I am hoping someone can help me with a couple questions about the whimsical cake. I plan on making this one for my daughter's birthday this weekend.
Are the tiers of the cake all two layers filled with buttercream?
To make the best effect, do you always cut the top crooked and also take off the side of the cake? And, are the cakes first frozen or just in the fridge overnight before you start cutting away?
Has anyone tried to decorate in buttercream, or is fondant the best?
Thank you for your help!
Morning AngelaP..........I'll try to answer your questions. This really isn't as difficult as it may appear. The cakes should be two layers or more since each tier is lowered into the previous tier, you really need the height to get the affect. The filling does not have to be buttercream, it can be whatever you choose! The tops need to be crooked and by carving the sides on a slant, it just enhances the crooked look. Whenever you "sculpt" a cake, it it best if it is frozen, the firmness of a frozen cake makes it much easier to handle! Hope this helps.....be sure to post a picture of your cake! Good luck! Happy baking, Missey
Well all the ladies here have gave me a clear path on do's and don'ts. Thank you ladies!! To bake the night before stick them in the fridge before cutting, I always cut the top off. Somewhere here is shows how to ice a cake like a pro. As soon as I find I will send it yourway. Now about choice of icing, I must say Buttercream is my savior. It taste good, easy to decorate with and it takes color very well. I have yet to make a whimsical cake, but I hope these few tips will help. As far as filling, wrong gal here. I just learned some tips and will be filling alot more than I usually do. So I really can't help you there. In my opinion Fondant is very elegant and can be eye catching , but the taste and texture is not my kind of thing. Although I've heard alot of ladies talk about Faux fondant. I tried it and used wrong ingredients so my experience will not help you. I will keep that story to myself , don't want to scare you away!!
Hope I cleared a few things for you.
You got some great advice!
But like you were told, the best thing to do before you sculpt these cakes is to freeze them. I have done them both ways, filling them before torting and sculpting them or just freezing them beforehand. But a frozen cake is easier to handle, gets less crumbs when you start sculpting. After sculpting and filling, but prior to icing, I use a thinned down apricot glaze as my crumbcoat to ensure no crums in the icing. This is brushed on warm, with a pastry brush and used very sparingly.
You do not have to cut slanted pieces off the sides unless you want to - people do this both ways.
Actually the directions make more sense when you are actually doing the cake.
I believe the original cake was done with 4 inch single layer, which are next to impossible to come by now. This made it easier to cut the slanted top and the well and still have a good depth to work with. You have to think about it, but you are going to cut the top off of the top layer of each tier. Then you are going to flip it over to get the top to look slanted. You are going to ice in between so that this slanted top sticks. Then you put it into place. But then you are going to have to cut a well in this slanted top of each of the tiers, large enough to just fit the board cut to fit the cake that becomes the next higher tier. So to cut it the suggested sizes, you need to have cut a fairly large slanted piece off of each layer or there isn't enough depth to cut this well. The well is cut down so that it is level, because the cake you will be inserting needs to sit levelly inside.
You need to dowel the heck out of each supporting tier. If you are transporting two tiers or more attached, you also need a centre support dowel. If there is a way to transport the cakes unstacked, well this might well be safer.
Your cakes have to be of a firm nature, trust me on that one. The first one I made, I used a marble cake mix and added the pudding and the extra eggs and cut back the oil - as folks do to make a denser cake. Well, I watched the fondant covered cake sit on the table, and a crack appeared, in the middle layer. Fortunately I could take the cake apart and rescue the bottom tiers and still save the top to serve independantly.
So the problem was, this cake was not dense enough to support the weight of the fondant and the stacked design, and oh yes, this was even with a centre dowel. The cakes cracked where the dowels were, which tells you that the cake was not dense enough.
I was lucky because another cake decorator, Labrat, had this same thing happen to her and I was forewarned. That is why I watched the cake.
And personally, I would do the stiff buttercream dams, 1/4 inch in from the outer rim of all of the cakes and then I would fill with a fairly dense filling, like buttercream. I would not go with any kind of runny or loose filling, this will cause issues.
It most certainly can be done with buttercream instead of fondant. I ice the wells too, some folks don't. But you have to be careful to keep that icing in the well very level so that the next cake is sitting on a flat surface. If you like you can even star tip the icing into the well keeping the stars of uniform height. So you let the icing set, put a bit of icing sugar in and then place your next cake tier.
I would say that you must double board each upper tier and please make sure the whole cake is sitting on a good strong stand or 1/2 inch plywood, (no foamcore) or several layers of cardboard for this cake. You can only get away with 3 or 4 stuck together foil covered boards if these are really small cakes. It gets heavy and needs something with no give in it to support it. This is most especially true if you cover your cakes with fondant.
Now here is a little tip for you. Something I have discovered. After you have cut all of the tops off your cakes. made the wells and have them ready to ice the tops and sides, cover them with plastic wrap and ensure they are thawed out completely. I discovered that trying to ice them with buttercream while they are still cold or partially forzen, makes your buttercream set as you apply it. This is a real issue if you want to go for a smooth look to the icing. This is true with the icing I use, the half butter, half shortening and cream and milk recipe. It makes it near impossible to smooth well.
Hope that helps,
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes