Iam new to cake decoration, and i started getting orders from friends and relatives who loved my designs, i have a list of questions to ask from the last 2 cakes i did;
(1) ready cake mix: to use or not ? I have used it for a fondant cake but i noticed that the cake doesnt hold its shape and being oblate from down edges.
(2) is there an equation for the ratio between the cake wieght and the top decorations wieght ?
(3) when covering a cake with fondant, i always roll it bigger than the cake size (telling myself bieng bigger much better than smaller!) but when i roll it over the cake i have this folds all round the cake that i have to go and flatten it one by one and of course i never get a clean look at the end. Would you advice how to avoid that ?
(4) i have used once the packaged betty crocker frosting under fondant, but it melts, really become so soft under fondant, melt and escape from the down edges. Is it a NO GO at all or did i need to do certain techniques with it ?
(5) can i crumb the cake with whipped cream, double layers, and decorate with butter cream ? Would the butter cream decorations hold itself or it will slide ?
(6) for customers who LOVE whipped cream filling and frosting, but asking for designs that should be fondant...can i make a whipped cream filling, butter cream cruming and fondant cover ? And for that cake how should i store it and for how many days it stays good ?
(7) roughly for how many days can a butter cream fondant cake be stored in a room temperature of 25C and can be safely edible ? (I have been asked this from my customers and i was saying 2 days).
(can i make a good amount of butter cream and store in the freezer ?
(9) last question (i promise) since i started to get orders i dont know how to charge my customers, i dont know shall i calculate the cake materials cost only or also a part of the fixed costs of the tools should be included? Please give me an idea about the charges is it per kg, design...etc and how much in £ or $.
Thanks you all in advance for your help and response, please include the question no. When replying...thanks again.
Hi...Sorry this is not in order, but hope some of these tips will help you.
You can use "box cake mix" and it should hold the fondant shape with no problem. Bake the cake let it cool a little bit and wrap in plastic wrap refrigerate (for a day) or freeze; let the cake settle. Try rolling the fondant thinner 1/8 to 1/4 inch. There are a number of video's on youtube that can show you how to roll out the fondant onto a cake or there might be a "how to" on this board.
For a fondant cake I don't use whip cream or Betty Crocker frosting as a crumb coat. I use Swiss Meringue or you can use a buttercream; combo of confectionary sugar (10 X) or icing sugar, butter, shortening, milk, many recipes of which you can get off the net. When crumb coating a cake apply a thin layer ( just enough to make the fondant stick to the cake) refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes, then apply the fondant. For a filling I use Swiss Meringue mixed with fruit or jam. You will find that whip cream filling does not hold up well to fondant cakes.
Buttercream can be frozen up to a month in advance. Cakes wrapped well with plastic wrap, up to 2 months.
Charging for cakes is a tough one....depending on where you live, cost of ingredients and your labor to put it together. My advice is to start with a basic price for your buttercream cakes (which are a little cheaper to make) and a starting price for the fondant cakes plus additional for decorations, creativity and your time to make them.
Many of the cake questions you have can be answered from books from the library/or purchased, instructor classes, video's and a cake club.
Thanks for reply it was really helpfull !
Now i can make butter cream and cakes in advance and freeze it, i think i had this cake flattening problem because i refrigerated the cake for couple of hours thats it. I didnt hear about swiss meringue before (coz im a biggener) but i will look up for a recipe and try it.
Yes you're right i should invest in a basic cake decoration book to help, however the ladies expeience here worth hundreds of books !
I live in dubai and here they charge per kgs, 30-50 $ per kg in the normal bakeries, 50$ and up for the prestegious ones. But i dunno offering homemade bakes should be cheaper or more expensive ?!
Here is a recipe I started out with for Meringue Buttercream
Note: You will need a candy thermometer and a heavy duty mixer.
1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of water
5 large egg whites
A pinch of cream of tarter
1 pound of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or an extract of your choice
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Boil until the syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
2. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on low until egg whites are foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat on medium high until stiff but not dry.
3. With the mixer running, carefully pour syrup into the egg whites in a steady (slow) stream and beat on high speed until stream is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat the butter piece by piece. Add the extract and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Please note that if the frosting looks curdled at any point, keep on beating and it will return to a smooth buttercream.
Note: This buttercream will keep in the refrigerator for a week and frozen for a month.
Defrost buttercream in refrigerator and re-beat.
Here are "some" excellent books that can help you;
Colette's Cakes, by Colette Peters.....instructional and beautiful designs.
The Well Decorated Cake, by Toba Garrett......great instructional book.
Cake Chic, by Peggy Porschen.....beautiful designs.....advanced instructional.
There is always great tutorials on this board that also can be a big help too.
You're amazing !
thanks for the recipe, I have to try it mainly because it has 1 1/4 cups sugar means it wouldn't be too sweet. will give you and update soon.
Thanks for the books recommendations !
Hi again Nora,
The icing is not too sweet, it is used a lot in french pastry.....delicious! Make sure you use granulated sugar to make the recipe, icing sugar (confectionery sugar, 10 X sugar) will not work.
I forgot to mention that the recipe makes 3 cups.
Thanks merry for the addition, do you know how many cups a 9" cake would take if 2 layers inside filled and covered ?
Regarding the buttercream amount; 3 cups works well for me on an fondant 8 inch cake. When in doubt make the recipe twice and freeze the leftover buttercream for another cake.
Thanks merry will try it very soon
The far right column gives icing and filling amounts for different size cakes. http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm
Sorry to Hi Jak
Question for Merry. If i was to use your frosting recipe, can i leave the cake out or does it have to be refrigerated after icing? If i can leave it out - for how many days, pls. thanks
Swiss Meringue buttercream will not need to be refrigerated because it is a cooked buttercream, however it will only hold up to 75 degrees F. If serving outside in very warm weather keep cake inside and bring out when ready to serve for guests. Another tip is to keep the cake out of direct sunlight (shade area) if it is warmer than 75 degrees F. outside.
Cake Central has an American Buttercream Frosting recipe posted under Newest Recipes......looks good.