Beginner Cakes: Part 1

It’s clear that I’m no “Ace of Cakes.”  I have a hard time icing a cake without leaving a trail of visible crumbs in my frosting and I can’t pipe rosettes to save my life.  So when I heard we would spend a week in baking class on cakes, and would need to produce a celebration cake for the final, I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels.  But I powered through and picked up some new cake skills here and there.

So far we’ve made three cakes: a yellow butter cake with royal icing, a devil’s food cake with chocolate mousse icing, and a Sacher torte.

Making the cake is the easy part.  Mix, pour, bake.  Decorating it takes patience and finesse and I’m admittedly lacking in those virtues.  The decoration on my yellow butter cake came out so so.  We had to write a message in chocolate on the cake and working with chocolate is messy business.  First, I made a cone out of parchment (“cornet” in French) and filled it with chocolate, cut the tip off, and wrote with the chocolate dripping through the bottom in a steady stream.  Of course my chocolate splattered out the wrong end and drenched my cake in a messy pool.  Not to worry, I popped it in the freezer, the chocolate hardened, and I chipped it off with the tip of my knife.  But writing in chocolate takes a steady hand, and I haven’t written in cursive since about the 4th grade.  Plus I’m left-handed so by definition my writing sucks.  The result: Bleh.  This cake went into the freezer.  I think it wants to be my son’s “smash cake” for his 1st birthday party.  What do you think?

Yellow butter cake finished

Cake No. 2 was the devil’s food with chocolate mousse icing.  I chose to do 4 delicious layers.  The mousse came out great, except I didn’t quite make enough of it.  You need extra frosting because the first layer should be the “crumb coat.”  If it gets crumby, no problem, because the second layer will be nice and smooth.  I didn’t have enough for the smooth layer.  Oh well.  I also didn’t practice hard enough with my flowers because they look dreadful.  I told my instructor I wasn’t going for “rosettes,” but more like avant-garde carnations.  I think she almost bought it.  This cake went into the freezer too (I’m nearly out of freezer space).  Cakes freeze well.  The cake told me it wants to be a mini-present for my nephew’s second birthday because he hasn’t seen that many cakes in his young life and won’t know the difference.

Devil's food cake decorated

Now the Sacher torte, that was a thing of beauty if I do say so myself.  I’ll explain what the heck a Sacher torte is in Part 2.

 

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