This post is not really a review of such but more of a warning and a word of wisdom to those thinking of venturing into a career or simply trying their hand at what I can only describe as, layer, dribble, over the top, extravagant, boom boom bang out there cake decorating cake making.
I have dabbled in a bit of cake making in the past, a rather speedy looking Rory the racing car cake for the boys, strawberry layer cakes and a lime and mint mojito style cake for the missus for one of her many birthdays. The hightlight though must have been the attempt at my own wedding cakes, along with my sister we managed to produce a splendid spread of three different cakes, one chocolate, one lemon and the other strawberry all to the pleasure of the drooling guests.
Fast forward, a few grey hairs and Ted Danson wrinkles later and I am in that situation again. I had stumbled across the amazing Cakes by Cliff and from there realised there is a bit of a trend going on right now. All I needed was someone to experiment on. A holiday to Italy with a couple of friends answered my call. Josefin, the ever ‘up for a why not’ young lady was turning 40 and over a few bottles of vino I convinced her that I was the man for the job. The next morning she reminded me that it needed to be big enough for 60 people. (note to self, do not make decisions whilst drunk). Challenge on!
I must say I owe a great deal to Cliff for the inspiration for this cake. Whenever I start something new I find its a good idea to find something influential and something you think you can pull off. To start off with its important that you have a good amount of the correct equipment. During my years of collecting and receiving random useless kitchen utensils I managed to tick most of the boxes, however, one piece of vital equipment was missing, the rotating cake stand. This is one thing that if you really are serious about cake making, you can’t do without.
So being the resourceful man that I am I set about putting one together. The answer hit me whilst Andrea Brown and Goldtrix were Trippin in the background. I remembered that I had an old Sony record player in storage that I wasn’t using anymore. Boom! Sit back, press play and let me introduce the future of cake turntables…
I went with a manual turn to ice this cake although it’s nice to know that I have 33 and 45 rpm at my disposal if i’m ever in a rush,
So these layer cakes, at their most basic are layers of sponge cake, some kind of filling and then some kind of topping. The sponge cake and filling, no problem, we went with a lemon sponge and a lemon and pistachio butter cream. It’s the topping that can prove a little bit tricky, it’s basically a chocolate ganache, but you have to chill the cake and cool down the ganache to the correct temperature so that when they combine the ganache doesn’t dry too quickly resulting in what I can only describe as something looking not to dissimilar to the Ood from Dr Who.
Then comes the fun stuff, and this is where you can let you mind go bonkers, as from what I have found there really are no limits. But its very easy to overdo things, you of course want to produce something that is striking but obviously not something that looks like you have just faceplanted the back of a Ford Escort Mk3.
I wanted to remind people and give a clue to people as to what flavour the cake was so some dehydrated lemons, lemon curd, lemon meringue and some crushed pistachio nuts. And then finished off with some edible flowers from the garden. This ain’t no ‘splat and go’ though, you are dealing with a complete 360 canvas and not only that you also have the top to contend with, so treat it as you would yourself, preparing yourself for a night out at Roxies, you gotta look sharp and sexy from top to bottom, people are gonna be staring at your from all angles.
So that was that. My first attempt and one that I think I pulled off pretty well, and it wasn’t long enough before I had my second order. My wifes mums birthday, still in the zone I offered once again to delve into the world of mega cakes.
This time a more simple affair, first of all only one cake, simple flavours, fruits and more fruits with a bit of chocolate. This time I allowed my own mind to wander free and see where it would lead me. Also tried my hand at some chocolate sails, which cracked a little but I got away with it.
And of course, as before, don’t forget the view from above, all important, with fruit you can pile it up, it only get more lush.
So that’s ya lot, I would like to urge everyone to have a go at it, at least those of ya into cake decorating, there is a lot of pleasure in it and the posibilites of flavours, toppings and designs are only limited to that of your mind. So get on it…