How Are Things Done Differently Around The World......

Decorating By YummyFireMummy Updated 15 Apr 2008 , 2:36pm by Homemade-Goodies

YummyFireMummy Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 1:03am
post #1 of 68

I was just sitting here browsing forums and galleries and got to thinking how differently a lot of you do things to what we do over here in Australia....One of the pics in the gallery was saying about how they tried fondant on a cake without buttercream under it and everyone was saying what a brave move....We never do buttercream under fondant over here!!!!

Also with your layering and filling of cakes...also not that common over here...we tend to make a mud cake and thats that...cover it and go

Buttercream nowhere near as popular here in Down Under either!!

What does everyone else think???? Just curious

67 replies
indydebi Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 3:24am
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I'm looking forward to watching this thread. I'll bet it may be hard for each of us to pinpoint what we do different because what WE do is normal ... it's everyone ELSE who does things differetn! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Friends of mine in England tell me a brides cake is usually fruitcake. England CC'ers, is that true?

Ellistwins Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 6:04am
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Is is going to be an intersting thread indead.

I think traditionaly wedding cakes was always fruitcake because of all the work and time going into it, i don't know the right answer, but if somebody phones me for a weddingcake, they will imediately say, no fruit cake please, is something else possible. That was the reason why I didn't have a traditional wedding cake because I don't eat fruitcake.

In South Africa, we are not big on buttercream for weddingcakes. Everything else is okay but not for a wedding cake.

We do BC under fondant (sugarpaste /plastic icing as we call it here) and we also don't do fancy cakes as Red velvet etc. We do either vanilla, chocolate or carrot. That is my experience. We would sometimes try something different, but don't have a long list of options.

A lot of things that I do now, i've learned from this site and I think this is a fantastic medium to introduce new things and to get well skilled.

What got to me sometimes is the terms that differs, but after a while I got used to that too. Now it is only the currency.

YummyFireMummy Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 6:17am
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Over here in Australia we call fondant plastic icing too...people don't know what I'm talking about when I say fondant...but that's what I call it since I joined CC!!!

Ellistwins Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 6:20am
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We have something different we call fondant, which is almost like RI, but my teacher say that they used to call plastic icing fondant.

We work with:
Plastic icing
Royal icing
Modelling paste - (plastic icing with Tylose or CMC)
Flower paste - (Royal icing with CMC)

We don't get Tylose anymore in SA (don't know if it is world wide), but we use the CMC instead.

shisharka Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 8:06am
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I grew up in Eastern Europe and the main difference I see between there and the U.S. is in the way cakes are referred to and what their perception/popularity is.

The type of cakes generally served here (vanilla or chocolate, single or double layer, buttercreme (with no butter) frosting, some filling) there would be frowned upon for special occasions as theyâre considered plain, something a mom or grandma would make at home once a week, though it would generally be in a bundt shape rather than sheet or a round. Just as tasty, but with a very different perception when it comes to the occasion theyâre served.

What is considered the popular cake there is referred to as a âtorteâ in the U.S. and served at $7+/slice in nice restaurants. There, such tortes are everywhere, all the time, special occasion or not, and that is The Cake! Five or seven or even ten and more very thin layers of cake are not uncommon, sandwiched with ganache, or butter-based fillings or cooked fillings, like pudding + butter, or pastry crème + butter, or mousse, or meringue, sometimes fresh fruit, and lots and lots of heavy cream⦠A main difference too is that there is almost never butter or vegetable oil in the cake batter itself, cake layers are either versions of sponge cake, or flourless cake (often with nuts), or biscuit-like, and simple syrup is a must.

Unfortunately I donât know what decorating media other than the ubiquitous RI and buttercream are used there these days⦠I guess fondant is gaining ground judging by the designs of the most popular cake franchise, but Iâd have no idea how it compares to the ones here. (I was baking very long before I decided to start decorating.)

I had to learn to exercise some restraint in judgment, and just recognize the difference in perception, as my original snotty reaction of âwhat is this?!â to a regular store-bought cake here didnât gain me much popularity... Some eight years ago hubby had a fun (not!) time trying to find a European bakery that could come close to my expectations for a birthday cake icon_smile.gif It is just different! Still, I think people tend to like the tastes they grew up with, as he would rather have a fudge brownie from a box mix to one of my 12-hours-in-the-making shenanigans icon_smile.gifâ¦

Iâd be curious to see what other responses come up in this thread!

evieellen Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 9:13am
post #7 of 68

Yes its true in Britain most wedding cakes and christening cakes are fruit, but alot of people are going for sponge cakes now.

buttercream in used under fondant here, but buttercream cakes (as a overall covering are not popular.

