Monthly Archives: March 2017

Discover the Wonder of Wedding Cakes

Cakes have always been associated with weddings, and the sharing of wedding cake remains as important today as it was centuries ago. Ancient Greeks made a mixture of grain and honey, which was formed into a circle, and baked. Once on the wedding table, it would be encircled with a ring of ivy, symbolising the unity of marriage.

An old custom in the British Isles, involved breaking a cake over the bride’s head as she entered her new home. And up until the 19th century some country areas still maintained this tradition by crumbling cakes over the head of the bride. The tradition of eating small cakes at weddings existed for centuries, until it gradually changed into one large cake, known as the ‘Bride Cake’. For hundreds of years, wedding cakes have traditionally been round – a circle denotes eternity. Round cakes are easier to bake and decorate, and in the past only round tins were available. And so, for many years it was the tradition to have one cake at the wedding. Even Queen Victoria, when she married in 1840, had a single cake – although it did measure nearly three metres (nine feet) in circumference. White icing, made from icing sugar and egg white, decorated the cake, and this has since become known as ‘royal icing‘.

But by the time the Queen’s eldest daughter married in 1858, royal wedding cakes had grown considerably. Many of the designs were based on Victorian architecture. Doors, pillars and arches (made from icing) formed part of design. Royal cakes are enormous, in keeping with the size of the rooms. When Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother married in 1923 her cake was nine feet high. However, the majority of brides at the beginning of the last century only had a round fruit cake on their wedding day. But gradually royal icing was introduced, and bakery exhibitions sprang up, giving confectioners scope for their creative ideas. Eventually these ideas filtered down into the humble bakery and brides were able to order a professionally made wedding cake. Alternatively, the bride’s mother would make the cake and, because many of the kitchen ranges were unreliable, the baker would, for a small fee, bake it.

Wooden moulds were often used to make various designs such as bells, cherubs, scrolls and doves, By pressing gum paste – similar to flower paste – into the moulds, cakes could be quickly decorated With the introduction of pillars, wedding cakes achieved height. No records exist of when pillars were first used, but a London church is said to have provided the inspiration for a tiered wedding cake. For around 40 years, square wedding cakes were particularly popular as they were easy to cut into equal portions. To save labour costs, most commercial wedding cakes in the 20th century were decorated with standard designs of shells, scrolls, loops and dots, then leaves made from stiff paper, and sprays of wax flowers would be attached.

Originally only the bride made the first cut in the wedding cake. But many found the icing too hard to pierce, so naturally the groom came to her aid, and through the simple act of placing his hand over hers, the ceremony of cutting the cake became the first obstacle they faced together in married life. Any bride married during or soon after World War II did not have a lot of choice in her wedding cake. Even when Queen Elizabeth II married in 1947 (two years after World War II) many items of food were still rationed, particularly those classed as luxury goods. In those post-war days,some brides even resorted to hiring a dummy wedding cake. Made from cardboard these ‘cakes’ looked realistic from a distance, but underneath the covering would be a forlorn fruit cake, lacking both marzipan and icing. Eventually the soft ‘ Australian Icing’ reached Britain, and transformed cake decorating. By the 1970s this ‘roll-out icing’ was being used to decorate wedding cakes. Gone were the angular edges and sharp corners of a royal iced cake, and curves, flowers and frills replaced hard lines.

With the arrival of a new type of icing came a yearning for a break from the traditional rich fruit cake. carrot, chocolate, sponge or cheesecake, are now all acceptable as wedding cakes.

And so we arrive at the 21st century and what do we find? Well, many of the current wedding cake designs have rolled back the years. In Roman times they had lots of small cakes at a wedding, and today one of the most popular designs is for miniature cakes Another of today’s designs is to have cakes stacked, one on top of another. This method of displaying cakes was used for royal wedding cakes back in the 1800s. And for our final conclusion we end with the apt quotation – ‘what goes around, comes around’.

How to Make a Novelty Cake

You can make a birthday or family anniversary into something memorable with a cake that is designed to catch the eye and appeal to the imagination. Novelty cakes come in all shapes and sizes and they are surprisingly simple to make.

It is great tun to make a cake that is out of the ordinary, when the occasion demands it. With a bit of imagination you can produce a wonderfully decorative centerpiece for the party table. Do remember that a simple decoration is often the most effective, or there is a danger that the results will be garish instead of entertaining.

Novelty cakes look their most attractive when served on a cake board. These are thick square or round boards covered with a hard wearing silver foil, available from large stationers and department stores. They are sold in a variety of sizes so choose one that matches your cake tin; the board should be about 2.5 cm [1 in] bigger all round than the decorated cake.

Alternative bases for decorated cakes are plain, clean wooden boards covered with silver foil or a cake stand or plate.

