Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Most Commonly Asked Questions

If you'd like more information on anything you see in this post and would like me to demonstrate everything you see below, take my Craftsy class!  Check out THIS post for more information and pictures on all the things I cover in that class!

I get a lot of emails from bakers and cake makers with lots of questions. They range from "how I do "x" technique" or "can I have your "x" recipe?" or simply sweet emails with cries for HELP! :) I try to get back to everyone as soon as I can, but I thought I'd post a list of the most commonly asked questions so you can get the info you need super fast! - and not wait on this busy mama! :) I'm going to keep a link over on the side so it's easy to find the FAQ's page! :)

What fondant do you use?
It depends...I have two recipes I use. I've found both on Cake Central's website. One is a marshmallow base fondant and the other is a cooked gelatin base. The marshmallow is super quick to use, a little stickier, a little softer, but tastes great! It's called Rhonda's Ultimate MMF...click here. The only change I made in her recipe is I don't use the lemon juice, only the extract, and I boost the vanilla extract to compensate for that and use 2tbsp of corn syrup.

The other gelatin base fondant is amazing to work with...not sticky, sets well on the cake and lasts for a while. It's a bit more labor intensive to make, so you have to have the ingredients and a bit of time...but it's worth it! :) Click here for Michele Foster's Fondant. The only change I made to her recipe was to use whatever milk I have on hand. I hardly ever have cream in the house, and the recipe works just as good with regular milk.

 If you want to make black fondant, I've used this recipe before and it worked great!  Use 16oz marshmallows and 2lbs powdered sugar.  If you want to make red or black without adding chocolate, then use Americolor Super Red or Black and add it right to the marshmallows after you've melted them.

Remember a few things for any fondant recipe...Let the fondant rest after you make it for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight), use cornstarch to roll it out (not powdered sugar), and cover a chilled cake that you've spritzed with water or a 50/50 water-corn syrup combo...and have fun! :)

How do I get cornstarch off my fondant?!
There are three ways I've found that work. I usually use Crisco and rub a small amount evenly over the entire surface with my fingers. Then, I go back over it with a really smooth clean towel or tissue and buff it out to leave a satin-like surface. I've found tissue works great because it's so smooth and soft and leaves a great finish.

The second way is vodka. I'll use a small paint brush on flowers, decorations, etc to get rid of the cornstarch. The alcohol evaporates to leave a very clean finish.

The third way is to take another piece of fondant (from the left overs) and put a ball in your fingers and buff the cake with the fondant. It works really well to remove any left over cornstarch and buffs the surface a bit.

What's modeling chocolate? - do you have a recipe?
Modeling chocolate is my preferred decoration medium because it cuts so beautifully, is quick to make, hardens to hold it's shape (as long as it's thick enough), and tastes amazing...better than fondant! I never use it to cover a cake (that's what fondant is for) because it's too firm and hard to smooth without tearing. But it's perfect for most decorations after you cover your cake in fondant! :)

Basically it's a mixture of chocolate and corn syrup. There are two recipes...one for using real chocolate (click here) and one for using Wilton candy melts (click here).  For darker color candy melts (like black, red, purple) I use a .15 multiplier for corn syrup to candy melts.  So, if you have 10oz of candy melts, multiply that by .15 and you'll need 1.5oz of corn syrup in it (by weight).  For lighter candy melts (like pink, yellow) use a .21 multiplier.  Now, after you add your corn syrup to your candy melts, only give it like 20 slow stirs...maybe 25.  Don't over mix.  Let it sit out like I do on my class for an hour, then knead it till it's smooth...a minute or two.  Wrap it up and let it sit overnight before using it on your cakes or as decor.  Modeling chocolate naturally hardens as it cools, so if you're rolling it out and it's firm and cool, it can crack a bit.  Just make sure before you roll it, it's nice and warm and soft so you won't have those issues.  You also can't get it super thin like you can with fondant...due to that reason of cooling then cracking.  Also, the more you knead it and play with it, the more cracked/broken it can become.  So, try kneading it to begin with just to warm it, then get it rolled out and cut out quickly. 

I mix my fondant/modeling chocolate in all different ratios...there's not set amount.  The more fondant, the thinner you can roll it and the more elastic/stretchy it is.  The more modeling chocolate, the less elastic, but more stable and easier to cut since it won't stretch as much.  So, you'll have to play with it.  But, adding fondant does help to smooth out the modeling chocolate.  You can also try adding a little crisco to the modeling chocolate and see if that helps! :)

Here is a video (click here) for making it...it can be a little tricky because it seizes...but that's okay! :) Once it cools and hardens slightly you can knead it together like play doh. Make sure when you're mixing your candy melts/chocolate and corn syrup you mix very slowly and only 30-40 turns of the spatula...don't overmix!  A little trick...after I mix the chocolate and corn syrup together, I pour it out on wax paper or saran wrap, and dab it once or twice with a paper towel because sometime it releases wax (if you're using candy melts and if you over-mix it slightly). After it begins to firm up (but is not completely hard...say 1 hour +  later), I begin kneading it and getting it really smooth. It's easier to do that when it's not 100% hard and you can incorporate the wax and chocolate together! Then, when you store it away, it'll be ready to go. All you have to do is just warm it up by kneading it on the counter for a bit.

 I've recently found that you can use regular gel colors (Wilton or Americolor) when making modeling chocolate, in order to color it...but you have to add it to the corn syrup first - NOT the chocolate!! You need to mix it into the corn syrup, then, add that mixture to your melted chocolate. It works perfectly!  If you want to color the modeling chocolate AFTER you've made it, then you can use regular gel colors too...the more concentrated the better.  Because the chocolate has already seized, it won't seize again when adding standard gel colors.  If you want to color the chocolate BEFORE you add the corn syrup, then you have to use candy/chocolate colors.  But, I always recommend coloring it after so there's no issues and it'll save you from buying a ton of candy colors! :)

NOTE:  If you want to color or paint or write on something you've made from modeling chocolate, you have to use candy colors...or gel colors made for chocolate.  The standard Americolor or Wilton gel colors will just bead up on the modeling chocolate. So, make sure if you intend to paint on it or write on it, you get the right colors or pens! :)  Also, you can use luster dusts mixed with vodka or PME luster spray on modeling chocolate to get gold finishes.

