Dienstag, 8. Oktober 2013

Special cake to celebrate a wedding

I did it. I promised to prepare a cake for all colleagues to celebrate the wedding of one of them. Our dear colleague (the pretty one) married in Spain and we could not come to visit.
We decorated her workspace and had a cake and coffee break together with her, after her return.

This is a 3-layered sponge cake, filled with vanilla buttercream, black currant jam, Creme de Cassis.

The sponge layers are so called Vienna Sponges. I covered the cake with a buttercream crumb crust and home made fondant. For decoration I created some fantasy gum paste flowers and a center piece with two pigeons modelled with fondant and gumpaste mix (50:50). The piece is also made from model paste and covered with coloured royal icing glaze.
All in all the cake feed 20 people. Note: I did not use any ready made fondant or butter cream or gum paste or icing. I simply whipped everything together from scratch. The reason: the budget was very low. We did not want to spend so much money on cake and office decoration, because we put a limit on our office piggy bank beforehand. For birthdays and such 15 Euro for a gift, for special occasions as in child birth, wedding, furneral 30 Euro max. So it was decided on a big cake  as a gift to share with all and the decoration all in all for 30 Euro.

1. Plain cake - the edges are still in need to be trimmed before crumb crusting. The scraps are good to prepare cake pops, but Husband ate all of them.

2. Crumb crust finished - as you can see, I used a turn table for cake decoration

3. Covered with Fondant and decorated with gum paste flowers, birds and center piece with best wishes.

I am not that good in writing using royal icing and a piping bag (laugh) but I like to model flowers and little figurines ( I did lots of pottery in my former life as a student in the Art club). Thanks to all the pink and flowers my husband calls me now my little cake fairy, how cute is this. It is so not me..

So here is a little "how to":

First plan ahead - it is a project.

1# day
Prepare the fondant. Fodant needs 24 h to get ready to use.
Basic Fondant:
800 g powder sugar + 100 g for kneading, rolling
10 g/ 1 tablespoon glycerine (99.5%, edible made from plants)
5 g / 1 teaspoon salt
180 ml golden caramel syrup better use glucose syrup but caramel syrup is cheaper and is available in every store. Syrup should not be runny but thick and slow running. I don't know what you can buy in other countries but for my cake this caramel syrup works best: Grafschafter Karamell. The fondant will not become snow white but ivory coloured.
1 bag powdered gelatin (9 g, enough to bind 500 ml liquid)
60 ml water
some white coconut fat for lightly greasing your hands and tools.

1 teaspoon citric acid for a better taste you may use some lemon oil flavor too.

Stir gelatin and let soak into water, afterwards heat it up in a pot or microwave (as usual)
Mix the liquid gelatin with glycerin, golden sirup and stir into 600 g powder sugar. Let this be done by a kitchen engine - a strong one, or you will ruin your machinery. This has to run until well combined. Afterwards knead the fondant for 10 minutes or more by hand while adding more powder sugar until well formed, glossy and slightly elastic. This is incredible sticky work! Plan to clean the kitchen right after. To prevent glueing your hands and everything else to the fondant wipe hands and bowls and workspace with a little fat.
Needless to say you and your workspace has to be spick and span. The fondant will catch every limp, each and every dust corn or hair.. Wear an apron and a cotton shirt, tye back the hair and no wooly sweaters or such nearby.
Put fondant formed into a ball into a plastic bag, seal, put this in an air-tied container and let it sit in the fridge until next day. For rolling out, the cold and firm fondant has to be knead again until smooth. Dust rolling pin and workspace with a little powder sugar and go for it. Keep on rolling, dust with powder sugar,  lift and move the plate each time after rolling so it will not be ableto glue to the board. Yes it is not easy to make a big plate of fondant, it is some kind of sport. Roll fondant around your rolling pin, lift it and cover the cake, beginning at the end of one side of the cake.

For flower gum paste:

1 egg white (40 ml)
220 g powder sugar
4 teaspoons Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) In Germany you buy CMC at the pharmacy or drugstore.
 It is the powdered glue to glue your 3rd teeth to your gum, absolutely hygienic and edible.
1 sprinkle salt

Whisk egg white with salt until soft peaks form, add sugar (leave some for kneading) and let run until glossy peaks form, add CMC and whip it again for a minute. Now knead it by hand (grease hands with coconut fat), form 4 balls and store each ball wrapped in cling film in an air-tied container. Store overnight.

This paste will dry up quickly. For to model flowers use only small amounts, cover your cuttings with cling film until done with modelling. Add food colouring as you wish but don't use liquid colours. Knead until the colour is well incorporated. Dust hands and workspace with small amounts of starch to prevent the sticking. It is glue...
With the right amount of dusting it is a perfectly smooth modelling paste. Roll out to paper thinness, cut flower shapes and model to your liking. I used some wooden pottery tools and a ball tool.
Work on soft and flexible surfaces. I used two different kinds of kitchen sponge mats. Worked out nicely no need to buy special mats (they sell flower paste kits, cutters, tools wire, silicon mats but I am not going to become a pastry chef so there is no need for special tools..). The flowers have to dry -I layered them on kitchen paper towels.
For modelling pigeons I used fondant and flowerpaste 50:50 knead until well combined, form birds, let dry.  I did not use bird molds (yes the sell all this too). Everything is done by hand: budget...

