I am self taught and have only been at this for a few months, (after getting a decorating kit for Mother's Day.) I have been hooked!! ButI can't seem to find anything on how and when to bake a cake prior to the delivery day. It has been trial and error so far. So I have lots of silly questions like how far in advance should you bake before frosting and decorating? How do you keep the cake fresh? Why does the bottom get too moist sometimes? I'm so lost! Any help would be great! THX! I love looking at all your pictures now I just need to basic how to's!!
Your going to get lots of answers to these questions.
You can bake far ahead and freeze the cakes which actually makes them more moist, the take them out two days before they are needed, do the crumb coat, decorated the next day and then deliver the following day.
You are going to get lots of different answers to your questions, most people have their own different tried and tested ways of baking and decorating. Here's mine - lets assume I am delivering a cake on Saturday:
Wednesday - bake cake, unmold onto plastic wrap, wrap, cool on rack, split the layers in two, wrap individually in plastic wrap, freeze in a freezer bag.
Thursday - remove cakes from freezer, unwrap. Fill layers while still partially frozen. Let them defrost and settle (I put a cookbook on top of the cake to weight it down slightly). 4-6 hours later, crumbcoat. Leave on counter or in cardboard box.
Friday - another layer of buttercream, then cover with fondant. Decorate. Store in cake box for delivery.
Saturday - deliver cake.
Once I have the crumbcoat on, the cake stays fresh. I don't refridgerate my cakes, but some do. The only cold spell they get is in the freezer when they are bare. This is what works for me.
I don't know why you are getting moist bottoms - maybe you should tell us your recipe and baking method. However, in my opinion, the moister the better
1. Find 1 or 2 recipes that are reliable FOR YOU and work with those while you build confidence. Don't experiment w/a new recipe on something critical like a cake for a special event.
2. Make sure your oven temp is accurate. Get an oven themometer and make sure it is really cooking at the temp you have set. Makes a huge difference. (I have a new oven and I'm still nailing down temps & times for cakes)
3. Don't leave cakes in the pans too long. Let them cool about 10min and then get them out to cool on a rack so they can breathe (no sticky sweat)
4. If I have cakes due on Sat, I bake on Thursday and then crumb coat & fill that afternoon/evening. Friday I do my frosting & decorating. I use a non-crusting BC so my cakes go in the fridge. To fridge or not to fridge is an on-going discussion here on CC. If you have a perishable filling like fresh fruit or whipping cream, you will need to fridge for safety.
Well, as others have said, you will get different opinions on the best way to do this. Here is the way I do it, because I am a working mother and am often stressed for time with school activities and work. I prepare my pans using shortening and cover with wax paper. I prepare my cake mix and pour into wax paper lined pans. I bake my cakes, remove from the oven (still in the pan) to a wire rack. I let them rest for 10 minutes and then flip them onto a wire rack. I then flip it again (I do this because if the cake isn't level it will crack the cake while it is cooling). I bake my cakes well in advance and freeze them. I take them out of the freezer AT LEAST 24 hours in advance of when I want to frost them. I slightly remove the press and seal wrap enough that the condensation won't melt back into the cakes. I prepare my frosting, and place my cake on the cake boards. You will want to put a thin coat of icing over the cake (This is called a crumb-coat) Let it set until the icing becomes firm. You don't want the crumb-coat mixing with your fresh icing. Also, when icing work from the middle of the cake to the outside...pulling the icing over the edge. To do the sides, hold a bench scraper at a 90 degree angle with the top of the cake and turn on a turntable (definitely a must have, it really helped me out) Once frosted, you will want to let the icing firm up slightly again. Take a viva paper towel and gently rub with the palm of your hand to smooth out any flaws in the icing. Once done you can decorate as you wish. You will find that different areas require different crusting times (depending upon the humidity of an area). If you are adding fondant, you will want to SLIGHTLY mist the icing before adding the fondant. Oh and P.S. Don't forget to dowel tiered cakes, but that's another story. I hope I didn't forget anything. I have only been at this for about a year, and I know my way may not be perfect...but it works for me. I would also like to add that there is such a thing as too much icing too. I you are working with fondant over it...it can be a bear. I wants to squish out on you if you are not careful. Hope that helps.
Wow cabecakes, that was a great description!!
Thanks everyone for all the awesome tips. I think I am ready to try again.