Friday, September 18, 2015

Cake fillings... the difference between "cake" and "dessert"

After baking and decorating cakes for so long, I am very picky about the cakes that I choose to eat. I love cake, but eating a piece of ho hum cake with ho hum icing is like eating... well, "just cake," and I would just as easily pass it by. But when you have a deliciously moist piece of cake with a scrumptious filling and a great icing, it becomes a delightful dessert instead of "just cake." That is hard to resist. At Cathy Leavitt custom creations, we offer a wide variety of different fillings, from fruity to chocolate to fluffy mousses. Each one, combined with the right cake and icing, can be very tempting indeed. I have combined some of my favorite flavors as our Specialty Dessert Cakes on our menu. It's hard to pick a favorite, but anything with chocolate is always a hit. Lemon is becoming a strong second. 

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry and Fudge Filllings

When we add a filling to a cake, I slice each layer in half. Note: I have an Agbay cake leveler that levels the top of the cake layer and slices the layer at the same time. One of my very very favorite decorating tools. Pricey, yes, but so worth it! Over the years, I have used many cake levelers and the problem is... they just don't work. If you're serious about cake decorating, look into this amazing tool!

Each cake normally consists of 2 layers, so after you slice each layer, you have four layers. I put filling between the top 2 layers and the bottom 2 layers, and add whatever icing I'm using in the middle. Before adding the filling, be sure to apply an "icing dam." Not only does this hold in the fillings, but it keeps the cakes level. Click here to visit my tutorial on filling cakes. This tutorial also contains recipes for an easy basic mousse filling and Bavarian Creme filling. To make a yummy coconut creme filling, you can add toasted coconut to the Bavarian Creme. (And then try not to eat it all before putting it on the cake... I know this from experience.)

Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Mousse

Fill cupcakes? Oh yes, but you do not need a fancy cupcake corer in order to fill them. Just load your decorating bag with a large open round tip, like #12, push it into the center of your cupcake and squeeze... just don't go overboard. After awhile, you'll get the knack of it... so easy. After you've eaten a filled cupcake, you'll not go back to one without. 

 Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Mousse and 
Cream Cheese Icing, Drizzled with Salted Caramel
 White Almond Sour Cream Cake with Raspberry 
Filling, Vanilla Buttercream, and Toasted Almonds
Chocolate Cake with Bavarian Creme,
Chocolate Buttercream, and Toffee Bits

Fresh fruit can also be used as a filling in cakes. It is best to add a thin layer of whipped cream or mousse to the cake first, and then slice and layer the fruit on top. Some other good fruit fillings to use are Solo Raspberry Filling, Dickinson's Lemon Curd (my favorite), and Cherry All-Fruit Spread. Be creative and try different combinations! 

 Yellow Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Strawberries
Sample Cakes for Cake Tasting-
Chocolate Mint Mousse, Shirley Temple (1 layer of vanilla, 
1 of chocolate, with Bavarian Creme and white chocolate curls),
Lemon with Lemon Curd and Lemon Buttercream

Cornelli Lace and Scroll Work... both make beautiful cakes

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I have been decorating a long time... actually about 38 years. A technique that was popular several years ago was a technique called cornelli lace. I still use it now and then, but it hasn't quite been as popular as in years past. To make cornelli lace, you need a very fine round tip (I usually use #1), and you basically squiggle randomly over the entire area of the cake without lifting the tip and without touching or overlapping any of the lines. The result is a pretty lace look on the cake. It becomes very easy with practice, but is still a little time concsuming. The way to make this technique look the best is to use a very small # tip and squiggle close together and very dainty so it resembles lace. I think it looks prettiest "white on white," but I've also used dark chocolate (never black) on a different color background. 

Pretty cornelli lace white on white buttercream
Delicate cornelli lace with mini pink roses and 
CTR emblem make a perfect baptism cake 
 Dark chocolate cornelli lace on white buttercream heart
 White on white cornelli lace wedding cake

Another beautiful technique that I have used lately is small scroll work over an entire area of the cake. Unlike cornelli lace, I used a bit larger of a tip (#2) and the surface of the cake is done in free hand scrolls of different kinds. Some of the scrolls touch, others do not. Again, the scrolls need to be quite close together in order for the design to look pretty. This scroll work technique takes much longer than the cornelli lace, but the end result is stunning. 

Simple and elegant