I need some decorating advice and tips, please.
Posted: 02 January 2013 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello all,

  I am planning on making a cake for a friend’s birthday and I was hoping you folks could offer some advice for decorating and filling it, please. Her favorite cake is chocolate, so I planned on making the All American chocolate buttercake and filling it with the strawberry cream cloud. I love chocolate covered strawberries, so I figured the strawberry cream cloud as a filling would be a nice compliment to that cake. Has anyone done this combination? If so, how did it work out for you? Does anyone think this is a bad combination?

  As far as decorating it, I’m planning on making the white chocolate variation of the mousseline buttercream. Does anyone think this will be too much chocolate? I love the white chocolate variation of the MBC and I figured since she loves chocolate so much it would be a good frosting to use. However, I’m curious to know if any of you think the chocolate flavor of the cake combined with this particular frosting will be too overwhelming. Personally, I like the idea of mixing the flavors of white chocolate and the chocolate from the cocoa powder, but I wondering if it’s chocolate overload.

  Finally, I am wondering if you folks can offer any tips on best combinations for piping work. I plan on making the cake look like a basket of flowers, so the side of the cake will have a basket weave pattern, but I’m wondering what’s the best way to deal with the bottom edge. Should I just leave it plain with no additional piping, or should I do shells, pearls, or some other type of piping around the base? On top of the cake I was going to decorate it with some piped roses (her middle name is Rose), but I was also thinking I might put some other flower types in addition to the roses. I was thinking including some piped chrysanthemums and violets to go with the roses. I’d like some variety on the cake, but I’m worried about going overboard and having too much going on with the decorations. I wouldn’t have too many of any flower type. The flowers will be around the border of the top and the middle would be left open so I can write happy birthday on it.

  What do you folks think about all of this?

Thanks,
MP smile

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Posted: 02 January 2013 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi MP!  Your combination sounds good to me…I haven’t made the AACB cake in a long time and I can’t recall the texture.  The cloud creams are very light and go great with sponge cakes…so I’m not sure if the textures are going to mesh as well as a buttercream would with a buttercake…I was thinking of doing a similar combination but using the Deep Chocolate Passion cake base from RHC (It’s my favorite so I’m biased!!) but I think the textures would be lighter all around using the Deep Chocolate Passion and cloud cream. 

The white chocolate variation of the MBC is superb!!! Although a white chocolate whipped cream would also be delicious if you want to go with a lighter texture combination.  I’ve made the White Velvet Cake with Neoclassic Raspberry Buttercream filling and the white chocolate MBC—they worked really well together…used up some yolks and I am sure it would work as a great combo with the AACB cake. 

I’ve done basketweave several times and usually find a shell border along the bottom to be the easiest—I don’t think it would work to leave it without—it’s tough to do really neatly.  What size of cake are you making?  If it’s a 9 inch, you won’t have much room to write if you put roses and other decoration.  If the cake is larger you should be fine.  I’ve included a link to a previous post about a basketweave I made—the top is a 9” :

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/2494/#24524

Let us know what you decide!

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Posted: 02 January 2013 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Just a thought- my favorite cake using strawberry cloud cream is the Strawberry Maria from the Cake Bible- went through a stretch where I made that cake for my birthday several years in a row, it’s very elegant and delicious smile  However, it isn’t intensely chocolate-y (perhaps moderately chocolate-y would be about the right description) so if chocolate is your first priority, then it may not be the right choice.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You have picked the chocolate cake recipe so I will not try and convince you to use another recipe, besides your question was on decoration and not on recipe. There can never be enough of too much chocolate. Your cake and filling sounds fabulous. All I can say is add more flowers on top. A variety always looks great. Add some Calla lillies using fondant and maybe a small blue bird.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I certainly cannot talk about decoration.  I agree if you are going to have more than one rose, then have other flowers as well.  I have not made the strawberry cloud cream, but did make the Deep Choc Passion cake with strawberry IMBC….very delicious!!!  Also, I like the look Sherrie had on her basketweave….

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Posted: 02 January 2013 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks for all of the help here, folks.

Sherrie, I’m really glad you pointed out how small a 9” cake is. It wasn’t until I read your post and then pulled out one of my 9” pans that I realized how quickly I would be running out of surface area for decorations. I think I’m going to make this a 9x13 instead of a 9” round cake. I’m just wondering if the basket weave pattern is still a good idea for the sides of the cake. I’ve never combined any of the cloud creams with the AACB, but I have with the yellow downy butter cake and it worked very well, so from a texture standpoint I think things would work. I was just wondering if anyone has combined the AACB with the strawberry cream cloud with this butter cake and how the flavors would work with each other.


