Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Guest Post : The Art of Creating Show-Stopping Cakes

Hi cake lovers, it's Rachi here. This week's guest post is by Ish, my best friend of 20 years and a woman of many talents, one of which is creating show stopping cakes.

Ish has been dazzling her family, friends, friends of friends and others with her exquisite cake creations for many years now. Birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, weddings.... you name it and she will come up with the most amazing looking and tasting cakes! What most people don't realise is the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into creating one of these show-stoppers. Everything from coming up with the design to baking to decorating takes time, time and more time. And also patience, creativity, an eye for detail and above all, a love of cake!

So today Ish talks about her passion for her cake creations and takes us behind the scenes in the day in the life of a cake designer/baker/decorator. Over to you Ish....

This is Ish at our inaugural Cakeup. Although she didn't bake for that Cakeup, if you are coming along to our February Cakeup you might just get to see/taste one of her creations...

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved cake. I mean, who doesn’t? Unlike most people however, I don’t just love eating it, I love designing, baking and decorating. My passion started when I was in high school. My mum has always been a hobby baker, and during my school holidays I would watch her patiently pipe delicious buttercream onto her ever-so-soft butter cakes, which would have to be by far my favourite flavour combination of cake and icing. Eventually, I could no longer stand just watching her so I began piping and decorating her cakes myself and as it turned out I wasn’t too bad.  

Having designed, baked and decorated hundreds of cakes for friends, family and others since, I feel like I appreciate it more than most when I taste a deliciously flavoured, perfectly textured cake. Getting the flavour and texture right to begin with is an art in itself. The consistency of the butter, softness of the flour and what I’ve recently discovered, the slightest change in amount of baking powder, and the type of oven, has a huge impact on the final result. As for the decorating, you need patience, a steady hand, some artistic skills but most importantly practice, practice, practice!

Some of my favourite buttercream cakes so far...

I can’t take all the credit for this one, as mum did the baking (butter cake). The birthday girl’s request and favourite character was Tweety so I came up with this design. Tweety herself had to first be hand ‘drawn’ on the cake with black coloured buttercream. Her eyes, beak and feet were all separately made using coloured fondant.

The design of this one was totally up to me, and I thought this simple yet elegant yellow rose design suited the birthday girl perfectly. This one again is a butter cake with vanilla buttercream. The ‘21’ cake topper had to be made almost a week in advanced so that it was hard enough to stay upright when attached to the cake. Getting the middle layer perfectly smooth was the hardest part!

For those beautiful fondant covered cakes, another key ‘ingredient’ is time! If you’re like me and have a full time desk job, baking a fondant covered cake means you need to plan ahead, and for me this is at least three days in advance – one night to bake so that the cake will be cool enough for icing the next day, one night to apply the multiple layers of buttercream or ganache to get a perfectly smooth shape and harden, and the third night to apply the fondant and other decorations. 

If you’re hand making cake toppers or flowers, these would have to be made at least on the day you bake the cake to give them enough time to harden. Quite a bit of time and effort if you’re not a full time baker, but totally worth it! The multiply layers of icing keep the cake fresh and soft, in case you’re wondering.

Some of my recent fondant creations…

I actually had to bake four cakes for this one to get enough height in the layers. Underneath the vanilla fondant is a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. The ‘pram’ on top was hand made with fondant and just as fiddly as it looks!

I'm not entirely sure why, but I absolutely love cupcakes.

So I was delighted when my good friend asked me to make a cupcake tower for her cousin’s ‘hen’s high tea’. The cake and cupcakes are my carrot cake, which I know she loves, with cream cheese icing of course.

It might be a little traditional, but I feel that a party is not a party without cake. A cake brings everyone together and for me, it’s the best way to celebrate any occasion. And, you’re never too old to have cake!

No comments:

Post a Comment