Saturday, February 19, 2011

The headache of cake decorating

Ganaching is a pain in the arse. I still haven't got the hang of it. I've discovered a new technique where one places a board, the same size as the supporting cake board, on top of the ganache and then the sides are slowly filled with ganache. The theory is that the cake shrinks in cooking by about 0.5-1cm, therefore, giving you plenty of room for adding ganache to give it structural support, even sides and sharp edges.

However, when ganaching my 6" cake last weekend, I noticed that it was only a fraction smaller then my 6" board. How was I meant to get my ganache in there?!

Actually in this case I was using buttercream. I was experimenting with Belgian White Chocolate paste - similar to fondant but made mainly of chocolate which tastes delicious, but chocolate paste and chocolate ganache is definitely a chocolate overload!

I used Toby Garret's decorators buttercream recipe which is 250g butter, 250g copha, 750g icing sugar sifted, 1.5tbsp pavlova magic, 1/4 water. The copha means it is very stable in the heat and the pavlova magic lends a stiffness which is good for setting on the cake.

I've now learnt from asking on the Planet Cake forum that it is advisable to trim away the cake to get that 0.5cm gap between the cake and the board and I will do this for next time (compensating with an extra layer of cake and more height). But this time, as it was just for FH and I to enjoy, I whacked it on another board and went ahead with the icing.

I tried and tried to get the straight edges without using a board (as the 6" was too small) and in doing so developed a rather thick layer of buttercream icing. I also found it went inwards towards the top of the cake. But here is a picture of the iced cake before the chocolate paste - I am proud of this as it's the best I've done so far. Maybe a hot knife would have been good? But I have only done this with ganache and didn't want to ruin the buttercream.

The chocolate paste was very difficult to handle, most likely due to the heat, so I haven't attached a picture as it looked very dimpled but the combination of chocolate mud cake, butter cream and white chocolate paste was sensational!

Next time - more cake then icing! It's a cake with icing, not icing with a bit of cake!:-) But each attempt I'm getting better and better - so I will just have to keep practicing!

Cake anyone?

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you did a great job...looks pretty neat to me. Doing the hot knife thing on butter cream works really well. Just have to make sure it develops a crust 1st.