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What I learned on this cake and some questions..

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Each time I make a cake I learn new things. This time I made a two tier chocolate cake. It was my first tiered cake, so just doing that was a big deal for me. I used the push in pillars so that was easy. Will have to try doweling next or regular pillars that don't push through, since I have a bunch of those. I wanted to write some of the other things I learned because maybe they are things you didn't know either or that you can empathize with if you do. icon_smile.gif Not everything is bad, though! I have a few questions, also.

* Chocolate icing is tricky to use, but so yummy! It softens up more quickly than buttercream and makes it harder to make borders with, though. The scroll work on the sides was very tricky because of that.

* CAN you use wet spatula to smooth real chocolate fudge icing? I was worried the water would seize the chocolate so I didn't.

* Chill cake covered with chocolate frosting to get it hard enough to smooth with parchment.

* Make sure you use a frosting dam around filling layers if it's anything looser than the buttercream. Wow. Glad that it was the same color, anyhow! I had whipped ganache icing and it was great, but too soft without a dam. I knew this tip and didn't follow it. Learned the hard way!

* Whipped ganache is SOOOOO Good! I added 1/2 stick butter and about 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar to it and it thickened up really nicely. Oh.. I used 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate and 4 oz. heavy cream with 2T Karo syrup and 1t. vanilla for the ganache. Then chilled it an hour in fridge, then whipped with the butter and c. sugar. Best filling EVER! icon_smile.gif

* If you are torting your layers (cutting layers in half or more), and you happen to get one uneven where one side of the layer is much smaller than the other, don't try to use that layer in your stacked or tiered cake. Trust me. Just Don't. WHAT a fiasco! I ended up having it completely fall apart on me and then having to remove the whole layer. I didn't realize til I removed it that it was in pieces because it was so unstable. Glad I took it off because in the end it looked pretty good and if I hadn't it would have been a total disaster.

* Petal cakes are miserably hard to frost so they look like petals. I keep ending up with bare spots or needing to add too much frosting to make it almost round. So what is the trick to frosting petal cakes to LOOK like petal shapes???

* The Chocolate Explosion cake recipe is GOOD! It's the one where you add sour cream and milk and chocolate pudding and chocolate chips and butter instead of oil (and don't forget the 3 eggs) to the devil's food box cake mix. It came out strong enough to hold up in tiering and so rich and yummy and still light enough to enjoy. We might use this one for our wedding cake.

* If you use regular pillar tiering with plates on top of each layer to support the above pillar and tiers, do you frost under the separator plates that lay on the layer? Do you frost on top of it? I'm confused about this part.

* Did my first scroll work on the side alternating forward and reverse C's. That was neat, but I like the top layer better with just C curves in one direction.

* Too many roses sometimes looks funny. At first I had clusters in the middle and then draping a row off each side between the pillars. It was too much or well, just looked wrong. I took them off, scraped off the frosting 'glue', and redesigned the layout. I liked it better, though not perfect.

* Quit while you're ahead. Every time I tried to perfect something more it seemed to get worse. I also liked the cake better without the ribbons and without the stems for the bouquets. It was nicer with just the bunch of flowers, I think.

* Be careful transporting the cake even across the room. I kept putting my fingers on the bottom border. Also make sure you use enough cake boards. I only used 2 and should have used at least 3 even for this one.

* Give yourself plenty of time. It took me three days to do this. The first day was baking. Day two was making icing and filling and doing the base coat of frosting. Day three was finishing, putting it together and doing the borders and attaching flowers. If I had not had the flowers already made it would have taken another day. I was kind of glad I had to remove a layer of the top tier in progress because we were able to eat some of it the day before I was finished and we were both wanting some of the chocolate so it worked out well.

* Try to center the layers on their plates. I am not sure how the bottom one got shifted so much, but it's disappointing. I did use buttercream to secure it, but didn't get it on centered. Oops!

Well, enough from me! Feel free to give me some advice. I know my shells aren't perfect and the scrolls need work and there is a lot of room for improvement. Overall I'm happy with it, but am open to advice, too.