EDITED 5/15/2013: I added a single, thorough, post about modeling chocolate...see it HERE.

What's ganache? - when do you use it?
I LOVE ganache! The flavor is beautiful! Basically ganache is the inside of a truffle...the better the chocolate you use, the better tasting the ganache is. I buy the pound plus bar from Trader Joe's. I think you get 17.5 oz for $5. It's imported chocolate from Belgium and is smooth and beautiful! To make ganache, you use 1 part heavy cream to 2 parts dark chocolate (over 53% cacao). So, for every 2 oz of chocolate you use, add 1 oz of heavy cream...or for every 2 cups of dark chocolate, you use 1 cup of heavy cream. If you're using couture white chocolate (at least 25% cacao) then the ratio is 3 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy cream.

To make it, simply heat up the cream in a microwave safe bowl (don't boil it).  In another bowl, measure out your chocolate and make sure it's in tiny chips/pieces.  Add the hot cream to the tiny chocolate pieces and let sit for a minute.  Slowly begin wisking/stirring until the chocolate is melted, incorporated and smooth. Let sit at room temp until you have the desired consistency for spreading on a cake or crumb coating a cake before fondant. You want the consistency to be like smooth peanut butter or tooth paste. Once it sets up overnight, it creates a beautiful firm shell on your cake that makes it super easy to apply fondant.  Make sure you brush on a 50/50 corn syrup-water mixture so the fondant will stick to it! :)

Click here for a few videos that you might find helpful!

EDITED 5/15/2013: I did a post called, "How much ganache do I need?".  See it HERE.


What buttercream do you use?
Again, I have two recipes! :) I guess all great things come in two?! ;) I LOVE my Swiss-meringue recipe.  I use the SMBC (Swiss Meringue Buttercream) for pretty much everything.  I used to use it for a crumb coat on all my cakes, but have since switched over to ganache.  So, it's not very often I use it as a crumb coat now...mainly always as a filling!!  YUM!
Here are the quantities:
5 oz pasterized egg whites
10 oz sugar
12.5oz unsalted butter
3 Tbsp vanilla
It's a 1 : 2 : 2.5 ratio that works out beautifully! The mixing method is the same on all Swiss-Meringue Buttercreams, so click "here" on how to make it. This video explains everything beautifully!

I also use a powdered sugar based frosting when I'm in a hurry and making cupcakes!! :) I don't usually use this for cakes as it's not as stable as the SMBC.  It is NOT a crusting buttercream because there's too much yummy fat in it! :) Here it is:
1 lb unsalted butter at room temp - whip for 10 min on high
1 - 7oz jar of marshmallow cream - whip until incorporated
1 lb powdered sugar - whip on high for 5 min
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (add a tbsp at a time until right consistency) - whip on high for 5 minutes
3 Tbsp vanilla - whip until incorporated.
This makes a really light amazing buttercream. You can add more heavy whipping cream (the liquid, not actual whipped cream) if you want, depending upon the consistency you're looking for.
*You can also throw in a block of room temp or softened cream cheese at the end to make it even more yummy! - remember to use full fat cream cheese and not let it whip too long or it can curdle it.

EDITED on 5/15/2013: I did a post called, "How much buttercream do I need?" to help you know how much to make for your cake project.  See it HERE.

What cake recipes do you use?
Unfortunately I keep just a few to myself because I've spent soo many hours trying recipes out, tweaking them and testing them. BUT, I have shared a few amazing recipes...here is a link:

Jessicakes Recipes

A good place to look for recipes is food.com and foodnetwork.com. Search for whatever cake flavor you want, and click on "most popular" and you'll get some wonderful recipes!

If you need a great vanilla cake recipe that is good for carving, try this one:
Mermaid Vanilla Butter Cake

How do you support/stack your cakes?
If I'm making a tall tier/double height cake, I will only stack 4 layers high before I add support and a cake board.  I use cardboard circles or foam core for the base of all my cakes. After I stack 3-4 layers of cake (or half the height of the final cake), I place bubble straws into the cake in a circular pattern with one in the middle. Then, add a little frosting, melted chocolate or royal icing on top of the straws and place a cake plate on top and continue stacking. Easy!  If it's just a regular height cake (up to 5"h) I don't use any internal support.  If you want more info, I did a post about bubble straws...you can see it HERE.

Better to use more straws than less! - a good rule of thumb is use how ever many straws as the diameter of your cake. A six inch cake needs 6 bubble straws. You can find them at Bed Bath & Beyond, grocery stores, Asian stores. I love bubble straws because they don't displace the cake like dowels, no worries of splinters (from wooden dowels), easy to cut and store.


How do you paint on your cakes?
I use Americolor or Wilton gel colors. Mix them like acrylic paint to get the right consistency...but use vodka instead of water. You need to use an alcohol base medium to thin...never water! Water will make your fondant sticky whereas vodka won't...the alcohol evaporates leaving the paint to dry nicely. No worries about the alcohol being left...it's okay for kids! :)

 NOTE:  If you want to color or paint or write on something you've made from modeling chocolate, you have to use candy colors...or gel colors made for chocolate.  The standard Americolor or Wilton gel colors will just bead up on the modeling chocolate. So, make sure if you intend to paint on it or write on it, you get the right colors or pens made for chocolate! :)


How do you take such nice pictures?
Here's a post on my DYI photo booth (click here). The trick is that no matter the camera, try not to use a flash! Try to get up against a window, or outside in a covered area. Also, get some photo editing software to help boost the lighting levels and sharpen the pics a bit. I use Photoshop Elements 7.0.


