Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lesson 8: The Perfect Final Cake and the Basketweave

I am the first to admit that everytime I make a cake, something goes wrong.  It isn't always a major catastrophe, but there is always at least one frustrating thing that happens.  But for some reason, when I made my final cake for this class

nothing bad happened.

Just wanted you to take that in for a moment.  Everything went smoothly!  Unheard of!

I made the flowers a few days before I made the cake.  My niece, Elisa, picked out the cake she wanted me to make - the button flower cake.  So I rolled out four different colors of fondant and used my button flower press and homemade gum glue to put them together.

By the time I was done, Elisa and Peter (my nephew) had arrived for dinner.  Of course they wanted to help Aunt Joy make the cake!  So they helped me to cut out the leaves.

This was a apparently a very exciting prospect.
The flowers and leaves went into a box to dry for the next couple of days.

Tuesday morning, I made a two layer 8inch double fudge chocolate cake.  Each half came out practically perfect.  The baking strips worked wonderfully and I barely had to cut any cake off the top.  I filled the cake with my infamous chocolate fudge with chocolate chips.  Nothing leaked out of the middle.  I frosted the cake in a beautiful yellow frosting - and seriously it was my best job frosting a cake ever.

Look at how smooth this is!!!!!

So it was too bad that I was covering the entire cake with the basketweave.  Hence the many pics of the undecorated cake - I had to have proof that the frosting job was really good.

The Basketweave

The basketweave is a beautiful style using buttercream (yay you can eat it!) that I have always loved.  It is also really good for covering a bad icing job.
How the basketweave is supposed to look
(with a shell border)
 I tried to do it once on a two tier cake.  It was a little unusual because the basket weave I tried was two-toned.  Usually I think it is best to do it all one color.

I got the idea for this cake from one of my cake books.

The chocolate leaves on the top are really cool though!
Let me tell you, learning this technique just by reading the directions is really complicated.  My first effort wasn't too bad - and it doesn't help that my cakes were lopsided and different sizes.  Makes it hard to look uniform.

Basketweave is SO much easier when you actually see someone do it first.  But it takes a long time and a lot of patience.  It's also a good idea to practice before actually putting it on the cake.

You have to make sure you have the right consistency of icing.  Two of the women in my class made their buttercream frosting without trans fat - for various reasons.  Unfortunately, without the fat, the frosting just doesn't work correctly.  Their basketweave literally fell off the side of their cakes.  There is nothing more depressing than finishing 1/4 of your basketweave only to see it tumble like the walls of Jericho.  Very discouraging.

But when the icing sticks, it looks very nice.  Here's how mine turned out:


It looks different than the example above because I used a different tip.
Either one works.

I thought about doing the shell border, but I decided against it.

Next I had to add the fondant flowers and leaves.  I wasn't sure how good it was going to look - I confess I had my doubts.  But I think it came out really well.

I took the cake to my good friends the Petrys. The kids were very excited. 
Ready to eat the cake!
Their mother took a bazillion pictures and was texting them to all of her family members to give them dessert envy.  She put it on a nice elevated cake plate (I may need to invest in one of those) and it looked very professional. 

So, according to the Petrys - the cake tasted great!  The kids each ate a fondant flower - I'm not a fan but they think it tastes good.

Stephen wanted the pink flower.
This is the first cake that I've made that I really feel looks like it could have been made in a bakery.  I'm very proud of this one.  I have learned a good many things from these classes.  Now I just need a reason to make some classy cakes!

And that's the end of my cake classes . . . . . for now.  


Qtip the Sixth said...

Great job, Joy! Your basket-weave was beautiful and the flowers were a lovely garden on top of the yellow basket. I hope this doesn't mean the end of the blog even though the classes are over. I would miss it.

The Joys of Caking said...

As long as people keep asking for cakes, I'll keep blogging!