Oh yeah, here's the cake in question (below)


Blessings,
~AngelWendy
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post #2 of 15
You did learn a lot! Thanks for sharing it. Petal shaped cakes give me fits too! I think the best way to frost them is to use an icer tip. Your cake looks delicious thumbs_up.gif
Birthdays are just nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.
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Birthdays are just nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.
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post #3 of 15
The cake is beautiful despite your lessons learned. The only question I know I can absolutely answer is the one about using a hot spatula on homemade chocolate icing....yes you can....I used it on a chocolate cake last week and it worked perfectly, just give it ten to fifteen mintutes to dry before decorating. If you want to see how it looks on my cake it's in the gallery under anniversary...it's the chocolate cake with pink dots and roses. Thank you for your tips because I'm sure I will be needing them in the future.
Live, Laugh, Love!
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Live, Laugh, Love!
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post #4 of 15
Boy did you learn alot! Love the cake pictures, they're beautiful. Great job thumbs_up.gif
post #5 of 15
"* Too many roses sometimes looks funny. At first I had clusters in the middle and then draping a row off each side between the pillars. It was too much or well, just looked wrong. I took them off, scraped off the frosting 'glue', and redesigned the layout. I liked it better, though not perfect."

Your roses are beautiful. *It might not be too many roses, but maybe they could be a little smaller.

The cake looks delicious and I know your client was tickled with it!

Did you make chocolate icing from scratch (it looks really shiny) or did you add cocoa to bc?

You sure did get some valuable lessons, thanks for sharing them with us. Janice
post #6 of 15
I personally like the cake...love the "Fat Cat" in the background too!!!

A couple of suggestions and I'm not a professional at all, it's just IMHO!
I would make the bottom layer the next size bigger, but that's just me. The roses on the top of the layers look great to me, but I also would make the side roses a bit smaller if any at all.
I like the scroll work, that is something I have a hard time working with.
I love the dark and light contrast of the roses, plates, and pillars, it pulls the whole design together nicely.
Using pillars with plates on top of the layer, yes, I frost under the plate...that's how I was taught.(?) I have heard that you can frost the tops of these plates although I've never seen it done. I think it would be a bit difficult to do...?
I learned the hard way about fillings and dams too, good thing it was for home!
I don't have a petal pan set, but was wondering how hard they were to ice or put fondant onto.

Transporting, carrying...always be aware of "body parts" and where they are centered on the cake...I carried a cake out to the car without paying attention as to how I was holding it...needless to say there was icing on the right side of my top and a smudge mark on the cake that matched perfectly!!!
You did a great job on your cake! Keep it up and I look forward to seeing more of your work. icon_smile.gif
post #7 of 15
Great cake Angel Wendy! Your cat looks just like my daughters! She saw the pic when I was looking at it & said that looks like Pepper. How cute. Did you know it was sleeping in the background? Too cute!

What do you have underneath the bottom of the bottom cake? Is that ruffles with icing or fondant or is that a plastic board? I think it's a plastic board but are not sure. It adds a very pretty touch! If it is a board would you tell me what it's called? I would love to get one!

I agree with jscakes about the bottom size being larger then the top. I always make my cakes 2 or 4 inches larger then the top one & so forth. Other then that the cake is beautiful!!

Your wedding is going to be beautiful as well!!! Great job!
"Learn from a turtle... it only makes progress when it sticks it's neck out"
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"Learn from a turtle... it only makes progress when it sticks it's neck out"
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post #8 of 15
I like your cake, looks delicious. My only suggestion is arranging your florals with odd number of flowers. That's what I learn years ago when I first took the Wilton course. Keep up the good work.
"If you are influenced by the opinion of others, you will have no desire of your own."
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"If you are influenced by the opinion of others, you will have no desire of your own."
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post #9 of 15
Hi Angel Wendy,
I was so tickled reading your long post about your whole learning experience with this cake! It was just what I needed after a long day. Before you think I'm making fun I want to say that your cake looks great! I am also wondering how that shifted but I can easily see that happening to me. No matter what you did I'm sure I could duplicate it. LOL