What is your process in building a cake?
After baking my cakes, I remove them from the oven and press any dome down with a wet paper towel thus making the cakes nice and flat. See pics at bottom of THIS post. I then turn the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack and let them cool for 5-10 min. or so. Usually, not longer. I wrap them (still warm) up in plastic wrap (I love using Glad "Press and Seal" because it doesn't shrink and change the shape of the cake but still seals in all that moisture) and place them in my freezer. I let them sit in there at least over night or up to two weeks. I've done some experimenting with this...honestly, every cake I've frozen was more moist than the non-frozen one! So, that's why I do it. And, being a busy mommy, it helps a lot with planning ahead!  I usually don't have 2 or 3 solid days to work on a cake.  I have to work in a small spurts! :)

Once frozen and I'm ready to start decorating, I  put them in my fridge with a light weight on them (usually a book or something weighing at least a pound) to help them settle as they un-thaw. This helps with bulges. You can also use a cookie sheet with a few pounds of something on it. After they've sat another 10-12 hours un-thawing, I take them out, torte the layers while they're nice and cold (cut them in half to give me two layers of cake) and begin stacking my cake. I weigh out each layer of frosting. I place my first cake layer on a board, then on the scale. I add my frosting and weigh it out to see how much works with that cake. Usually it's about 4 oz for a 6" cake and 6 oz for an 8"cake. I use SMBC (see recipe above) so, I'm not sure how it weighs compared with other types of frosting. You might have to experiment with that yourself...but I like a lot of frosting! :) I then add my next layer of cake, put it back on the scale and measure out my frosting again so it's the same as the first layer. I do this up to 4 layers of cake or 5 thin layers of cake. If I need anymore (for a tall or double height cake), I add bubble straws and another board...then continue to stack my layers. Once the cake is stacked, I place it back in the fridge for 30 min or so until it firms up and put a small weight to the top to help it settle/smoosh a bit if necessary.  I do this because when you add fondant to the cake, you're adding a few pounds to it depending upon the size of the cake.  If you can get it to settle under that weight, you won't get buldges in your fondant.  Once it's sat in the fridge for a bit (sometimes overnight depending upon my schedule), I take the cake out and I carve the bulges/edges off the cake all the way around to make it nice and straight and to make sure it's about 1/8" in from the cake board...so that when I put the crumb coat on, there's at least 1/8" thick coat of ganache/buttercream on it.  Then I add my crumb coat (ganache or buttercream).  Once the crumb coat is on and it's nice and smooth, it goes back in the fridge to firm up...sometimes for only 30 min. and sometimes overnight - again, depending upon this busy mom's schedule.  At this point, if it's a buttercream covered cake, I cover it in fondant right from the fridge because I want sharp corners and the SMBC is nice and hard from the fridge.  However, you have to be quick because the fondant will get tacky.  If it's a ganache covered cake (which I almost use exclusively), I let it sit out for a good hour then cover it in fondant and begin decorating it.  I want it to not be super cold, but closer to room temp so I have time to smooth the fondant and play with the edges to get them nice and sharp.  Then, decorate as usual!

What program do you use to design your cakes?
I am a commercial interior designer who specializes in Dental Office design.  Yes...it's a funny niche' but I love it! :)  I use AutoCAD for my profession so I use it for my cakes too!  Unfortunately coloring things in AutoCAD doesn't work that well, so I create a PDF of my drawings and import them into Photoshop Elements to color them in and add additional notes/fonts if necessary.  AutoCAD is a very expensive program, so I wouldn't recommend it for cake decorating.  If you already use it/have it, awesome!  If not, there are other options out there that don't cost $1000 to purchase...including Photoshop and Illustrator.

194 comments:

  1. Very informative...Thank you!
    I saved the chocolate plastique recipe you raved about in your "Mother's Day Purses" post. Do you still use it? Are either of the two modeling chocolates in this post better?

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  2. Henson08: I'm using the same recipe! :)

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  3. Jessica, thank you so much for all your advice and tips. I love all of your cakes and designs! I have tried out some of your flowers and they are so easy and look so modern and great! You are such an inspiration, especially knowing that you have only been doing it for a short time. I have only been decorating for a short time but reading your blog pushes me a little further.

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  4. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with all of us! Your creativity is always amazing and I think I speak for everyone when I say that your perfection in the design and execution leaves us all awe inspired with dropped jaws. LOVE your work!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! Do you by chance know if I use ganache as my crumb coat for a wedding cake:)outdoor reception....will it hold up to the heat?(possible sun exposure???) Don't want a pretty white cake oozing dark chocolate.
    Thanks!!

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  6. BirdBaker: I'm no expert on ganache and heat...so, I can't advise on that. It's chocolate...so, it will melt. At what temp and for how long I don't know. I do know that if you chill the cake super good and only have them bring it out an hour or so before they cut it, you'll probably be fine. Having it sit out for several hours, unchilled, might be dangerous...but again, I'm not expert! :) Sorry! :) Best wishes!

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  7. Thanks Jessica! After a lot of searching, I'm sorry to say I haven't got a definite answer yet, but I've read that the Australian bakers use it all the time....so maybe that's a yes to my question:)and maybe to any other of your followers .I'm terrible @ reading between the lines!

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  8. Hi Jessica,

    I want to make my daughter a tea pot cake for her birthday. I have a few questions about yours. Yours was sculpted, right? What size of pans and how many layers did you do?

    Also, on the bottom cake you said that the sculpted chocolate hardened too fast. Would you suggest ganache instead?

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  9. Brenna: I baked my cakes in a pyrex bowl (for the top) and 6" pans for the middle and bottem tier. I sculpted them together to get the right shape. I believe it was three layers...the bowl and 2-6" layers.

    I tried covering the bottom tier with modeling chocolate. I would use brown colored fondant next time. Modeling chocolate is not good for draping on a cake...it gets hard too quickly and has no stretch to it. You could use ganache instead of fondant.

    Good luck! :)

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  10. One more silly question. I have made fondant cakes before, but not one this high. Will I need bubble straws? And how do you transfer the teapot on top of the other cake? Thanks so much for your help.

