Thursday, May 6, 2010
My First Cake
Well...that's not technically correct. My first cake was a three layer cake for a friends bridal shower. It wasn't too bad except I made the cake from scratch and it was a little dry and over baked. After that I learned that most people who decorate cakes use box cakes. I used a box cake for this one and it was delicious. I practiced using the icing a few days before I made the cake. There is certainly a skill to it.
To start I bought a Wilton Course 1 Cake Decorating book, which I still have and reference every time I make a cake. The booklet shows (with pictures) how to fill a bag, ice a cake and many more things. I would love to take a cake decorating class someday. I've tried to make flowers and I just don't get it. If you want to start making cakes of your own I suggest a few invaluable tools: a icing knife, a cake leveler, a Cake Icer Tip, disposable bags, and a ring and coupler.
A cake leveler does just what it says. It levels your cake. When the cake is done cooking it has a "hump" from rising. You adust the wire on the leveler and then slide it across the top of the cake. Your family will love to eat the cake that gets skimmed off the top! You can also use the leveler to "torte" or cut the cake into layers to add a filling. The filling doesn't have to be complicated, it can simply be additional icing.
One of my favorite tools is a Cake Icer Tip. It's hard not to get crumbs from your cake in your icing. When this happens, it can ruin the look of a cake. Using the Cake Icer Tip is also faster. You'll be able to recognize this tip easily because it much bigger than any other tip.
Ring and Coupler
For icing I use a Class Buttercream Frosting recipe that came in the Wilton book that I bought. It's the icing they use at Wilton classes. I like it for many reasons: (1) Most people seem to like it (2) The ingredients are fairly simple and can be found at most craft stores (3) The finished cake doesn't need refrigerated. You can't use store-bought icing, it's not the right texture for decorating.
Class Buttercream Icing (Stiff Consistency)
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon Wilton Flavor (Vanilla, Almond or Butter)
2 tablespoons milk or water
1 lb. pure cane confectioners' sugar (approx. 4 cups)
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue Powder
A pink of salt (optional)
Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy. This make a stiff consistency. You will need to add two teaspoons of water for each cup of stiff consistency icing (two tablespoons of additional liquid for the full recipe).