Differences Between Us And Uk Cake Decorating - Questions

Decorating By emmascakes Updated 19 Feb 2011 , 3:48pm by gscout73

emmascakes Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 6:01am
post #1 of 33

I am a cake decorator in the UK and it looks like most of you are in the US and I've had a lovcely couple of days looking through the site at your lovely cakes and reading posts. I have a question about your icing methods. Several posts on the (brilliant) cake disaster forum mention that their icing slid off or the tiers slid apart - I'm not sure how that would happen. Then I looked at photos and it looks thy're iced with buttercream (butter and icing sugar whipped together) So when you refer to 'icing' is this what you're refering to?

I have some US cake decorating books and the terminology differences are huge and take me ages to work out!
In the UK icing means a mix of icing sugar and water. I use fondant icing to cover my cakes and royal icing (icing sugar and egg white) to pipe decorations with, mexican icing to model with (icing sugar with additives to make it set hard) Would love some tips on US terminology so I can keep up with the posts here!

32 replies
mushbug9 Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 6:11am
post #2 of 33

Yes, most of us when we talk about icing mean that we are frosting the cake with a soft buttercream. Fondant has only come to be popular in the US for the last decade or so (I believe). Royal is used for some decorations but borders, some roses, ect are usually the same soft buttercream. There are plenty of people on here that do use fondnat and I really do love the look myself as well, but a lot of people use fondant only for decorations on a buttercream cake. Also MMF that you will see onhere often means homemade marshmallow fondant. Hope you enjoy it here as much as most of us do. icon_smile.gif

MissBaritone Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 6:48am
post #3 of 33

Hi emmas cakes

whereabouts in the uk are you from? I'm from Hartlepool on the North East Coast. I've been on this forum quite a while now and have managed to pick up quite a lot of US jargon. It is confusing for us. Even what they call buttercream is a bit different to what we call buttercream. They seem to use a lot of crisco(white vegetable fat to us) with butter flavouring but we wouldn't dream of using anything other than butter and icing sugar mixed together. I'm still trying to convince people that a wedding cake covered in royal icing can be cut quite easily and isn't too sweet and hard to eat if the icing is made correctly. If you want anything 'translating' please feel free to ask but you'll pick up the jargon quite quickly . It's amazing how much I've learned from this site. I certainly hadn't heard of a FBCT before I joined up here. Now I've won prizes using the technique.

Michelle

emmascakes Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 6:51am
post #4 of 33

Marshmallow fondant sounds gorgeous - is there a recipe anywhere on here for that?

And what's FBCT? (not sure I have the initials right, I can't see the previous post when replying.)

I'm from Devon, South West England.

I joined the forum because I find most of the UK way of decorating wedding cakes fairly boring and I'm a huge Colette Peters and Margaret Braun fan!

Viks Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 6:59am
post #5 of 33

Emmascakes, FBCT stands for frozen buttercream transfer icon_smile.gif Welcome!

mittmitt Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 7:14am
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissBaritone

Hi emmas cakes

whereabouts in the uk are you from? I'm from Hartlepool on the North East Coast. I've been on this forum quite a while now and have managed to pick up quite a lot of US jargon. It is confusing for us. Even what they call buttercream is a bit different to what we call buttercream. They seem to use a lot of crisco(white vegetable fat to us) with butter flavouring but we wouldn't dream of using anything other than butter and icing sugar mixed together. I'm still trying to convince people that a wedding cake covered in royal icing can be cut quite easily and isn't too sweet and hard to eat if the icing is made correctly. If you want anything 'translating' please feel free to ask but you'll pick up the jargon quite quickly . It's amazing how much I've learned from this site. I certainly hadn't heard of a FBCT before I joined up here. Now I've won prizes using the technique.

Michelle




What is icing sugar and mexican icing? When I make my icing, I use the Wilton recipe (1/2c crisco, 1/2c butter, 4c powdered sugar, 2T milk, 1t extract) it taste so good but I would like to try other icings as well. Also, is there a set of directions to do fbct's and is there a certain recpie for it as well.

morgiana Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 9:27am
post #8 of 33

As far as I am familiar with British cake baking vocabulary (I have few english cooking/baking books, but English is not my mother tongue) icing sugar is powdered sugar, isn't it? But my British cake decorating book (from 1980s I am affraid, found it 2nd hand and few pages are missing icon_sad.gif) doesn't mention mexican icing... could you tell more about it?
I must say that since I am here I learned so much, but still many terms stay a mystery to me icon_biggrin.gif But I love how chalaging this forum is!