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  11. Brenna: Up to four layers, no bubble straws. After 4 layers, add bubble straws, another cake board, and keep stacking.

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  12. do you use the marshmallow buttercream for the upside down method?

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  13. Anonymous: You can use anything that has a strong butter base to it because you need it to set firmly in the fridge so you can take off the wax paper once you're done. So, yes...you can use the marshmallow buttercream.

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  14. Do you ever use milk chocolate for your ganache? Is it the same 2 to 1 ratio?

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  15. Katie: I don't use milk chocolate for my ganache. But, I know Confetti Cakes (Elisa Strauss) has a recipe for it in her kids book and it's 16oz of milk chocolate and 5.5 oz of heavy cream. Try that! :)

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  16. Me again...by the way, thank you for always answering my questions so quickly and always being so kind and helpful. I made MFF for the first time and was wondering if I can refrigerate the cake once it's covered in the fondant? I usually make MMF and know I can with that but wasn't sure with this. I looked all over CC but couldn't find the answer so I thought I'd come to you! Thanks so much!

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  17. Katie: No problem! Glad I can help!

    YES, you can refrigerate the MFF! In fact, it's even better because it's not as sticky when it comes out as the MMF because there isn't as much sugar in it! So, go for it!

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    1. Might be a silly question... If MMF is marshmallow fondant... what's MFF?

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    2. MFF is Michele Foster Fondant recipe and MMF is standard marshmallow fondant. Confusing yes! :)

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  18. hi Jessica, i love your site and cakes. its so helpful. the other week i tried covered a chilled buttercream cake with fondant while it was still cold and the fondant went all sweaty and sticky. i couldnt smooth it out or even try sharpening the edges. should i wait till it gets to room temp - but isnt that defeating the purpose of getting sharp edges with buttercream/fondant? many thanks, Ana

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  19. Ana: Yes...it can get sweaty/sticky. You have to work fast and get it pretty well smoothed before it gets like that. If it starts to get sweaty/sticky, you can use a little cornstarch on it, or let it sit for a bit and smooth it when it stops. Best of luck!

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  20. Thankyou. Ill give it another go and persue it. I do prefer to use ganache, but since im starting to sell from home and recently registered, the Health dept doesnt allow ganauche, just buttercream. Ana

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  21. Jessica, I just tried to make the marshmallow buttercream, and followed the recipe exactly (even setting the timer on my mixer!). But it's soupy and didn't come out right! I whipped the butter for exactly 10 minutes, and it was nice and fluffy (tasted creamy, not buttery), so I'm not sure what went wrong. It seemed to get soupy right after I put in the marshmallow cream, but despite whipping after each addition, it never came together (like MBCs).

    Any tips!!?? Also, how many cups of buttercream is this supposed to make? Thanks!

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  22. lrlt2000: I am SO sorry it's soupy!!! :( What a bummer!! I honestly have no idea what could have happened. If you add too much whipping cream, it can get soupy a bit, but I haven't had any issues because I just add a tablespoon at a time until I get the right consistency. Try putting it the fridge and let it cool down a bit, then re-whip. Maybe the butter got too warm with all the whipping?! I have no idea! :( So sorry!! :(

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  23. I thought that, too, so I chilled it for awhile. It seemed fine when I rewhipped it, until it came to room temp and got a too soft again (when I held the bowl sideways, it all fell down)! Is this meant to be stable at room temp, or is it a refrigerator only?? I then tried to add a few tablespoons of meringue powder, in hopes of salvaging it, but it didn't work either :(

    Also, what marshmallow cream do you use: any one that's intended to be used with peanut butter on a sandwich!? ;)

    The *only* thing I can think of is that my heavy whipping cream may have been a little over--it's way before the expiration date and I smelled it before I used it and it smelled fine (i.e., no smell), but you know how it says to use within 7 days of opening? Well, maybe it's been 10. No big deal, but I just cannot think of any other reason it would have gone wrong.

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  24. I use the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
    http://www.amazon.com/Jet-Puffed-Marshmallow-Creme-7-Ounce-Jars/dp/B000E1BKJU

    It's stable for me at room temp! The less whipping cream you add the better...I only add a few tablespoons now...and less the more flavorings I add. Maybe for that batch you added too much.

    I'm so sorry again! I hate wasting money especially on recipes that don't work out. You could also try adding the marshmallow in the last step and let it mix until just incorporated.

    Blessings!

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  25. Just wanted you to know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your website. Thank you for being so generous with your tips and sharing :) You are truly gifted!

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  26. Hi Jesse! i love your sight, have one question, on the marshmellow buttercream, does it need refrigerated or can i let it sit out like american buttercream, also is it stable to use on cakes iwth fondant?
    Shannycakers:)

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  27. Anonymous: Yes...you can leave the buttercream out! :) If you are worried about the cream at all, then you can use a non-dairy vanilla creamer too and it works great. Just add a tbsp at a time so it doesn't go soupy on you! But, even with the cream, there is plenty of sugar in it to preserve it! :)

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  28. Hi Jessica! I came across your website while searching for recipes and now I'm HOOOKED! I am trying out a few recipes today in hopes to create something fantastic :-) Thank you for your time and energy into educating all of us through trial and error!

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  29. Hi Jessica!

    I can't wait to try your buttercream recipe with the marshmallow cream--sounds yummy! Is this a crusting buttercream and is it good for piping roses/flowers, borders, etc?

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  30. AJane: Nope, it's not a crusting buttercream...there's too much yummy fat in it! :) I hope you like it! Be careful when adding the whipping cream...go a little at a time. Lately I've hardly needed to add any...just a few drops.

    Blessings!

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  31. Good to know, thanks so much for your help!

