Ideas On How I Can Improve On My Cakes Please :)

Decorating By CakeBakeMomma Updated 11 Mar 2013 , 2:21am by mcaulir

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 8:07am
post #1 of 34

Ok so i just started working from home mostly selling to people I know although lately I have alot more orders from people I dont know, I really want my cakes to get better and am working really hard but need some extra tips to take it to the next level if you like...please feel free to view my page(link below) and then please came back and share your thoughts on how I can maybe get to the next level or ideas where I might be able to improve icon_smile.gif thanks in advance.... icon_smile.gif

33 replies
mcaulir Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 10:22am
post #2 of 34

Work on getting your edges cleaner and sharper. There's lots of tutorials around to help with that.

This is probably being picky, but your photo-thing where your photos look like polaroids and are a bit crooked makes them difficult to look at. I'd just use more normal photos, possibly with some kind of background like fabric or cardboard behind your cakes.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 11:34am
post #3 of 34

Thank-you icon_smile.gif I will try and find a tutorial, I will look into that, I just wanted something a bit different but I defo will tkae that on board thank-you for taking the time to help me out

BakingIrene Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 11:36am
post #4 of 34

Your fondant cakes are fine and getting better each time.

Your cake tops are humped not level. If you can find them, use the "magic cake strips" that are soaked and pinned around your pans before baking. They do an amazing job of baking cakes without humps.

Your buttercream covered cakes need a heavier coat of the stuff on the outside. That will allow you to smooth them when that is required. Look at this recent post:
for the tutorial.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 11:41am
post #5 of 34

Cake strips hmm I think I might be going to buy some today icon_smile.gif thanks.......I also find when I use buttercream in the middle of the cake and then top it all off with fondant my cake slides :S......I am spending hours baking to try and get it my cakes right...thank-you for your advise I will be looking to do that

BakingIrene Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:05pm
post #6 of 34

The cake strips come in two sizes--the smaller ones are good up to 9" diameter. The bigger pack has four different longer strips and is the better value, as you can cut them down. You can also overlap them but I would not overlap more than a quarter of the cake's diameter.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:15pm
post #7 of 34

I was just looking online i think i will buy the bigger pack, I know this is going to sound really really stupid but are they reusable?

BakingIrene Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:18pm
post #8 of 34

Yes the strips are reusable. Mine last about 3 years of constant use. They are dry at the end of the baking time, and I just stuff them into a bag.

DO NOT launder them regardless of how brown they get. It's that aluminised coating that makes them "magic" and it washes off fast.

Crazy-Gray Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:24pm
post #9 of 34

Sliding layers happens if your filling is too thin and/or if the cake is sliced at an angle, you need to cut really level and maybe cool your buttercream in the fridge slightly before spreading it or firm up the recipe using a hard butter not a spreadable type and extra powdered sugar.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:27pm
post #10 of 34

how do you clean them, just soapy water or wipes them down? I just ordered some off the interent now they say delivery can take up to 10 days so i will let you know how I get on, In the mean time any tips as I have a few cakes this week.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:35pm
post #11 of 34

I have just had a look through all your cakes, they are all so fab, think I might be a bit of of league here :S I want my cakes to look as good as all yours, you are all so talented honestly!! I am still learning even after working in a bakery for 4 years :S I think my leveling does let me down I have tried loads of different levelers and they have for the most part been really crap. I would love to make crowns and the.....

I hop you dont mind I will be liking your facebook page icon_smile.gif

BakingIrene Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:38pm
post #12 of 34

I do not clean my strips. You soak them in water just before using, and they don't get dirty--just brown from the heat of the oven. The water never looks dirty...I add them after the batter is in the pan.

In the meantime, you already evel your humps with a long bread knife. So use 1/4 inch of buttercream between the layers and press down flat with both hands right after you add the second cake. Fill in the gap at the edge so that the filling is solid between the cakes. Chill well before adding fondant.

Here is a good description of how this process works and how long the chilling steps take

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 12:45pm
post #13 of 34

Thank-you so much BakingIrene icon_smile.gif

Norasmom Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 1:10pm
post #14 of 34

Small detail here, but covering your cake boards in something other than foil (such as fondant or royal icing) does wonders. Adds that much more pizzazz to a cake. I am guilty of the foil thing, for sure, but when I cover with fondant it looks way better!

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 1:42pm
post #15 of 34

Hi Norasmom
Ya I am working on it lol. I have tried to make my own cake boards in the past but its not working for me lol, I defo need to start ordering in more boards

CWR41 Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 2:47pm
post #16 of 34
Originally Posted by CakeBakeMomma

I am still learning even after working in a bakery for 4 years

Did you decorate?

The shells on your basic shell borders need to be more defined. They should be tapered like individual seashells rather than a continual wavy line.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 19 Jun 2012 , 4:24pm
post #17 of 34

Ya I did some decorating more so towards the last year I worked there, but it was very basic and more so in helping with rolling fondant, building houses and carving chocolate, most of the stuff I learned was through watching others when I wasnt busy myself or getting mucked in when we where very busy during the summer months, I was PA to the boss.

bbouyer Posted 23 Jun 2012 , 4:33pm
post #18 of 34

Have you checked out the Viva method for smoothing buttercream?

kakeladi Posted 23 Jun 2012 , 7:20pm
post #19 of 34

Cake boards can be covered with SOOOOO many different materialsicon_smile.gif ConTac paper (adhesive backed plastic shelf liner); wrapping papers; freezer paper; even fabric. If using anything except the ConTac, then use clear contac over it. Also put the cake on a cake circle the same size as the cake so the cake is not touching the covering. (That cake board does not need to be covered as it is not seen.)