MikeRowesHunny Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 9:44am
post #9 of 33

Yes, icing sugar is powdered sugar. Like most Brits, I would never have dreamed of doing anything other than filling a cake with buttercream before joining this site. Now I would say that at least 50% of my cakes are decorated with it! I prefer the look of fondant, but it's too expensive to make/buy here, so not many people are willing to shell out the extra cash it takes. I will only ever make buttercream with all butter though - I've tried the one with Crisco added and it's gross, I think most British palates would agree with that too! Fortunately here in Holland, the natives aren't used to British or American style cakes, so whatever I do is new and different for them icon_lol.gif !

emmascakes Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 10:35am
post #10 of 33

Mexican modelling paste is a product sold in sealed metallic bags which is a ready mixed sort of fondant icing with added ingredients to make is pliable and set very hard. I'm going to attach a photo, if I can, of a cake I've made - the 'steam spirals' are made from mexican modelling paste. It's lovely stuff, has to consistency of plasticine and then sets rock solid.
LL

MissBaritone Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 10:37am
post #11 of 33

mexican icing/paste is a form of gumpaste

bjwelchjr Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 10:44am
post #12 of 33

I love your tea party! The cups are so creative and the colors you used are great!

regymusic Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 11:14am
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissBaritone



... I'm still trying to convince people that a wedding cake covered in royal icing can be cut quite easily and isn't too sweet and hard to eat if the icing is made correctly. Michelle





What is your recipe for 'UK' royal icing?

emmascakes Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 1:08pm
post #14 of 33

2oz of icing sugar to 1 egg white. I buy the pre-packed stuff which has the powdered egg white mixed in already so you just add water and whisk up. It does set pretty hard but it's muhc nicer than fondant icing and some people add a dash of glycerine to make it a little softer. I use it for all my piping work and run-outs.

Doug Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 1:33pm
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmascakes

2oz of icing sugar to 1 egg white. I buy the pre-packed stuff which has the powdered egg white mixed in already so you just add water and whisk up. It does set pretty hard but it's muhc nicer than fondant icing and some people add a dash of glycerine to make it a little softer. I use it for all my piping work and run-outs.




just 2 ounces per egg white?

and where can you get the premixed?

and how much is a "dash" of glycerine?

morgiana Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 2:53pm
post #16 of 33

emmascakes, wow that's really lovely tea party! But now since you said that you buy it ready made, no chance for me to copy it icon_sad.gif Switzerland has very bad cake decorating supplies.... practically none icon_sad.gif BUt I want to give a try to sugar paste with glycerine, ofcourse only if I will manage to find here a shop that supports glycerine icon_razz.gif... I don't even dream about gumpaste icon_sad.gif Switzerland is a strange country icon_razz.gif
bonjovibabe, here as well you can only get buttercream or whipped cream cakes (ok, sometimes mascarpone), everything smooth and very classical... boooooriiiing! I only found one bakery in Luzern which does decorated cakes (american way), but their designs aren't nothing with wow factor and are damn expensive... So I am learning hard form all of you guys to change it icon_biggrin.gif

Schmoop Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 3:13pm
post #17 of 33

I am with anyone who uses only butter (not shortening) for buttercream used for icing a cake. The imitation butter flavor and shortining residue in my mouth grosses me out. I do use the crisco recipe for piping and decorations...it holds up much better. I prefer the way fondant looks, but can be too costly for people, so use it for accents and molding more.

I grew up in the Philippines and all our cakes were iced using royal icing. When I moved to the US (11 yrs old), I couldn't figure out why the iciing on the cakes here were not what I remembered. It was not until a couple years ago, 20 years later, when I started to get interested in cakes and reading about them that I realized it was not buttercream, but royal. It was never rock hard and was so YUMMY as i recall. One of those things that reminds you of your childhood.

justsweet Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 3:32pm
post #18 of 33

Welcome to cake central. If you look up top you will see a section called "articles" you find some helpful stuf. You can see how to make FBT The frosting I use has no butter and smooths out great. I also use another one but it is a little sweet it calls for whipping cream.

Your that you posted is beautiful.

Ladivacrj Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 3:52pm
post #19 of 33

This is a very interesting topic.

I found a site for making Mexican Paste

http://www.patchworkcutters.com/pom_mexican1.asp

morgiana Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 5:08pm
post #20 of 33

Hey thanks a bunch! Now I only have to find this gum sth icon_razz.gif but it's always good to know!

MissBaritone Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 7:51pm
post #21 of 33

I don't use egg white for my royal icing. I use meri-white which is the british equivalent of meringue powder. I use 1 table spoon of powder, 4 tablespoons of water and as much icing sugar as it takes. To mix royal icing correctly you have to learn to do it be 'feel'. It takes a different amount of sugar every time. Things like temperature, humidty can all affect the amount of sugar needed. To stop it setting rock hard you add 1 teaspoon of glycerine to every 1lb of icing sugar that you've used.

emmascakes Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 8:51pm
post #22 of 33

I only buy ready made fondant icing - all the colours and modelling etc. are my own so I don't see why someone couldn't copy it. You can order stuff online from any country - I get a lot of my stuff from the states as the exchange rate is so good for us Brits at the moment and postage is pretty reasonable too. You can make fondant icing yourself - Colette Peters has the recipe in her books and I'm guessing most cake decoraters also do.

What is the British equivalent of 'gumpaste' - Colette Peters goes on about it a lot but I still haven't quite worked out what it is!

