LiVe LiKe ThErE's ToMoRrOw,LaUgH LIKe YoU dId WhEn YoU wErE LiTtLe,LoVe LiKe YoU'vE nEvEr BeEn HuRt.
30 gennaio 2013
Recipes & Tips - What is the best cake for cake sculpture?
What is the best cake for cake sculpture? A
firm but moist cake is recommended. If you prefer to use a softer
recipe then it would be fine but you’d need to use internal support so
the weight of the cake, filling and covering doesn’t compress down
causing the cake to collapse. Even with a firm cake for sculpture I
often still use internal supports like food-safe wooden or plastic
I recommend any dense cake like banana cake or chocolate cake
(Devil’s Chocolate Cake is the main one I use and is featured in some of
my titles) as these are usually very rich but with a dense texture,
perfect for sculpture as they’re not too crumbly.
Here’s a basic firm but moist butter sponge recipe to try. Keep your
oven low and if it browns too quickly and cracks badly at the crust
then your oven temperature may not be true. Also turn down a degree or
two if you have fan assisted oven.
To settle the crust, allowing the cake to bake perfectly evenly on
top, cover the top of the tin with a metal baking sheet which rests on
the top edge of the tin. This also ensures the cake keeps moist during
12oz unsalted butter, softened 12oz caster (superfine) sugar 6 large eggs 14oz self-raising flour, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 3 tablespoons Buttermilk (optional)
Preheat the oven to 150°C/325°F/Gas 3, then grease and line the
bakeware. The recipe amount above is suitable for a 10in round cake.
Sift the self-raising flour into a bowl.
Soften the butter and put in the food mixer or large mixing bowl with
the caster/superfine sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and
Add the eggs to the mixture, one at a time with a spoonful of the
flour, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla
essence/flavouring and buttermilk (optional).
Using a spatula or large spoon, fold the remaining flour into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the bakeware, leveling the surface.
Bake in the centre of the oven until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the bakeware for five minutes, then turn out onto a
wire rack and leave to cool completely. When cold, store in an airtight
container or double wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) for at least eight
hours, allowing the texture to settle before use. What cake filling and crumb coat is best to use? Cakes
require a filling when layered and a crumb coat which is the spread
over the surface of the actual cake so the sugarpaste sticks to it. You
can use many different fillings, i.e., Chocolate Ganache, English
buttercream, Swiss Meringue buttercream or even just a plain jam. Be
careful as some are more perishable than others and never use fresh
cream unless you leave yourself no more than one hour to decorate your
cake and work in a cool environment. For intricate sculptures I prefer
to use Chocolate Ganache as this sets firmly giving the structure good
750g couverture chocolate 450-750ml fresh whipping cream (the less cream the firmer the Ganache will set)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water (or a bain-marie) to 40C (105F)
Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 2-3
minutes. Allow the cream to cool slightly and then whisk the cream into
the melted chocolate until combined.
Allow the Ganache to cool, then transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within one month. What is sugarpaste? Sugarpaste
is as the name suggests, a sugar (fondant) that has been processed into
a paste so can be used as a rolled covering, so another name for it is
rolled fondant. Can I make my own sugarpaste? Yes
of course, it’s relatively easy but time consuming and I would say now
with the many different brands of commercial pastes available where many
have perfected the recipe so it’s very stable to use, I would rather
purchase than make myself. If you’d like to try or find it difficult to
find in your country, here’s a recipe:
Makes 625g (1 1/4lb)
1 egg white made up from dried egg albumen (see recipe on pack) 2 tablespoons liquid glucose 625g (1 1/4lb/4 1/2 cups) icing sugar A little white vegetable fat/shortening if required A pinch of CMC or Gum Tragacanth if required
Put the egg white and liquid glucose into a bowl, using a warm spoon for the liquid glucose.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl, adding a little at a time and stirring until the mixture thickens.
Turn out onto a work surface dusted liberally with icing sugar and
knead the paste until soft, smooth and pliable. If the paste is a
little dry and cracked, fold in a little vegetable fat and knead again.
