HI cake world!
Im new here....
This has probably been discussed here countless times, but I cant seem to find anything about it on the search....
I am trying to get A very sharp edge on a round cake covered with fondant. It looks SO MUCH more professional than my sagging rounded one.
I use buttercream underneath the fondant. I have heard that to really get a prefect edge one needs to cover the cake with ganache and let it harden.
Is this true?
Here is a cake I recently made, Notice the edges are rounded. I would love if they where SHARP!!!
first of all -- beautiful cake -- i love that coloration and it's so well done
but fondant is supposed to have rounded edges -- you can get a razor sharp edge with buttercream sans fondant --
it's not sagging -- i guess it's not the look you want but it doesn't appear to be saggy --
beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- if it was me i'd perfect my buttercream -- but yes ganache is a firmer foundation --
best to you
Ganache is definitely the way to go imo. You *can* get sharp edges with a b/c base, but it's harder as you need to chill it to get it firm otherwise you have a lot of work (it is possible without chilling - I used to do it - but it's so much harder when it's soft). The problem when you chill it is that the sugarpaste gets sticky relatively quickly. You need to work fast to get your edges sharp before this happens, and personally I'm just not that quick! I know plenty of people are, but I don't like to make things harder for myself than they need be :) I now don't use b/c at all as a covering unless it's specifically requested. I curse a lot when this happens :D
There's a couple of ways to do it - Youtube is a great source of tuts if you are a visual person.
You can use a pair of smoothers (flexible ones are my preference now, but I used to use the solid ones with good results too) to do it, or flip the cake upside down.
To use solid smoothers you can hold one still on the side (or top) of the cake whilst you gently but firmly tap the other one towards it. It takes a bit of time but the paste will smoosh itself between the right angle you are making and you'll end up with a good edge. Repeat all the way around.
Flexible smoothers (I use cut up chopping mats) are a little easier I think, but it's really finding what works best for you. With these I do a similar thing, but it's more sliding the two together, gently pushing the paste up into that right angle.
Upside down sounds scary but it's pretty easy. Cover your ganached cake with sugarpaste but when you trim the base leave about 1cm spare. I use trex to stick the sugarpaste on as it allows you to move the paste around and get rid of airbubbles, which is much easier when the cake is upside down as you can carefully pull the paste away from the cake a bit then re-attach without it showing. Bonus!
Put a flat board/upturned large cake tin/perspex disc on the top of the cake. As long as there's not patterning which might emboss itself onto the paste any solid large flat food-safe thing is good. Ooh, if the cake has been chilled or your flat thing isn't non stick you might find baking paper useful between the cake and the flat thing. Flip the cake over so it's sitting on its top. Using a solid smoother with a flat edge (some have curved edges), gently push the paste towards the bottom (top) of the cake. Your aim is to remove any signs of a curve simply by gently pushing. You don't want to do this in one movement though, you need to give it several light passes rather than one big one. You'll just end up with ripped paste if you do it in one big push. It doesn't matter if a little bit gets caught under your smoother as you can cut that off with a scalpel when you are finished. Do this round the entire cake and once you're happy put a knife flat against the board on top (bottom!) and trim the base edge flat. Now flip over. If you have any bits that were snagged, use a scalpel to carefully remove them.
That one sounds a lot harder than it actually is - there are a ton of how-to's on Youtube which will show it much better than I've explained!
I would attach photos to show the difference between smoothers and the upside down method, but the add picture function seems to be borked so I can't.
Making sharp edged cakes with ganache is very common in Australia, I think I only made two rounded edged cakes the whole of last year.
To get your cake really perfect you have to start with perfect ganache first. If your cake is not ganached dead straight and mirror smooth the imperfections will show in your fondant finish.
Inspired by Michelle is a well known caker here, she has a tutorial on how to make ganache which I would suggest you go and check out. The important things are make sure your chocolate has the correct percentage of cocoa butter in it, your cream has the correct percentage of fat content and go gently when heating or it will split. I personally use the microwave method without any problems.
After that, again I have gone to a very well known and respected cake maker in Sydney, Faye Cahill. Google Faye if you want to see what a perfect ganached and sharp edged fondant cake looks like.
There are several different methods of ganaching, Faye has a tutorial on how to ganache a cake and get it spot on.
Inspired by Michelle has a tutorial on how the fondant a cake and do sharp edges, the way she does it is pretty much how I do it, but of course we all develop our own little tweaks over time.
It does take a little practice to get both the ganaching and fondant right, have fun.
Thanks a lot for all the replies!
K8- It just looks so much more professional with sharp edges ( i think..)
Lizzy bug... I have tried chilling the B/C before. It got all sticky like you said. I will try the upside down method.
810- I'll check it out thanks.
Ask your clients what they prefer, 99% of mine want a rounded edge when I ask them. The sharp edges on fondant thing is relatively new, but it's a style preference, not a requirement. I think it did come from Australia where they use ganache under the fondant, and people who have just started decorating cakes in the past r years or so think that it's the standard for all fondant, but it isn't. If you want a sharper edge you can get it, but it isn't necessary and most customers don't want it, it's more of a cake decorator thing.
I wonder if it's also a country thing - I'm in the UK and rarely get asked for rounded edges. Possibly because we like what seems more of a nod towards the sharp edges of traditional royal icing.
Sugarpaste was not generally a well liked thing (among consumers, of which I was one) when it came in precisely because of the rounded edges. Add in the American/Oz style stacking rather than traditional pillars and you can only imagine the quiet tutting that went on ;D
"quiet tutting" hahaha so british very cool
here's a random thought about the fondant sharp edge that i have not tested and i'm not likely to test either but i can't help but put it out there just in case it might work -- what if we dried a flat round (for a round cake) disc of fondant that is one of two possible sizes --
either just under the size of the top of the iced cake or just the exact size -- so if you go with the exact size and can apply fondant to that you are probably a genius if it doesn't tear all the way around congratulations to you buy a lottery ticket -- but if you go with the disc just undersized i'd place a rope of fresh fondant all around that -- then apply the fondant and in a perfect world that should hold the sharp edge -- at least in my head it would --
I have also struggled with this problem. I now use butter cream to crumb coat the cake with first and ensure the edges are sharp a straight using a side scraper.
A really great video i found on youtube is this one:
check it out they have some great tutorials. even if you dont use this method exactly it does give away lots of hints and tips :)
Hope this helps :D