Julie, I didn’t even think of the Strawberry Maria, but that sounds like a great idea. As I took a look at the recipe for that I see that it’s a 9” round cake and I would have the limited surface area problem to deal with, so I think I’ll have to wait for another occasion to make that one, but it’s definitely one I’d like to try.

Thanks again for all the replies and advice here. I really appreciate it!

- MP smile

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Posted: 02 January 2013 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think the basketweave would still work for a rectangular cake, but you may lose the round basket effect…you could always try a 10” or 12” round pan if you prefer.  For some reason (likely due to the curvature of the sides), vertical lines that aren’t so vertical or horizontal lines that aren’t so horizontal are going to be more pronounced on the rectangular shape (I know from experience as I did a vertical stripe decoration on a rectangular cake and it’s not as forgiving as round!!)—just a word of caution. 

My apologies if you weren’t looking for recipe advice…I tend to offer any ideas that I think could be helpful.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sherrie - 03 January 2013 02:26 AM

I think the basketweave would still work for a rectangular cake, but you may lose the round basket effect…you could always try a 10” or 12” round pan if you prefer.

I was concerned about this, too, Sherrie. I’ve seen the basket weave on square cakes and it looked good, but I wasn’t sure about it on a rectangular cake. Unfortunately I do not own any 10” round pans and I’m on a really tight budget at the moment. Therefore I don’t have the option of ordering new cake pans, so I’m limited to what I have on hand here at the house. I have a 12” round pan, but between having to do multiple layers so the basket doesn’t look too short and the troubles I had last time I baked a cake this size (it was a complete train wreck!), I’m a little apprehensive about making one this size. Plus, I think this would be too much cake for my friend. This is quite the quandary for me. I’m going to have to think about this for a bit before I make the cake.

Sherrie - 03 January 2013 02:26 AM

My apologies if you weren’t looking for recipe advice…I tend to offer any ideas that I think could be helpful.

No apologies needed. I always appreciate when people take time to offer assistance when I ask for it. I’m sorry if my post came across as defensive. It’s never my intention to be snarky with people, especially when they’re taking time to offer some friendly advice.

Thanks again for everyone’s help here. It’s much appreciated!

- MP smile

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Posted: 05 January 2013 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi all,

I have a few more questions here.

First, how much time do I need to allow piped flowers to dry before placing them on the cake? My plan is to pipe them on to pieces of wax paper and then transfer them to the cake as the last step to decorating it. I wasn’t sure if air drying them or freezing them was the best method and how long they need to be dried or frozen. I’ve never decorated a cake with piped flowers, so I have no clue what works best.

Second, for the strawberry cream cloud it calls for one cup of unsweetened cooked Strawberry Puree and the instructions for the cloud cream (pg. 265 in TCB) state:

“In a small measuring cup place the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the puree and allow to sit for 5 minutes.” Then, in the next paragraph it says “Remove the cup and stir the gelatin mixture into the remaining puree.”

The way I interpret these instructions is that the 1/4 cup puree the gelatin is added to comes from the 1 cup needed for the recipe. Is this the correct interpretation, or do I need a total of 1 1/4 cup cooked puree to make this variation of the cloud cream?

Thanks,
MP smile

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Posted: 06 January 2013 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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MP, I haven’t made piped flowers before so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will reply.  However, I think that drying the flowers only works with a stiff, super sweet crusting buttercream, not one of Rose’s smooth and less sweet buttercreams (those can be frozen).

For the Cloud Cream, use 1 cup total puree.  First dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup puree (leaving 3/4 cup aside), then add back the dissolved gelatin-puree mixture to the rest of the puree.

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Posted: 07 January 2013 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Julie - 06 January 2013 02:41 PM

MP, I haven’t made piped flowers before so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will reply.  However, I think that drying the flowers only works with a stiff, super sweet crusting buttercream, not one of Rose’s smooth and less sweet buttercreams (those can be frozen).

This makes sense. I didn’t even think about the fact that this is not a “crusting” buttercream (I’m not sure any of Rose’s buttercreams are). I will definitely go with freezing them briefly before putting them on the cake.

Julie - 06 January 2013 02:41 PM

For the Cloud Cream, use 1 cup total puree.  First dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup puree (leaving 3/4 cup aside), then add back the dissolved gelatin-puree mixture to the rest of the puree.

Okay, so I had the correct interpretation of her instructions.

