Peer Review Cake Club!

Decorating By FromScratchSF Updated 2 Aug 2014 , 3:14pm by gscout73

AZCouture Posted 2 May 2014 , 7:13pm
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ANot just cakes by Annie has some cool cloud cutters if you're into buying cutters, or if you want to make them yourself, here's a great way: roll out a few different sized balls of fondant, stick them together in a basic cloud shape, and let them rest a bit. Then roll out a thin piece of fondant just big enough to cover that little group of balls you just made, moisten the back of the fondant, lay it over the clouds, and gently secure it all the way around, gently pushing in along the edges of each ball to give a little definition, but not too much. Make sure you can't see any seams, and that the piece of fondant you covered with is flush and cut off flat, so when you put it on the cake, all you see is one big billowy cloud.

Make sense? I think Peggy Does Cake or Royal Bakery has a tutorial out there along those lines. Google it if you're interested. :)

AZCouture Posted 2 May 2014 , 7:16pm
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AOh, here...I had to look. [URL=http://www.thecakedirectory.com/tutorialsandmore/how-to-make-fondant-clouds-by-my-sweet-and-saucy/]http://www.thecakedirectory.com/tutorialsandmore/how-to-make-fondant-clouds-by-my-sweet-and-saucy/[/URL]

legallyshe Posted 4 May 2014 , 4:54pm
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AThose are awesome, I can't wait to try it! Thanks so much!!

jking513 Posted 9 May 2014 , 9:27pm
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Ok, don't pull any punches please! I am a home baker, this is only my hobby and I have no intention of becoming a full-time baker. I do maybe 2-4 cakes a month (all of them pictured on my profile, these are my most recent) and I really need some un-biased feedback. I am hoping to better myself, so please critique away....

MaurorLess67 Posted 11 May 2014 , 12:15pm
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AGood Morning J--

So as uncomfortable as I am giving critiques - I think it's important-- as a home/hobby baker myself-- I'm sure my friends and family don't always tell me the whole truth- they don't want to hurt my feelings and when getting a free cake-- how much can they really say right?

Ok- so-- as a home baker- not a professional this is what I see- --

--the border dots all look pretty uniform in size (not easy to do!!) but maybe dab them to eliminate the tail (bump from pulling away icing tip) I think it will allow for a more finished look.

Maybe a little more practice on a smoother buttercream (although yours is smoother than I can get)-- there are SO many videos to help with this- upide down method- two-board- viva paper towel-- but from what I understand its- practice, practice, practice-- but as I said its "almost" there!!!

I'm not sure I would have used a black base board-- it does help the colors pop but.... I think it may be too much of a contrast-- I don't know what color I would have used--- maybe adding a ribbon to the edge of a light blue or purple could help tie it together???

Your bow looks great- and I the love the style of the "A"-- well done!!! Only because I love a little bling I may have tried to add a little somewhere-- but that of course is a personal style-

Great cake-- and I was being very nit- picky -- I would have been thrilled to receive this cake-- its very well-done!!!

Mo

Edit-- Im not sure where the initial response posted so I copied and pasted as a reply-- see - I'm not a professional- I don't even know where or how to post a peer review- ha!!!

jking513 Posted 12 May 2014 , 1:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaurorLess67 

Good Morning J--

So as uncomfortable as I am giving critiques - I think it's important-- as a home/hobby baker myself-- I'm sure my friends and family don't always tell me the whole truth- they don't want to hurt my feelings and when getting a free cake-- how much can they really say right?

Ok- so-- as a home baker- not a professional this is what I see- --

--the border dots all look pretty uniform in size (not easy to do!!) but maybe dab them to eliminate the tail (bump from pulling away icing tip) I think it will allow for a more finished look.

Maybe a little more practice on a smoother buttercream (although yours is smoother than I can get)-- there are SO many videos to help with this- upide down method- two-board- viva paper towel-- but from what I understand its- practice, practice, practice-- but as I said its "almost" there!!!

I'm not sure I would have used a black base board-- it does help the colors pop but.... I think it may be too much of a contrast-- I don't know what color I would have used--- maybe adding a ribbon to the edge of a light blue or purple could help tie it together???

Your bow looks great- and I the love the style of the "A"-- well done!!! Only because I love a little bling I may have tried to add a little somewhere-- but that of course is a personal style-

Great cake-- and I was being very nit- picky -- I would have been thrilled to receive this cake-- its very well-done!!!

Mo

Edit-- Im not sure where the initial response posted so I copied and pasted as a reply-- see - I'm not a professional- I don't even know where or how to post a peer review- ha!!!

