Jones 1Mackenzie JonesMs. BennettBritish Literature16 September 2011 Decorating Cakes Ever wondered how big the biggest cake ever made was? The biggest cake ever madewas 128, 238 pounds (“Interesting Facts about Cakes before You Buy Them”). On top of thatalready hefty cake, the icing on top of it came in weighing 16, 209 pounds (“Interesting FactsAbout Cakes Before You Buy Them”). Weighing 16,209 pounds is an unbelievable amount ofdecorations for one cake. But in fact, there is an abundant amount of different ways to decorate acake. The different ways to decorate a cake can range from the easily molded gum paste to thecomplicated art of blown glass. Many factors go into decorating a cake, more than most peoplewould imagine. Gum paste has a history of its own. It is said that it was used during the medieval timeperiod. Gum paste is the more preferred decorating material by cake designers. Gum paste has adeceiving name. Gumpaste is simply sugar dough that has different gums mixed in it. Being thatit is mixed in with gums, gum paste is easily molded or formed in to any shapes. The mostcommon decoration made out of gum paste is flowers. Making flowers out of gum paste iscommon because it is easy to mold and the outcome of the flower looks sharp. Unfortunately,there is a downfall to gum paste. Because of the sugar content in gum paste, it tends to dry verybrittle and delicate. Therefore, when the product of the decoration dries, it is important to be verycareful when placing it on the cake. Gum paste can be tinted, which means it can be dyed and it
Jones 2will have no effect on the texture and will not destroy it. It can be painted on when it is dry orstill in the process of drying. Also, gum paste can be dusted, with decorating dusts which are justsparkles or colors in the form of a powder that can be brushed on the product. Although it has avery dull taste, gum paste is edible. Not many people tend to eat gumpaste, but it can be eaten.Gum paste can come either pre-made, only needing water added, or it can be homemade. Gumpaste is very sturdy when it is rolled out thin, it will not crack or rip as easily as other productssuch as fondant. (Baking911) On cake decorating shows such as Cakes Boss or Ace of Cakes, just about every cake iscovered with fondant. The most common use for fondant is to cover cakes. It is laid over cakes togive them a very smooth finish. It can also be used as a glaze or used to sculpt pieces. Anotheruse for it, which is not normally recognized, is being used for the base of candy. Fondant is verydense and has a base color of white. Fondant is an easy product to work with; basically anythingcan be done to it. It can be colored without a problem. All that is required to color fondant is tosimply knead food coloring into the mass that is being worked with. Fondant does not reallyhave a pleasant taste if not flavored. It can be ordered already flavored and it can have flavoringadded into it. There are a couple of different types of fondant. There is one type which is rolledfondant. Rolled fondant is what is the usual fondant used for covering cakes. It has a play-doughlike feel to it. Rolled fondant tends to dry semi-dry. The finished look is as smooth as satin and itholds up well. The next type of fondant is called poured fondant. This type of fondant is usedmore often in candies and to glaze. One example of poured fondant in a candy is the red fillingthat oozes out when a chocolate covered cherry is bitten in to. This is not as thick as rolledfondant and should be easily spreadable. (Baking911)
Jones 3 Modeling chocolate is a self-explanatory name. All it is, basically, is chocolate that is theconsistency of fondant or almost clay that is chocolate flavored. Modeling chocolate and fondantare almost the same thing, except it is said that modeling chocolate has a more pleasing taste.There is a downfall when it comes to modeling chocolate, this can even include fondant. If thetemperature of the area in which modeling chocolate is being used is too hot, the modelingchocolate will be difficult to work with. It will start to melt and will not form correctly(“Chocolate Making Tips”). Blown sugar is a very complicated decorating material to use. It requires years of experienceto learn how to master it. Only skilled artists who have experience making blown sugar cancorrectly make blown sugar. It is made by being molded into shapes or objects using a tube. It issimilar, if not the same, as the way that blown glass is made. Before actually blowing the sugar,the process has to start with making pulled sugar. Pulled sugar is just sugar that has been heated,kneaded, and stretched; the process of being heated, kneaded and stretched makes the pulledsugar look shiny and makes it flexible. Pulled sugar, by itself, can be shaped into figures orobjects to decorate a cake. But in making the objects look round and bubbly, requires the sugarto be blown. Next, a tool called a confectioner takes a wad of the pulled sugar and attaches it to atube. The tube that is attached to the ball of pulled sugar has air blown through it to inflate thesugar. While the sugar is being blown, it has to be kept underneath a heat lamp to keep it pliableand easy to work with. When the entire piece is finally finished being blown and formed, it is setup by fans that will cool down and remain in the same shape. There is a load of factors that leadinto making blown sugar. For example, the person who is making the blown sugar has to havevery sturdy hands and acute eyes. Another example of a problem with blown sugar is if the lampfor heating it gets too hot, the sugar that is being blown will not hold together and will melt.
