Let me preface this by saying that I am a hobbyist and make cakes every couple of months or so (sometimes less). My latest cake was a three tier hockey cake (latest pic in profile). I calculated the time it took me merely to bake and to make 4 batches of SMBC and it took me 9 hours (6 hrs for the cakes and 3 hrs for the icing)! I have one oven and the most basic model of Kitchenaid mixer out there. I am going to have my oven serviced because I found that the baking took a *really* long time. It usually takes me about 30 mins to whip up a batch of SMBC, but I found that this time it took even longer to whip up the egg whites (does humidity affect egg whites? It was super hot and humid the day I was preparing it).
I find that the baking and icing preparation sucks the fun out of the decorating for me, because by the time I get to the part I enjoy the most (decorating), I'm looking at it as a means to an end, instead of enjoying it.
Should I bake and freeze my cakes? Can I freeze them once they are torted? What about the SMBC? Can I freeze that?
I'm just looking for ways to help me not feel so depleted after a cake. My hat is off to those of you who produce many cakes in one weekend. If anyone has any advice to give me, I would much appreciate it.
hello, im also a hobby baker.. with one.. broken.. oven (dorr doesnt shut properly etc) i dont have a kitchen aid or any stand mixer.. lol, i do all my mixing with an electric handbeater.. and not a very powerful one! haha.
It takes me a long time to prepare everything as well, its the making of the fondant that sucks the fun out of it for me (i hate getting my hands filthy.. and the sticky fondant everywhere mixed with icing sugar drives me mad!) But anyway, yes you can freeze cakes ahead of time, i do it all the time (i have a 2 year old and am studying fulltime at uni.. so planning ahead is essential!) you can do so torted as well, i find it easier to do so, but just make sure you sperate the layers with a peice of waxed or baking paper. Im not sure about SMBC..have only made it once.. sorry!
You can freeze SMBC, when you defrost it you have to let it come back to room temperature before you do anything with it. When it's at room temp, rewhip it with your paddle blade.
Tsal - That seems to be the the pain and joy of baking cakes. Nothing is really easy, even though it looks like it was effortless......There is nothing wrong in my book for taking short cuts whenever possible.
I prebake and freeze everything I can. Any gumpaste pieces I create days to weeks (sometimes months) in advance. As for cakes, I have found for best results you need to level and torte after freezing not before and I try to freeze in the pan it was baked to retain it's shape. All my buttercream recipes can be frozen also. So to complete an "average" ho-hum cake for me takes about three days total. For a really nice cake, I don't see the light of day the entire weekend when I decorate it. My husband bought me a gel mat as I would be on my feet so long I'd get shooting pains up through my spine the minute I went to bed.
Hmm I'm thinking perhaps a lovely, stunning or pretty cake could never really be fast.
I feel exactly like you do!!! I do cakes a little more frequent, but I'm beginning to hate the bake and prep stuff. I just recently started making fondant and icing on one day and storing that well and then a day of baking. I usually do all this a week ahead if I can. I do feel a little better about decorating day. Especially if I can get other things for the cake (ie figures, cake board, flowers, etc...) done a few days ahead as well. But still, if you factor in that time, it's still taking many hours for me too. I have kids at home and in the summer, I find I can't do as many cakes with the three of them home all the time. I have to clean up for meals etc. and I hate when I have to take everything out again to continue.
Have you tried getting an oven thermometer?
Just adding another "yep, I totally feel your pain!" response! Like the other posters, I too bake at least a week in advance and freeze my layers. I feel fortunate that I inherited an upright freezer so I even have the ability to freeze a fully decorated cake when I need to. I also make a large batch of icing and fondant at a time so I can freeze that as well and take out as needed. However, it still takes an insane amount of time to do a nice cake and I don't think friends and family truly understand how much of a labour of love their cakes really are!
You aren't alone! I'm also a hobby baker (but getting legit to start selling cupcakes etc so I quit losing money all the time). However I too find it takes me forever to make one single tier cake- my kitchen is tiny, so I spend an age clearing things out of the way and cleaning surfaces, then I do some work, then have to stop to do meals for family, then start the clear up again to carry on working- I baked and froze my last cake ahead of time which did help, but still took me literally a whole day to do a very basic decoration due to the constant interruptions (not to mention my airspray machine going on strike). I think when you're still new to it, you also find time gets away from you because you're trying new techniques all the time which of course slows you down.
I'm sure it'll get better- maybe come up with a timetable ahead of time? (something I too should consider ha ha!). And yes you can freeze your cakes ahead of time, and SMBC is fine to freeze- as previous poster said, so long as you defrost to room temp and whip back into shape (mine looked awful and curdled to start, but I left it whipping and eventually came back together perfectly).
good to hear all this.... cos I was begining to think I was just too slow.
Yeah, I've come to that point where I pounce on any shortcut I can find. For me I knew there was no way around the baking but I could make life easier by buying premade fondant and buttercream. Sounds like cheating, but it was either that or I was going to just going to end up throwing in the towel. When I went through 28lbs of buttercream in less than a month I realized wow! No wonder I'm tired of it. I normally would have made that from scratch and it would have taken many valuable hours. That's a lot of buttercream!
olleharr - Where do you buy buttercream?
Thanks for all your replies! I forgot to mention that I do have 3 kids as well (aged 2, 4, and 7). I do have help with them for cake days though because otherwise I really would get nothing done!
I am going to make a batch of smbc and freeze it to see how it turns out once thawed.
The hockey cake took me 2.5 days to complete! I'm happy to hear that I'm not alone!