Sparklepop Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 9:28am
post #8 of 68

Crisco is also something that is mentioned a lot on this site, especially in buttercream, which is something we have a lot of trouble getting here.

Fruitcake used to be the norm here for wedding cakes and some decorators still only use it. Usually we more into mud cakes or dense cake like that now.

Marzipan is not here popular either.

Interesting to see what others come up with

drgaddy Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 9:32am
post #9 of 68

My background is around the same geographic area as shisharka's, and one of the main differences I noticed when getting the recipes for cakes in the US - most did not call for eggs to be divided for the batter. Even now, I catch myself thinking - my grandma would be so disappointed seeing how I just "throw" everything in the bowl and mix the batter. Like shisharka said - it took some hours to put a cake together back home... icon_biggrin.gif; two-three bowls for preparation of the batter, strict order in which things were added, etc.

Also, in my grandma's occasion cake recipes (not the normal, weekly cakes for the house), there is no flour anywhere - maybe a spoon in the batter, mostly nuts - wallnuts, haselnuts, almonds (I guess we were very carb conscious even then icon_lol.gif ), and almost always more than 12 eggs...but those were some good, good that I think about it icon_biggrin.gif

Sweetness was the biggest difference in taste for me - Croatian cakes are not that sweet, so it took some getting used to, but now I can gulp them all down - Croatian or American - does not matter icon_rolleyes.gif

bashini Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 9:56am
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Yes, evieellen is correct. Peaople use to make fruit cakes for weddings. But from my experience, now people order lot of Chocolate cake, sponge cake, carrot cake and also chocolate mud cake.

Here in Britain we always cover the fruit cake with marzipan first and then sugarpaste/fondant. The main reason for that is to prevent the dark juice leaking out on to the sugarpaste and to give the cake a smooth surface too.

sugarpaste is the most popular icing to go on the cakes. We dont cover the cakes with butter cream all the time. But always use B/C under sugarpaste.

I have learnt a lot since I joined CC. And I have seen b/c recipes using crisco/trex and didn't try it before 'cause I thought the taste might be different. But I tryed it recently and it was great.

And the other things I have noticed is that we don't have Americolor and flavourings like, creme and wedding bouque and many more here in UK. So it is so frustrating when I want to try a recipe from US. And we call Jelly not Jello. It has to be the samething. And its very difficult to find Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes. The only thing that I have seen is Betty Crocker's Devil food mix. So I always look out for scratch cake recipes.

So I'm looking forward to learn a lot more from this thread.

Oh one other thing I forgot to mention is that I originaly from Sri Lanka, and back home when we do wedding cakes, we use styroform for the structure and we put a piece of fruit cake where the couple going to cut. And before hand we make fruit cake and cut it into pieces and wrap them and put them in small pretty cake boxes and serve them at the wedding reception. We don't make the whole wedding cake with cake. ( Hope it make sence )

Texas_Rose Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 11:22am
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I've been getting different cake books from the library. I got an Australian one by Pam Leman that was published in 1987 and all of the cakes in the book seem to be wearing a little skirt made of royal icing, called an extension. They had a recipe for rolled fondant in the book too. It did say plastic icing in parenthesis.

I have a friend in Australia who makes birthday cakes for her kids. She always buys prebaked cakes and cuts them into the sizes or shapes that she needs. Is that more common than baking your own? The only prebaked but undecorated cakes it's possible to buy at the grocery store here are frozen pound cakes and bakery angel food cakes.

I have noticed that there are different terms for things in different areas. I used to get confused when I got a book from somewhere else and was reading about sugarpaste and modeling paste and petal paste but it makes sense to me now. The only thing that really gets me is when the recipes are all in grams.

Ellistwins Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 11:44am
post #12 of 68
Originally Posted by YummyFireMummy

Over here in Australia we call fondant plastic icing too...people don't know what I'm talking about when I say fondant...but that's what I call it since I joined CC!!!

It is so funny, some clients would call it Marzepane (they don't know the difference) and others will refer to it as that white icing on wedding cakes. or the icing that is like clay LOL.

YummyFireMummy Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 2:17pm
post #13 of 68

It is so funny, some clients would call it Marzepane (they don't know the difference) and others will refer to it as that white icing on wedding cakes. or the icing that is like clay LOL

I get the same thing all the time

I also never realised before that bc could be made with anything other than butter...had never heard of crisco...

RRGibson Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 2:46pm
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I'm always curious about those mudcakes! I wish we could get a recipe that's converted to US measurements! Hint Hint....

bashini Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 2:46pm
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Yeah, I get the marzipan thing all the time. So I have explain it to the customer.

When I made B/C before with normal butter, it gives a yellowish colour and I always wondered how to get a pure white butter cream. When I joined CC only I got to know what to do!

