chasingmytail Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 11:11pm
post #1 of

Yep, its easy to cover bumps, nail marks, crumbs on cakes that have detail but I have noticed recently I have the same problem with chocolate granche - as much as I try to be careful I end up with a couple of crumbs embedded in the sugarpaste - what do I do to rectify????

 

I was also thinking how do you get that real professional finish on plain cakes where you cant cover the odd mister-meaner with a flower or dot? 

 

Are nails an absolute no no when covering cakes - I'm not a selling cakes just a home baker doing it for family and close friends. My nails are short but gel coated .

 

As much as I try I chocolate granche as smooth as possible but there is always a dip or bump.  

 

When polishing cakes with a smoother is it best to leave it a few hours instead of constantly dragging the sugarpaste which ends up with dips and unsmooth. As the SP is so soft when it goes on I cant work out how to get that professional finish when variations in pressure leave marks.

 

Should SP be as thick as possible to prevent deviations 5mm?

 

I always end up with a huge thumb print dip on sugarpaste as I move it - so annoying!

 

I have a wedding cake for a close friend coming up and she wants classic plain and I am terrified!!!

 

Feedback much appreciated.

24 replies
natt12321 Posted 1 Mar 2014 , 11:22pm
post #2 of

You are probably going to get some mixed feedback re some of the stuff, personally I am from your neck of the woods so am using similar products to you and I try to keep to a reasonable thickness (4mm ish) to cover cakes, I find it gives a better finish, others say thin as possible, my cake dec tutor in college was all about THICK sugarpaste! 


Out of interest what SP are you using, I find Renshaw's RegalIce impossible to work with because it is SO soft and I have never managed to find it workable, where as if it being too soft is your initial issue you could maybe try other brands. I know supermarket brands don't work for everyone but I am a huge fan of Tesco's because it's a bit firmer than some of the more expensive ones. 

 

As far as getting the ganache smooth, practice practice practice is the key! You will get there!

 

P.S. I make cake for a living, someone asking for a plain plain cake is still a bit terrifying to me!

MBalaska Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 4:44am
post #3 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by natt12321 

 

"........P.S. I make cake for a living, someone asking for a plain plain cake is still a bit terrifying to me!

 

Yup, when you don't get to cover it all up, it's much harder to do.  The real Professional decorators often have the barest coverings of pure smooth perfection.

paulstonia Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 6:38am
post #4 of

Roll your fondant up on you rolling pin to put it over your cake, should help keep the fingerprints from picking it up out. Or us a mat and flip it over on the cake.

Daisyblue002 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 7:51am
post #5 of

Having really smooth ganache should help ensure you get a smooth sugarpaste finish. Once the ganache has 'set' on the cake, I give it a quick brush with sugar syrup for the sugarpaste to stick to. I try and roll out to 3- 4mm and once the sugarpaste is on the cake to smooth as quickly as possible otherwise it will develop an 'elephant skin' which doesn't look the best and can't be rectified. When I'm smoothing, I move the cake onto a turntable using a palatte knife and one gentle hand, that way I don't have to handle it too much, just spin it around while I smooth and work out any lumps and bumps. For any small bits of ganache on the cake, I've found vodka can help remove.

Cakejeanie Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 9:01am
post #6 of

I have found that trying out different sugarpastes has helped. The supermarket ones don't work for me I think because I'm terrible with covering cake with fondant- I take so long and I'm always nervous about it. Renshaws is kind of ok but I always have elephant skin with it! The massa ticino brand has been wonderful to work with- but it is SO expensive. I'm going to try Sugarpaste direct next- it got good reviews from CCers and its much cheaper AND free postage! Also, I've also stuck with the thicker covering- 4mm- as my cakes look smoother.

 

I have now started smoothing the fondant after it is rolled and is still on the table. After I place it on the cake, I smooth it again straight away. I think its the best time because the fondant needs to be malleable. I put just enough pressure on the cake to get it smooth without denting or misshaping the fondant.

 

Regarding the crumbs on the sugarpaste- do you crumb coat? This pretty much solves the problem of stray crumbs for me. After I crumb coat all my cakes go back in the fridge then are taken out for the final coat. Also I use a knife to get buttercream onto the spatula that I use to cover a cake- that way if there are any crumbs on the spatula, none of it goes back into the bowl of buttercream.