If the paste is very soft and sticky, add a little more icing sugar or
to stabilise further a pinch of CMC or Gum Tragacanth.
Put immediately into a polythene bag and store in an airtight
container. Keep cool room temperature, or can refrigerate. Bring back
to room temperature and knead thoroughly before use.
Can be frozen for up to 3 months. How do I use sugarpaste? Make
sure no matter what brand you have that you knead until the paste is
soft and pliable and almost sticky. Don’t take too long doing this as
it can start to dry out and I don’t use any icing (powdered) sugar
whilst I knead as when incorporated into the paste can dry it out and
cracks may appear.
When rolling out it depends on the brand, some need loads of icing
(powdered) sugar sprinkled on the work surface whilst others need only a
little and some work better just with a little white vegetable fat
spread over the work surface prior to rolling out. I tend to use icing
sugar and rub a little into the top of well kneaded paste just before
rolling out. When rolling out keep moving it around otherwise it can
stick underneath. Roll to a thickness of between 2-4mm depending on how
stretchy the brand of sugarpaste is. The thicker the covering the
easier it is to gain a smooth surface but some people prefer a thinner
covering. How do I gain a smooth surface on sugarpaste? You
need to ensure your covering is as neat as possible. I smooth out
dimples and imperfections with a professional cake smoother but if you
haven’t one of these then a thick piece of food-safe card will suffice.
For top edges and hard to reach areas you can make your own cake
smoother by rolling a small ball of sugarpaste, dust with icing sugar
and flatten the bottom. Now place on the sugarpaste surface and rub
gently back and forth, it works brilliantly! If you don’t like sticky
fingers though you can pop this into a thin polythene bag and it still
works fine, plus your hands stay clean. How do I colour sugarpaste? I
recommend you colour sugarpaste with paste colours which are a thick
paste or gel based so when incorporated they don’t change the
consistency. I usually colour a small ball deeply with chosen colour
and then knead this into the quantity required. Be careful when adding
colour as it’s very easy to add too much resulting in a colour that is
too deep. Paste usually dries a shade darker too so take care when
Some sugarpastes seem to take ages before the colour disperses, again
that depends on the brand as some are more stretchy than others making
it harder to knead. Can I model with sugarpaste alone? Simple
models are fine but as it’s formulated as a covering paste it is
usually too soft so I recommend the addition of a thickener like CMC
(Carboxymethylcellulose) which is a synthetic substitute to Gum
Tragacanth, both gums that thicken the paste making it firmer to use,
making it into a modelling paste. CMC brand names include Debbie
Brown’s Magic Powder (CMC), Tylose, Tylopur and Sugarcel to name some. What is modelling paste? Modelling
paste is a sugarpaste that has been thickened with a gum so it’s easier
to shape. There are many different brands that are ready made but I
usually make my own as it’s quick and simple:
450g (1lb) sugarpaste (ready to roll fondant) 1-2 level teaspoons CMC powder (depending on the firmness of your brand of sugarpaste)
Knead CMC into sugarpaste. The sugarpaste starts to thicken as soon
as CMC is incorporated so can be used immediately. More thickening will
happen gradually over a period of 24 hours. Amount of CMC can be
varied depending on firmness of sugarpaste and usage. Also dependent on
room temperature, atmospheric conditions, etc., so adjust accordingly.
Store airtight. How do I make an edible glue? Water
sticks many brands of sugarpaste and modelling paste together fine, but
others need something stronger. I usually use a mixture of CMC and
water, making a thick but still loose clear gel. Another simple glue is
a mixture of sugarpaste and water and for an extra strong glue I
recommend using royal icing. Here’s a simple CMC edible glue recipe for
1/4 teaspoon CMC powder 30ml (2 tbsp) boiled water, cooled until warm
powder with warm water and leave to stand until powder is fully
absorbed. The glue should be smooth and have a soft dropping
consistency. If the glue thickens after a few days, add a few drops
more water. Store airtight in the refrigerator and use within 1-2
To use, only brush a thin coat over the surface of the item you wish
to glue, leave for a few moments to become tacky, and then press in