Tutorial Tuesday: How to Stack a Tiered Cake

People ask me all the time what they need to do to ensure the integrity of their tiered cakes. I’ll show you how I do it.

First I cover my cakes with fondant. This is a bit more tricky with buttercream covered cakes… but I do most of my cakes in fondant.

The bottom cake is given a support system. Honestly, drinking straws work awesome. I find the center of my cake and come out a couple of inches in each direction and insert a straw. Be careful not to put the supports out further than the next cake with overlap.
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Pull the straws up a tiny bit and cut each one so that once you push it back into the cake, it’s level with the cake and rests on the bottom of the cake board. The concept here is that the next cake’s weight will be supported completely by these straws and it won’t crush this cake.
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Now, sometimes when I do a tiered cake, I’ll add a center support to keep the cake from falling over or sliding around, coming off center etc.
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I usually use a wooden skewer in this case. Be sure that your skewer is cut to the correct height, you don’t want it tearing through the top of your top tier. That would be bad!
This cake is going to be a three tier.
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This next part is very important… you have to have a board under your other cake as well. The board distributes the weight across the supports. I usually cut a piece of foam core board into a circle slightly smaller than the cake is and cover it in foil. Also important… if you’re using a center support… POKE A HOLE INTO THE CENTER OF THIS BOARD BEFORE YOU PUT THE CAKE ON IT. (See how serious I am? I resorted to capslock…)
If not, you won’t be able to properly do this.
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Yeah, that cake looks a little wonky. Don’t worry about that bottom, that’s what boarders are for ;)

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I added a third tier on top of this, putting supports in this second tier the same way as on the bottom. Once you get the cake on, it might look a little rough from the handling, but you just need to wiggle things around a little and smooth things down a little and hey, decorating cakes is all about covering up imperfections with awesome little things you create.

Here’s a photo of it with the top tier on.
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Happy stacking!

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Tutorial Tuesday: How to level a cake

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Lots of people ask me how I level my cakes. There are some fancy things you can buy that are supposed to do this job, but I’ve never had much luck with them. I’ll show you how I can level any size cake with just one bread knife. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a skill and takes some time. Don’t blame me if you wreck your cake! haha

Okay, so first, you’ll need a cake!
Like this one:
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Ok, it doesn’t have to be juuust like this one ;) But seriously, look how wonky this cake is!

You’re going to need a knife. A long serrated bread knife is best. Whatever knife you use, it MUST be serrated. And for goodness sake, let that cake cool first!

Now, you want to score the top. JUST SCORE IT, don’t cut any further than the highest post that is not domed. Does that make sense?
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See here? How I stop right at the edge? That’s as low as you want to score.

Now the other way, same thing. You’re scoring the dome top into four sections:
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Now, holding your knife steady as possible, you’re going to start on one section, Begin your cut right below where the dome stops being… domey. You want to get rid of that hard crusty part anyhow.
And then cut as straight as you can through that section.
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One down, three to go!
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Continue with the other sections, using the previous section as a guide for accuracy.
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Okay, you see how one section is raised higher there? You can see it in the center. It’s easy to spot.
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But don’t fret, it’s easy to just run the knife across that spot, hold your hand steady and shave that bit down.
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Ta-da!
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There you have it. A level cake. And some delicious leftovers…
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(That’s NOT waste… you eat that! or these scraps are great to save for cake pops or cake balls!)

Now, some explanation… yes, you can just do this in two sections. I’d rather do it in four though because when you make one long cut across the surface of the cake, you have a bigger chance of cutting up or down on an angle.
If I do a square cake, sometimes I might just do two sections. It’s easier to keep a level eye on something with corners ;)
I like this method because most cakes I bake are wider across than my knife is long. I can’t just slice the top off in one sweep.
Also, NEVER BE AFRAID. People are afraid to correctly level their cakes because OMGBBQTHATSHALFTHECAKE. But listen, that cake is only holding you back. You stack that thing with a dome top and you’re whole cake is going to fall apart. It’s gravity. I promise. It’s bad news. Plus, who wants to eat those crunchy burnt edges? Not I!
Final note: when you go to frost this thing, whether it’s being frosted just as one layer or stacked with another… your top- is now your bottom. Flip that thing over and frost the “bottom”… otherwise you’ll be trying to frost crumbly, unseared in cake! lol
It would fall apart on you. Just sayin.

