Hi there, I'm hoping all you experienced bakers will be able to give me some advice.
Normally I would bake a cake 4 days before its needed, carve and frost the next day, and give myself 2 days to decorate. I normally use a pound cake recipe (we call it Victoria Sponge here in the UK) for my cakes.
I've been asked to make a cake that is going to need about 4 days just to decorate. I'm worried that if I bake the cake a couple of days earlier, it will start to dry out by the time it is eaten. I thought maybe I could bake, frost and freeze in advance, then take the cake out 4 days before its needed and start to fondant ice straight away. Does anyone know if this would work? Or should I just bake it early and keeop my fingers crossed it doesn't dry out?
Thank you all,
I'm not sure what freezing would achieve in this instance - you'd still need the two days to bake and cover then the additional four days to decorate after it's been defrosted - same amount of time sitting at room temperature as if it had been baked fresh with the result of a cake that's previously been frozen, taking away the option to do so by the recipient.
Once a cake is covered in sugarpaste/fondant it does greatly improve it's keeping qualities so it would probably still be ok to eat after 6 days. I know certain cake decorators do allow a week to decorate but I personally bake no more than 3 days before the cake will be eaten. It's a matter of doing as much work to the decorations as possible in advance - is there anything you can have made before the cake is baked? - or working long hours to complete all the decorations after the cake has been baked and covered.
Ultimately you know your own cakes and how well they keep but I find that cakes baked with butter keep far better than those baked with margarine or spreads (I don't use anything other than proper block butter). I have heard also that the addition of glycerine to the cake mix causes the cake to retain moisture for longer than normal - might be worth a try.
Have you thought about doing a mud cake? My recipe says that it can keep for up to 3 weeks (refridgerated but I don't even do that). I have left it on the bench and eaten it after more than two weeks. I think it must be all that butter and chocolate!
I agree with the mud cake idea. The cake in my avatar is a chocolate mud cake, and I made it 2 days before I covered it in fondant, and it wasn't eaten until the next day, and the next day, and the next day. And it was never refrigerated at any point.
I was TOLD not to eat it until it was at least 3 days old by several very helpful people here, as it improves with age. I can attest to that.
Well Mud cake seems to be a good way to go, but I've never even tasted Mud cake, let alone made it. I don't think we have it over here. Can anyone recommend a good recipe for a first-timer?
I'm curious what would take 4 days to decorate. I've done some big cakes and some complicated cakes and nothing every took more than 12 hours.
Speaking for myself, I know I am not nearly as fast as some of the more experienced cakers out there and I generally don't spend more than 5 hours decorating at a time... my back can't take all that hunching! So 12 hours, would work out to 3 days for me
Bramsley, the mud cake recipe I used is Pam's Chocolate Mudcake. It can be found by searching recipes on this site. There are quite a few recipes on here...I just picked that one. Not sure what kind of cake your client is looking for, but there are other versions of mudcake if chocolate isn't the choice.
It was quite delicious and very moist. I didn't need to carve it, but I could see where it would be good for that.
I always bake in advance and freeze my cakes, I use madeira sponge and have decorated 4 and 5 days in advance, I wrap it and freeze it as soon as ir is cool. I have never had any complaints, sometimes my time is very limited so I might only have 1 - 2 hours a day available to spend on a cake, so freezing and decorating over a number of days is my only option, you could also use make sugar syrup if you are worried about drying out and brush it on before you ice it. Good luck x
I have to take breaks... I also have a stool I use for the decorating that can be done sitting down as well as making sure to never have on unsupportive shoes when standing. I have issues with my back starting to hurt. I always end up decorating into the night because I work full time during the week and teach decorating on Saturdays... ALL DAY. It helps tremendously when you have those cushy supportive mats to use in the kitchen or on any hard floor you stand on to decorate. I used it once because it wasn't mine; however, I will certainly be investing in some!
I always try to be sure that I don't take on more than I can handle.
Having an iced, refrigerated cake won't dry out as quickly as you think. If you have just a crumb coat, it WILL. using a crusting buttercream will help too. As far as covering it in sugar dough, take into consideration if your structure isn't right, you'll get air bubbles underneath your fondant as the cake comes to room temperature. You have to use a straight pin at a diagonal to get it out then flatten it out with your finger dipped in corn starch.
I'm not sure how much help I've been but I wish you the best of luck! I agree with a previous post. If the people you're making this cake for have a desire to freeze it as in the top tier of a wedding cake, I would suggest NOT freezing that top tier.
I am new at the baking scene, I hear lots of the mud cakes.. Does anyone have a great recipe they might be able to share?
Thank you all for your advice. I'm going to go back through and read them properly - there are a lot of useful tips there.
To those who wonder what could take 4 days to ice - first of all, I'm probably not the quickest icer, and I like to try and get the small details right. I have been known to pull it all off and start again - which is what happened the first time I made this cake, That time though, it was a fruit cake so I had allowed plenty of time for the decorating. I also can only spend mornings on it, so its probably only two days work really.
The cake I am making is a guitar cake, and the really fiddly bit is the neck. The last time I made this cake, I couldn't put all the detail on until I had attached the neck to the cake and it really was a pain. Following Suzannem5's suggestion, I'm going to look at ways to make the whole neck in advance, and do all the fiddly bits even before I bake the cake, then I just have to attach it once the cake itself is iced. Here's a photo of the last one I made:
The cake was 2/3rds life-size and ad I had a problem finding long straight wire to use as the guitar strings. The ones here are actual guitar strings, but they had a bit of curl in them. I'm still looking for a good solution to this - does anyone have any ideas?
Once again, many thanks, and kind regards to you all.
Criminy, that would take me 4 weeks to finish.
AHow about using fishing line for the strings? Deep sea fishing line is quite thick. But you may have to buy hundreds of feet...
I was also going to say fishing line.
Doesn't fishing line come on a reel? Wouldn't that be 'curly' too? I need to get something that will lie straight, without having any tension on it (the icing simply isn't strong enought ) Something like extra long florist wire would be ideal.
I'll try and get hold of some fishing line and see if that and/or guitar strings straighten out if they are left hanging for a while.
In the meantime I'll keep looking.
(Hehe, loving these smileys )
Thanks for your help,
Unbreakable gel! Google it.
That looks interesting and doesn't seem expensive either. I'll give it a try. Thank you.
You most certainly could use fishing line... about making the neck in advance. If you don't use plywood covered in foil or something of the sorts, you could use cake board, rice crispy treats, royal icing and fondant...
PS, VERY nice work!
I have made two guitar cakes with the mud cake (have a look on my profile). One was a full sized guitar with fishing line for the strings, the other smaller one was made by using a clay gun to get even strings.
With the fishing line one, my clever husband made the arm out of wood which i covered in baking paper then fondant. My husband attached the strings for me but you could even staple gun them to the timber. Good luck.
Thank you blueeyedaries.
kyliecake - why did you cover the wood in baking paper? Mine won't be edible, so I was just planning to cover the wooden support (bolsa wood) directly with the fondant.
I worry that kids might still try and eat the fondant. I know my kids still pick at any fondant scraps so it's just to be extra careful.
That's worth thinking about. Thank you.