If you'd all be so kind - I need advice on how to do this design best while avoiding condensation. My friend provided the attached photo and would like me to make this exact cake (with exception of the topper - I'll be subbing sugar peonies). My questions below are mainly focused on the 6" stenciled cake:
-This cake is for an August party in the Philadelphia region - high heat, high humidity.
-I'll be driving the cake to the party - approx 1/2 hour trip- on a Saturday. Cake stacked and details added on location.
-My process is to bake the cakes mid-week, fill/frost/chill to firm Thursday, cover/decorate Friday
-My house has AC, but it generally seems to stay in the 65/70 degree range. I'm sure the day of the party it will reach 90 humid degrees.
I initially told her that she would need this cake to be filled and crumb coated with chocolate ganache so that I will be able to leave this cake at room temperature to work on it (24-48hrs before party). She is insisting upon having vanilla buttercream due to having guests that are not chocolate eaters. I will not do this combo due to my experience with MMF completely dissolving and slipping off SMBC cakes due to condensation (My process is to keep SMBC chilled, both for travel and preservation.Once out of the fridge and into my house/car - the condensation would and has certainly caused a MMF disaster) Below are my options I'm considering offering her. What do you think is best?
- Use SMBC. Wrap the cake in modeling chocolate (leaving top open since peonies will cover it)
Does pure modeling chocolate condensate just as much as MMF in the summer? I've used this technique in the past but do not remember massive condensation, but that wasn't in August. Should I do the stencil pattern in a crusting buttercream? Would condensation cause that to slip off the cake?
Has anyone had experience applying stencils to modeling chocolate?
- Offer to use some sort of non-butter, shortening based "buttercream" (which I absolutely hate. I think the taste is horrendous and don't necessarily want that to be representative of my "product") to allow the cake to stay at room temp while working. Cover in MMF. Do stencil pattern in royal icing.
- I've read of the trick of placing the cake in a box wrapped tightly in plastic wrap into the fridge. This creates a barrier and will eliminate condensation. If I do this, does it even matter what medium I use? Will I avoid condensation entirely with this technique? (I've previously just placed the un-boxed cake in the fridge or freezer)
Any other combinations / thoughts would be much appreciate!
You can make white chocolate ganache - that might solve all the issues. I use it with all non-chocolate cakes. You can put vanilla in it as well, if you like.
Also, normal butter-based ABC will last out of the fridge for 24 hours, quite happily.
I don't have much experience with the rest of your questions, so I'm not very helpful in those areas, sorry.
AI iced all my fondant covered in white chocolate ganache. I tell clients it is similar to buttercream because white chocolate does not have a strong flavor, like buttercream, so any cake/filling combo they pick will go well with the icing.
I agree with the white chocolate ganache route. I put my fondant covered cakes inside a cake box and that seems to draw out the moisture from the fondant while it sits out.
Thank you all for your input! I've offered the options of a white chocolate ganache or a shortening based icing to her - just waiting to hear her decision. I use milk/dark chocolate very frequently, but the one time I made it with white chocolate (Ghirardelli chips, i believe), I did not like the taste at all. Any brands that you recommend? I'd be happy to give it another shot if that's the path she chooses (I hope so!)
Condensation has NOTHING to do with how you ice/cover the cake.
Condensation is a normal physical reaction of putting something that is cold into a warm, moist environment. To avoid condensation, you have to avoid placing a cold cake in a warm, moist place.
If you refrigerate a cake, place it in a sealed cardboard box while in the fridge. To bring it back to room temp with minimal to no sweating, place the sealed box on the counter for a few hours. The moisture will go to the box, not the cake, and it will be fine. To avoid condensation after that, just avoid getting the cake very cold.
Thank you maybenot, that makes a lot of sense! With this in mind, my previous failures are most certainly due to the fact that my cakes were chilled without a box or in a box with just the lid shut (not sealed with plastic). I'll definitely try this out and hopefully it will solve my issues. I don't think I want this cake to be the guinea pig though, so I'm still going to hopefully agree on a solution that does not need to be chilled or see if we can tweak the design to not include the fondant. I'll work on some small test cakes in tightly sealed boxes to see how long they'll need to sit out wrapped to avoid the condensation completely.
Thanks for your response - much appreciated!