Newbie With Some Questions..coloring, Flavoring, Torting

Decorating By Kaychell Updated 9 Nov 2009 , 12:49pm by Kaychell

Kaychell Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 3:07pm
post #1 of 8

Hi guys! My daughters first birthday is this coming weekend and I'm doing the cake (YIKES icon_surprised.gif !). I have some questions about things that always tend to go wrong with my cakes! When I bake them, I always get a hard crust ring around the edges (I've been using 9 inch dark round pans), is there away to avoid getting that ring? When I level and torte my cakes it's hard to cut that ring off, I inevitably end up taking a chunk out of the side! Then I have to piece the cake back together and it looks awful!

My other question is about coloring and flavoring the cake. It's a 3 tier cake, bottom cake red with black dots, middle layer green, top layer white. I'm actually trying to recreate a cake here. However I want to do one of the tiers in chocolate and I was hoping to do the bottom tier chocolate with cookies and cream filling. My delimma is fondant or buttercream frosting? I'm not a total pro, or well anywhere near that, with fondant or buttercream. I have a hard time getting my buttercream smooth. I took a cake decorating class and my technique is better but it's still pretty rough.

So if I decide to do buttercream, is there anyway to get a chocolate buttercream red? And if I go with fondant, how much red do I need to get the fondant a rich red using the wilton tasteless red gel? I have a problem with it turning pink instead of red!

My last question, is does anyone have any suggestions on the flavors and fillings of the other two tiers? I've done snickerdoodle before and gave that some thought with the cinnamon buttercream but then I haven't figured out how to not have the little cinnamon flakes show in my buttercream.

Anyways, I'm a mess! Can someone help me???

7 replies
indydebi Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 3:35pm
post #2 of 8

If your cake edges are hard and crunchy, then your cake is overbaked. Use baking strips (some people use the rose nail trick ... I'm a baking strip gal!) and reduce your oven temp.

Chocolate icing is brown. Red is a primary color. You cannot "create" red from another color. You use chocolate icing or red icing.

I buy red fondant. Much easier.

Flavors and flavor combinations are a personal thing. What is heaven to one is crap to another. Case in point .... cinnamon cake and icing? Bleck! If I wanted a Cinnabon for a birthday cake, I'd go to the donut shop! icon_lol.gif So as far as flavors, the only suggestion I can give is "what does the CLIENT want?"

cabecakes Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 4:12pm
post #3 of 8

As far as the hard crust around the edge, do you have an oven thermometer in your oven? You can pick up at most department stores pretty cheap. This will help insure that your oven isn't getting hotter than your setting. You will want to adjust your temperature to the size of your pans. Myself personally, I lower my baking temperature to 325 for any pan over 8" and use a flower nail placed upright in the center of the cake; I do not open oven to check cake until the maximum cooking time is reached. You will probably have to bake significantly longer when lowering your temperature. Fill cake pans between 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. No more than 2/3. When preparing my pans I use shortening and then dust with flour. If you use the bake even strips this will ensure a more evenly baked cake also. Are you using a torting blade when torting your cake, or are you trying to cut with a knife. A torting blade will make for a more even cut and you can adjust the blade to different heights. Do not overbake, insert a toothpick or deli-pick into the center of the cake when the cake becomes spongy in texture (if the cake rolls like a waterbed when you check it, it isn't ready lol)
Marshmallow Fondant may be something you want to consider. It has a good flavor (much better than wilton's fondant) and is easy to make. PM me and i'll give you a step by step.
Red is difficult to achieve. You will need about 1/2 teaspoon of No taste red to 1 cup of icing if you use buttercream. I'm not completely sure on the fondant, but the more you add the more you change the fondant's texture. You end up having to add powdered sugar to counteract the liquid from the icing color. Tricky. It's almost easier to buy premade red, but it doesn't have as good a flavor IMO.
As far as the snickerdoodle filling, couldn't you just flavor it with some LorAnn oil (cinnamon flavored). This would not leave any discoloration in your icing. I'm not sure exactly how much you would need to add. To taste, I suppose.
I don't think you could go wrong with either a caramel or peanut butter (unless someone is allergic to nuts) filling. Maybe a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling (ooooh I'm making myself hungry)LOL. Or french vanilla flavored cake with caramel.
I hope all that helps. I have recipes for these fillings too if you want to PM me.

MacsMom Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 4:43pm
post #4 of 8

The dark pans also contribute to a harder edge. I love my Wilton Bake even strips (use a 40% off Michael's or JoAnn's coupon). I also bake at 325. I use parchment circles and cooking spray.

You CAN make a chocolate BC red - make your standard BC adding only 1/4 c cocoa powder, add butter flavoring and Nielsen Massey's chocolate extract. But you have to use a lot of chocolate extract - depending on the size of your batch, 2 tbls to 1/4 cup. Adding some brewed coffee will help bring out the chocolate flavor, as well. Use Wilton "Red-Red" or Americolor "super red". If your BC gets too thin, add a little flour instead of PS because adding more PS will take away from the chocolate flavor.

Do try MMF, but its important to add 1 tbls glycerine for pliability - it makes it so much easier to drape over a cake without getting folds. Tips: after you drape the fondant over your tier, use a cake smoother and smooth the top of the cake first, starting from the center and moving towards the edges. Then smooth just the top 1" to 2" of the outside edge, while keeping an eye on the "skirt" around the cake - gently pulling the pleats apart as you smooth. There is no rush! Take your time smoothing the sides while separating the pleats to avoid creasing.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like cinnamon! You can always cinnamon extract in the BC. You should be able to find Schillings in the grocery stores right now, unless you have a cake supplier that selld LoRann concentrated flavoring.

indydebi Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 5:51pm
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by MacsMom

I don't know anyone who doesn't like cinnamon!

now you do .... me! icon_biggrin.gif

I'll never figure out why people want to ruin a perfectly good applesauce with cinnamon! Nastiness! icon_lol.gif

cabecakes Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 7:29pm
post #6 of 8

I've never tried cinnamon for a filling, but I love to take a dab of buttercream and cinnamon and melt over popcorn. Not a low-fat low cal food, but ooooooh it's yummy.

MacsMom Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 9:29pm
post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by indydebi

Originally Posted by MacsMom

I don't know anyone who doesn't like cinnamon!

now you do .... me! icon_biggrin.gif

I'll never figure out why people want to ruin a perfectly good applesauce with cinnamon! Nastiness! icon_lol.gif

LOL!! Okay, now I can say I know someone famous who doesn't like cinnamon icon_wink.gif

Kaychell Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 12:49pm
post #8 of 8

Thank you ladies! I'm going to have to get some strips and I'll try lowering the temp to see if that helps! I never thought about using the cinnamon flavoring instead of the powder. Thank you all so much! You all are so helpful, I love this place!

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