Crisp Clean Cakes

Decorating By cabecakes Updated 14 Jun 2011 , 6:13pm by GarciaGM

cabecakes Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 6:05am
post #1 of 21

I have been doing cakes for a couple of years now, and I am finally starting to get comfortable with the techniques required to make the cakes, buttercream, and fondant. But I just can't seem to get that crisp edge and clean look that others do. Are there any helpful tools, techniques that would help, or is it simply a matter of "practice makes perfect"? I only get to do this as a hobby, so I don't really get the amount of practice I would like between work and taking care of the house and daughter's activities.

20 replies
mena2002 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 7:00am
post #2 of 21
LisaPeps Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 7:45am
post #3 of 21

Use the upside down icing technique to get the crisp edges. Use it either with ganache or a meringue buttercream (ganache is easier). There is a video on this website http://jessicakesblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/video-tutorial-upside-down-frosting.html. Once you get your icing smooth, you can cover it with fondant which is rolled really thin.

FleurDeCake Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 8:12am
post #4 of 21

Try getting the DVD "Perfecting The Art of Butter Cream" from Sugar Ed Productions.....Her technique is great and she is an excellent teacher.

2txmedics Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 3:25pm
post #5 of 21

Lisa, went to that blog and its gone...any other ideas?

Dayti Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:01pm
post #6 of 21

Lisa's link didn't work for me either but the video is still definitely on the blog. I'm linking it again here - try it and see http://jessicakesblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/video-tutorial-upside-down-frosting.html

lrlt2000 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:07pm
post #7 of 21

I'm self-taught, too, and recently got into using ganache. It's definitely the best way to go for crisp edges! I'm still learning/perfecting it. I have a violin cake to do this week, and I'm hoping to get a better finished look than my last/first violin cake icon_smile.gif

You could run a new search in the forums to look for ganache under fondant posts for more tips.

1Cake-At-ATime Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:08pm
post #8 of 21

I'm still trying to perfect it too, like Plant Cake perfection. I have been using ganache under my fondant and it has worked pretty well. The only problem I run into is due to operator error - either I don't let the ganache sit long enough before spreading on cake or I have not smoothed out the fondant while on the cake. But I can definitely say, it's been easier for me since switching to ganache.

lrlt2000 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:19pm
post #9 of 21

Yes, 1Cake, I also have been running into the same problems!

I notice that if I warm it a bit before spreading, it's (1) easier to spread and (2) dries up stiffer at room temp harder. Another thing I've learned is that if you are making *white* chocolate ganache, you need to make sure your ratio of chocolate to cream is higher (2:1 for chocolate but 3 or 4:1 for white). This makes a *huge* difference in the consistency and the stiffening.

Also icon_smile.gif I have been using a warm butter knife to go around and smooth out the peaks/spread marks.

pastrygirls Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:32pm
post #10 of 21

might sound weird but my fav cake tool is a 6" wide putty knife from home depot. its nice and tall to get the taller cakes smooth. its easy to handle and has a straight angle at the bottom to help keep the edges of the cake straight. i cant live without it!

fedra Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 5:46pm
post #11 of 21

Sugarshacks videos are awesome! It's a great investment. I have done several cakes (I haven't posted yet) that cone out nice and crisp following her methods. I have also found that having high quality tools help. Making sure everything is level from the get go is crucial to having an even cake. You also need to find the perfect buttercream to aid you in easily frosting a crisp cake. I have only been baking cakes for about a year but I feel that I have learned so much from my awesome CC friends and by taking specialty cake classes at a local bake shop in my area. We are both starting on a very interesting and fun journey in the cake world!!

1Cake-At-ATime Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 6:10pm
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrlt2000

Yes, 1Cake, I also have been running into the same problems!

I notice that if I warm it a bit before spreading, it's (1) easier to spread and (2) dries up stiffer at room temp harder. Another thing I've learned is that if you are making *white* chocolate ganache, you need to make sure your ratio of chocolate to cream is higher (2:1 for chocolate but 3 or 4:1 for white). This makes a *huge* difference in the consistency and the stiffening.

Also icon_smile.gif I have been using a warm butter knife to go around and smooth out the peaks/spread marks.