Thanks for your help, Julie. I really appreciate it! smile

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Posted: 07 January 2013 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hello Monsieur Patisserie -
I think the chocolate with the strawberry cloud cream will be a great combo.  I am a fan of chocolate and strawberry.  I had just made a neoclassic strawberry buttercream (TCB) for a baby shower.  I will make on suggestion, i would add more strawberries than what the recipe calls for.  I have noticed that i like a little burst of flavor in my cakes so i always increase the amount of “flavor” when using Rose’s recipes.  I am not sure if your chocolate cake is dense or not so the cloud cream may go really well if the cake is nice and fluffily. 

Again, speaking personally, i like to simplicity on cakes, i think the more decorations can sometimes be overwhelming - though it will look nice.  I like the basket idea with the flowers, very nice.  Here is a crazy suggestion, can you add “pipped grass” to the bottom?  I think shells may not go with the basket - so i would stick to the pearls.
I would love to see a photo of completion!

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Posted: 07 January 2013 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks for your suggestions here, littlelottie. After giving this project a lot of thought, I’ve decided to go with the All-American Chocolate butter cake filled with the strawberry cloud cream and decorated with the white chocolate variation of the mousseline buttercream. I’ve never made any of the fruit variations of the any of Rose’s buttercreams, but I’ll definitely keep in mind the idea of adding extra fruit to give it a little more kick. That sounds like a great idea. The AACBC is not a dense cake. To me it’s more like the All-Occasion Yellow Downy cake in terms of its texture (light and fluffy with a nice crumb texture). In the past I’ve combined the yellow cake with raspberry cream cloud and the white chocolate variation of the mousseline buttercream and it has become one of my favorite cake/filling/frosting combinations. My love of this combination, along with my love of strawberries and chocolate, is what gave me the idea to try combining the AABC with the strawberry cream cloud and WCMBC.

In terms of the simplicity, I’ve been concerned about my decorating plans. I don’t want to go overboard with them, but I don’t want the cake to be too plain, either, so figuring out a good balance is going to be a challenge for me. What I’m going to do is pipe my flowers in advance and then just start adding them to the cake until I think things look good. I like your idea of using the grass tip, but I don’t own that tip and right now neither of the the stores in my area have that tip in stock, so I’m going to have to go with shells or pearls. I think I’ll go with shells because I haven’t been able to figure out how to pipe pearls without that peak that makes them look like a Hershey Kiss rather than a pearl.

Between this being the first time I’ll be trying this combination of cake, filling and frosting, as well as this being the first time I’ll be decorating a cake with piped decorations, this is going to be quite the experiment for me. I think it’s going to be fun, though, so I’m not too stressed about it. I just hope my friend likes it since it’s for her birthday. I’ll post photos once it’s completed.

Thanks again for your suggestions here, littlelottie. It’s much appreciated. smile

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Posted: 10 January 2013 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Well, after speaking with my friend who I am making this cake for and considering various decorating ideas I have gone back to the idea of making a 9” round cake rather than the 9"x13” rectangular cake. Part of this is based on how many people will be eating this, as well as some of the advice Rose provides in TCB. I happen to agree with her about the cake being the “main event” and it should not be overwhelmed with frosting.

As much as I want to do a lot of piping work, it’s just not going to work well with this cake. So, I would like your opinions on how to determine a proper amount of decorations for the cake. Initially I planned on decorating this cake with roses, chrysanthemums, apple blossoms, and violets. I think I’ll be fine with the apple blossoms and violets as long as I don’t go overboard with them. They don’t require a lot of frosting to be piped and if the cake isn’t covered with them I think they will work well. I still want to put a few roses on the cake, but I hesitate to put the chrysanthemums on there, too. The amount of frosting in a piped rose or chrysanthemum is quite a bit, so it wouldn’t take too many of them before the ratio of frosting to cake gets out of control. Do any of you have any suggestions on how many you think would be appropriate for this size of cake?

Also, my friend told me that her favorite colors are pink and dark teal. In my opinion those two colors aren’t the greatest combination, but I have to remember this cake isn’t for me, so it’s not that important if I don’t like the color combination. I was wondering if any of you also thought these two colors don’t work well together? If so, how would you approach using these two colors in the decorations? Initially I planned on doing the basket weave in pink and then doing shells around the top and base in lavender. However, now I am thinking that I will still do the basket weave in pink but doing the shells in teal. Do you guys think this is a bad idea? If so, how would suggest incorporating the pink and teal into this cake? She also told me that she likes sparkles/glitter, so I was going to lightly sprinkle some edible glitter/sparkles (if I can find some) on top of the cake and then place the piped flowers on top of the glitter.

I’d like to hear your ideas on what I have planned so far and any suggestions you folks might have that will make this better. Thanks for your time.

- MP

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