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  32. Hi Jessica, SO glad someone told me about your blog! I'm going to attempt a 3D guitar that will stand upright on a 2 tier cake. I don't actually want the guitar to be cake, it can be a dummy cake. I've never actually made a dummy cake, much less one in the shape of a guitar and standing upright on an already tall cake...any suggesttions?! Not sure if I need a main support running through the cake and secured to a base or if just a large support through the cake would be able to hold a dummy cake covered in fondant. Any and all advice is immensely appreciated!!!
    And, out of curiosity (I know location makes a difference) how much do people charge for cakes like that? I'm a home baker and constantly "giving my cakes away."
    Thanks,
    Marie

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    1. Super late for maybe for next time... I know of a great and talented guy that can make a styrofoam guitar dummy "cakestructure.com", which you could cover in fondant & decorate!

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  33. Hi Jessica,

    I'm having problems with covering cold cake with fondant...

    I put my cake in the fridge for a few hours so it's firm enough - but as soon as I put the fondant on the cake, the cake gets so wet and start melting :(

    Do you have a solution to this kind of problems?

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  34. Fairy Blog Mother:
    Yes...they can get tacky...which is why I love ganache because you can cover a cake covered in ganache at room temp and it keeps its sharp corners. You don't have to refrigerate a ganache covered cake.

    However, when you do have to use buttercream (and therefore have to put it in the fridge to get the buttercream firm), the trick is to work fast...and once it starts condensating...don't touch it. Put a fan on it if necessary and wait for it to dry (you can use more corn starch on your cake to keep the smoothers from sticking), then you can finish fine tuning/smoothing if need be. You could also let it sit out for a good 30-45 min. to where it's still cold, but not condensating so much. You might not get as sharp edges because the buttercream may get a little soft at the edges, but it will help your sticky mess.

    I hope that helps! :)

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  35. Hi Jessica,
    What kind of cake boards do you use? I've been using the cheap cardboard ones and find it hard to frost a cake with those, even when covering it. I also am wondering how you carve your cakes so perfectly level up and down. That's one thing that there's not alot of how to's on.
    Thanks,
    Ashley

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  36. Ashley: I use either foam core, cardboard cake boards or plexiglass cake circles I found at Tapp Plastics. I'm loving the plastic ones because they have smooth edges and I can get smooth sides on my cake.

    In order to get nice straight sides, I cut down my cakes after I stack them in order to get the sides straight before I crumb coat them. I make sure when I cut the sides down a bit that the cake is chilled (so it's more stable) and that the cake is inset from the cake board a bit so I can crumb coat it out to the cake board. I use the cake board as my guide for the crumb coat so the sides are nice and straight. I hope that helps! :)

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  37. I use your SMBC recipe with the 1,2,3 ratio and love it! Curious if you could tell me...roughly :)....how much I'd need to frost a 6 in and 8 in (both 4 in high)?? As far as ratios go?? Thanks so much

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  38. KatieDids: I'm trying to keep better records of those types of things! :) I do have written down that an 11:22:32 ratio is enough for me to fill a 6" and 8" cake, 5 layers of filling for each cake. I use 6oz of filling for my 8" cakes and 4 oz for my 6" cakes per layer. That does not include a crumb coat...just the filling. I think I had a cup left over after doing all that.

    If you're only doing three layers of filling, then you'd have 12oz for the 6" cake and 18 oz for the 8" cake. That's 30 oz. SO, if you did a 6:12:18 ratio, you'd have enough ounces do fill the cake. Plus the crumb coat. I hope that helps and doesn't make it more confusing! :)

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  39. Thanks for the quick response! Just to clarify...that's 6:12:18 just to fill and I'd have to add the crumb coat on top of that?

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  40. Yes! :) - I hope! :) I'm just going ounce for ounce. Add the crumb coat to that and you should have plenty.

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  41. Hi again!!! I'm trying ganache for the first time and was wondering if you can suggest how much to make. I'm doing an 8"x 4"with just two layers, so I won't be needing a lot for fillings. And how long and how should I keep any leftover ganache (if I can...)? Thanks!

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  42. Love your work and thank you for sharing your knowledge on cake decorating. I have questions, can you keep the MMF covered cake back into the fridge before decorating? If so, how long? I thought you're not supposed to put the cake back into the fridge once covered with fondant because of the moist/sweat that will develop once the cake is at RT. And also do you freeze your cake before you torte, level and cover with ganache? Thank you

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  43. How do you make your cake shiny/glossy?

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  44. Anonymous: Yes...I keep my cakes in the fridge after I cover them in fondant. They moist up after I take them out (when I'm decorating them) and get sticky, but that helps the decorations stick! :) You just have to not touch the cake while it's a bit moist or it will leave a mark. If you want, put a fan on the cake for 30 min or so and it will dry right out and you can touch/decorate as usual.

    I do freeze my cake before I torte/level/cover but let them thaw just a bit so I can cut them. They are really cold, but not frozen all the way through.

    To get the cakes shiny, I rub a little crisco all over the cake, then wipe off with a smooth clean cloth...then decorate. The extra glossy you see sometimes is the cake condensating a bit when I've taken it from the fridge to take pics of it. It's not intentional and doesn't stay that way! :)

    I hope that helps! :)

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  45. I was wondering how many cupcakes I can frost with one batch of your marshmallow buttercream recipe? Will I be able to double the recipe if I need to, or is it best to just make each batch separately?

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  46. I can frost 24 cupcakes with it and have a bit left over...but it depends on what kind of tip/swirl you're doing on the cupcakes. Some swirls use up a lot more buttercream! Yes...you can double the batch and just freeze what's left over! :)

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  47. Thanks Jessica! I better make some extra--the cupcakes I'm making are going to be frosted "Back in the Day Bakery" style--one 2 oz. sized ice cream scoop per cupcake! And I'm making 4 dozen cupcake...yikes, I'm going to need a lot of frosting, lol!

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  48. Hello, i was wondering if you could help? I finished a cake today and i made a mistake because the cake was for next sat. a week from now. I covered and decoratd it. What do i do should i just make it again or will it store well in the fridge. I put it in a plastic bag and put in the fridge. help

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  49. Anonymous: Throw it in the freezer! It'll be totally fine for a few days! In fact, I'm doing the same thing next week because I'll be gone when my friends want the cake. The night before you'll need it, put it in the fridge to defrost. Then once it's defrosted take it out and put a fan on it to make sure it dries the condensation and nothing runs. It'll work perfect! :) Blessings!

