First timer here! I have decided to take up cake decorating as a hobby and I work full time so I am trying to get tips on what I can do in advance and how far in advance I can make things.
1. How far in advance can I make the cake if I freeze it (i.e. How long can you freeze it and have it still taste good)?
2. How long will it take to defrost a frozen cake before I frost/decorate it?
3. How far in advance can I make the cake if I only want to refrigerate it?
4. Can I freeze or refrigerate the cake after it's been filled and crumb coated or is it better to fill and crumb coat right before fondant?
1. I have read that if you put fondant on a cold cake that it may have problems. Is this true? Do I need to let the frosted cake come down to room temperature before I fondant it?
2. How thin/thick can the layer of frosting be under the fondant to have a smoothe fondant? Since most people don't like the taste of fondant, I was thinking of having a nice layer of frosting between the cake and fondant so that people could peel off the fondant and still have a yummy frosting.
3. Should I fondant the cake and decorate the day of the event OR how far in advance can I fondant the cake and keep it out at room temperature before it gets bad (assuming there are milk/butter products in the frosting)?
4. Can you keep a fully fondanted cake in the refrigerator and for how long?
Thanks in advance for the tips!
Wow. That's a lot of questions!
1. I've seen estimates that range from 5 days to 2 months. I personally freeze for as little time as possible. Preferrably 2 weeks or less. Make sure you double wrap in plastic wrap then foil. Make sure it's really flat in the freezer (trust me I've had some odd shapes come out!)
2. That's personal preference. I know some people like to put BC on it while it's frozen because it's keeps the crumbs down. A couple hours on my counter with a room temp of ~75F.
3. A refrigerated cake tends to pick up lots of odors and become very dry. It would be better to double wrap in plastic wrap and leave it at room temp. Personally, if I need to leave out more than 24 hours I freeze it. (I have the same rule for my cookies too!)
4. You should refrigerate before adding fondant. I have never heard of freezing it before adding fondant. I think you could have success or failure with freezing based on the icing you are using. Don't forget that water expands when frozen and contracts at room temperature. You could end up with a lot of 'shrinkage' in your frosting if you freeze.
1. I always fondant after the bc has been set in the fridge. I wouldn't necessarily say the cake is cold the entire way through. You want the frosting firm. Otherwise, it moves, slides and smooshes out the side. Found that out the hard way!
2. A medium coat is what I go for. I laugh when I see a really thin crumb coat on TV. I mean really why bother if you just need glue for the fondant? If the BC is too thick you will also have problems with the fondant sliding around or smooshing out. Not to mention a cake that is too heavy to pick up! Also, a thicker coat is necessary if you have a chocolate cake and white fondant. I was quite surprised to see brown crumbs through my white fondant the first time! Have you tried Satin Ice Buttercream flavor? That's my personal preference. I would never intentionally use Wilton brand fondant again unless it was an emergency. It tastes awful and I think I get more cracks (elephant skin) with it.
3. Unless you are really confident in your fondant skills I wouldn't do it the day of. I have had times where I literally pulled off the fondant, threw it in the trash, and called it a BC cake instead. Some people say days. Personally, I try to avoid leaving anything with milk in the frosting out at room temp. I know others do it. Basically, (as long as it's not a whippped cream filling!) a day or two on the counter won't kill it.
4. NEVER refrigerate a fondanted cake. It's a recipe for disaster. Trust me. The condensation will make your fondant shiny, which you may like, but it will also make the decorations slide off (done it!) and can leave spots on the fondant. Also DO NOT put it in an air tight container like a cake dome unless you leave the cover off to let it breathe. You will end up with the same problems.
Have you worked with fondant before? Here's what I learned in the beginning, roll it thick or it will stretch and tear. You always need more than you think. And learning how to work with fondant requires 3-4 attempts before you think it's acceptable. If this is an important cake you might want to do a trial run.
I like frosting on a cake, and always put about 1/4 inch of frosting under my fondant.
I always refrigerate my cakes, and have had really good luck. Some people don't like to - some of us have no problems, so you will have to figure out what works for you. A lot of cake decorating is trial and error and my DD's office loves when I practice!
Microbiology, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! These are amazing tips and you answered all of my questions!
I always count bawards for a time frame. If cake is due on sat....
Sat. finish final details, gumpaste work added on
Fri. fondant and apply main decorations
Thurs. tort, fill, and crumb coat
Weds. begin frostings, fondants (i always let colors rest overnight, they darken)
** I can bake and freeze whenever is convient for me, up to 4 weeks ahead.
** If I have gumpaste work that needs to dry and be real firm, I might start that a week before, flowers take time to..I can only do around 3 at a time, slow.
I like to leave enough time for mishaps..something alwys comes up.
I fondant cold cakes all the time, no problems. Ganache, instead of BC, requires a days set up, and I dont fondant cold. I use MMF, there might be different results depending on type or recipe. I used cornsyrup in my MMF and it totally changed my results.
If i have more than one cake, i print a calander and go backwards still.
Have fun~ this is addicting
Oh yeah! Bmoser is right! Definetely make your frosting in advance! I have the most trouble with green. I actually put a sample blob on a plate and let it sit out overnight so I know exactly what color it will turn into when exposed to air. I'm usually surprised!
I do it just like Bmoser. Although not mentioned in her/his description.... I never use the refrigerator, I'm afraid it will dry out the cake... so I bake layers in advance - cool, wrap, wrap, wrap and place in freezer.
2 days before - thaw, tort and fill, wrap, wrap, wrap - place in freezer.
1 day before, partially thaw - apply fondant and main decor - leave out. (Note - if using a fresh cream filling I will do that the day of)
Day of - Final details.