I agree with you about the stems and ribbons but your roses are beautiful and your scroll work looks good and will only get better with practice. The contrast of the roses on the rich dark chocolate is very eye catching. What would you think about some smaller roses around the base rather than on the side. Perhaps that wouldn't give the feeling of too much roses but add a touch of the other color to the bottom tier if that's what you want. I tend at times to overkill on some detail trying to get it just perfect and then want to kick myself afterwards. Usually it isn't anything anyone else would notice and I have to pactically bite my tongue to keep from mentioning it to someone. Your work looks great! Keep it up and thanks for sharing the experience. When is your wedding, and are you making your own cake?
"Life's tough, pilgrim. It's even tougher if you're stupid!" John Wayne
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"Life's tough, pilgrim. It's even tougher if you're stupid!" John Wayne
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post #10 of 15
Hi Angel Wendy,
I was so tickled reading your long post about your whole learning experience with this cake! It was just what I needed after a long day. Before you think I'm making fun I want to say that your cake looks great! I am also wondering how that shifted but I can easily see that happening to me. No matter what you did I'm sure I could duplicate it. LOL

I agree with you about the stems and ribbons but your roses are beautiful and your scroll work looks good and will only get better with practice. The contrast of the roses on the rich dark chocolate is very eye catching. What would you think about some smaller roses around the base rather than on the side. Perhaps that wouldn't give the feeling of too much roses but add a touch of the other color to the bottom tier if that's what you want. I tend at times to overkill on some detail trying to get it just perfect and then want to kick myself afterwards. Usually it isn't anything anyone else would notice and I have to pactically bite my tongue to keep from mentioning it to someone. Your work looks great! Keep it up and thanks for sharing the experience. When is your wedding, and are you making your own cake?
"Life's tough, pilgrim. It's even tougher if you're stupid!" John Wayne
Reply
"Life's tough, pilgrim. It's even tougher if you're stupid!" John Wayne
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post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Dear TCTurtleShell,

To answer your question -
Quote:
Quote:

What do you have underneath the bottom of the bottom cake? Is that ruffles with icing or fondant or is that a plastic board? I think it's a plastic board but are not sure. It adds a very pretty touch! If it is a board would you tell me what it's called? I would love to get one!



Under the foiled covered cake boards the cake is sitting on a raised cake stand made of milk glass. My mother got me this ages ago, and I think it is an antique. I had left it at my ex-roommate's place when I moved because it was too hard to pack and I'd forgotten to wrap it. After I started doing cake decorating I stopped by to get that and I'm so glad now that I did because it does look nice for displays! icon_smile.gif You may be able to find a nice cake plate on eBay or at an antique store or maybe at a yard sale. Sorry, I don't have an easier answer.

Best regards,
Angel Wendy
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Dear Veejaytx,

Quote:
Quote:

The cake looks delicious and I know your client was tickled with it!

Did you make chocolate icing from scratch (it looks really shiny) or did you add cocoa to bc?



Thank you! I didn't make this for a client, though. I'm very new to this and haven't yet figured out how to get any. The top layer did end up going to the neighbors, though, and they really liked it!

Yes, the chocolate icing was from scratch. I'm going to eventually post the recipe for it because it came out delicious! icon_wink.gif

~AngelWendy
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Several people mentioned I should try smaller roses on the sides. Ok, so how do you make smaller roses? I was only taught the ones with tip 104 with petals 3, 5, 7 on each layer. Do you use a different tip? Make fewer petals? What's the trick?

Thanks,
~AngelWendy
post #14 of 15
Going back and looking at the stats, maybe the cake layers need to be larger, especially the bottom one, rather than smaller roses, as someone else suggested. There are several size tips available to make roses, I have a 101 and 102 as well as the 104, and there are different size nails as well, that might help.

Please do give us your recipe, if it tastes as good as it looks, you have a winner! Janice

ps I love the cake plate too!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Janice,

You're probably right. It was just my first time doing a tiered cake and I knew that my partner and I would end up eating MOST of it, so I didn't want to make it too large. icon_smile.gif I'll eventually try larger ones with more layers per section, but that was fine for then, though possibly wrong for the amount or size of the roses. ::shrug:: Live and learn, right? icon_smile.gif

Gotta get to bed now! icon_smile.gif

~Wendy
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