I've been asked to make a cake for a baptism, but she was very specific in asking for a 'strawberry shortcake made with 2 layers of vanilla sponge cake, 2 layers of fresh strawberries, real whipped cream and strawberry syrup'!!! She also stated she wants me to use 2 8" round pans for the bottom tier and 2 6" round pans for the top tier, covered in white buttercream icing with fondant characters (bears and crosses and a baby on top). I'm a little scared because I've never had anyone oreder such a specific cake before, and I've never made a strawberry shortcake either!!
So I have a few questions, if anyone feels like giving a little advice...
Do I assemble the cake the same way I would assemble any other cake? Just spread the strawberries and cream inbetween the cake layers? Do I need a 'dam' of icing around the edges first so it doesn't leak out?
Does it need to be refridgerated every moment until delivery because of the whipped cream? I'm worried about that fact.
Can I put wooden support skewers to hold up the second tier, even though it's a more fragile cake than a regular van/choc/madiera cake?
Do I have to assemble the cake quickly right before I need it? I'm worried the strawberries and syrup will just soak through all the cake and leave a sloppy mess inside if I need to assemble and decorate it the day before it's due.
She also said she needs it to feed about 50 people, and I really don't think the pan sizes she wants are going to feed that many... anyone know? I tried to look online for serving guides, but they're mostly for wedding cakes and I'm not sure if it will be the same.
Thanks to all for your help. I'm really nervous about this one, so if anyone has any other helpful tips, ppllleeeaaassee pass them along.
I would think the servings would be about the same as a wedding. But maybe a little larger. Either way that's not enough cake. I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll give a few a shot.
I would get some Rich's Bettercream. It tastes a lot like sweetened whipping cream, but doesn't need to be refrigerated. Strawberries are strange creatures, when they are introduced to any kind of sugar, they release a LOT of liquid! If it were me, I'd tell her that what she has asked for can't be done. You'll have a sopping mess. Maybe someone else knows a better way to do it. I'd just get some Bettercream and some strawberry all fruit and make an nice strawberries and cream mousse. And yes, you would need a nice firm icing dam.
Sorry I couldn't be anymore help!
Oh Wow, you have a demanding and somewhat unresonable request, to me, this one has trouble written all over it, the following will be your challenges:
1) The 6 & 8 inch pans, 2 inches deep, stacked with the requested filling (or any filling) will feed around 36 people according to the Wilton charts http://www.cakecentral.com/article14-Cake-Baking-Cutting--Serving-Guide---2-in-Deep-Pans.html or about 23 if you use Earlene's http://www.earlenescakes.com/ckserchart.htm so either way, you will not have enough for 50 people. You will need either a 12 & 6 if you use Earlenes or a 10 & 6 if you use Wiltons.
2) The sponge cake is difficult to ice by nature of it's consistency- I would see if she would accept a pound cake instead, which is still good with strawberries and cream.
3) Whipped cream needs to be refrigerated, which will in turn, make the fresh strawberries weep a bit, and with the syrup, you may end up with a gooey mess, but if you have the ability to do this cake the same day it's due, you might be able to do the filling.
4) Strawberries will make an uneven filling to spread, so, yes, I would do a thick dam of BC, and make sure it is higher than your sliced strawberries with whipped cream- maybe use a mandolin to slice your strawberries thin and more evenly.
5) Support of this cake will be difficult, again better if you use pound cake- I am thinking if you try and dowel or use hidden pillars or whatever system you use, the spongecake might not hold together as well.
That's all I can think of, and I am no expert- maybe someone else has actually done one of these- HTH and Good Luck!
Thank you so so so so so much for the responses. I had a strange feeling about this order from the get go, so it's funny that both of you are saying the same thing. I have emailed back and forth with this lady at least 12 times now and each time she only gave me one bit of information and I had to keep asking her for the other details.... but in the end, she pretty much changed everything she had started out with and came up with 'this' sinerio. I did tell her that wouldn't feed 50 people, but I think what it boils down to is that she doesn't want to pay for what she wants, so she kept changing her mind. I felt uneasy about doing this cake, and thank you so much for pointing out all these things to me.... it really helped me see what kind of situation I might be getting myself into here.
I might suggest something else to her, or opt not to do it at all.
Thank you to all!!