Sorry for being MIA. Still trying to work stuff out with my health. If you haven’t got your health… well, you haven’t go anything <3
Happy decorating!
Summer

Tutorial Tuesday: Striped Cupcakes

A slight variation on the zebra cake. Since they’re so small, they might not be all that stripy, but could at least be considered a cool marble! Results may vary haha.

I started with a chocolate batter and a yellow batter. I used teaspoons. I think the secret here is super small layers. Keep building layers like with the cake. Don’t spread with the spoon and try to get each teaspoon in the center of the last.
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Fill them about 3/4 of the way full and bake them according to regular baking directions.
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BAM… striped cup cakes…
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They’ll all look different, obviously, but some may end up more stripy than others! Happy nomming!

Tutorial Tuesday: Fondant Roses

Alright, I tried to write this earlier, but WordPress was having issues. Hopefully, it doesn’t eat this post. Seems like it might be a little weird acting, but we shall see!

Alright, so materials needed:
Seriously just fondant and powdered sugar. An a little bit of water.

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Start by using part of the fondant to make a sort of pointy egg shape. Round on one end and pointy on the other end like this. That will become the center of your flower.
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Now to make the petals, make little balls, then flatten them. You want them to be pretty thin.
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The more petals you make, the bigger your flower will be. When you’re squishing them, keep in mind what rose petals look like. They aren’t perfect circles, so you don’t have to be exact with your work. :)
Now, put a little bit of water on your center piece. Then start wrapping petals around it. You’ll need to brush water on the bottom inside of each petal before adding it. Just keep wrapping, trying to keep the sides equal.
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Once you feel like you have enough petals on, simply pinch the bottom and roll it between your thumb and fingers a bit until it feels secure.
Viola!
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See, not hard at all!

I guess no one wanted to win a 3 month pro-account certificate for Instructables.com because I didn’t have ONE SINGLE entry for the contest last week! Boo! Ah well. Happy caking!

Tutorial Tuesday: Chocolate Butterflies

Better late than never, Tuesday isn’t over yet!
I’ve had a few requests for a tutorial on how to make the chocolate butterflies I use to decorate some of my cakes.

Butterfly Baby Shower Cake spring birthday cake
It’s super easy and fun! You can use this technique for lots of other things as well!

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Ok, so we need to start with two different colors of chocolate or candy melt. If you’ve not worked much with melting/tempering chocolate, candy melt/almond bark is your best bet. You can find a package in the baking isle at your grocery store for around $3.

You’ll need wax paper, a couple of icing tips, frosting bags and some scotch tape.

Go online and google “butterflies”, find a page of those suckers and print that baby out! You’ll want to tape that print out to your counter and then tape the wax paper over top. The tape will keep your sheets lined up and not sliding around.

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I wouldn’t use anything larger than a no.3 icing tip. Remember, the smaller the tip, the more detailed your butterflies will be.
Melt down the chocolate that you want to use for your outline. It doesn’t matter which you use for the outline, either works great.
I melt 30 seconds at a time stirring in between in the microwave until it’s melted.

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Fill your icing bag with your chocolate and start tracing your butterflies. (YES it is THAT EASY!) :D
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Once you’ve finished your outlines, melt down your second color. This one, you’ll be using to fill in the rest of the butterflies. As you get this ready, your outlines should cool and set up enough to hold the white chocolate.
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They should set up pretty quickly, but you can speed up the process by cooling them in the fridge. Once they’re solid, you can just peel them off the wax paper!
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See, super simple!

You can attach these to the cake with melted chocolate, frosting or piping gel.

Hope you are all having a good week. I can’t wait for the snow here in Ohio to melt so that I can see some real butterflies.

Tutorial Tuesday: Fondant Flowers

Alright, so I know you’re all dying to know who won the contest, right??
Well, I used random.org to choose a random number for me. You were all in order of who commented first. (sub-comments didn’t count on this number line, just your initial comment, so one chance per person.)

Well, 15 of you entered and random.org picked #2… who is… STEW!!!!
winner
Congratulations. He’s already been contacted for his address :)

Heart Truffles

For those who didn’t win… there’s always my brand new etsy shop! I joined Etsy in 2008 with intentions of selling and I’m just now posting my very first listing. Oh sheesh. I hope I can sell some other things on there soon like some custom made fondant items. Maybe even make and sell fondant by the lb or something? I don’t know! We’ll see what happens lol.
In any case, thank you guys for participating, I’m so happy with the feedback. Two people asked about making flowers. So here we go!

