Thanks maisie73 I'll go and check it out. Might try a few other supermarket brands just to see how they compare and if it still comes out horrid I know it's me haha
One final question (can you tell these have been building up for a while sorry!), do you add anything to the shop bought fondant (eg. Tesco's) before using it to cover a cake? I get very confused the all the different terms - sugarpaste, gumpaste, fondant etc. especially when there are different terms in the UK and different in the US, I think. Am I right in thinking you just use fondant as is to cover cakes and then add CMC powder to make figures and flowers etc? That's what I have been doing so far anyway but haven't had any really intricate things to do. I have also just learnt about pastillage whilst reading this thread. I've never heard of that before and had to google what it was.
AI can see a few bulges but it looks like a great cake! I'm quite new to decorating and finished my 2nd two tier cake yesterday. Every mistake was glaringly obvious to me but everyone else said it was brill! I think we are our own worst critics! I will say I do get a bit of elephant skin with Tescos sometimes but din't know if it's something I'm doing wrong, thats why I use Satinice for a really special cake, much more reliable. I also read that someone used to use Tesco til they improved the recipe and then she couldn't get on with it. I'm going to try Covapaste when I've got a spare £20 I think. I've also heard good things about Couture covering and Sugarpaste direct (details about stockists in other thread I mentioned). Oh and I can't get fondant onto cake using a rolling pin, I have to use my hands/arms, and I never put icing sugar on my mat, I just use a big silicone mat I got at QVC, never sticks!
ADidn't see your next post, yes, fondant is sugarpaste and gumpaste is just sugarpaste with added gum trag. I mixed some Satinice gumpaste(readymade) with tesco fondant once cos I was having trouble getting fondant onto a doll cake and it worked much better than fondant alone. Pastillage scares me!
AAll different people prefer working with different sugarpastes, like I said practice makes perfect but different pastes work better for different people.
Personally if I colour up paste I leave it rest a bit cos I find if its too warm (from all the kneading) it tears at the corners more. Other pastes though work better when they are really kneaded, others firm up if they are kneaded too much, it really is all about practice.
That's what I thought. I might give a few brands a try and see if I have any more luck. I just like the price of Tesco and the fact that I can pick it up as needed. I have just had a look at the Sugarpaste Direct website though and they don't seem badly priced - especially if you need a large quantity of coloured icing because so far I've only found coloured fondant in small 250g blocks in my local cake shop. Do you know how much they charge for delivery I can't seem to find anything on their website? I might give them a try and see if it works any better.
Ah ignore that last question I just realised that it says free delivery on the price list page. Doh!
ANo idea about delivery but apparently their customer service is excellent, see if you can contact them and ask. Good luck. :-)
AHaha! At least we all know now so thankyou. :-)
Welcome to the thread.
I think the problem you faced with the three tier cake was colouring the sugar paste. I had the same problem when I started cake making. When you colour your own paste, you have to knead lots and when you cover the cake, there are lots of cracks and elephant skin too. So I bought coloured sugar paste. I am doing this as a business, so I add all this to the price. I love M&B coloured sugar paste and its so nice to work with.
I buy my stuff from Design A Cake, The Craft Company and A Piece of cake too.
The fondant is same as sugar paste. The flower paste is gum paste. Modelling paste is when you add gum trag or cmc powder to sugar paste. You also can mix 50/50 sugar paste and flower paste to make models and all the accessories.
AHiya, you could be over kneading and making it too soft, which causes just as many problems as not kneading enough.
I personally can't use Tesco paste as I found it awful since they changed it, others though are fine with it.
As mentioned above the sugarpaste direct one is not expensive if you want to try another brand. This is the one I love, but it's not for everyone.
When I wanted a new paste I literally ordered a 500g/1kg of covapaste, satin ice, sattina, m&b, and spd. It was relatively costly to do, but I could try then all in one day so that I knew the weather wouldn't be different and possibly affect the result. I also tried asda and Sainsbury's. If you can do this I'd recommend it with whatever paste you're interested in.
Also, if you're practising on dummies I'd suggest starting with chamfered edge ones. If you have the straight edge there is absolutely no give in it, it's not like covering a straight iced cake. I found, particularly with mad hatter and topsy turvey ones, that it would rip right around the top edge. Once you're more used to covering give them a go, but it can be a tad disheartening to use them in the beginning!
Another little tip is to set the dummy on a board with nails or something sticking out, anything that you can harpoon the dummy on! It stops that game we've all played of chasing the dummy around the worktop with your paste knocking it away each time :-D
Thank you for all of your advice you have been very helpful. I will order some from SPD this week I think and also nip into Sainsburys and Asda and see if there is much difference between them all.
I haven't done any practise on dummy cakes yet. As silly as it sounds it feels like it's more of a waste to me. At least if I practise on a real cake someone gets to eat it afterwards, on a dummy cake is it not just wasted? Plus I think I prefer practising on the surface I need practise with - if that makes sense. That way I can practise getting rid of bulges etc. I can see using dummies in the future though to build up my portfolio without having to make the cake each time.