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  50. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of our questions :) You are amazingly gifted!
    Here's my question. I'm just starting to try stacking with bubble straws. From what I've read on your blog, if I have understood correctly, is that you torte each of your 2" layers and then stack four of those layers together before using bubble straws, another cake plate and continuing on. I had the same question as another reader about what kind of cake plates you use. I have been using foam core and love the stability it brings, but it is a pain to have to cut it every time :( You mentioned plexiglass cake circles. That sounds intriguing! If I am going to continue with the foam core (which you said you also used) what thickness of foam core do you use? Do you cover it first with saran or contact paper? Also, do you use dowels at all to stabilize the entire cake from top to bottom (through the different sized layers? For example, on your friend's 40th birthday cake... how did you put that together?
    I would love to see a tutorial on how you stack your different sized layers :) I know I could learn so much from just watching you!! :) Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous: Thanks so much for your sweet words! :)

      I first off don't have a "standard" way of building my cakes because each type of cake I bake and each size cake I bake makes different height layers! :) So, I basically stack up to 4 or 5" or half the size of the cake (if I'm making a tall/double height tier). That might mean 3 layers or 5 layers depending upon how thick the cake is. I just build it until I think, "OK, that's tall enough!"

      If it's just a 4-5" tier, then after I fill it, I put a weight on it and pop it in the fridge overnight to settle. If it's a double height tier, then, after 3" or so, I'll put some bubble straws in there, add another cake board that is 1/2" smaller than the main cake board (because I don't want it sticking out...I want the crumb coat to cover it like the layers) and build another 3" or so. Again, at that point I'll pop it in the fridge with a weight on top and let it settle overnight.

      Depending on the height of the overall cake, I'll put a center dowel. But, as of this point, I've never done that! :) I've never done larger than a 3 tier cake, and I don't use a dowel on a 3 tier cake...you totally could!! - but I haven't. I just make sure each tier is level before stacking on the next on top and I use melted chocolate to attach one tier to the next...so it's really stable. I hand deliver each of my cakes, so there's never been a problem with the three tier cakes!

      I don't use the plexiglass much. It scratches when you cut the cake, so it doesn't last long. I just use cake boards right now or foam core from Michael's if it's an odd shape/sized cake. I don't cover my foam core...I smooth on a thin coat of buttercream/ganache before putting the cake on it.

      I hope that helps! :)

      Delete
  51. Amazing tips on this page!!! BUT I NEED HELP! Been doing cakes for about 3 yrs now and im just now starting to use the ganache as a base for my fondant. The sharp edges it creates are out of this world, however my first attempt fell flat. I used white chocolate ganche, covered it using upside down method, it was perfectly smooth, let it sit over night, woke up to a nice smooth shell, but there was a big air bubble/buldge on top, i tapped it and it cracked a bit letting the air out, maybe the cake was too cold when i covered it in ganache? So i thought the crisis was over, so i brushed the cake in a corn syrup/water mixture, hoping to create a super sticky surface for the fondant to stick to. I covered it in my fondant and sat back and watched another air bubble on the side develop. Popped it with a pin and kinda smoothed it out, then it just kept growing and growing, i basically had to dissect that section because when i would try and smooth it back on it seems the ganache had separated from the cake and wouldn't stick to it again. 90% of the cake was perfect but the back was a mess! I have only had this problem once before when using a crusting BC. Once the frosting separates from the cake then is no "sticking" it back on. I use SMBC specifically for that reason. It always stays sticky. Im thinking my cake was too sticky/tacky and i moved the fondant too much in the process of covering it and must have pulled some ganache loose? Would it be better to brush it with crisco so that i have a little more room for error when covering with fondant with all the pulling and smoothing? Any suggestion would be GREATLY appreciated. I would really really hate to give up on the ganache!!

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    1. I know you didn't ask me, but... I used to have that problem, now after I torte and fill my cakes, I let them set out at least 5-8 hours at room temp for them to settle and all the leftover gases to escape. Also make sure to ganache a cake at room temp, IMO it's not a good idea to do it on a cold cake. I use just plain water spritzed on to attach it, not sure if that makes any difference. Just trying to help until Jessica can get to your question, I guess!

      Delete
    2. Thanks SRumzis for your response too! Good ideas!

      You do need to let your cakes settle. If you think about fondant and how heavy it is, you need to prep your cakes for that weight. After I stack/fill my cakes and before I crumb coat them, I put them in the fridge overnight to firm up and settle with a 1-2lb weight on top of it. It could be a book, a ceramic 12x12 tile, a bottle of creamer!! :) Whatever you have. But if it's not the same size or so of that tier, put the weight on a cookie sheet on the cake so it's weight is evenly distributed. The next day, the cake will be settle and "squished" a tad, enough to where when you crumb coat it and put the fondant on, it's ready for that weight...all the air has been removed.

      You can crumb coat it room temp or cold. I always do mine cold because the cake is nice and firm and doesn't move a lot on me. And, the coldness of the cake helps the ganache set a bit faster so I don't have to wait so long to cover it in fondant if I'm in a hurry.

      I've actually recently thought about using crisco to attach the fondant to the cake because I do that with my cake dummies and love how I can shift it around a bit to get it smooth. I'm actually doing to TOTALLY try that with my next cake. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

      Blessings!