I learned my lesson with white chocolate....resulting in me laughing and crying at the same time. Luckily the cake was for a friend and it was a free one.

Oh and don't put the ganached cake in the freezer.....BULGE! My luau cake in my pictures had a little bulge from me putting the cake in the freezer.

Thanks for the tip, I have to try the warm butter knife technique and see how it works for me.

Price Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 6:40pm
post #13 of 21

I totally, 100% agree with the previous posters that Sugarshack's videos are extremely helpful in learning to get the icing smooth and sharp. I look back at the pictures before and after Sugarshack and can definitely tell the difference. I am also just a hobby baker so I not decorating every week but I feel like the more I practice the better I am getting. Both "Perfecting the Art of Buttercream" and "Boxes and Bows" are excellent. I used the information I got from "Boxes and Bows" when I was making a cake for a cake show a few years ago and ended up winning the Grand prize in the Divisional show. That would have never happened if I hadn't purchased her instructional video!

I also agree the cake must be leveled properly and the texture of your icing can make a big difference.

Jess155 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 7:13pm
post #14 of 21

My cakes are not perfect, by any means - BUT on the last cake I did I used the upside down method and white ganache. Oh. My. Word. What a difference that makes! My fondant looked better than ever and it was less work!

Coral3 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 11:12pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Cake-At-ATime

Quote:
Originally Posted by lrlt2000

Yes, 1Cake, I also have been running into the same problems!

I notice that if I warm it a bit before spreading, it's (1) easier to spread and (2) dries up stiffer at room temp harder. Another thing I've learned is that if you are making *white* chocolate ganache, you need to make sure your ratio of chocolate to cream is higher (2:1 for chocolate but 3 or 4:1 for white). This makes a *huge* difference in the consistency and the stiffening.

Also icon_smile.gif I have been using a warm butter knife to go around and smooth out the peaks/spread marks.



I learned my lesson with white chocolate....resulting in me laughing and crying at the same time. Luckily the cake was for a friend and it was a free one.

Oh and don't put the ganached cake in the freezer.....BULGE! My luau cake in my pictures had a little bulge from me putting the cake in the freezer.

Thanks for the tip, I have to try the warm butter knife technique and see how it works for me.




If you ever find your ganache has turned out too soft and is not setting enough to be usable you can just stir in some extra melted chocolate, just make sure you mix it in completely. (Sometimes to get it mixed in properly you may need to soften/warm the ganache a little in the microwave first, then mix in the melted chocolate well, then leave the ganache to set at room temperature again (or put in fridge for a little while) until it's a workable consistency)

ClareBear66 Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 1:19pm
post #17 of 21

Hi
I have been reading through all the great tips for the smooth fondant icing with crisp edges & although I havent yet tried the ganaching method, its next on my list - I have a few queries though

When you use ganache as a filling - does it harden up or stay smooth

when you cover a cake in spreadable ganache (that has set up from the runny ganache) does it harden into a shell like form where it is too hard to cut when the it comes to eating the cake

Lastly, can you use choc ganache to stack a cake - ie when you have got the edges smooth with ganache & covered each tier in fondant - is it ok to dowel the tiers for stacking or will the ganache crack & cause the fondant to split

thanks in advance
Clare

imagenthatnj Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 1:26pm
post #18 of 21

The link for Jessica Harris' video is messed up.

But the blog is still there:

http://jessicakesblog.blogspot.com/

Scroll down for the video.

mena2002 Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:12pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral3



If you ever find your ganache has turned out too soft and is not setting enough to be usable you can just stir in some extra melted chocolate, just make sure you mix it in completely. (Sometimes to get it mixed in properly you may need to soften/warm the ganache a little in the microwave first, then mix in the melted chocolate well, then leave the ganache to set at room temperature again (or put in fridge for a little while) until it's a workable consistency)




That's a great tip, thanks thumbs_up.gif

Creativebakes Posted 14 Jun 2011 , 5:34am
post #20 of 21

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so trying that this weekend!!! Thank you everyone for this forum....I have been wondering how people get sharp, smooth edges and now I know thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

GarciaGM Posted 14 Jun 2011 , 6:13pm
post #21 of 21

I just tried the upside-down method shown in Jessica's link from last week and I got great results, so add me to that list of people! I haven't tried ganache.

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