2# day
For sponge cake every sponge cake will do. I diceded on a sponge which will keep nicely fresh and flexible: Vienna style.
Basic cake batter: 6 eggs, 100 g sugar, 150 g flour, 1 tablespoon matcha tea, 30 g starch, 1 pinch salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 50 g butter.
Whisk eggs over a hot water bath until thickly creamy and warmed up. Add into a mixing bowl and whip in the sugar until soft peaks form. Add the sieved flours, spices and fold in. Add the warmed up and liquid butter and fold in.
Fill into a cake pan - I used a square pan. I made 1 1/2 of this amount of batter and baked one cake for two layers and 1 cake for single layer. 45 minutes, 25 minutes at 190 C.

Bake on parchment paper but don't use parchment paper at the rims. Cut cake out of the pan, flip it over on a rack, put a damp tea towel on top of the parchment paper. After 10 minutes remove paper. Cut the layers after a few hours of resting.

 Meanwhile prepare butter cream. I whipped up a very easy german type of butter cream, just milk, starch, sugar, salt and butter and vanilla essence. For 1 filling:
250 g butter
250 ml skimmed milk
1 tablespoon starch
5 tablespoons sugar.
1 pinch salt
a few drops vanilla essence
Heat up milk and sugar, salt, vanilla essence, stir starch into a little milk until runny and smooth, add to the boiling milk while whisking, stop heating, stir. Cover with cling film. The cling film should rest directly upon the surface of the sticky cream. Let cool down to room temperature, whisk soft butter until fluffy and creamy, whisk in the milk cream, spoon for spoon until doubled and super fluffy and dreamy creamy. Ready.

Spread jam (300 ml) on each layer but not on top of the third layer. Sprinkle a few spoons Creme de Cassis (black currant gin). Spread a little buttercream on top of the jam, cover with a layer. Do it again. Cover with a third layer (best to stack the layers using the caking pan).
Let the cake sit in the fridge until next day
This cake should be prepared one day before final decoration.

3# day
Prepare another round of butter cream 
Trim the edges of the cake, the top layer should be even.
Spread buttercream on top and cover the cake and the sides with a thin layer.
Store cake in fridge for a few hours.
Roll out the fondant and cover the cake, beginning at the top, afterwards move your hands down at the cake sides with a whiping move but only 2 -3 cm deep and no pressing firmly. Tug the fondant as in arranging a skirt. Your hands should follow down the sides of the cake for the next centimeters, whipe and tug until the fondant stays where it belongs going all around the cake. Use a cake shaper to smooth the fondant on top and sides as last finishing move - air bubbles in fondant should be pinchend with a needle. Cut off exess fondant at the bottom of the cake sides. Done.
Can be done a day before serving but cake has to be cooled.
At the day of serving glue decoration with royal icing. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge. The flowers will be ok as long as the air in the fridge is not too humid. The cake should be served rather quickly because no one likes runny buttercream. For a more stiff and firm buttercream there are different recipes available but we are not that fond of overwhelmingly sweet cakes as in the US. So decorate it quickly, keep it cooled until serving and eat it up.

Note: I did not fuzz about the cake bottom. The fondant was cut very clean and nicely with a damp chefs knife but I did not pipe a royal icing pearl boarder or such. I put the cake on a board made of folded thick card board, covered with a nice pink paper and a thick clear plastic wrap. Glued some flowers and a gift wrap too. The cake shall be cut on this board and afterwards the board can be tossed away.
I was very happy to get the chance to prepare such kind of cake because there are not much occasions where such a cake is in need. I wish I hade more young colleagues or more children. I have seen tons of videos on gum paste modelling before but actually never made any.

Fondant and gum paste flower recipes are taken from Sally's bunte Tortenwelt. Sally has a nice blog/webside and she shows the fondant preparation on Youtube (german language only)


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

YOU DID IT! I could easily swoon over home-made cakes, and yours is a great example!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

My colleagues swoon over home-made cakes too. They are huge fans of the british bake off http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013pqnm

Sissi hat gesagt…

Very impressive! I am amazed especially by the flowers (I seem to have very clumsy hands and no patience at all, so I would never dare trying such beauties).

muskratbyte hat gesagt…

Wow, this came out so incredibly amazing. It sounds like it was absolutely delicious... but I wouldn't want to cut into something so pretty!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Hi muskratbyte - the flowers and the birds can be kept for quite a long time (in a dry container) but for the rest... Anyway, they finished it quickly.