      Delete
    3. Jennifer Mosaic CakesJuly 18, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      Thanks SRumzis and Jessica for both responses!! I will definitely be trying to get all of the air out first next time. One other question as far as using something like Nestle Toll house chips vs some expensive chocolate, does the performance of the ganache come into play or is it just flavor? I used 48oz of white toll house chips and 16oz of heavy cream. Im wondering now if my ganache wasn't as much of a "shell" as I needed. When we cut into the cake the ganache was pretty soft, could be from all that moisture when i ganached it semi- frozen? I put a cake in the fridge ONE time and the texture became quite dry, are yall not having that issue? Any and all feedback is appreciated again!
      BTW Jessica, the cakes you are producing are honestly some of the best I have EVER seen! Im sure you hear that all of the time but your eye for detail and neatness is really outstanding. Your graciousness to share your tips and techniques with all of us pretty much amazes me. You have some GOOD karma girl!! ;-)

      (One of my replies disapeared on my iphone so if this reply pops up twice, please forgive)

      Delete
    4. Jennifer: The white toll house chips are not white chocolate...they are a vanilla type chip with little to no cocoa butter. When I've used those you need to a 6:1 ratio of chips to cream. So, you probably had the same issue I had with this Egyptian cake I just finished! SUPER soft ganache that never really sets. When you work with dark chocolate and get the REAL nice shell, it's hard to get anything less! :) The ganache is not effected by the moistness of the cake...it's effected by how much cream is in the chocolate.

      I don't have issues with the cakes getting dry in the fridge because they're sealed in with either ganache or fondant. Maybe you could add a little simple syrup to your layers before you stack/fill your cakes. That will eliminate the dryness issue.

      Thanks for your sweet words! I don't know about "Karma" because I seriously always have struggles with each cake! I can't wait to have one cake that just goes perfect!! :)

      Delete
    5. It's good to know I can ganache it cold... lesson learned! :-)I use a 3 to 1 ratio toll house white to cream, it sets up hard and I have to warm it to spread! Too weird. Maybe it has to do with humidity too? I live in Arizona. So strange! Thank you for your grace in me hijacking the question meant for you haha!

      Delete
    6. Ohhhh, ok !! That makes sense then. What brand of chocolate do you use? When the cake is in the fridge though with the weight, it doesn't have ganache or fondant, do you cover it? I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who can obsess on perfecting my cakes! It can be quite consuming! Thanks again!

      Delete
    7. SRumzis: That's great it sets up hard with a 3:1 ratio!!! I just haven't found the right ratio for good ol' Oregon...or my kitchen! :)

      Jennifer: I put the weight on it before crumb coating it. So, that way the cake settles and before I crumb coat it I can cut off any bulges that appeared...then crumb coat it and cover it in fondant.

      Yes...perfection is daunting! My husband just told me he wishes I wasn't such a perfectionist, but then added, I guess that's why you're famous! LOL!! - HARDLY! - but I thought that was funny! :)

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    9. I would have to agree with your husband about the fame, I have known about your blog and your cakes for about a week and I have not stopped talking about it with MY husband! LOL. Its been pretty humid here in Houston so who knows. I do know im going to try the dark chocolate since everyone always raves about it, Im probably going to avoid white chocolate and stick to SMBC since that is one thing I can actually do right every time (knock on wood. Thanks for the help ladies. Jessica, looking forward to more great tips and GREAT cake pics!! You Rock!
      If yall ever get bored check out my cakes on my website www.mosaiccakes.com Its my mini/side job/hobby/do when I have time that's not being spent with my hubby and 2 kids! I actually need to update my pictures, I feel like the progression from beginner to whatever I am now is too noticeable in the pics.

      Delete
  52. Love your cakes, and love even more how you give all the glory to God! I'm trying to figure out how you build the cakes that don't show a cake board between the bottom tier and the stand. I LOVE how it looks, and I've been seeing it more lately, but I don't know how to transport a cake that's not on a cake board, or transfer if after transport and risk ruining the bottom border. What's the trick, lady? Thanks a bunch!

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    1. I crumb coat the cake out to the cake board, so the cake board is the same size as the crumb coat...in fact, some of the crumb coat gets into that cake board so the fondant sticks to it better. I also keep the cakes on wax paper when I'm working on them. That's so I can slide the cake around the counter using the wax paper. It also helps me to pull the cake off the side of the counter so I can get my hand under it to lift it off the counter. I love wax paper! I also use bench scrapers to pick up/handle the cakes. I also put the cake right in the fridge on the turn table I was using to put the fondant on it and let it set up a bit. Then, I'll transfer it RIGHT from the fridge onto the cake pedestal or the tier it goes on because it's super hard and nothing messes it up. But you only have a minute or two because it'll start condensating...then you don't want to touch it at all! - so transfer fast! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much! I guess I'd just put a piece of shelf liner under the cake board if I'm driving it somewhere so it doesn't slide and bump against the box? Hopefully that'll work!

      Delete
    3. Yes! I have LOTS of shelf liner!! :)

      Delete
  53. Hi Jessica! Thank you so much for all of your awesome information about your cakes, they are simply amazing! I do have one question for you that I can't seem to find the answer to...I know that you use ganache before you cover your cakes with fondant, but have you ever used ganache as your crumb coat and then covered the cake in buttercream? I have a birthday cake to make and the customer wants it covered in buttercream and I love the sharp edges that you can get with ganache, but I am just not sure it would hold up under buttercream! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks again for all of your helpful ideas!

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    1. chefjen1: I'm not sure I would do that because there's nothing "course" for the buttercream to stick to. If it heats up at all, I think the buttercream would slide right off. I would use the upside down frosting technique because you'll get super sharp corners. After it sets up and you peel the wax paper off, you can smooth everything even more and get a great looking buttercream cake! :)

      The video link is at the top of my home blog page on the upper right.

      Best wishes!

      Delete
  54. Hi there talented!
    I have got to say your cakes are just simply out of this world! I even found myself daydreaming about being THIS fantastic with cakes one day! :) One day, right? I'm also just giddy with excitement that you are a woman of God and make it known is every post you attach! :-)

    I do have a few questions about the assembly of your cake-- You had mentioned that you throw your cakes in the fride to thaw out before working with them. Do you keep them wrapped while they thaw are unwrap them? I'm worried about condensation... Also, when they're unthawing, do you space each layer out and weight it down individually or do you stack your layers and weight them down as a cylinder (hope I'm making sense there).

