Local Heart, Global Soul

October 28, 2017

Step-By-Step Tutorial: Filling And Preparing Cake For Fondant Layer…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in March of this year my best friend took me out for an evening workshop: to learn how to decorate a cake!

It was her treat and so having arrived and gotten acquainted with our tutor and fellow classmates the lesson began.

My New Zealand Grandmother always held to the idea that people interesting in cooking fall into two categories: Cooks and Bakers.

She was a Baker, I am most definitely a Cook. I can do biscuits (cookies) these days with help, but leave me alone with a cake recipe and I break out in a cold sweat.

After all, I hold the family record for once baking a cake that was flatter when it came out of the oven than it was before it went in.

In my naivety I did panic that we would have to bake our own cakes first but was assured to see pre-baked cakes wrapped in cling-film on the table when we arrived. Gone these days is baking every cake from scratch: all of these cakes are made with a special mix. I suppose that it is this way for speed and efficiency but somehow I would miss the ritual of creaming butter and sugar and tasting the batter at the end of the process: especially in my case because the batter is in all likelihood going to be better than the finished product.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since pain and medication mess with my memory I documented the process in several parts and yes, it’s taken me until the end of the year to sort the photos and make a step-by-step tutorial. Better late than never.

Not that I have much experience with cakes, but my few attempts at filling one have been done wrong every time. (Why on earth was I not surprised?).

This tutorial sets me on the straight and narrow when it comes to remedying my errors.  I have always felt that “making do” with implements around the house was more than fine when it came to cakes. Having now used a few specialist tools for the first time I now realise what an enormous difference they make.

Of course you don’t need everything, but if you really want to decorate cakes on a regular basis I can not recommend a rotating stand, and an adjustable wire cake cutter enough.

Before pushing your cake cutter wire through your cake, make a small cut with a knife where the wire will first touch the cake: this gives a far smoother entry point for the wire and your cake won’t “tear’ as the wire goes in. Gently slide the wire through the cake: speed is not necessary, it is more important to concentrate on not accidentally lifting the wire up as you go. Going smoothly, slow and steady will help ensure that your cut section is even all the way through.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After your cake is sliced through (we were cutting our cakes into three parts) we were given a piping bag with Creme Patissiere in it (it’s like a thick custard) and told to first pipe a line around the rim of our first cake layer. This raised layer helps keep the rest of the filling in later.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The second bag was a thinner filling (I am now struggling to remember if it was also Creme Patissiere or not) and once that is smoothed out the next layer of cake is put on top, but then a thin layer of Creme Patissiere is spread on top, filled secondly by a ring of Creme Patissiere around the outside edge. (slightly the opposite of the first cake layer).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This raised edge  gives a boundary that stops the next layer (jam) from leaking down the sides of the cake. The jam, (strawberry in our case) fills the inner part of the second filling layer. This starts to make sense because it will make a tidier outside layer later on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the top layer of cake went on and a thin, light coating of icing went on to be the “undercoat’ for the fondant layer that is to come in my next post.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post is all about learning how to do the filling between the cake layers first. Nothing like there being good preparation! Since it was too difficult to take the “action” shots whilst working on my own cake, these are a compilation of photos between my own cake and that of my friend, where I photographed her doing the piping etc. My next post will be a step by step tutorial about getting fondant neatly onto your cake without a single wrinkle or a moment of frustration!

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