 

With the ganache- I agree- practice practice! For the holes and bumps- when the ganache has set, heat up some ganache in the microwave and get it so its very soft but not runny. Cover up any holes with an offset spatula. Just put on enough to cover the holes. Afterwards hot knife all the bumps you find. Watch a ton of videos by different people and take note of their techniques for smoothing ganache. I have found that the smoother the buttercream/ganache is on a cake- the better the fondant looks. You probably know this already but I was an idiot before- I believed that fondant could cover any lumps and bumps on a cake lol! 

 

About the wedding cake- buy a dummy cake and practice like mad. Cover it in clingfilm and practice covering it with fondant. Use Renshaw's for now- not the ones that are already rolled out but the ones you have to knead yourself or invest in better sugarpaste like the sugarpaste direct ones. They sell some in 500g tubs, the rest are in bulk 5kg tubs (these I think are actually cheaper than Renshaws per kilo). Practice smoothing so you get a feel for the right amount of pressure to use. 

 

Sorry for the long post, I just love talking about cakes and I'd like to help others (even though compared to others I'm fairly new to cake decorating so I'm not an expert) like others here have helped me. Good luck x

Cakejeanie Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 9:02am
post #7 of

Quote:

Are nails an absolute no no when covering cakes - I'm not a selling cakes just a home baker doing it for family and close friends. My nails are short but gel coated .

 

What are the nails for?

maisie73 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 1:07pm
post #8 of

AI usually have quite long nails but always cut them short if I'm covering a cake with fondant otherwise I get nail marks in it however careful I am! I've only been decorating cakes for about 11 months and it took me about 9 to figure that out! Also, I hate Renshaws, too soft and love Tesco's. Satinice is the best for me but expensive.

Cakejeanie Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 1:36pm
post #9 of

Oh no- you were talking about nails on your hands not nails you hammer! Someone give me brains...

 

When I took my food safety course it said nails should be bare- they don't even like you having any nail polish on if I remember correctly. Fortunately for me my nails are bare all the time anyway. 

 

You're fine with gel nails because you are not selling cakes :)

nannycook Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 4:32pm

AHi I'm in the UK and The best sugarpaste I've come across is Covapaste, it is the cheapest, it goes on brilliantly and never have probe with it, I have started to use spacers to make sure my sugarpaste is thick enough and thrives a fab flawless finish.

nannycook Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 4:35pm

ASorry I meant it isn't the cheapest, dam phone.

maisie73 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 6:16pm

AHello Nannycook, I'm in Wales, where do you buy covapaste? I've never come across it here.

nannycook Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 8:33pm

AHi Marie, I always get it from my local cake decorating shop and it comes in 2kg packs maybe 2.5 and they charge me £7.00 I use loads of it and wouldn't use anything else, you can get it from Amazon though I checked it out the other night. Where do you live Marie? Which part of Wales?

nannycook Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 8:41pm

ASorry Masie will have to check what I write, tut tut.

chasingmytail Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 9:40pm

Hello Nanny & Masie - I'm just outside Newport. 

 

I usually use Renshaws but its really expensive and the last cake I used Sainsburys which I thought was ok. I have read Tescos is very good.  Haven't used Covapaste but may give this a go for this cake. There is a craft shop local but very expensive but wonder if its cheaper over the net but then there's the postage.

 

I coloured the last cake myself rather than buying expensive coloured pastes.

 

My nails are short but the odd length does leave an indent wondering if cotton gloves my work?

 

As much as I try I end up picking up a tiny amount of ganche from the base which gets transfered onto the sugarpaste.  Would it be beneficial to put a thin layer of SP on first to bind it down and second layer a bit thicker? Its so annoying the tiniest fleck of chocolate gets embedded.  I tend not to use buttercream as I cant stand the stuff. 

maisie73 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 10:48pm

AHello nannycook and chasing my tail, I live in Newport. I get the basics in Tesco or Asda and occasionally Hobbycraft. I get loads online, ebay mostly, that's where I first found Satinice. It's really expensive though, £14 for 1kg. I only use that for special cakes, for ordinary birthday cakes I use Tescos but I do occasionally get elephant skin with it (might be me, I'm quite new to cake decorating). I've never used ganache (too scary!) I use buttercream on sponges and marzipan on fruitcakes but the thought of trying to get two lots of fondant on a cake fills me with horror! I'm relieved if I get one layer on without incident! Like I said, I'm quite new to decorating even though I've been baking for years and although I've looked at cake central loads, I've never joined in 'til today. Loving it already, lovely to "meet" you all. :-)

maisie73 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 11:14pm

AP.S, I've just seen your birdcage cake on another post Nannycook, it's amazing, I hope I'm that good one day!