RRGibson, I got a great Chocolate Mud Cake, which a member posted on a thread. Sorry I can't remember who it was. I made it and I have never tasted a mud cake like that before. If you want, pm me I'll send it to you.

allydav Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 2:57pm
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OK I'll display my ignorance. What is mud cake?

murf Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 2:59pm
post #17 of 68

The other thing I've noticed when trying some of your US recipes is that the mixtures are much more runny than I'm used to here in the UK! I wondered the first time how something that runny could possibly cook into a cake...............
The other thing, having read one of the previous posts about legal/illegal home baking, is that here in the Uk the laws are much more relaxed. For those people not running a legal business, you can take cakes into your children's school for them to sell in a cake sale and there not be an issue over legal home baking. What strikes me as so odd is that the laws in the US are so varied depending on which state you live in! Why not just have one law that covers wherever you live?
Cakes made from box mixes seem to be much more popular over with you guys too - all the cakes I bake are from scratch as are the other bakers I know.
I agree with some of your other posters that we rarely cover the whole cake in BC - just crumb coat and filling. Oh and that's another thing, our cakes tend to be smaller in depth too!!
And yes, although fruitcake was the main choice for brides a few years back, more and more now want chocolate/lemon/carrot etc sponges.
Oh and one more thing - what's a sheet cake!


Nyma Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 3:00pm
post #18 of 68

I'm form Puerto Rico and many of our hispanic countries (like Panama and Dominican republic) work a lot with BC specially for birthday cakes and less formal ocassions. Nowadays fondant is very popular for weddings and more formal events. Bavarian cream is very popular in our pastry desserts as well as the puff pastry.

Nyma Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 3:02pm
post #19 of 68

and I forgot to mention that we ALWAYS soak our cake in syrup to make it very moist, that's like a default for us.

Petit-four Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 3:47pm
post #20 of 68

A sheet cake: a term used for a large, flat, rectangular cake. They are usually much less expensive (in grocery stores) than wedding cakes (although, for specialized CC bakers, they would likely be priced the same as tiered cakes.) Some people torte and fill them, so they are about 2-3 inches high (about 5-6 cm), and others, like in my area, don't do that commonly. I think they became popular in the 1960s as people stopped baking as much at home, but did not want the formality (or cost) of tiered cakes. Some people like them because they are easy to cut and serve. You can follow the debates about US grocery store sheet cakes on other threads!

And thank you for sharing. I'm learning a lot, and enjoying the cultural differences. I am a US baker, but from Eastern European heritage. We did a lot of sweetened cheese fillings, toasted nuts, and raisin or fruit fillings growing up. Cakes and fillings were 100% home-made, without a lot of icing. As mentioned earlier, cakes were torted several times as well, so you tasted lots of filling.

The area I am in now is used to mostly jam/jelly or butter-cream fillings (or no filling at all on sheet cakes), so I have carved out a "niche" by offering lots of fillings -- and I have found people are happy to try these new ideas.

indydebi Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 4:00pm
post #21 of 68

I used to work for a Japanese company and I grew to luv pitch-in day, when everyone brought in dishes from home for a big lunch. I tried lots of foods I never would have tried before and expanded my horizons food-wise.

But I could never get used to the Japanese idea of desserts in America are too sweet. I tried the desserts they brought in and I just couldn't latch onto the taste. Of course in their efforts to educate me, they would point out how good they were because "'s not as sweet as Amercian desserts!"

Well, heck, darlin', we all LIVE for our sweet desserts here! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

We had friends come over from England and stay with us for a week or so. It was great fun! In one restaurant, she asked, "Are ALL desserts in American always so big?"

I said, "Oh honey! HEre in America we take our desserts REAL serious!"

Then we took them to a place that serves a big giant gooey brownie with heaps of ice cream .... and it's so big that they serve it with a kid's plastic shovel! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

bashini Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 4:27pm
post #22 of 68

allydav, as far as I know there is Chocolate mud cake and White Chocolate mud cake. There are lots of threads on this topic. If you hit the "search" button at the top and then type "mud cake" , you will find lot of threads about it.

shisharka Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 5:31pm
post #23 of 68
Originally Posted by drgaddy

... recipes for cakes in the US - most did not call for eggs to be divided for the batter. Even now, I catch myself thinking - my grandma would be so disappointed seeing how I just "throw" everything in the bowl and mix the batter.

Yes! I sooo second that, completely forgot about it. I have to confess, even in U.S. recipes that don't call for it I still divide the eggs sometimes... old instilled habits die hard...