Now there are a LOT of kits and things for making flowers. It’s not like they’re wildly expensive. That one is around $20, but I’m on a super budget here! So… I don’t have those fancy things. I don’t do flowers SUPER often, so I use what I have and I get by. So, I suppose this is my “how to make fondant flowers on the cheap” tutorial. lol
I love my Wilton tool kit, but I’ve seen some cheap alternatives you can totally get by with online like this one. If you look them up on ebay, you can score a cheap set for around $10.

In any case, maybe you can find some thing around your house that you could use, I don’t know, a spoon end, a q-tip, I don’t know… hahaha be creative.

I start with my fondant, my fondant roller, my flower cut outs, which were super cheap!, powdered sugar and my tools and an empty egg box. I scored this awesome one from a flat of eggs I bought, it actually was the top section that cradled the top of the eggs, the cups are more round more shallow. It’s awesome.
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I sift some powdered sugar all over the counter and the fondant and roll it flat. Then I cut my shapes.
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(ignore those big ones, I just got that cutter set… I didn’t like how they came out. Will revisit that set later lol)

Then I take one of my rounded tools and gently press it into each petal. It flattens the petal and adds shape.
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Then a quick poke in the middle to add a little dip…
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Then everyone goes into the egg crate. To dry. Over night. MINIMUM.
They really need to get totally dry. They need to sit out some place cool and dry over night. Don’t put them in the fridge.
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Once I get them in there I lightly brush them with high proof vodka to dissolve all the left over powdered sugar. Don’t brush the bottoms or they’ll stick. You can do that after they dry.
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The next day, I like to spritz them with the ol’ airbrush. I go over them with a few sheen colors. A little pink, a little yellow, a little edible glitter. Very faint, just enough to give them a shimmer.
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I let them dry for a few minutes and then I brush off any extra powdered sugar on the back of them that I think might show when they’re on the cake. I pipe a little buttercream or melted chocolate on the bottom and place them on the cake.
Then last but not least, I pipe a little yellow dot in the centers of the flowers with a small star tip!
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That really makes them pop. If your dot pulls up too far, give it 30 seconds to a minute to set up and then you can lightly take your finger and smoosh it down a bit.

And there you have it!
Floral Birthday Cake
(also, in case anyone wants to know, the rossettes on the sides were done with a no. 74 tip. You just sort of make a spiral from the center out.)
Lovely. :)
And happy birthday to Lisa! She and her husband own the bar I work at on the weekends, Blind Bob’s. I’ve made several cakes for the bar before!
Their one year anniversary cake and a cake to commemorate the one year anniversary of their open mic night! Also known as one of the most insanely awesome cakes I’ve ever made! That thing was epic. Heck, I even made a cake for the bar when I quit in September of 2009! Hahaha. I couldn’t do the waitress thing anymore, but after a lot of chatting with Nate the manager (son of Bob and Lisa) about it and then replying to a text for an offer for the job while pretty intoxicated, I became the normal weekend door person.
Anyhow, I adore Bob and Lisa and I love their bar. Blind Bob’s is totally responsible for helping revive the Dayton, Ohio music scene and I’m more than happy to be a part of it.
When Bob called me with a super secret mission to make a super special spring cake for Lisa’s birthday and bring it over to the bar on Monday, there was no way I could say no!
We love you Lisa! Happy Birthday!

Happy New Year!

So, I ended up taking some unintentional time off from my blog this holiday season. I ended up just being too busy to deal with everything!

I made some cakes, of course.

I made a cake for K&G Bike Center‘s Christmas party.
K&G Bike Center Xmas Cake

I also made a cake for a Christmas party at my work:
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I hope you all had a glorious holiday season! I know I did!
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I just got one of my most exciting Christmas gifts yesterday!
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An airbrush set and tons and tons of Americolor food color!!!!

2011 is going to hold some really awesome things for this blog! I’m going to attempt to host tutorial Tuesdays! I’m working on some other ideas for theme days. We’ll see how it goes. Get ready for lots more cake!!!

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