Monday, 17 September 2012

Retro Cake Step-by-step Tutorial

Baking a cake can be a daunting task, but decorating a cake can feel downright impossible! This basic cake should help you to ease into your own decorating skills. Feel free to make changes as you see fit, and remember simple is elegant when it comes to cake decorating!
What you will need:
1x 20cm 2 layer cake
Decorative cake board
Cellulose gum powder (tylose, CMC, Dyocell)
800g base coloured plastic icing/ Pettinice
100g of each coloured plastic icing/ Pettinice for decoration
Set of circle cutters
8mm piping nozzle for small dots
A nice sharp knife
Bake your cake, or buy a plain iced cake. If your cake is very soft, refrigerate for an hour before decorating.
Choose your main base colour for your cake and 3 or 4 secondary colours. This particular cake was decorated in a retro 70’s style with suitable colours.

Roll out your base coloured plastic icing between 2 sheets of plastic/vinyl, lightly sprayed with ‘spray ‘n cook’.
Peel off one plastic layer and lift the other layer over your cake. Drop the icing dead centre and peel off the backing sheet.
Working quickly, Run your hands along the top of your cake to smooth out any air bubbles and start smoothing down the top half of your cake, about 4cm down the sides.
Now smooth down the next 3cm of your cake, pulling out the skirt of icing as you go. This takes practice, and may well need a few tries before reaching a smooth result.

Gently finish off the smoothing down to the base of the cake, running the bottom side of your hands or cake smoothers down to the cake board.
Using a pin, poke any air bubbles that may appear on the surface of your iced cake and work the air out. Pin holes can be covered up, but air bubbles grow bigger as the cake releases air, so although it may not look so bad now, you may wake up in the morning to a bulbous cake!

Cut off the excess icing with a rounded palette knife, so as not to leave lines in your cake board. Cut straight down, as opposed to at an angle where you would be tucking the icing under your cake, leaving a gap or exposed cake.
Smooth the cut edges gently with your fingers.

Décor that stands away from the cake will give a slight 3D effect. For this, you will need to use a cellulose gum powder to allow your icing to harden quickly. You will usually use about 1 tsp of powder in a 100g piece of plastic icing. Mix this in just before you roll out your décor icing.

Dust with corn flour using a ‘corn-puff before rolling out.

It is best to use a pasta machine to get a uniform thickness for your décor icing. I would use a thickness of number 3 or 4.
Roll all colours out and place in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.

When you are ready, lay out all pieces at the same time, and start by pressing out some of your smallest circle cutters.
Leave enough space around this for your next cutout. Match rings and dots of different colours to create a popping effect.
Cut out some smaller polka dots with your piping nozzle and press in different coloured polka dots.
At this point, you could really go wild with creativity, or go the simple route with 2 toned cutouts.

Place a few décor embellishments on a clean damp cloth (mat) to allow the back to get sticky. Leave on the mat only for a short time, otherwise your colours will start running and the embellishments will get slippery to work with.
Choose the front (best) side of your cake and mark with a polka dot on the board.
Using a small, thin paring knife, (the Wusthof Silverpoint 8cm Paring Knife is the BOMB!) gently lift each embellishment and swiftly place it onto the cake at desired intervals. Leave a 1cm gap around the base for your border.
Allow some embellishments to stand over the top side of the cake.
Clean off all the excess corn flour using a clean paintbrush dipped in water.
Roll sausages of 3 different thicknesses in the same colour as your cake base. Cut pieces off at regular intervals to get your balls to be uniform (We all like balls in uniform!).
Roll balls in small, medium and large to stick to the base of your cake. This will cover any cake that may be exposed.
Use a solution of water mixed with cellulose gum powder (left overnight) to glue the balls into place as pictured. This method of bordering is very modern and funky and it will finish your cake off beautifully!
Use calmer colours for a baby shower… shades of blues and grey work well together for a boy, and pinks and grey for a girl.

Good luck and a pre-emptive ‘well done to you’! Keep well and Keep cooking! Please comment and feel free to post pics of your version of this step-by-step on my Facebook page!
Warm Baked Regards, Chef Sam xxx

These absolutely stunning images courtesy of Jessica Commaille, Erindipity Photography