Edible....not Edible

Decorating By bethangradford Updated 30 Sep 2009 , 9:34am by Melnick

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bethangradford Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 10:06am
post #1 of 15

I'm brand new to cake decorating and always assumed decorated and sculpted cakes and sugarpaste etc are all edible but looking into decorating iv'e found some cakes have wooden dowels in them, caracters have toothpicks or dry spagettii supporting them and the coloured dusts used to paint are inedible!
I'm just a bit confused! wouldn't people buy cakes assuming they could eat decorations seeing as they are made out of sugarpaste!?!? Do you tell the customers you can eat the birds but not the people!!
i don't understand why make decorations out of edible material and them put inedible materials in or on them. especially seeing tiered cakes with poles through the centres of them.
I'm probably being really silly! but i'd love some advice about all this!
x Embarassed

14 replies
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sugarandslice Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 10:29am
post #2 of 15

On a tiered cake you must use wooden dowels (or similar) for support otherwise the top cake will sink into the one below it. You remove them before or as you cut the cake.
As for gumpaste figures (and I don't have a lot of experience here!) they do sometimes need internal support, otherwise they won't hold up. As for eating them, I find gumpaste really unpalatable even though it's technically edible so I don't know why anyone would want to eat the figures, flowers etc
No need to be embarrassed. We all started out knowing nothing and this is definitely the best place to learn.

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MikeRowesHunny Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 11:40am
post #3 of 15

Agree with the PP, you MUST use supports in tiered cakes or you are headed for potential disaster. If my figures and so on have inedible things in them , I just tell the client that. Gumpaste is gross to eat anyway IMO, plus lots of folk like to remove the figures and have them as a keepsake.

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Cakechick123 Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 12:12pm
post #4 of 15

the dust and colours used for figurines should be edible. There is sucha huge variaty available I dont see why you should use inedible dusts.

As for the support, I prefer to use plastic/perspex ones, they are a lot more hygenic than wooden supports. If you do use wooden supports they should be food grade.
Dont know what you mean by a pole through a tiered cake icon_smile.gif

I make sugarsticks to use in my figurines if its for a birthday cake. Any leftover gumpaste I push through my claygun and leave them to dry for a few days. this makes excellent support. If I do a bride and groom figurine thats going to be kept I use toothpicks in, but do warn the client about them.

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TexasSugar Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 8:46pm
post #5 of 15

I use dry spaghetti in my figures because of someone does brave the hard fondant/gum paste then there is that edible part in them and not a hard piece of wood that could poke or hurt them. Yes spaghettie is hard but it won't hurt you to eat it. Usually if there is a figure on my cake it has been done enough ahead of time that it is rock hard, so they are gonna have a hard time getting to the 'support' I used anyway.

If you make a gumpaste flower and use wire in the petals than in my opinion that flower is no longer edible. So if that was the case I'd tell the person recieving the cake that they want to remove those parts ahead of time.

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beachcakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:10pm
post #6 of 15

I just tell people that part is not edible. GP is so hard, you'd break a tooth anyway! icon_smile.gif

Sometimes you just can't build a cake that is 100% edible... tiered cakes need support or they'll fall in on themselves. And (I believe) the only dusts that are FDA approved here at this point are the Wilton which do not perform all that well, IMO.

Prime example - I made a guitar cake this weekend http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1475298 but wanted the neck to be suspended in air like a real guitar with no visible supports. DH built me a form out of wood, since GP can't support itself over the length of a neck of a guitar.

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TheBlonde Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:43pm
post #7 of 15

I agree with everything people have written so far. You NEED supports in a tierred cake or it will collapse.

I did want to add that I had this little girl at my daughter's birthday and she LOVED my gumpaste flowers. She couldn't get enough of them! LOL

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catlharper Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:02pm
post #8 of 15

I really try hard to make sure that everything on my cakes is edible but for support you have to use dowels of some food grade safe variety and to put figures on the cake you have to have some sort of attachement that is also food safe such as coffee straws or toothpicks...you can't get around that. BUT I warn clients about removing the interior supports before cutting and that while technically edible the gumpaste or fondant figures wouldn't taste all that great to eat so they should be removed and not eaten. I don't use real ribbon or real flowers if I can help it but sometimes that is what the client wants to use so you just remind them that it all has to be removed before eating.


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Texas_Rose Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:08pm
post #9 of 15

The supports in a tiered cake are removed before serving. To me those don't even count when people are discussing whether or not everything on the cake is edible. The cake has to sit on a plate or board and that is obviously not edible. The supports are the same, to me...those upper tiers have got to sit on something.

For me, once a wire goes into a decoration (a flower), that flower is no longer edible. It's still worth making, because a well made gumpaste flower is prettier than a silk flower anyday, and won't wilt like a real flower. If a flower doesn't need wire, usually I will make it from fondant so it's not quite as hard as gumpaste. I make figures from marzipan sometimes when the cake is for my sisters, because I know they will eat everything, whether it's yummy or not...my sister has picked the wires out of gumpaste flowers so she could eat the flowers (gross!)

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prterrell Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:14pm
post #10 of 15

The luster dusts etc that are sold by cake decorating suppliers ARE edible, they're just not rated by the FDA.

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bethangradford Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:28pm
post #11 of 15

awesome thanks for this! so when a cake is tiered and the support dowels are put into the cake that's supporting another cake, is there like a piece of card or waxpaper between each cake layer too or are the cake touching??


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Texas_Rose Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm
post #12 of 15

There's a cardboard or foamcore circle under each tier. The supports are like table legs and the board is the table top.

The other advantage to having a board under each tier (other than the fact that you have to icon_biggrin.gif) is that it's much easier to cut and serve the cake.

The center dowel is used when you're transporting a cake that's already stacked. It has a sharpened end and gets hammered down into the bottom cake board, to help keep the whole thing from falling over when you turn corners.

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Rylan Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 7:22am
post #13 of 15

You can also get FDA approved dusts.

As for the support, you have to have support. You really have no choice but to use it. If you want gumpaste flowers, you will have to use wires (for most of them). You should always let them know what can be eaten and what can't.

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OregonCakeLady Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 8:11am
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by bethangradford

awesome thanks for this! so when a cake is tiered and the support dowels are put into the cake that's supporting another cake, is there like a piece of card or waxpaper between each cake layer too or are the cake touching??


ooh never just do wax paper in between! The cake on top of the other one will fall into itself. And yes you have to have supports in any tiered cake unless it's like a miniature or something. I forgot to put supports in once with a 6" and 4" and 2.5" tiered cake and even that sank into itself.

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Melnick Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 9:34am
post #15 of 15

I know you are supposed to use supports but I have found with the very dense mudcake recipe I use that I can just stack them on top of each other without and supports and the chocolate ganache also helps stop them from collapsing in on themselves but I just make cakes for friends and families as gifts. And they are also small - 7" and 4" sized tiers. If I end up going into business, I will use dowels just to be safe! icon_wink.gif

As for the figurines, the dry spaghetti is used so that it is edible however, like so many have said, figurines are usually rock hard and extremely difficult and tasteless to bite into. I just use fondant for my decorations at this point as gumpaste is too hard too hard to work with! The kids love picking off the decorations and eating them!

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