nannycook Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 8:17am

AThank you masie, I've been making cakes for just under two yrs, every time I make one I learn by my mistakes. I going to hobbycraft in Newport today, apparently you can get everything there, which is very dangerous money wise, I spend a small fortune on cutters, tool etc. I also use Satin ice well more gumpaste, I attend a cake decorating class on a Mon night and we use that a lot but our right its expensive.

maisie73 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 9:23am

AI'd love to go to a decorating class, how did you find out about yours? I love going to look in Hobbycraft but it's very expensive so I usually have alook, see what I want then come home and get it on ebay! For example I saw a set of Wilton letter cutters in Hobbycraft for £20, got them on ebay (brand new) for £9 inc P&P from America. I also love Satinice gumpaste and sometimes mix a bit with Tesco fondant to cover a cake, maybe that's something Chasingmytail could try, makes it easier to work with and seems to prevent elephant skin. Happy shopping Nannycook. :-)

chasingmytail Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 9:38am

Hello both

 

Mix gumpaste with sugarpaste 50/50 - Oh is that good then?  

 

I buy lots of bits from the In-shops in Cwmbran but they are hopeless on stock control.  Have you tried Wedding Acrylics in Taffs Wells? http://www.weddingacrylics.co.uk/?gclid=CLivq_mG9rwCFQEXwwodMSgA5w Its only off the M4 plus you know you'll get everything in there while the local craft shop is hit and miss.

 

There is a nice cookshop in Abergavenny they have a small selection of sugarpaste items.

 

I find though Ebay still the best - Party animal on line do tons of items plus they do deals and usually next day delivery!!!

 

They also do classes and come highly recommended. Honeybunch cupcakes in Newport also do classes.  I went to Squires last year but very expensive.  Be warned there are classes out there and some are ok but when they start at 10.30am have lunch (which you supply) and finish at 3pm I think the heffty £120+ plus is ludicrous and a rip off. Like any business you expect to start around 9 and finish 4 - 5.

maisie73 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 9:57am

AProbably not quite 50/50, more sugarpaste than gumpaste. It helps me roll it thinner and not tear when I'm getting it on the cake. I made a princess doll cake an tried and tried to get the fondant on but it kept tearing and I was almost in tears (how sad is that!). In the end I used some gumpaste mixed with my last bit of fondant cos I didn't fancy going to Tesco at 11pm! It worked, went straight on, no rips, tears or elephant skin! It doesn't taste as "nice" as fondant but none of my family really like fondant anyway, it just gets peeled off and binned. I went to Cwmbran In shops for some christmassy stuff but they had hardly anything there. Will try Abergavenny next time somebody's at Neville Hall! I'll definately check honeybunch cupcakes out, thankyou. :-)

Fabricake Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 11:13am

Hi, I'm from the UK (Wales to) 

I totally agree with whoever said they hate Renshaw paste, its far too wet and for a long time I was using Covapaste (which I loved) but when it was out of stock one day I replaced it with something called Couture Covering. Oh my god what a difference.

You have to knead it a lot to reactivate the gum tragacanth but it has a satin smooth finish. It doesn't matter how thick or thin you roll it, I've never had problems with I stretching, cracking or breaking not even on a humid day! Even managed to ice a 5inch deep and 15inch round all on my own perfectly (normally I'd have someone else help me lift it so the fondant doesn't stretch, no need with this fondant!) cant praise it enough and even better it's only £14.95 for 5kg from windsorcakecraft.co.uk.

maisie73 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 11:18am

AWow, my list of things to try is getting longer! Why did I leave it so long to join in?! Thanks everyone. :-)

nannycook Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:09pm

AMaisie, do you know Ystrad Mynach at all they have a fab little cake Dec shop called, Finishing Touches, tiny shop but stock absolutely everything, they are so helpful, I spend a fortune in there. Chasingmytail, I have been to that shop in Taffs Well but didn't find it as good, girl behind counter couldn't be bothered, o I stick to what I know I guess.

maisie73 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:00pm

AI know Blackwood quite well, never been as far as Ystrad but I could probably find my way there. If I'm ever in that neck of the woods I'll definately check it out.

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