Beginner In Need Of A Few Tips From The Wise And Experienced People!

Decorating By yumkat Updated 10 Dec 2012 , 6:43am by yumkat

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yumkat Posted 6 Dec 2012 , 7:41pm
post #1 of 15

Hi everyone, the title says it all so here are my questions; apologies if they seem naive but I m new in cakes!

- I'm in need for a tasty yet that can be kept safely out of the fridge buttercream recipe. As I'm new in cake decorating I may need quite a while (few days?) between icing and finishing my fondant decorating...

would recipes with butter be ok??? half crisco half butter?

-If i understand well, fondant/sugarpaste is pretty much just to cover cakes then? if i want to make characters or use silicone molds or cutters do i need to make gumpaste ( sugarpaste + tylose but what ratio?) Am I better off buying already made gumpaste?

-about rolling fondant: cornstarch or icing sugar, what do you reckon works best?

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

14 replies
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jennajane Posted 7 Dec 2012 , 1:53am
post #2 of 15

Hi Yumkat,

I'm not claiming to be wise, but here are a few quick answers

- buttercream:  Wilton's American buttercream works well and can sit out for a long time.  I use half butter half veg shortening, because I think it gives a better texture and taste. It is nice as you can always just add more sugar to make it thicker or milk/cream to make it thinner.

-yes fondant is to cover cakes.  To make characters, something more like gumpaste is better.  It is easiest to buy it pre-made, to get a feel for what it is like to work with, then you can just add some tylose to your fondant and have virtually the same effect.  I also like to mix-in a little modelling chocolate to my fondant/gumpaste for characters, it is a bit more forgiving (ie you can hide a seam a lot easier).  The severed head cake in my gallery is completely covered in a fondant/modelling chocolate mix to allow me to sculpt for a longer period without the fondant drying out, but most characters I still make with gumpaste, so they will dry quicker and then I can add more details to them.  This is the same  stuff for making bows.

- I think I have heard cornstarch for gumpaste and PSfor fondant, now I just use PS for everything, but I sift it through a fine sieve when I use it.

Good luck,


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yumkat Posted 7 Dec 2012 , 8:43am
post #3 of 15

thank you Jennajane for taking the time to give me those tips!

your severed head gave me goosebump! well done, nice work!


in other words if there is some dairy (butter/milk/ cream) it's still ok to keep the iced cake at room temperature for a few days?

when you mean half butter and half vegetable shortening do you mean Crisco or some margarine?

What about something like ganache? I personaly would prefer to eat ganache than buttercream. But there is cream in it?!


I'm going to follow your advice and get some premade gumpaste to start with. Do you think it's ok for flowers too? or do I have to get flower paste for that? I haven't tried to make flowers yet.

I just don't want to waste money in getting the wrong thing because I have to order all my gear and ingredients in the UK or Netherlands -I'm in France-     There is a few french suppliers on the net but their prices are ridiculous and the service is terrible (in France the customer is always wrong ;)  )

Cake decorating the way you guys know it isn't common here; but I think it's going to become popular. I've seen a few tiered fondant wedding cakes at wedding recently, but people are still very attached to their traditionnal "piece montée" (something made of many choux filled with some custard with crispy caramel )


thank you heaps!

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mcaulir Posted 7 Dec 2012 , 9:59pm
post #4 of 15

I use fondant +tylose for all my figures and flowers, although I certainly don't claim to be an expert in that area. It's a lot cheaper than buying gumpaste if you're going for cheap, but doesn't model quite as well. How much tylose to add depends on how fast you want things to dry and how humid the weather is, so just play a bit. I mostly roll a ball, flatten it a bit and then sprinkle tylose over the area. I know that's not very accurate. Pre-made gumpaste is fine for flowers.


I use cornstarch for all my rolling - I find it smoother and less gritty than powdered sugar.


I've had ganache on my benchtop in 35degree heat this week, and it's fine a week later.

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dkltll Posted 7 Dec 2012 , 11:14pm
post #5 of 15

YumKat, NEVER use margarine! Real Butter & shortening (like Crisco (solid)- not oil). Margarine has too many other things in it & will often ruin your icing, cake, cookies, etc....

I have left my buttercream cakes out of the fridge (I don't like to eat cold cake), as long as the humidity is under control (65%-70% or lower) than you should not have any trouble with the BC melting or turning (curdling). If it's too humid or hot then it's advisable to keep it cool. Many times a cool dry dark place in your kitchen is good enough for a couple of days.


The Forum section has a lot of helpful tips & ideas. Just go to the "Search" at the top right side of the website & you should be able to find more information than you are looking for. Cake Central people are great folks & very helpful.


Good Luck on your new hobby. It can be frustrating but very fun & rewarding.

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yumkat Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 6:56am
post #6 of 15

ta for that!

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yumkat Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 6:57am
post #7 of 15

But am i wrong or it's not ok to keep fondant/sugarpaste in the fridge?

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mcaulir Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 8:27am
post #8 of 15

It's OK, but unecessary. It keeps pretty well at room temp wrapped up well, or frozen if you want to keep it longer. Fondant on cake in the fridge has its pros and cons, and a lot of people do it.

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leah_s Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 2:34pm
post #9 of 15

I roll fondant on a thin, thin, thin film of veg shortening on the counter.  I quit using cs or ps a decade ago.

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yumkat Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 5:17pm
post #10 of 15

thank you all for taking interest in my first steps! I thought of using veg shortening to roll but as I ve never heard of it I wasn't too keen to try and waste some fondant; so thanks leah_s! :)

I've got a CK plastic mold which is suitable for both chocolate and fondant/ gumpaste; I gave it a go and even after a stay in the freezer I found it hard to release the fondant without damaging the shape...Veg shortening could be my solution then? Am I right to think that any interesting chocolate mold could (which are way cheaper than silicone ones) could be then used that way? a plastic chocolate mold is about ten times cheaper than the silicone version!

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FullHouse Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 7:05pm
post #11 of 15

A silicone mold will give much better, sharper detail than the plastic chocolate mold. If you are just needing a basic shape, though, without a lot of details, the choc. mold could work.

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yumkat Posted 8 Dec 2012 , 7:16pm
post #12 of 15

you are right Fullhouse, I've noticed the difference in the details, it's true...

sometimes it's better to avoid shortcuts, may they be money/cost motivated!

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yumkat Posted 10 Dec 2012 , 6:06am
post #13 of 15

attention people!! party.gif

has anyone ever tried to use chopsticks instead instead of dowels? (I've got tons of them, from take aways...wooden ones) I feel really cheap asking but hey, you never know!

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mcaulir Posted 10 Dec 2012 , 6:13am
post #14 of 15

Not sure about chopsticks - they often have rounded ends, which is likely to cause slipping.


If you're aftre cheap - use regular drinking straws. Many people buy bigger straws, but most of my cakes have been done using regular drinking straws, and they work just fine.

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yumkat Posted 10 Dec 2012 , 6:43am
post #15 of 15

I've just had a look at them icon_lol.gif  I have 3 sorts!

some have a square end and some are square all the way through except the end tip (that I was planning to cut anyway)

and some are round all the way. They look thick enough; I may give it a go (at my own risk!) but will definitely get sturdy drinking straws; maybe when I get to do a five tiered wedding cake I'll get the proper stuff  ;)

ta for the tip!

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