Jones 4Also, if the final figure is cooled at too low of a temperature it will crack in the process. Blownsugar is very delicate and can break with a slip of a hand. Even though it is a tough process, theending look of blown sugar is astonishing. (“What is Blown Sugar?”) Buttercream frosting is a favorite in the crowd. It is most often picked because of its richflavor and creamy texture. A plus to buttercream icing is that it is not very complicated to make.A lot of people prefer to make their own icing. Butter cream is simply butter, confectioners’sugar, cream; and sometimes almond flavoring or vanilla flavoring will be added to thebuttercream to frosting to give it a little more taste. Buttercream icing is mainly used to ice cakesor cookies. With a cake that is covered in fondant, a thin layer of buttercream frosting is usuallyapplied to make sure that the fondant will stick on the cake and stay in place. Buttercreamfrosting can be made either really soft or really stiff. Stiff buttercream icing is still the samething; it is just made to make flowers on cakes or other decorations on a cake. The decorationsthat are put on the cake have a thin crust on them. The thin layer of crust is from the decorationsbeing left out. This layer of crust is not a bad factor; it is actually a good factor. The thin layer ofcrust is what actually keeps the decorations in position. On the other hand, soft buttercream icingis used only for the actual icing of the cake. This is thinner than the stiff icing, which is verythick. The reason this is thinner is because soft buttercream icing has more cream in it thansugar. Unlike stiff buttercream icing, soft butter cream does not leave a layer of crust. Thishappens because the cream takes away from the sugar; therefore, the soft butter cream does nothave as high of a sugar content. It is very critical to use the right product for coloringbuttercream icing. Regular food coloring is not the correct coloring to use for buttercream icing.In order to color the icing and still keep it smooth and creamy, color paste has to be used in place
Jones 5of food coloring. It is critical to consider the temperature at which butter cream icing is kept at.The best temperature to keep it at is room temperature. A mistake for keeping buttercream is toput it in the refrigerator. If the icing if put in the refrigerator, it will harden and not be spreadableon cakes. It is in fact better to make homemade buttercream icing. Using store boughtbuttercream icing is soft, but it will not hold fondant on a cake as well. (“About ButtercreamIcing”) In conclusion, there are several different ways to decorate a cake. Many of them are fairlysimple to work with and easy to make. But on the other hand, for example, material like blownsugar is very complicated and takes skill to create. All of these decorations come together tomake a plain cake a beautiful piece of work and art.
Jones 6 Works Cited“About Buttercream Icing.” ehow.com. N.p., 1999-2011. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.ehow.com/ about_4699526_buttercream-icing.html>.“baking911.” baking911.com. N.p., Oct. 2000. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.baking911.com/ decorating/cakes_gumpaste.htm>..Baking 911. “Decorating 101: Fondant Home Page.” baking911.com. N.p., 2000-2007. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.baking911.com/decorating/cakes_fondant.htm>..“Chocolate Making Tips.” hungreyhappenings.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.hungryhappenings.com/p/melting-chocolate-and-modeling.html>.“Interesting Facts About Cakes Before You Buy Them.” articlebase.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www.articlesbase.com/ecommerce-articles/interesting-facts-on-cakes-before-you-buy- them-1248045.html>.“What is blown sugar?” wisegeek.com. N.p., 2003-2011. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-blown-sugar.htm>..