Is Cake Decorating Different In Australia?

Decorating By Bel_Anne Updated 7 Jul 2009 , 3:02pm by bobwonderbuns

Bel_Anne Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:09am
post #1 of 87

I live in Australia and have just finished my second cake decorating course. I'm not sure if this is a humidity issue, but I was taught the "plugging method", using fondant, to fill in any holes or cracks before covering the cake completely in fondant. Nothing about buttercream, or crumb coating. Apparently this is not done in Australia?

I'll like to give this a go though, to see WHY we don't do it here (or shouldn't, because of humidity issues). So do I "plug" the cake with fondant first, THEN do a crumbcoating of buttercream? And are there any Aussies on this site who use this method?? Or can I skip the plugging entirely... Cause I hate doing it!!

86 replies
roweeena Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:18am
post #2 of 87

Where are you doing your courses? I have never heard of that method at all... You plug a fruit cake before you marzipan it but to fondant without buttercream or ganache is alien to me.

Evoir Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:27am
post #3 of 87

You plug a cake before you cover in marzipan or fondant (as in staright over it). Buttercream does not lend itself to covering fruitcake, so you probably need to continue using the plugging method for that.

As far as other cakes go, a lot of Aussies (myself included) use cooled ganache the consistency of peanut butter to cover the bare cake and get a super smooth surface prior to layering on a thin layer of fondant. This works best for your firmer non-fruit cakes, including all mud cakes (which are popular here in Oz).

You csan also do crumb-coating with buttercream as most American folks do - but only on your non-fruit cakes.

I hope this makes sense...please ask more questions if you have them icon_smile.gif

Elise87 Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:37am
post #4 of 87

I am from Aust but i am learning off the internet and this site which are all mainly american lol so i pretty much just do the buttercream and ganache thing under my fondant (but not fruit ones like evoir said) and havn't heard of the plugging thing except for fruit cakes.

Bunsen Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:42am
post #5 of 87

Hi Bel_Anne,

There are a few fellow Aussies on here so hopefully we will be able to help you out!

Plugging your cake before covering with fondant is usually only done on fruit cake, either with fondant or marzipan - and this is a very traditional way of decorating. Buttercream is better suited to 'sponge' cake type cakes and no, you don't need to plug first - the buttercream fills any holes or cracks.

Buttercream is the most common method in the US and wedding cakes are more traditionally white cake filled with fruit or cream fillings and then covered in buttercream. The recipes on here for buttercream usually involve large quantities of shortening which we don't really have here (it comes in big tins and is soft - copha is the nearest thing we have here but is hard in blocks). You can try Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream as we have everything readily available for that.

Using chocolate ganache under fondant is becoming popular in Oz - like Planet Cake do - there are a few forum topics on ganache on here if you search.

What you choose to put between the cake and the fondant depends on the cake more than anything else - I use marzipan for fruit cake, ganache for mud cake and buttercream for lighter chocolate or sponge cakes - they all work here!

If you do have problems with humidity there are plenty of people on here who can help out as it causes problems all over the place!

Elise87 Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:47am
post #6 of 87

Is viennacream the same as buttercream? Cose we use to cover cakes in viennacream all the time in the women's weekly books and it sounds pretty much like buttercream

Bunsen Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:51am
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elise87

Is viennacream the same as buttercream? Cose we use to cover cakes in viennacream all the time in the women's weekly books and it sounds pretty much like buttercream




Yes it's a type of buttercream - they can get very fancy but thats the basic one.

Bel_Anne Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 10:49pm
post #8 of 87

The place I'm learning is actually the Australian Institute of Cake Decorating and Cullinaire. The lady has had many cake shops and is VERY good. But just doesn't use buttercream (or ganache) under fondant. And plugs every single bloody cake she does! haha. She moistens the cake (if mud) with an ice cream topping, plugs it until it's very smooth and has no lumps or bumps, then applies more topping and covers it. I asked her about the buttercream and she just said it can melt under your fondant on a humid day and she doesn't recommend I use it. But it appears many aussies do and if it's quicker I'd much rather give that a go. She also doesn't ever fill or torte a cake before covering in fondant. Just plain cake. After seeing some cakes on this site, I can't even comprehend how they're so smooth as she's scared me into thinking fillings will "squish out" the sides and make for a lumpy cake. Haha...

