I walked into the Classic Catering kitchen this morning to talk to our head baker Elizabeth about her process for making this beautiful cake. I talked to Elizabeth while she rolled dough to cover the top of 3 apple pies. Once she had the pies to the desired size she draped the dough over the top of each pie and cut the excess off the edges. She cut tiny hearts out of the dough with a cookie cutter. Then using her thumb and fingers she made the crimp on the edge of the pies effortlessly as she talked with me.
Me: What did you use to decorate the cake?
Elizabeth: Rolled fondant that I bought at the store. You can make your own but it is very time-consuming.
Me: I tried once to dye store-bought fondant but it turned out terribly. Do you know why?
Elizabeth: If you use dye you have to use the correct kind for the substance you are dying. For fondant you need a gel not the liquid.
That was exactly what I did wrong. After that we jumped right into talking about the cake and the decorating process.
Elizabeth started with a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. Then she iced the entire cake with the cream cheese frosting, so that the fondant would stick to the cake.
She began by rolling out the fondant to the correct thickness. If it was too thick it would be too heavy and crush the cake. If it was too thin it would crack when she went to smooth it. It also had to be very smooth. She had to add a dusting of powdered sugar keep it from sticking to the table and rolling-pin as she worked with the fondant. Just like using flour when you roll out cookie dough. She wore gloves in order to keep it fingerprint free and avoid oil from her hands.
Once the fondant was rolled out she wrapped it around the rolling-pin and draped it over the cake like a table-cloth. Then I used a smoother to get out all the air bubbles after pushing the sides down with my hands. Someone held the cake to ensure it wouldn’t move as she draped it. Then she smoothed it out as much as possible and cut the excess off at the bottom.
Me: What was the hardest part?
Elizabeth: It’s very difficult to keep it flat all the way around.
Me: How did you do the drapery that looked difficult and intricate?
Elizabeth: The drapery also called swags was fondant as well but thinner. I cut it into 3 stripes so that each drape had 3 stripes on it. I rolled the strip in half and took it from the top and draped it to where I wanted. As I went down the cake I rolled it to look like material moving down the cake and a little bit of water to glue it together. I used a spray bottle and paint brush for the water. I did that with each layer, then where it would to attach on each layer to each separate piece of swag it got bulky but it had to be connected and stay. So that is where the flowers would cover. Then I had a tail that I pinched together. The border had curled walls that are small rolled balls of fondant.
Me: What’s the most popular cake flavor you make?
Elizabeth: Vanilla and chocolate. Banana has been very popular but it all depends on the season. Carrot is quite popular in the fall.
Me: Do you do a lot of fondant cakes?
Elizabeth: A few, they take a lot more time than other cakes. I typically do a buttercream or a whipped frosting, which is much sweeter than the buttercream but it all depends on the client’s taste. Those I use piping bags to decorate. The buttercream holds up better. The wedding trends sometimes dictate what people want which is usually the buttercream.
We hope you enjoyed this Q & A from the Classic Catering Kitchen.
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