Narie Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 8:57pm
post #23 of 33

The major of the reason for the use of Crisco in butter cream frosting is American summer weather. It gets hot, and stays hot and not just in Florida or Texas The UK normally doesn't have to endure the rigors of say a Chicago summer. American wedding cakes do, so you use a frosting which will survive. Crisco stays solid even on a hot summer day. Butter turns into a puddle. Because of this Americans have gotten used to Bakery style frostings, even the ones with flour paste in them. I prefer real butter cream frostings, but I also keep cakes in the refrigerator.

I live in the north along the border between Michigan and Indiana and we are looking at 90+ (32 /34 c.) weather for the next 7 days.

justsweet Posted 14 Jul 2006 , 9:03pm
post #24 of 33

from: emmascakes

What is the British equivalent of 'gumpaste' - Colette Peters goes on about it a lot but I still haven't quite worked out what it is!

Gum paste, also known as sugar paste, pastillage or sometimes called candy clay, is used for making all kinds of fancy decorations, such as long-lasting flowers, ribbons, bows, leaves, and just about anything else you can imagine.

MissBaritone Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 6:29am
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmascakes

I only buy ready made fondant icing - all the colours and modelling etc. are my own so I don't see why someone couldn't copy it. You can order stuff online from any country - I get a lot of my stuff from the states as the exchange rate is so good for us Brits at the moment and postage is pretty reasonable too. You can make fondant icing yourself - Colette Peters has the recipe in her books and I'm guessing most cake decoraters also do.

What is the British equivalent of 'gumpaste' - Colette Peters goes on about it a lot but I still haven't quite worked out what it is!




British fondant is much nicer than american fondant from what I can make out. It tastes much nicer. I usually use either Regal Ice or even Tesco/Asda own makes. A good place for buying online from the uk is http://newlook.design-a-cake.co.uk/ Its a large store near to me but they ship all over the world.

Finally the British equivalent of gum paste is flower paste although you can also substitute mexican paste

MissBaritone Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 6:35am
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by leana

Gum paste, also known as sugar paste, pastillage or sometimes called candy clay, is used for making all kinds of fancy decorations, such as long-lasting flowers, ribbons, bows, leaves, and just about anything else you can imagine.




Again to confuse things sugar paste and pastillage are different things in the UK. Sugarpaste is our name for rolled fondant and pastillage is a non edible medium used for modelling very similar to cold porcelain. Candy clay we just don't get.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:04am
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissBaritone

British fondant is much nicer than american fondant from what I can make out. It tastes much nicer.




I personally can't stand Regalice - it has a really nasty underlying taste to it too. I prefer making my own!

sun33082 Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:13am
post #28 of 33

Narie, I was reading through and ready to say the same thing. With the humidity and 90+ temperatures most of the summer here in southern indiana, crisco is a must! Even with it, there's still problems with sliding, melting, etc.

It's neat to learn such differences between two countries that speak the "same" language!

lsawyer Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 1:50pm
post #29 of 33

To sun33082.........I've read somewhere that the melting point of Alpine Shortening is 99-110 degrees F (higher than Sweetex and Crisco). It costs more than Crisco, but you only need about half the amount (about 1/2 cup per 1 pound of sugar). I add butter extract. It's much creamier than Crisco, too. I don't know what the breaking point of it is re humidity, though.

7yyrt Posted 17 Jul 2006 , 8:00pm
post #30 of 33

I downloaded this on another forum here on CakeCentral, yesterday. Possibly it can shed some light -

"I think you'll find that most of us Brits are a font of knowledge when it comes to Royal Icing, we use it a lot and, yes, we cover whole cakes in it too! If you can get pasturised real (wet) egg whites, use those instead of meringue powder - it makes a world of difference to how long you have to mix and the results you get. I have tried meringue powder, and I never will again, in pales in comparison to the real deal. For those who can get pasturised egg whites (or who aren't concerned about using normal raw egg whites), here's the traditional recipe:
Royal Icing
1lb icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 egg whites
plus (if you don't want it to get too hard), 2tsp glycerine

Whisk egg whites and lemon juice together for a few seconds, gradually add the icing sugar and beat until the mixture holds firm peaks and you can stand a spoon up in the icing. Add glycerine if using and briefly beat again.

Try this and see if it works better for you!

The traditional way to smooth RI is with a palette knife (spatula) dipped in hot water, used wet! It won't dry out quite as quickly or quite as hard if you use glycerine. You can even add a bit more if you just want it to crust over, but remain fairly soft beneath the surface. I used glycerine (the recommended amount) in the icing for my Christmas cake last year, and it took the whole time the cake was being eaten (over a month!), to dry out completely and even then it wasn't rock hard, it was a thick covering though! Yep, leave out the glycerine for flowers and decorations - those you want to set up hard! And, yes, it's sweet - it's PURE sugar! bonjovibabe
Royal Icing, another recipe
it's 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tarter per pound of powdered sugar and 2 large egg whites. I just threw it in my mixer and let it go for about 7-10 minutes. I also used the wisk beater as well. It was a beautiful thing..I tried the Wilton recipe with the merengue powder and it just didn't work for me. I saw this on one of those baking shows on the Food network. The baker who makes the wedding cakes @ Disney did it. So simple! G-Rho"
HTH!

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