Thank you so much, this was exactly what I was looking for!  I don't know why I didn't think of "dabbing" the dots, I was unhappy with the "tails" but I never thought of a way to correct it. I also didn't really consider the board color, and I see exactly what you mean about it.  Thank you so much for ALL the advice, I truly appreciate it and will put it to use :)!

SweetShop5 Posted 12 May 2014 , 3:31pm
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Could I get a review on my birthday cake please! :grin:

 

http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3234365/a/3481438/my-18th-birthday-cake-i-used-balloon-lights-and-covered-them-in-fondant-i-glued-the-lights-with-royal-icing-billboards-were-made-out-of-gum-paste-and-hand-painted/

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 12 May 2014 , 3:35pm
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Here's what I came up with for Mother's Day. (And yes, I know, it's cheeky of me to presume to post in this thread.)

 

One of these days, I'm going to take the time to learn how to pipe my own flowers; until then, the Wilton factory-made flowers aren't half-bad (although a bit crunchy for my taste).

mothers day 2014

The leaves, though, are hand-piped; I think it's my first try with a leaf tip (and certainly my first in at least 20 years).

The cake on the right is from a BC "Dark Chocolate" mix (nobody seems to have the DH "Swiss Chocolate" mix any more) in a 13x9; the one on the left is 2/3 of a DH "Classic White" (actually, 1/3 each out of two separate boxes!) in an 8x8.

And of course, the unfrosted strip at the bottom of the chocolate cake is in deference to my father.

MBalaska Posted 12 May 2014 , 9:18pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 
 

Here's what I came up with for Mother's Day. (And yes, I know, it's cheeky of me to presume to post in this thread.)

 

hbquikcomjamesl you don't really need a "peer review" do you?  You have your own style of baking and decorating that works for you and your family.

 

SweetShop5 are those real lights?  do they have hidden wires?

SweetShop5 Posted 12 May 2014 , 9:42pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

 

hbquikcomjamesl you don't really need a "peer review" do you?  You have your own style of baking and decorating that works for you and your family.

 

SweetShop5 are those real lights?  do they have hidden wires?

They're real lights powered by batteries, they're called Balloon lights.

MBalaska Posted 12 May 2014 , 10:33pm
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OMG balloon lights........on a cake.  That is something new and cool.  It is a great addition to your 'big city lights' style cake.   Well Done!!!!

 

There is no end to the ingenious ways to decorate cakes.   I had to look it up on the internet.

 

Then I realized that I have emergency safety lights in orange that were much like that.  You could attach it to your hats & coats in low visibility dangerous weather conditions when you were out on the road.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 12 May 2014 , 10:53pm
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Well, I could use an opinion. A knowledgeable, non-family, non-colleague opinion. Of course, it's "family style" (i.e., served in-pan), and that bottom row of flowers could have been more symmetrical, and the lettering could be a bit straighter (actually, my natural hand is a lot sloppier than that, even with a fountain pen!).

 

But it's literally my first time putting flowers -- albeit factory made flowers -- on a cake, and (I think) my first time piping leaves around them. And I'd like to know how I did.

Flattering or unflattering, as long as it's polite and constructive.:)

-K8memphis Posted 12 May 2014 , 10:58pm
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nice work, james-- i still want you to consider trying to turn your cakes out on a board someday--i see that nice bundt cake you made and turned out perfectly--

 

if you can pipe nice leaves like that you can pipe stems--that might be something you can add going forward--pipe on a stem that winds around where you want to place your flowers--a new accent possibility--and i'd recommend using shorter leaves like the ones on the rose by the word mother and not in multiples of four--

 

hey, did you not ice part of the chocolate one to accommodate some of the guests who don't like icing or something? sounds like something considerate that you would think of--

because you did not run out of icing i hope :-D

 

and not these two cakes but for others in your portfolio at the least you can clear out the crusty bits that stick to the pan for a better presentation--you'd clear them out before you ice the cake of course -- and you could just them out of the pan and eat them --

 

good stuff-- tons of improvement i see--bravo, cake buddy

-K8memphis Posted 12 May 2014 , 11:04pm
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meant to say...and you could just brush them out of the pan with a pastry brush...

-K8memphis Posted 12 May 2014 , 11:06pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 

 

And of course, the unfrosted strip at the bottom of the chocolate cake is in deference to my father.

 

 

oops shame on my reading comprehension-- i was right though i knew it was because you are so thoughtful and considerate!