I have also been doing some reading up on here about ganache instead of buttercream. I have never tried that before. I know it won't help with the cracks and tearing but it might help with the bulges so I'll give that a go for the next chance I get too.
Thanks again everyone!
This might be old news to some people on here but I have been using this chart for my cakes so far.
I love that it gives you amounts for different sizes and my cakes always come out lovely and moist but firm enough for stacking. I have tried the vanilla and chocolate but not the other flavours so far. Just thought I would share in case it is useful for anyone. I do find that my oven takes longer to cook the cakes than this chart suggests though.
AHi sugarluva, have to be honest I always always use covapaste, it goes on lovely, I never have any issues with breaking ,etc,its usually around 7.00 for 2.5 kilos, I use spacers which helps with the thickness and always use 2 smoother. Sorry your having problems, I don't know how to put photos on here but I among FB, nannycookscakes if you want to check some of my cakes.
Hi nannycook, I have just been on your facebook page and your cakes are fantastic. Your fondant seems so smooth and flawless! I really love the bird cage cake and the owl cake. Wish I could get my fondant to be that smooth! I am going to give all of these different brands a try and just keep practising. It's very frustrating not being able to do something so simple, that really is the main focal point of the cake sometimes, but I'll persevere for now - either that or give up and go back to making cake pops! haha
AHi Sugaluva :)
I can only repeat what's already been said really! I use Renshaws with no problem personally, but I do think everyone has their own favourite - I swear it's down to things like how hot your hands are etc! I have found Tescos tears easily, Sainsburys is lovely taste wise but far too soft and doesn't like over kneading. I've not tried Covapaste or any other brands yet.
I'd agree that if you are colouring large amounts, let it rest before actually using it. But ideally try getting pre-coloured paste, it's a huge time saver :) Also one thing I've always done, is when kneading paste initially, I put a little Trex on my hands and worksurface. Helps loads, especially with slightly dry paste! Then roll on a little bit of icing sugar and try not to let any get on the top of your paste, keep brushing it off as that will dry your surface and cause more cracking. Oh and I use 5mm spacers too, and 2 smothers :)
Practise is key though to be honest, and if you can I would invest in a dummy - it's fab to use for other technique practise as well - piping etc! (LOL at chasing dummies round the table too - guilty of that one!!)
Good luck I'm sure you will get the hang of it :)
AOh no sugarluva, don't give up, it really is Only practise, the very first cake I made after a Break of about 15 yrs was the 2 tier cake with the lion on the top in blue, my daughter in law asked me to make my grandsons cake, I was terrified as I hadn't worked a lot with fondant,when I first startedI went to cake decorating classes and my tutor was very 'old school's everything was royal icing , but most cakes today are fondant, I learnt quickly, but I can see in 2 yrs how much better I am compared to that first cake, I'm very critical, never happy, and to me I can always improve, so keep trying, try the spacers I've seen a huge improvement since using them, and try the Bonaparte too.
AOoh separate question - what's everyone's view of a central dowel all the way through tiered cakes?
I've never done this before, I've always used individual polydowels in each layer, but it seems 'the in thing' in most US cakes? I'm assuming that it's because they use different cardboard base boards in their cakes? (I always used drums in mine as I like the additional height and stability) But does anyone else do this? Just wondering about it tonight and thought I'd ask :) x
AHa ha I know its me not the phone, I meant, covapaste.
AI hate renshaws, just ends up a squidgy mess when I use it! I've seen nannycooks birdcage too, it's lush! Don't know about dowels, too much of an amateur I'm afraid. Can I ask a question while I'm here? What's a bonaparte?
AHi Mel37, I also I use tree if I'm using gumpaste thats gone snit hard and always use little when adding colours, stops it from sticking.
Last yr when I made a fruit cake I add a drumboard for height, it works great, I was tempted by the central Dowell but chickened out, suppose sometimes I think if it ain't broke don't fix it!
AMaisie, its my tablet so sorry should really check what I've wrote before I send it ha ha, Bonaparte??? That should have read covapaste. Ooops.
AAnd to think I felt a bit stupid asking in case every Tom, Dick and Harriet knew what it was! Can I just say I love CC but I especially love this thread, everyone's so lovely and welcoming (haven't been a member long but been lurking for months).
ABtw your're not on your own nannycook, I had half of a post on an earlier post here that was meant for another thread! Don't even know how I managed that!
AI'm also on Munsnet too, get some good comments on there.
AI blame my age, old devil I am!
AI've had a few recipes from there, slow cooker mostly, I love cooking as well as baking. Actually that's not true! I quite like cooking, I LOVE baking!
ACan I blame my age yet? (41) If not I blame the madhouse I call home!
AMe too maisie, I'm a qualified chef also but my passion is cakes cakes and more cakes, I'm quiet this week but have a minion next week and the last week of March, Omg, I have 3 cakes and 6 cupcake bouquets and I work fulltime phew!!