Yes, the posting this past week has been light.
But, I have not been lazy with creating things in my kitchen.
Specifically things like those cute cakes you see above. I have wanted an excuse to create these adorable cupcakes for ages.
I have been a fan of Planet Cake for ages. Under the tight reign of owner Paris Cutler - known to her eclectic team of designers and decorators as “The Cake Queen”, Paris is a stickler for perfection and her attention to detail she has turn this little shop into one of Australia’s most renowned and revered cake businesses. She has authored three books – Planet Cake, Planet Cake Cupcakes and her latest book, Planet Cake Celebrate. Has her own television show in LifeStyle Food and runs Australia’s largest cake-decorating school.
What first attracted me their cake design is the impeccable work they do with fondant (unlike mine!). If you don’t believe me take a peek at her web site… and tell me if those are not some of the most stunning cakes you ever seen.
So, when it was time to plan a co-worker’s baby shower, I jumped at the chance to contribute with the sweet part of the party.
And, in doing so, set in motion 2 days of cuteness.
Were they hard to do? Not really, following the details instructions in her book Planet Cake, which has been sitting on my library for a bit, I had no problems.
I went as far as using the book cupcake recipe and the end product was one tasty, moist cake. Planet Cake covers their cake with chocolate ganache and not the usual buttercream, which I think is genius. Not only does this give you very clean and sharp edges, it tastes better than the buttercream some people use and the cake keeps for much longer.
When it come to cake decorating, the essential element is the pre-planning if you want to create a professional-looking cake. In the short amount of my cake decorating adventures I have learned that making and decorating cakes always takes longer than you think and to make it an enjoyable experience it is important to be as organized as possible and to give yourself the time that it requires.
Designing the cake in your head and then putting it on paper is a must. I go as far as using colored pencils to draw my end product, this gives me a visual picture of what I want the cake to look like an the colors I want to use, which brings me to the other tip.
Preparing your work space. Make sure you have everything you need, including room in your refrigerator. All the equipment and ingredients that you will need. Some special products or equipment might not always be in stock and my required ordering in advance from a supplier - so give yourself time to plan this out.
When you have everything .. then use the three-day rule.
Day 1: Bake the cake and allow adequate cooling time. Day 2: Cut and ganache or buttercream the cake and allow adequate setting time. Day 3: Decorate the cake.
Since I was making a small batch of cupcakes (we were only 15 people), I shorten my 3-day rule to 2-day.
Hey, I’m notarious for breaking rules (you guys should know that by now).
So on the first day, I baked the cupcakes, soaked them in the syrup and ganache them and place in the refrigerator to set. On the second day, I set out to cover them the the fondant. When I made this cake, I originally used Duff fondant, which was a bit of a pain to work with. I thought it was me, since it was my first time working with fondant and I was not looking forward to working with it again.
Time for a bit of google research.
After reading a bit about the best fondant in the market, I set out to try another fondant product and when I went to a local cake shop and found they carried Satin Ice I did not hesitate in buying their White, Vanilla 2lb pail, $11 dollar poorer and off I went. I got to say, it worked much better than Duff’s (sorry!), I was able to roll it very thin and it had excellent elasticity - So far it was the front runner. I’m sure my mind will change as I continue to test other fondant.
I took another trick from Planet Cake and used my pasta machine to roll the fondant evenly and thin and was sold in this trick instantly - it was much easier than using the rolling pin, plus the machine lets you roll the fondant to the right thickness, which in this case was very thin. I’m one of those people that hate to have a thick layer of fondant on cakes, and tend to peel it off the cake when eating it.
After doing one baby, I found my grove and in less than 2 hours, I was the proud mama of 25 baby-face cupcakes too cute for words.
I loved doing each one, and the expectant mom, along with everyone in the room, loved them even more.
I cannot wait to do more.