I think I need some tips! Thanks for the replies.

alwayscake Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 11:14pm
post #9 of 87

Hi Bel_Anne, welcome to CC.

Here 2 websites that I visit often for Aussie cake decorating tips and info.


http://www.how2cakes.com/index.html

http://www.cakesandmore.org/blog/

Bunsen Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:08am
post #10 of 87

Where in Australia are you Bel_Anne? Just wondering if you are somewhere where weather would be more of an issue than here in Sydney? I have to say her cakes may look nice but I don't fancy eating one (ice-cream topping? yuk!). Planet Cake run courses on the ganache technique which is definitely easier than plugging and very very good eating too - they do courses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane now if that is any use to you? (They are really expensive but you can do a demo course where you just watch for a lot less money, then practice at home!)

Bel_Anne Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:22am
post #11 of 87

Thanks for the links, alwayscake. I love a good link, haha.

And I live in Brissie, Bunsen. Tropical climate, higher humidity, but not that different to Sydney... So I'm not sure what my teacher is talking about. She's won sooo many awards and she really is fabulous, but I think I'd like to give these other options a crack. I'll definitely have a look at those planet cake classes. Ta for your help.

cakelass Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:51am
post #12 of 87

Ys I was taught the same way not to use any buttercream. Also to "plug" a cake and then use warm jam to stick on fondant.
I must say it is an extra step to apply the buttercream or ganache I suppose but gee it makes a difference.
I would be mortified if my cake looked beautiful but it tasted just awful.
Other things that I have tried is also a syrup on the cake.
Generally I have started using the ganache technique more now and gees it makes a difference when applying fondant. It is always smooth.
So Bel-Anne I would say just experiment and see what is more comfortable for you to work with.

Bluehue Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 9:04am
post #13 of 87

Hi Bel_Anne - i am in Perth and even tho we have the high humidity i still Ganache my cakes and torte them - unless otherwise requested.
I ganache my cake - place in fridge overnight and then cover with Regalice/what ever medium you use - and have never had a problem with the Ganache melting -
Indeed - do try it - i think you will be pleasantly surprised - and yes - it is quicker than *plugging* icon_wink.gif

As the other CC's have mentioned *plugging* is done for fruit cakes -
She plugs Mud Cakes ????- icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif
What is there to plug - icon_confused.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Sorry for laughing but i find that amusing -
Covering = yes .... but plugging icon_confused.gif

I would of thought using an *ice cream type of covering* would be worse than Ganaching - hmmmm, wonder what it consists of icon_confused.gif

I torte and fill every cake - unless Fruit Cake - mind you i don't fill cupcakes - not many Aussies do - occassionally a client might ask for a little something to be piped into a cuppie - but usually not.

Will be interested to hear what you think after using Ganache - do let us know.
Good topic thumbs_up.gif
Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 9:20am
post #14 of 87

not from Australia but... erm... what is "plugging"?

Bunsen Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 10:52am
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_cupcakeshoppe

not from Australia but... erm... what is "plugging"?




It sounds a lot worse than it is I promise! Plugging is using little pieces of marzipan or fondant to fill any holes in the cake to make the sides smooth - don't know if you've ever baked a fruit cake (I know they are more of an English/Australian thing) but the sides are pitted with lots of holes where the fruit has been next to the tin and then shrunk away as it cools, if you don't fill them it makes your fondant look terrible!

Bunsen Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 11:06am
post #16 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue


I ganache my cake - place in fridge overnight and then cover with Regalice/what ever medium you use - and have never had a problem with the Ganache melting




Bluehue, does refrigerating cause any problems with the fondant? Air bubbles, sweating etc? Just wondering as I did a wedding cake around Christmas time and it was a nightmare to ganache and cover with fondant because of the heat (no air con in my kitchen icon_sad.gif ) no particular issue just really difficult to work, I thought about refridgerating the ganached cake but didn't want to risk it

Bel_Anne Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 11:31am
post #17 of 87

Well I'm definitely giving ganaching a go, Bunsen! I'm not a huge fan of buttercream.... but I'll try that also. Thanks for all the tips. Seeing that it's freezing here at the moment, it's probably a good time to try. Does anyone have a link for a suitable ganache recipe?

Bluehue, yes she plugs mudcakes! She fills every tiny little crack - very painful. Her cakes are very rich, so I guess if she filled/torted them it may be too much. I'd also like to know about the refrigeration... icon_wink.gif

Bunsen Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 11:45am
post #18 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel_Anne

Does anyone have a link for a suitable ganache recipe?




