Recently I had the second delight of teaching a wonderful class of students how to make a hamburger cake at SAIT Polytechnic as part of their Continuing Education classes…
Rolled cheese, frilled lettuce, and hand-shaped fries…
And of course, there was much conversation about the best burgers in town. Boogies or Dairy Lane anyone?
Silent concentration as patties were stacked on top of buns. Lettuce, tomato, cheese and onion were carefully arranged…
An air of excitement formed as the hamburger cakes came together…
I’m grateful to have so many talented students – many had never worked with fondant before, and everyone did great! I am very proud of everyone, and thrilled to see the class full of realistic hamburgers to take home! I hope that the cakes were shared as happy surprises to many loved ones.
I’ve been thinking about pizza all week. Specifically, deep-dish pineapple pepperoni pizza! This is the follow post up to a very special cake – Pizza Cake: Part I. In this post, I’m going to describe some of the tips and techniques that went into the making of the sculpted pizza cake:
The Pizza Base
Let’s start with some notes on the sculpted pizza base cake shape:
The Pizza Base:
I started with 2 round layers of cake, less than 1″ high. This time, it was moist chocolate cake with vanilla icing. (Remember to make an icing dam – I love swiss meringue buttercream for the dam – then fill with the desired filling.) The second layer of cake was placed ontop.
The “crust” of the pizza was built up by piping a ring of swiss meringue around the edge. The entire cake was crumb coated, making it as smooth as possible
Cake covered in fondant. Texture, lumps and bumps were added for realism.
The cake was coloured. In this case, the cake was airbrushed with edible food colour using a combination of brown, orange and yellow. (This can be done using powdered colours too.) A very thin layer of icing was spread ontop, to represent the sauce. The icing was coloured using a combination of red, brown and orange for a more natural saucy colour.
Next came preparing the decorations. AKA, the toppings!
The Fondant Pepperoni:
The fondant was mixed into a “hot doggy” colour. Red, peach and brown. It was then rolled out as thin as possible, cut out circles, then edges were curled using a ball tool. The circles were let to dry.
Then the pepperoni was painted with a layer of thinned red, peach, brown. For added texture, they were then dabbed with clean paper towel. After, the edges were airbrushed using brown food colouring. Lastly, shine was added using a thin layer of vegetable oil.
The Fondant Pineapple:
A light yellow fondant was mixed. The colour was only partially mixed in for a slight marbling effect.
A pineapple “log” was hand-shaped and then put into the freezer, just long enough to harden.
After the fondant log had hardened in the freezer, uniform pineapple pieces were cut.
Realistic texture added using a paring knife.
The Fondant Cheese:
A chunk of off-white fondant was frozen until hard. Cheese was grated on a cheese grater then immediately spread over the cake in a thin layer.
Fondant cheese was melted slightly using a blowtorch.
I recently got a great email question regarding how to make the Manolo Sedarby D’orsay gumpaste shoe:
To make the template, I found a real shoe at home that had the same shape used it to make the template. I exaggerated the shape to look curvier. Here are photos of the actual shoe templates made (click for full size):
To make the form that the shoe sits on, I hand-sculpted a form out of modeling clay and covered it in saran wrap. This way, I got a nice exaggerated curve. I was particular about the curve of the form… if you look closely, you can see how it gradually curves out at the bottom. You can use anything for a form, but this is just what I had on hand. (Update Oct 17/2011: I’ve made a better shoe form out of foam core.See my new gumpaste shoe form here.)
To make the stitching, the Wilton Gumpaste tool kit has a great stitching tool.
To shape the top of the shoe, I used a ball of saran wrap lightly pressed into the shape that I needed. Similar to the shape of that wad of tissue you sometimes get in a pair of new shoes.
For the the brooch, I used circle cutters to make a flat wheel shape out of grey coloured gumpaste. I bent the wheel shape a bit to make an oval, brushed on some clear piping gel and stuck small silver beads on. It was hard to get the beads to look even, and had to use tweezers in some spots.
For the silver colour, I airbrushed it using edible silver food colouring. You can get the same effect by painting in thin layers using a mixture of edible silver lustre powder and alcohol.
The heel is done using the method shown in the video. See the 4:45 mark for details.
Check out the 6:03 mark to learn one of the secrets to getting a sharp corner! The above video is an excellent explanation on how to professionally cover a cake in fondant, by one of my favourite cake decorating bakeries, Planet Cake, located in Sydney, Australia.
I love to watch how she moves her hands and body, from how she:
uses her forearms to flatten the fondant
uses her hands to smooth the top edge
stretches the fondant in the front of the cake to get the ripples out
sways her body back and forth to cut the fondant and shape the edge
I also really like how they use a 2:1 ratio of ganache to crumb coat their cakes. Not only does this provide sharper c0rners, it is also more stable and room-temperature friendly.
I highly suggest this excellent post by Debi Brim, experienced cake decorator and caterer, on How to Cut a Wedding Cake, including step-by-step photographs and instructions. I couldn’t have explained it better!
This “grid” technique also works great for how to cut a 3-D cake. Here I was below was using the same method. To summarize:
Remove accents or items that might in the way
Cut a strip of cake (in this case, it was about 2 inches wide). I cut downward until it hit the board. This was about 4 inches.
Then cut that strip into pieces (it can be 1″ wide pieces – I cut mine a little big here). If you want even smaller pieces, you can cut this in half again.
Remove the dowels/supports before cutting the layer below. (I use scissors to remove slippery dowels.)
If you want to learn more about cake decorating, you have to watch the new show Fabulous Cakes on TLC! I think this is one of my favourite cake shows I have seen so far!
Fabulous Cakes is about educating the viewer on how fabulous cakes are created. They explain, in detail, the technical aspects of making cakes.
Each show goes to a different city and follows different professional cake decorators though the entire process. They definitely share some great cake secrets and innovative cake techniques.
They follow the professional cake decorators – in depth – through every step of the cake:
the customer consultation
planning and structure
carving and crumb-coating
covering in fondant
They even sometimes catch the painful “cake disasters,” and what the decorators do to fix them! I love carefully watching the expressions on the decorator’s faces – you can almost read their minds when they know something is wrong.
And this is one of the few cake shows that reveals the prices of the cakes! I really appreciate this as it gives a greater understanding of what people are paying for these amazing works-of-art.
This show is definitely not nearly as scripted as some of the others. It really is more about explaining and education people about what a cake goes through from start to finish.
For anyone that is interested in learning how amazing cakes are made, I highly suggest checking it out.
Update: I just saw the New York episode and it was awesome… It featured one of my favourite cake designers, Kate Sullivan. There are some really great cakes that come out of that city! And the guys from City Cakes NY??? – they’re ripped! I am sure they have no problems lifting cakes around!