A fancy-shaped cake tin will automatically give you a decorative shape a prettily iced cake, which has been baked in a ring or fluted cake tin is elegant enough to serve as a dinner party dessert. Heart-shaped and numeral tins are available from most large stores. However, if you do not want the expense of a special tin, a knife can easily be used to produce some amazingly decorative cakes starting with a plain square or round shape.

Whichever cake tin you choose, remember that it is essential that it is correctly prepared. If the cake sticks when it is turned out, its appearance will be spoilt. Details on preparation of tins. You must, of course, also use the correct size tin for the amount of cake mix.

Simple designs can be cut from larger cakes baked in deep or sandwich tins. A rich sponge cake is the most suitable; this may be plain, colored or flavored as you wish. Select a suitable size for the number of servings you require.
Choose your design with regard to the cake tins you own. The simplest shape to cut from a round cake is a heart, but a star shape, horseshoe or butterfly is not difficult. The simplest shape to cut from a square is an octagon but you may want to try cutting out a number. First trace your design on to a thin sheet of cardboard. This should correspond exactly with the dimensions of the cake tin, so that the minimum amount of cake is cut away.

The cake must be completely cold before you start. Place it on a wooden board or work surface. You will need a medium-sized and a small sharp knife. If you are working with a cake that has peen baked in a deep tin, first cut it into layers. If you are using sandwich cakes place the layers side by side on the work surface or wooden board.

Put the cardboard template on top of each layer of cake and cut around it to form the cake shape. Hold the knife vertically at the side of the template and use a sawing motion to cut as this gives an even neat cake edge. The trimmings need not be wasted as they can be used for trifles and puddings (if they last that long).

A Sweet Passion Creating Edible Cakes Decorations

The cutting cake moment is one of the main attractions of a party whether we are talking about a birthday, a wedding or any other special occasion. “How was the cake?” is a question often addressed to the participants to a party, which points out the importance that the taste and the aspect of the cake plays in the success of the event.

Nowadays, everything you need to decorate a cake can be bought. But, it is by far a more rewarding and fulfilling experience to make with your own hands the decorations for the cake of a person you love. There are two main categories of cake decorations: the edible cake decorations and the non-edible ones. The difference between them is that while everybody admires the first ones and wants a part of them, the other ones, non-edible, are thrown away and often they don’t even get the attention of the guests, no matter how good looking they are.

Edible cake decorations capture the interest of everyone, especially if they are home made. It is somewhat amazing that these days, when there are so many interesting things to buy on the market to decorate the cakes, there are people who choose to make themselves funny shapes to put on cakes. For some people combining the sense of aesthetics and the cooking skills to decorate a cake is a hobby, while many choose to earn money from this skill. Either way, it can reach the level of art, but it takes skillfulness and persistence to get to that point.

The ABC of embellishing a cake with edible stuff is represented by rice paper, sugar for icing and moulds of different shapes. With a printout of some simple shapes like flowers, butterflies, hearts or trees and a rice paper anyone can create beautiful edible cake decorations with a minimum of effort. Just copy the shape on the rice paper and then cut it. After obtaining the shape, you can give it color and even use your imagination to draw different models on it, using food dyes. Another easy way to obtain tasty and funny cake decorations is to fill a mould with butter cream or icing sugar. This way, your cake can wear cute stuff like flowers, animals or even cartoon characters.

For proficient decorators, these methods may seem rudimentary. As they master the art of cutting fruits in various creative shapes and using chocolate or marzipan to add style to their cakes. Two other elements used by experienced chefs to create edible cake decorations are the royal icing made of meringue powder from which they obtain complex figures and laces and the rolled fondant icing similar to dough and pretty difficult to handle. This does not mean that only chefs can master the art of decorating cakes. There are numerous materials on Internet that can teach you how to make cakes that will delight the taste and sight of your guests. You can subscribe to communities where knowledge on this topic is shared or even attend a cooking class focused on decorating cakes. Everything you need to reach amazing results is at your hand: a drop of creativity, passion and a lot persistence.

Considerations for the Perfect Wedding Cake

Think of a wedding cake and the traditional white tiered fruitcake with a floral arrangement tends to spring to mind. This classic style remains popular even today but increasingly, brides and grooms are thinking outside the box and choosing from the many modern styles out there today.

Consider the style of your wedding day to help you decide on the design of your wedding cake. A grand stately home venue is just the place to see a large multi-tiered white cake, while a vintage themed event could be the ideal setting for a pretty arrangement of cupcakes.

The cupcake wedding cake is fast becoming one of the top choices in cakes for today’s brides. A tall tower of cupcakes, can be truly stunning and adaptable to all themes and tastes. Each guest can have their own individual cake – without the laborious task of cutting up the cake. Guests will just help themselves either after the meal or at the evening reception. Don’t forget to top your tower with a top tier cutting cake for that all important cake cutting tradition and photo opportunity.