If you use this recipe you will not have any hump on your cakesicon_smile.gif
Instead you should have a very moist, delicious cake as your canvas to work on. For any cake over 12" I suggest you use a flower nail in the cneter to help distrubit the heat which will help make the center bake up w/o having the edges of the cake dry out/burn.

Use this recipe for your b'cream iced cakes:

2 of everything (crusting version)

2 cups butter (room temp
1 1/2 cups Crisco (Or hi ratio shorting)
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons flavoring
2 pinches salt

Cream together Crisco and butter at least 5 minutes until well mixed and light; add about 1/3 of the sugar and cream for 5 minutes; add another 1/3 of the sugar along w/the flavoring, creaming another 5-10 minutes until completely mixed, soft and creamy; add the remaining sugar and salt, creaming another 10 minutes.

This recipe does NOT use any liquid, but becomes a very light, smooth, creamy b'cream that smooths on a cake easily and will crust lightly.
Flavoring can be *ANY!* you prefere. My choice is to use 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons butter extract and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Try it - it's soooo YUMMY icon_smile.gif
The 2 pinches of salt is about 1/4 teaspoon.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 24 Jun 2012 , 6:13am
post #20 of 34

I live in the UK and we don't get Crisco here, I tried trex in my frosting but it tasted horrible any ideas on UK brand stuff icon_smile.gif

carmijok Posted 24 Jun 2012 , 8:58am
post #21 of 34

Definitely work on better photos. And for sure, the board makes a big difference. I too worked at a bakery for a year and learned by observation because I did not decorate...and one of my jobs was to cover the boards with white kitchen freezer paper you get at the grocery store. We would cut our boards from foam core and then cover with the paper (shiny side out). Then put a ribbon around the base to coordinate with your cake. It's a nice clean look and saves money on buying pre-cut boards.

I've covered a board with fondant once and like the look too.

To take cleaner pictures your background needs to be simple. I took the advice of a cc'er here and bought 2 white poster boards and use one as the background and the other under the cake. My lighting sucks because my house is so dark even though I have a million windows. If you can get your set-up next to a window that is bright (next to...not direct), it can really bring out the colors and detail better.

Your cakes will continue to get better with time and practice...and watching lots of tutorials! HTH!

SugaredSaffron Posted 25 Jun 2012 , 1:08am
post #22 of 34
Originally Posted by CakeBakeMomma

I live in the UK and we don't get Crisco here, I tried trex in my frosting but it tasted horrible any ideas on UK brand stuff icon_smile.gif

Just use butter, just dont let it get to soft before you make the buttercream. Trex/cookeen will make your buttercream taste weird and your customers will not like it.

ginger6361 Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:39am
post #23 of 34

I place 3 to 4 flower nails in the cake pan, sprayed with bakers spray, and cakes come out even every time.

CakeBakeMomma Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 7:22am
post #24 of 34

Thanks everyone for your help icon_smile.gif I have taken on board some of your ideas icon_smile.gif

mcaulir Posted 2 Jul 2012 , 8:43am
post #25 of 34

I love your new photos!

CakeBakeMomma Posted 3 Jul 2012 , 5:07pm
post #26 of 34
Originally Posted by mcaulir

I love your new photos!

Thanks trying to get them alittle bit better icon_smile.gif

Cherylc418 Posted 3 Jul 2012 , 5:37pm
post #27 of 34

My advice is to obsess and perfect the basics before learning new decorating techniques. It takes practice, and persistence to get straight level cakes and nice smooth clean sides. When you have a beautiful clean canvas to begin with, your cakes will always look more professional. Like others have said there are many tutorials on getting smooth buttercream, leveling and filling cakes, and applying fondant. There may be a different method you have yet to try that may work better for you. Seek out those tutorials and watch as many as you can. You have talent and a passion for cakes which can be seen by your work, perfecting your fundamentals can only get you further. Good luck!

CakeBakeMomma Posted 5 Jul 2012 , 2:21pm
post #28 of 34

Hahaha this will make you all laugh icon_biggrin.gif I bought the cake strips never seen them before or use them, me being me but them on the inside of my pan hahaha I am such an @ss lol icon_biggrin.gif lets just say I have learnt my lesson

Claire138 Posted 5 Jul 2012 , 2:28pm
post #29 of 34
Originally Posted by CakeBakeMomma

Hahaha this will make you all laugh icon_biggrin.gif I bought the cake strips never seen them before or use them, me being me but them on the inside of my pan hahaha I am such an @ss lol icon_biggrin.gif lets just say I have learnt my lesson

Thanks for a great laugh icon_biggrin.gif

cai0311 Posted 5 Jul 2012 , 7:03pm
post #30 of 34

I have used the baking strips in the past, but personally, I think they are a waste. I bake all my cakes at 325 degree (25 degree lower than usual temp for baking) and I never get a hump on the cakes.

Now, for leveling, buy a agbay. I have one with the double blade. It is pricey but worth every penny!! I could not level a cake to save my life before I bought this.

Think about ordering Sugar Shack's buttercream DVD video. I have found it very helpful. I also use her buttercream recipe, which is amazing.

Quote by @%username% on %date%