Ok, I couldnât help but post one of my favorite cake recipes here (I just baked six (6!) batches of it last night for a party on Saturday, they will be devoured faster than I can slice them!), translated into cups and spoons as opposed to metrics, just as a comparison to the popular U.S. cakes. If you decide to try it, please let me know what you think of it! icon_smile.gif

Garash Torte

For the batter:
1-1/4 cup finely shredded walnuts
1/2 cup powder sugar
6 egg whites
2 tbsp flour

For the filling:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1-1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature

For the glaze:
1/2 cup of shredded bitter-sweet or semi-sweet chocolate

Line up four 8â rounds with parchment paper, generously coated with butter.
Preheat oven to about 300-325 degrees.
Mix well the walnuts, sugar, and flour.
Whip the egg whites to a firmer foamy stage (NOT stiff peaks).
Gently fold in the dry mixture until well incorporated.
Spread evenly in thin layers into the prepared pans
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden. Peel off the paper and let cool. Layers will be THIN!
Mix well the egg yolks with the heavy cream until smooth but not foamy.
Pour in a sauce pan (or double boiler) and cook over low-medium heat, while constantly stirring, until boiling bubbles reach the surface. (If you do it on higher heat youâll end up with an omelette!)
Continue to stir, while adding the sugar and the cocoa; cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until all is melted and you have a smooth, creamy pudding-like mixture.
Remove from heat and whip for a few minutes to cool off (I transfer it to a ceramic bowl to speed up the cooling), until comfortably warm to the touch.
Whip in the butter a piece at a time.
Assemble the cake, dividing the filling evenly in three between the tortes, smooth excess over the sides. Cake would be only about 1â to 1-1/4â thick, but oh, so rich! Refrigerate for at least an hour. Melt the chocolate and pour it over the chilled cake as glaze, and put back in the fridge. Decorate if desired.
Cake is best served at least 24 hours after itâs assembled. Yields 8-10 servings.

kakeladi Posted 10 Apr 2008 , 6:06pm
post #24 of 68

Indydebi said: pitch-in day, when everyone brought in dishes from home for a big lunch...> I've never heard it called 'pitch-in' but in CA we call it 'potluck' and here in IN it's called 'carry-in'. I had a hard time at 1st because I was so used to potluck I couldn't figure out what a carry in wasicon_smile.gif

I am sooooooo enjoying this thread. Thank you so much for starting it. And thank you to each one who has contributed to it.
I am grateful to shisharka for that recipe. I'm going to try it soon. I wonder how it will turn out at an elevation of 8,500 ft. icon_smile.gif

ATTN: ? for Shisharka: I just noticed needing 4 cake pans at once. I won't have but one and just a very tiny oven that would hold only 2 if I had them. Will the batter hold if I bake one at a time?

YummyFireMummy Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 1:17am
post #25 of 68

I am so glad that I started this's so interesting the way things are sooooo different depending on where you live....and I'm glad I am in Australia cos I looooooove my mudcake lmao!!!

I also hadn't heard of sheet cake til I joined CC.

YummyFireMummy Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 1:19am
post #26 of 68

OK I'll display my ignorance. What is mud cake?

Mudcake is a very dense, moist, heavy cake that is the standard cake most decorators here in Australia use...
It's very rich and very yummy...icon_smile.gif

Sparklepop Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 9:41am
post #27 of 68

Texas-Rose extension work is very fine pipe work and was very popular in the 70's-80's, not many people do it now, though if your doing show work you certainly get points for that, it is very intricate. Brides don't tend to want it anymore, thank goodness, it's not fashionable. I remember my friends mother spending ages practising piping.

RRGibson I always thought mud cake was American as earlier recipes were called Mississippi Mud Cake and us good old Aussies shortened it to Mud Cake, well that's what I thought anyway icon_lol.gif .

I've definitely decided I want to go to America for dessert though a kids plastic shovel instead of a spoon, sounds like my kind of dessert thumbs_up.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 9:52am
post #28 of 68

What I like about this thread is the terminology used. What we call rolled fondant here in the US, they call sugarpaste in UK. Yet, in other parts of the world, sugarpaste is what we call gumpaste here.

Isn't globalization through the Internet great?

Theresa icon_smile.gif

MelandAva Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 10:30am
post #29 of 68

its so funny, i'm from sydney australia, and i'm only just getting into cake decorating, however myself and a friend who is doing a cake decorating course, use butter cream quite frequently and i always put it under my fondant... oh and i had never heard fondant refered to as plastic icing before, i have always called it fondant! funny how different things can be even within australia but in different states!!!

oh, and i had thought crisco was similar to copha... vegetable shortening... or am i waaaay off in this???

vickymacd Posted 11 Apr 2008 , 10:36am
post #30 of 68

Very interesting thread, I love it!

But one thing that we can all agree on, is that we all love our cakes no matter how they are made! Otherwise there would never have been that saying:

So let them eat cake!!!

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