It's really simple... For dark chocolate ganache you need 2 parts chocolate (around 50-60% cocoa solids - I use Lindt Piccolo couverture) to one part cream (pure cream not thickened). 1200g choc and 600ml cream is more than enough for a 9 inch cake. Put the choc in a bowl (chop it up if using a bar) heat the cream to boiling point and pour over the choc - leave it for 3-4 minutes then mix together using a whisk. Leave to set over night - it will be ready to use the next day.

If you want to make white choc ganache use 3 parts choc to 1 part cream.

Evoir Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:03pm
post #19 of 87

Bel-Anne...the first course I did in cake decorating had the instructor teaching us to 'plug' mud cakes as well. So, like your lady, it was a plain mudcake, no torting, no filling, with sugar syrup then fondant. Blerrrgh! LOL icon_smile.gif

I am a huge fan of sponge cakes, and delicate cream fillings, and the idea of chowing down on a 'dry' mudcake with think fondant is totally unappealing!

Elise87 Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:04pm
post #20 of 87

if i put the choc ganache you said bunsen under the fondant would that be ok to leave the cake out? cose i don't like to put fondant in the fridge...i heard maybe some ganache you can, some you can't and it depends of the ratio of cream or maybe how you heat it?

Evoir Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:08pm
post #21 of 87

Elise: I leave it out and have no drama with it.

Bunsen Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:22pm
post #22 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elise87

if i put the choc ganache you said bunsen under the fondant would that be ok to leave the cake out? cose i don't like to put fondant in the fridge...i heard maybe some ganache you can, some you can't and it depends of the ratio of cream or maybe how you heat it?




That recipe keeps out of the fridge for at least a week - but you'll have eaten it by then its so yummy!

Elise87 Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 12:38pm
post #23 of 87

awesome thanks! i am sure it will lol

Bel_Anne Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:55pm
post #24 of 87

Oh so it's just a normal ganache recipe, Bunsen... I thought it would be some fandangled, high-tech, decoraters recipe. Haha. Good good! Ta.

Elise, when you do a mud cake can you still put a filling in? Won't the heaviness of the mud compact the filling so it 'smooshes' out the sides. Especially if you leave it overnight? This is my main concern. Or does the buttercream/ganache layer on the outside stop that from happening?

Bel_Anne Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 8:57pm
post #25 of 87

Oops, that last question was for Evoir... or anyone who knows the answer...

Elise87 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 1:08am
post #26 of 87

well i'll take a shot at the question anyway lol

1. Simply just do the filling like normal a tiny bit thicker then if it oozes it oozes and once it has, just go around the outside of the cake with a spatular to take the excess filling that has bulged out

2. Or i heard the method where you pipe a dam of filling around the edge of the inside of your cake and then let that sit for abit then continue to fill in the rest of the middle (this prob only work for buttercream) and this is suppose to help the rest stop oozing out.

.....let's maybe wait for evoir for a proper answer lol

Evoir Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:22am
post #27 of 87

LOL, I am no expert but with chocolate mud cake, I (like Planet Cake) torte it into three layers, and fill both lasyers with the same ganache that goes under the fondant. It seems to have enough structural integrity to not squish out icon_smile.gif

Peachshortcake Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:57am
post #28 of 87

If you let your filled cake sit over night then weight of the cake will usually cause the excess fillling to squish out the sides. As well, since you ladies love your fondant, you can also put a plastic wrapped tile on top of the un-iced cake to make up for the added weight of the fondant.
The butter cream dam works like a charm too.

Bunsen Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 3:05am
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoir

LOL, I am no expert but with chocolate mud cake, I (like Planet Cake) torte it into three layers, and fill both lasyers with the same ganache that goes under the fondant. It seems to have enough structural integrity to not squish out icon_smile.gif




That's exactly what I do too! I have used a raspberry filling in my white choc mud and to keep it in I built up a rim of ganache like a buttercream dam but not piped just plastered up and around - that held but wasn't as firm a cake as one with just ganache.

Bunsen Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 3:07am
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bel_Anne

Oh so it's just a normal ganache recipe, Bunsen... I thought it would be some fandangled, high-tech, decoraters recipe. Haha. Good good! Ta.




Yep, nothing fancy - you just need that ratio or it won't be firm enough to hold the fondant!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%