Virgin Cake Decorator!!

Decorating By weavle Updated 23 Jun 2010 , 5:39pm by yummy

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weavle Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 12:14am
post #1 of 7

Hello everyone,

I have decided to bake my dad a birthday cake, and i think my ambition might be a bit to high for a first time decorator.

I would love to make a scuba diving cake, all yellow with a small blue pool of water. A bucket and sand castle, palm tree and some mini scuba people!!

I have a good idea of what i would like it to look like, but have no idea of the best ingredients or even how to minipulate them. can anyone help please


6 replies
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yummy Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 12:46am
post #3 of 7

Welcome to CC weavle. Be more specific in your questions. We'll be able to give you better answers and advice based on them. When you find a cake you like from the galleries SugarFrosted suggested, you can pm the decorator and ask how to do the things you like from the cake.

In the how do I forum, there's a sticky with a bunch of tutorials for just about anything you want to learn how to make. HTH

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weavle Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 1:22am
post #4 of 7

Iv just had a look of those cakes, they are fantastic!

Ok so i have been reading about icing for starters. I think i like the all blue sea effect cakes. its the smooth looking icing i like best. i think this is Fondant or Royal? but which is best to model with and ice with.. Fondant or Royal?

I will be buying all the icing ready made, im not quite ready to attempt making it! will it taste ok, or i have read somewhere that adding vanilla essence helps the taste?

If i make a model diver how do i actually stick it to the cake when done? people seem to have little models held onto the side how is this done?

Also the cake itself, i thought of doing either a lemon drizzle or a victoria sponge, my dads preferences, is there any reason why these would not work when iced? i didnt no whether i would need a firmer cake to play with.

also i like the gel icing effect for water, does this remain runny when used or is it quite hard setting, i have not seen anyone add it to the side of a cake which makes me think this can't be done?


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yummy Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 2:28pm
post #5 of 7

Okay, let's see where I can help you.

For modeling figures use 50% gumpaste and 50% fondant. You could use all gumpaste but it dries fast so adding half fondant will give you time to work. You could also use modeling chocolate but I know anything about it so I can't help there. There's a sticky in the how do I forum for tutorials on everything you want to learn how to make. There's also a thread that say Hundreds of free tutorials., but it could be the same as the sticky, I can't remember.

Do you have a stand mixer? If you do you should really try making your own buttercream. It's really not hard at all if you follow the recipe and directions. If you haven't mastered fondant yet I wouldn't attempt it on this cake; besides I think fondant is too heavy for a sponge cake. You can get your bc smooth like fondant but it has to be a crusting bc. If it's not then there are techniques to get your icing smooth. Everyone here frowns on canned icing (don't know if that is what you were planning on using.

Click on the recipe tab and in the search box type in "Indydebi's crisco buttercream'. This recipe is fantastic! Check out Sugarshacks buttercream also it's fantastic too! Her method prevents you from getting air bubbles and it's super smooth and creamy. I use Indydebi's recipe and Sugarshacks method (when I finally get around to buying hi- ratio shortenng and the wedding bouquet flavoring, I'll have the best of both worlds) You don't have to use crisco for Indy's recipe. I use and others use store brand shortening because they still contain trans fat and crisco used to have it but now it doesn't. Both of these recipes crusts.

Here's what I do; I have a 4.5 quart kitchenaid mixer so I make 2 1/2 of Indydebi's recipe so that I can have a full bowl with paddle submerged in the icing. Then I incorporate the ingredients the sugarshack way. Find her BC tips in the cake decorating forum it's there as a sticky. Oh wait, it might be in the how do I forum. Check out her bc video on here she shows her technique on making icing.

Making figures, people put toothpicks or skewers in the bottom before completely hardened and stick in the top of the cake. I don't know what kind of figures for the sides your talking about; it could be 3-d, a transfer or colorflow. Can you post a picture of what your talking about?

I've never made a cake that requires water in the design but I really don't think the gel gets hard but it's not runny either ( this is what bakeries use to write on cakes, you know it's mostly always in either red or blue, it's called piping gel). Click on the galleries tab and then click search in the dark purple strip under the tabs, in the search box type in waterfall cakes and you'll see a lot of tiered cakes with piping gel waterfalls on sides of cakes.

I hope this helps you, good luck!


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weavle Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 2:56pm
post #6 of 7

wow thanks, this is very helpful, ok so the models for the sides would be 3d, it will be a little scuba diver man, and the other shapes will just be flat starfish an fish patterns.

I really really wanted to use fondant to cover the cake, it just has such a lovely finish to it and the colours are great, i was under the impression that you still had to 'frost' the cake before putting fondant on, does frost mean buttercream? (if so i shall use your suggested recipe) an do you have any suggestions for a more sturdy cake recipe in this case?

Im not sure what you mean about canned icing. I was going to buy the ready to roll out white fondant and knead colours into it, i have been advised to buy colour pastes or powder instead of the liquid forms, and i have read that it is easier to just buy the ready made black fondant for any black modelling you need(divers) rather than trying to colour white into true black.

I think with all your help i could have a fair crack at icing and designing models, its just knowing what cake to use and how best to manipulate the inredients.

Thanks so much for helping me


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yummy Posted 23 Jun 2010 , 5:39pm
post #7 of 7

Ok, now I get it, in your first post you said you were going to buy ready made icing. Now I know you meant fondant. Yes, buy the black fondant as well as red (when you need it) those are the two that everyone buys instead of trying to make them. Americolor and Chefmaster gel colors are highly recommended here on cc. Magic line makes the best square pans (straight sharp corners).

A lot of members here use the WASC (white almond sour cream cake) I don't know if you're baking from scratch or using a box mix but the wasc is a box mix doctored to be more like scratch. Go to the Cake ideas forum and look for the thread called "Help Gourmet flavors". It's a thread with over 333 pages of creative cake flavors, tips and ideas. You are about to lose your mind. Macsmom started this awesome thread and if you click on Gourmet flavors link in her signature there's fabulous recipes there including lemon. I highly suggest you get comfortable and read this thread as well as the sugarshack bc tip thread I mentioned earlier; you won't regret it.

If you use fondant you need to cover the cake first with bc and get it as smooth as possible because any imperfections will show through the fondant. Apply fondant immediately after smoothing so that it will stick. If it crusts before the fondant is applied, you'll have to put apricot glaze (some use piping gel) on the bc with a pastry brush or spray water on it with a fine mist water bottle to make the fondant stick.

Now everyone is using ganache under there fondant instead of bc. The results are a smoother finish when using the hot spatula technique and sharper edges and the fondant has a super smooth finish. Use the same steps to stick fondant to ganache as above. Check out the thread in the cake decorating forum titled "Never using bc again under fondant" it's on the first or second page. There you'll see a few pictures of cakes with this method also check out (it might be planetcakes) all there cakes are done this way.

Very important tip: When filling your cakes, put a dam of bc around the edge to keep your runny fillings from seeping out. Crumb coat, let crust, wrap in plastic and let your cakes rest overnight or at least 6 hours (with some kind of weight like a text book on top) before applying fondant. Cakes settle and if you put your fondant on before it does your cake will have what we call (and despise) the buldge which you can see between the layers. Never put fondant on your cake if it's cold or frozen because as it's coming to room temperture, you'll get big air bubbles in your fondant (buldges and air bubbles are not cute on a finished cake). Read some of the cake disasters in that forum.

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