-K8memphis Posted 12 May 2014 , 11:18pm
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another tip for you maybe for another time-- keeping it homestyle in the pan but to still zip it up a bit--get some paper doilies and say they were 6" or 8" round doilies--but cut them in quarters and cut the tips off the pie sections that you created--then just line the pan with those overlapping them--will really up your game visually

 

best to you

 

*:-)/\:-) high five

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 13 May 2014 , 12:50am
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At this point, "homestyle" is a concession to ease of storage: the heavy Nordic Ware 9x13 has a plastic snap-on lid (these days, it also comes with a matching 9x13 cookie sheet) to protect the decorations from damage, and any other 9x13 can be covered with a piece of foil to sort of protect the decorations from damage (or cause some damage if it makes contact with frosting that's less than fully crusted, like, say, my strawberry jam BC that I've never been able to get to crust), and my dad's birthday pound cakes are naked except for a bit of piping on the side that does fully crust, so they can be safely tented with plastic wrap.

 

On the Easter cake, I ended up sticking the 8x8 pan inside the Nordic Ware, and snapping on the cover, for storage.

 

I'm just too damn cheap to buy a proper cover.:D

 

And yes, I think the rose by the word "Mother" was one of the last ones I "planted." Long, narrow leaves like some of the first ones I piped would look good on a carnation (since their leaves ARE long and narrow), but it took me a while to get the feel of how to get rose-like short-and-broad out of that leaf tip. BTW, how many leaves SHOULD I be putting under a rose?

 

And yeah, a lot of the early cakes had a lot of loose crust stuck (yes, stuck!) to the pan above the frosting. I think I'm just getting a little better at filling the pan neatly, and wiping down any stray batter that does hit the sides. (Not just with cakes: my more recent chicken casseroles are coming out of the oven a lot neater.

-K8memphis Posted 13 May 2014 , 1:18am
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i run my leaf tip up the side of my roses and pull the tube out and away so the leaves hug the surface and then point out and away surrounding the top of the petals rather than the bottom of the petals--and as far as how many--you are the creator-- the calyx of the rose has 5 but whatever looks and feels good even 4 if they are not placed like a (red) cross kwim? and calyx are thin and rose leaves are fatter--i mean whatever works y'know?

 

and another huge decorating tip that you already recognize is that you want to practice piping on the table or an a plate until you hit your rhythm--like you reported--you kinda hit your stride on the last one so next time practice for about 36-40 leaves give or take and your results will show the mastery--gotta warm up a little--

 

i agree nordic ware is the best!

 

it really shows that you are filling the pan better and overall a general improvement not to mention the flowers, leaves et al--

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 13 May 2014 , 3:24am
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AYes. I practiced on the 2/3-mix white cake (weighing out thirds of a box works out to 5 1/2 ounces per third, on a 16 1/2 ounce mix, and one egg per third -- too bad the water and oil don't divide quite so evenly) I baked for myself, before touching the chocolate cake.

And thanks. I should have trusted my knowledge that a "single" rose has 5 petals (which is why heraldic depictions of roses always have 5 -- most modern hybrids are "semi-double" to "super-double" mutations), when figuring out the leaves. And since the base coat (at least on the white cake) was fully crusted by the time I started decorating, I used the still-sticky centers of the freshly-piped leaf clusters as the attach points for the manufactured flowers, which would have made it perhaps a bit difficult to run them up the sides.

And I definitely ought to do something with stems.

With my mother's birthday coming up in less than a month, the canned chocolate frosting is in the freezer, as are the piping bags with the pink and green.

-K8memphis Posted 13 May 2014 , 2:22pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 

Yes. I practiced on the 2/3-mix white cake (weighing out thirds of a box works out to 5 1/2 ounces per third, on a 16 1/2 ounce mix, and one egg per third -- too bad the water and oil don't divide quite so evenly) I baked for myself, before touching the chocolate cake.

And thanks. I should have trusted my knowledge that a "single" rose has 5 petals (which is why heraldic depictions of roses always have 5 -- most modern hybrids are "semi-double" to "super-double" mutations), when figuring out the leaves. And since the base coat (at least on the white cake) was fully crusted by the time I started decorating, I used the still-sticky centers of the freshly-piped leaf clusters as the attach points for the manufactured flowers, which would have made it perhaps a bit difficult to run them up the sides.

And I definitely ought to do something with stems.

With my mother's birthday coming up in less than a month, the canned chocolate frosting is in the freezer, as are the piping bags with the pink and green.

