Saturday, April 28, 2012

Plain, but not boring

Most people want something a little fancy with their cakes, a little bit of glitter, or a particular type of decoration, or a favourite colour.  But this weekend, both customers wanted plain, unfussy and simple cakes.
One was a 40th birthday cake for a colleague and the order was helpfully specific - basically a Victoria Sponge with Happy 40th Birthday Jenni written on it.  It was also to feed a workplace, so I used my recipe that made a very tall cake.  It ended up at 8" round and 4" tall - and looked great for it.  I used Dr Oetker Cake Release on the walls of the tins (and lined the base with paper) to get a really smooth edge.  I used to line the edges too, but sometimes had issues with where the paper overlapped.  I now have a recipe for home-made cake release to try out (1 cup shortening (Trex in the UK), 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup flour or just equal amounts of each and then mix it up and paste it on with a pastry brush) but  need to use up this can first.
I bought some Patchwork Cutters alphabet and small number cutters, and had CMC/Tylo powder to add  to my sugarpaste so that it was more pliable and could be rolled thinner.  Wow, those cutters sure are difficult to use!!  I smeared the required shape with Trex to aid removal of the letter afterwards, but still barely managed much.  In the end I embossed, as I had done that technique successfully in the past. 
Once the cakes had rested, they were filled with lashings of jam and buttercream (they needed a lot I felt, as there was a lot of cake), crumb-coated then coated in luscious whipped buttercream.  A final sprinkling of glitter to ensure the embossed words were visible and the cake was ready to go.  Mr Becca took it in to work (the order was from someone there) and they even paid a bit extra for it, telling him to 'buy a treat for the kids'.  Awww, bless.
The other was a 67th birthday cake for a friend whose children never remembered to buy her a cake.  So my friend's mother (who is a close friend of the birthday girl) took it upon herself to do the honours.  In this case, they wanted a cake not too big, not too chocolatey and not heavily decorated - as the birthday girl is the sort of lady who has everything and is fussy.  So we decided on a cute 6" vanilla chocolate marble cake, with a simple J on it (the birthday girl's initial).
I decided not to use the same recipe as the cake above, in the main because I don't have 2 6" cake tins the exact same brand.  But also because they didn't want a big cake.  I made the cake mix all vanilla, then melted some milk chocolate and mixed that through half.  It wasn't as dark as if I'd used cocoa, but felt that the extra powder may affect the cooking time and texture.  The cake smelt great, and the girls really wanted to tuck in themselves!