Jill, is making a carrot cake for her husband's birthday, and asked me if I had a good recipe, and of course, I do. Whenever I do a carrot cake for a wedding, this is the one I use, and I get nothing but rave reviews. The recipe also includes a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing, but I prefer to use my favorite cream cheese icing recipe instead. Instead of baking this cake in 2 layers and then slicing them to fill, this cake is baked in 3 thin layers, and the filling is put in between without having to worry about cutting any cake. Also, instead of grating the carrots, I just throw them in the food processor and chop them...easy.

Kory's Carrot Cake
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
20 ounces carrots, finely chopped (about 3 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained
May add 1/2 cup raisins if desired

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups white chocolate chips, melted 
3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
Chopped walnuts or pecans

To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Leave sides of pan dry-no cooking spray needed. Combine eggs and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat 2 minutes with mixer on medium speed. Add 1 cup sugar and continue mixing 2 minutes. Add remaining sugar and mix 3 to 4 minutes. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; add to egg mixture, beating on low speed until blended (about 1 minute). Add carrots, nuts, and pineapple; mix until well combined. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Run knife round edge of cakes and remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

To prepare icing, place cream cheese in mixing bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add melted chocolate a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed. Add butter a little at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl; add lemon rind and beat until combined.

Remove cakes from refrigerator. Ice top of one layer. Place second layer on top; ice top. Place third layer on top; ice top and sides of cake. Press chopped nuts into sides of cake. Serves 20.

Tips from Cathy:

1.  For high altitude, I usually add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup flour.
2.  In my oven, I bake (3) 8 inch layers for approx. 40-42 minutes. Each oven is different, so keep checking it after about 40 minutes. If you bake it too long, it will turn out dry.
3.  If the cakes fall slightly in the center, push down around the sides while warm. 
4. Once I have the layers wrapped in plastic wrap, I like to stack all 3 layers together to refrigerate. It helps to level them out.
5.  If the layers are still slightly lower in the center, just level them out with lots of yummy cream cheese icing. Nobody will mind. I usually stack the bottom 2 layers with top sides up, and the final top layer with the bottom side up, to give the cake a more level top.
6.  For larger cakes:
1 1/2 batches=(3) 10 inch rounds. Bake for 50 minutes @ 350 degrees.
2 batches=(3) 12 inch rounds. Bake for 1 hour @ 350 degrees.
7. I like to add little icing carrots to the top of the cake, with a simple border (only on top because of the nuts). If I'm serving it at a wedding, sometimes I'll just add fleur-di-lis on top instead.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beating all records...

In my 36 years of cake decorating, tonight I had the fastest order and pickup ever, and all thanks to technology... specifically Facebook.

I have an order for a large 4-tier wedding cake next Saturday... all done in ruffles. Since I have never done a cake like this, I did research online, and found a tutorial...thanks to Kara Buntin at A Cake To Remember LLC.  I had cake batter left from cake samples I did on Thursday, so I baked a small 2 layer 6 inch round to practice on. The cake was iced in buttercream, the ruffles were made with 50/50 fondant and modeling chocolate. After a little practice, I got the hang of it, and I think the wedding cake should turn out fine. I'll just have to allow quite a bit of time. 

In the meantime, the last thing I needed was an extra cake sitting around the house. So... I took a picture, posted it on Facebook, and asked if anyone nearby would like a free cake. I said that the cake would go to the first person that responded. They would just have to come and pick it up. So, within a matter of minutes, Michael Kuhns responded, his wife, Jennifer, was out of the house, and within 20 minutes of my posting, the cake was out the door. How's that for a quick response? Gotta love Facebook!