14 December 2014

Transformers birthday cake

It's so funny how fast things can go and to be honest fast is the way I like it. I went to see my friend the other day and I showed her some pictures of the cakes I decorated in the last few weeks. Then she mentioned that it was her son's birthday and asked me if I wanted to make his birthday cake. Without hesitation I off course said yes.

I had two days to plan and put the cake together because on the day of the birthday I just wanted the cake to be done so I could work on some details if needed. I got a carte blanche on the cake since my friend says she trusts my judgement so she didn't gave me any requirements. Luckily  the birthday boy said he loves transformers so I got something to work with.

I checked online for some inspiration and found a cake design that I liked. My classmate wanted to have some practice so he came by to help.

I went and got everything I needed for the cake and on the day before the birthday I baked 2 cakes using the recipe for "biscuit deeg".The first layer would be a chocolate cake with a cherry compote and cherry butter cream filling and the second layer would be a vanilla cake with raspberry jam and butter cream filling. 

For the cherry compote I used a jar of cherries, drained the juice and cooked it till it reduced in half. Then adjusted the flavor by adding sugar and lemon juice. When it was to my liking I scooped some tablespoons in a bowl for my butter cream. Then I added the cherries and let it all simmer. With a bit of potato starch and water I thickened the cherry mixture and I let it cook for a minute or so.

For the butter cream I used:
- 85 gr water
- 225 gr sugar
- 100 gr egg white
- 75 gr sugar
- 500 gr room temperature butter

I stared with cooking the water and the sugar till it was 121C. At around 115C I stared mixing the egg white with some sugar till it was firm. Then when the sugar syrup reached the right temperature I slowly added it to the egg white mixture and continue to whisk it till the bowl cooled. Then slowly bit by bit I added the butter till everything is fully corporate. I mixed some butter cream with the cherry syrup and kept the rest for masking both cakes.

After filling and masking the cakes we covered them with fondant that we already colored. Then we made the details and carved out the transformers logo.
I didn't stack the cakes until I arrived at the party. My friend, her family and especially the birthday boy were very impressed by the cake.
It was super fun to make this cake and everyone loved it! 

Two tier happy cake

It was unbelievable how fast this phase went. And the thing that surprised me most is how much fun I had with royal icing and how pretty the cakes turned out. 

On the last day of this phase we all had to cover and decorate a two tier cake. As the school opens at 9 am we could start as soon as we arrived. 

I started with making some royal icing. I found some very pretty cake designs online and I wanted to combine the designs for my cake. I wanted my cake to be covered in white fondant with blue accents. But first I cut my cake in 3 layers and filled them with a cherry compote and apricot compote. Then I covered it with some butter cream and let the cakes chill in the fridge till the butter cream hardens.

In the meantime we made some piping bags with different colors and we started with rolling out our fondant.  I also made an attempt on piping orchids since they had to dry out for a bit. I made some smaller once and some bigger ones.

I love the color blue and like how it pairs with white and yellow. Since the fondant was white blue and the orchids were white blue with a yellow/red accent I decided to use the same color for my decoration.  
Then it was time to put it all together. After both cakes were covered with fondant I used some pearl colored powder mixed with alcohol to give the cakes a nice shine. After the alcohol vaporized I stuck 3 straws in the first layer of the cake and cut them off about 1 cm above the top. This would be supporting the second layer of the cake. After that it was decoration time! 
At first I placed all the orchids on top. Then I though the second layer looked a bit bare so I removed the bigger orchids and placed them on the second layer. Next time it is better to have a plan first because the orchids were not fully dried yet and left a little stain on the white.
For someone who didn't had a plan of how to decorate the cake I was so very pleased with the end result. And what was more important is that it tasted soooo good! I made a lot of people happy with this cake so there you have it: my two tier happy cake.

08 December 2014

Pressure piping

This class has all been about royal icing; in particular about pressure piping. With this technique you can make the whole animal kingdom, if you wish. The key is to know when to press and when to stop and to know how to build your animal step by step. Most animals are made out of a round shape or a water drop shape. By putting more or less pressure on your piping bag you can give it any shape you wish. 
Here are some very fun and cute samples of what can be done with pressure piping. 

Today was the first day we covered and decorated a real edible cake and as I don't see myself making a lot of animals with pressure piping I decided to decorate my cake with flowers. I have to say I am getting really good at it!
As this module is all about using royal icing for decoration we all got to work with a cake that the school made earlier. It was quite a big cake so I manage to cut it in 4 even (yah!) pieces. On the cake I sprinkled a bit of sugar water. This is just a simple syrup made of 50% sugar and 50% boiling water and to make it extra flavorful we added a dash or two amaretto liquor. After that I spread some cherry jam on one layer and some apricot jam on the other. On the last layer I used half cherry and half apricot. Then I coated it all with some Italian butter cream. This is not simply butter and some powdered sugar creamed together, but made with egg whites, sugar water and butter. Because the base of this butter cream is a meringue mixture it's silky smooth and not overly sweet. I think I can eat a whole bowl of if just by itself! 

After the cake was covered it has to be chilled in the fridge for a bit so the butter cream can firm up. In the mean time we kneaded some white fondant and since I love blue I added some color to it. 
I spend the afternoon making flowers and decorating my cake. 
And I was very pleased with the results.
I even had time to decorate a ginger bread house!