 

 

i knew you would know more about rose leaves than me--and you can also plant a flower into a small blob of icing piped just for the purpose of adhering the flower to the surface--you can also angle the flowers toward the inscription or angle them in any direction -like the white iced cake they could all be pointed up as you have them and/or be pointed slightly in toward the center-- just tossing out ideas for future--looking forward to seeing what you create for your mom -- so sweet that you bake for your family and friends

 

 

 

 

this is someone else's gorgeous cake published in in style magazine if memory serves and it is my picture of the magazine page-- i know you're probably not doing a tier cake-- i just posted it for stem inspiration -- and see the dots? you can easily do dots and they will fill out your design--just a little visual power boost for you -- run some stems around the edges of the cake, plant some flowers, pipe leaves & fill in with some dots maybe -- you'll be next on the next great baker :-D

FromScratchSF Posted 29 May 2014 , 4:42pm
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I am so happy this thread keeps going and going!  But as a reminder...

 

1.  Do not post your photos HERE.  Post your photos in the photo gallery and MAKE SURE YOU PUT IN THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOTO THAT YOU ARE ASKING FOR CRITIQUE.  If you can even hyperlink back to this thread, the better.

 

2. Once uploaded, post a link to your photo here in this thread.  Those participating will pop over to your photo in the gallery and post your critique IN THE COMMENTS.  Please do not post your critique here!  The whole point is to not just help the person who made the cake, but for anyone ever who happens to come across that cake how it could have been improved, done different, elevated to look more sophisticated or whatever.  

 

3.  IF YOU CRITIQUE... make sure you start your comment by saying you are from the Cake Club or PRCC.

 

I wanted to remind you that your photos and the comments will be read by others possibly for years to come.  A new person that has never seen this thread or know what we are doing look at a cake photo, see comments made with what we, on the PRCC, think are pointers or critique, and that new person just sees us tearing someone's hard work to shreds and being mean.  So it is VERY important that we are all very clear what we are doing.  A great example is this:

 

http://cakecentral.com/g/i/2410366/shower-cake-for-triplets-two-boys-and-a-girl-10-pound-cake-with-fresh-strawberry-filling-and-smbc-covered-in-fondant-i-admittedly-hate-the-border-and-would-do-a-fondant-brown-border-if-i-had-a-redo/

 

We critiqued this cake over a year ago and a random new person took offence to the comments posted.  

 

Thanks!  And lets keep the positive coming!

MBalaska Posted 29 May 2014 , 7:25pm
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a new person took offence to the constructive criticism posted for someone to improve their skills. Wow.:?

wickeddelish Posted 29 May 2014 , 8:24pm
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FromScratchSF Posted 29 May 2014 , 9:31pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by wickeddelish 
 

I'd love to know what the honest opinion is on these 2 from amazing decorators such as yourselves! :-)

 

http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3243246/a/3486777/fondant-gumpaste-mix-and-match-prints/sort/display_order/

 

 

http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3243247/a/3486778/nautical-baby-shower-cake/sort/display_order/

Well 1st I'd say you forgot to put in your description that you are asking for critique from the Cake Club!  Also maybe edit it to also give us a bit more detail about techniques used, equipment on hand, etc.

wickeddelish Posted 29 May 2014 , 9:43pm
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I added some descriptions to them! thanks. I didn't think to do that even thought it clearly says I should.

dandymom Posted 30 May 2014 , 1:56pm
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AHi, I'm totally in. I have so much to learn! One of my recent cakes http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3242219/this-cake-is-the-2nd-time-ive-tried-ruffles-the-sand-is-graham-cracker-crumbs-and-the-topper-is-store-bought-with-a-modified-fondant-base/u/794277/flat/1/ I'd love some feedback.

Thanks so much <3

Dee

Pritinash Posted 31 May 2014 , 5:55am
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Hey sounds great I am all for it !! :) 

staziaface1790 Posted 3 Jun 2014 , 11:15pm
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AHi everyone! I'm new here! I love this idea and will hopefully be posting a cake this weekend for a critique...I am soooooo a beginner though... I hope that's ok?

staziaface1790 Posted 4 Jun 2014 , 9:49pm
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AHi everyone! I just posted my sons first bday cake and I'd love some feedback. *please read description first* thanks!

http://cakecentral.com/g/i/3246175/a/3488598/hi-everyone-this-was-my-sons-first-birthday-cake-sorry-for-the-poor-photo-im-on-mobile-id-love-to-know-what-you-think-of-the-coloring-design-etc-however-you-will-notice-how-the-very-front-of-this-cake-is-smeared-and-wrecked-that-is-because/

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