Increasingly popular wedding themes have included modern vintage and ‘shabby chic’ designs. Cameos, pearls, lace patterns, Victoriana, soft pastel pinks, sage greens, light golds, and English county garden flowers both sugar and real are being used to adorn the cake. Piped royal icing work is coming back into fashion more and more, with pearl beading work to border and decorate the cake or lace patterns inspired by the brides dress are being used on the cake to combine the classic styles of vintage and modern. Think about using a range of different vintage props such as pretty bunting or birdcages to give your wedding an eclectic and individual feel, if you are planning on choosing a vintage theme.

Make sure the cake makers on your shortlist specialise in the type of wedding cake you’re looking for, research this important factor even before you even consider making a booking. Someone who makes a croquembouche tower or chocolate wedding cake, may not have the right skills to create a novelty style cake. Of course equally important is the flavour, texture and taste – make sure to have a taste along with seeing photographs of their work. Alway ask advice, a good wedding cake designer will be able to take inspiration from your ideas and the style of your wedding to come up with a sketch for your design.

Many of the reception photos will take place in and around the wedding cake. For photos, a white or light coloured wedding cake may stand out better on with a darker background vs. a white painted wall. If there is a window behind the cake, the lighting for the photos may need to be adjusted. Also watch for unattractive elements that may be in the background of your photos such as a radiator, pipes, electric cords, toilets, fire exit signs, and other doors, etc. Generally, take a look at your reception venue in advance to find the ideal place to set up the cake table.

Perfect Cake Decorating Made Easy!

Designing your cake is both a fun and creative process. There are so many different types of cake decorations and ways you can make your cake look absolutely stunning and here we’ll touch on a few of these methods. The first thing you’ll want to do is draw a little diagram of what you want the finished product to look like. Like any work of art, you need to know what you want the finished product to look like before you start. Once you have the design of your ideal cake drawn out on paper, it is time to have a look at the most effective and popular cake decorating ideas.

Chocolate Curls & Caraque

Making chocolate curls is very very easy…and they make a great addition to any chocoholics’ dream chocolate mud cake! First you will need a flat board (a glass cutting board would do fine) and tape some baking paper onto it. Smooth over a thin layer of chocolate onto the baking paper and wait for it to cool until the glossy sheen goes away. Then take a metal spatula/scraper and push down and scrape forwards and the chocolate will roll up itself into rolls.

So easy, the only trick now it to make sure you don’t eat them all before you’re done.

Chocolate Leaves

These look fantastic and go very well with any floral cake designs and you could even use them on cupcakes and many other desserts as well. To start, you’ll need to select a real leaf to use. Now the leaves won’t end up in the final product but they are used as a mould for the chocolate to set around. Make sure you’re careful with your leaf choices and do some research on the safest leaves to use as some are toxic. As a general rule, avoid leaves which have a white juice inside and any ‘hairy’ leaves also. Some suggestions are citrus, ivy, blackberry and rose leaves.

Next, melt some solid milk chocolate or chocolate chips until it is thick and runny. Then you’ll want to grab your leaf (make sure you’ve lightly washed and rinsed them first) and using a blunt knife spread the melted chocolate on the back of the leaf. Spread the chocolate as close to the edge of the leaf as possible without letting the chocolate spill over the side of the leaf, otherwise it makes the leaf hard to remove from the chocolate later on. Once you have coated all your leaves, place them on a tray with baking paper and put them in the fridge or freezer to cool down and set.

Once they have set, make sure you’re hands are cool and then you’ll want to peel the leaf from the chocolate mould. Be sure to remove all traces of the leaf and your hands should be cold so they don’t melt the chocolate while you’re peeling the leaf off.

And that’s it.

Artificial Flowers

Quite common among decorative cakes are the artificial flowers. They are often made with butter cream frosting and can be made in a variety of different styles and colours limited only by your imagination and level of skill. The good news is these are cheap to make and well practise makes perfect, especially in this case. You will need a spatula, rose nail and a piping bag with a rose tip. These are all things you can order online or at your local cooking and home wares retailer. All you need to do is put a blob of frosting in the middle of the rose nail as the base for the flower. The add petals on the side as needed, depending on how big you want the flower to be. These very quickly become very easy to make and fun too!

Themed Designs

Themed cake designs are a wonderful way to make an impression amongst your friends and family. They are special because they suit the occasion like no other cake can, because they were created for and only for that occasion. Often with themed cake designs you won’t need too many bells and whistles because the theme itself can almost always be enough of a decoration.

When you choose a cake design you are limited only by your imagination and the more cakes you make, the more skills you will learn to make more adventurous cake designs.