    I also had a question about fondant-- I have a cake I am making next weekend. Can I decorate everything Friday and refrigerate overnight until the party Saturday or does the decorating have to be done the same day as the event? Any pointers on doing this without ruining the cake/decor? :) This will be my first time and I'd have to do through all the trouble and end up with a mess :) Any info. you can share will be appreciated!

    Thank you SO very much for your talent, your time and your patience with people like myself! I can learn SO much from you!

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  55. Great blog! So informative, there's really so much to learn. I do have a few questions for you, the fondant recipe you use (MMF), how much will one recipe cover cakewise? Also, how well does it store?

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    Replies
    1. My main MMF recipe makes about 3lbs of fondant. In Elisa Strauss' book "Confetti Cakes" she has the following chart for how much fondant to use:
      4" round: 3/4 lb
      6" round: 1 lb
      8" round: 1-1/2 lbs
      10" round: 2 lbs
      12" round: 3 lbs

      4" square: 1 lb
      6" square: 1-1/2 lbs
      8" square: 2 lbs
      10" square: 3 lbs
      12" square: 4 lbs

      I use slightly less than that because I roll my fondant pretty thin...but this is a great base to start from! :)

      Delete
  56. When you transport your cakes, do you build all tiers at home and drive or do you take the tiers individually with you and assemble at the event? Thx

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    Replies
    1. I build the cake entirely (including mounting it to a pedestal) before transporting. I usually have someone drive me and I hold the cake on a cookie sheet on my lap. I decorate some of the cakes after they are put together and I like having the whole thing done when I deliver it. I guess it depends on the cake and how far you're driving and if someone is driving you! :)

      Delete
    2. That being said...all my cakes are pretty small! Even the three tier cakes are a 4:6:8...pretty small! So, I've not had any issues transporting "yet"! :)

      Delete
  57. Blessings!

    I can't stop looking through your projoects. Everything you do is just picture perfect. How do you have the time for all of this? :)

    I did have a question about your modeling chocolate in particular. Is it what you use for most your cut-outs/decor? Does it store well? And I'm assuming it would need to be stored in the fridge if it stores? Any idea how long it's good for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have time! :) It's going to slow down a lot for me this fall!! :)

      Yes...mostly all the decor is modeling chocolate. It stores beautifully at room temp, wrapped up, for a few months! If I don't have any plans on using certain colors for a while, I'll throw it in the freezer and bring it out to room temp before using it.

      Delete
  58. Hi Jessica, I am having a shoulder replacement surgery 15th Aug. I have a dear friend who is taking a week off from work and flying from TX to MD to help me for a week. Her birthday is 8th Aug. Can I make a cake decorated in fondant a few days before I go in to hospital and refrigerate until she gets here on the 17th? Will it still be okay?
    I would love to make her the beautiful handbag that you have posted for she is truly a girlie girl and would really "be tickled pink". I am going to make the shoe out of gumpaste for her also.
    BTW I truly thank you for all that you have written on this blog. I have purchased many books and watched many how to videos,but, have not learned as much from them as I have today from reading your blog from start to finish. Bless You!!!!!!!!!
    Mitzi

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hi Mitzi! :)
    Yes, it should be fine! If I knew it was going to be two or three days, I would use my chocolate mudcake recipe as it's better on the second or third day. If you have a special recipe you want to use, then make a batch of simple syrup (1 cup sugar + 1 cup water + flavorings, heat up to boil and remove from heat and cool) and squeeze some on each cake layer when building your cake. That will help to keep it more moist.

    And, I'm sure she'd understand if it wasn't perfect...as you'll be having SURGERY and all! :) :) You sound like SUCH a sweet friend! Many blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I am the blessed friend. She is taking a week off work to be with me. How lucky am I!!!
    I just finished making your buttercream. WOW! it is good and so easy to make. Have made 2 cakes that are now in the freezer. Tomorrow will make your mudcake and a hummingbird cake to freeze. You never know when a cake will be needed:) Even if I have to have DH frost:)
    I now don't need any other site now I have found your blog.
    Thank you ever so much for giving your time. It is truly appreciated.
    Bless You!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi...I finally made modeling chocolate after reading about your love for it for so long! I used the white candy melts and it worked perfectly! Love the texture and how easy it cuts. I tried to make it today with green and red candy melts and had a problem, however. After it sat for an hour or so and I went to knead it, there appeared to be little specks of unmelted candy all throughout. It was all melted before I added the corn syrup, I'm hoping it will work itself out overnight. Any thoughts on why this happened or if there is a way to save it? Thanks so much!

    By the way, just used your recommendation for Trader Joe's chocolate for my ganache tonight and I am loving it!! You have taught me so much over the past couple months, I can't thank you enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah for the white candy melts and Trader Joe's chocolate! :) SO fun!!

      I've had that happen to me too from time to time with the red melts and I have NO idea how to fix it. It's not fixable I don't think. I thought it was unmelted chocolate, but then I think it's pieces of the wax from when it seeps while you're letting it sit...but I don't know for sure. I've ended up throwing some out when I can't roll it out thin enough without getting pieces everywhere.

      I need to figure it out, but I can't repeat it...it happens randomly. I wonder if the temp of the chocolate has something to do with it. For instance, if it's cooled and the corn syrup is cool, and they mix, then it hardens up the chocolate faster and you get the little bits. OR, it might be from some chocolate that has over cooked and so there are little bits of hardened chocolate from heating it too much. If I ever figure it out, I'll post something about it. For now, I just start kneading my modeling chocolate before it hardens up all the way and try to knead it really hard against the counter if I feel any of those bits to work them out.

      Best wishes! :)

      Sorry I don't have an answer for you! :(

      Delete
  62. Darn it...I was hoping I could save it. Thanks as always for your quick response! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good news!! It's totallly fixable so don't throw it out! It takes quite a bit of elbow grease in kneading out all those specks, but if you are persistent you can turn it into perfectly smooth modeling chocolate. Just thought you'd like to know :)

      Delete
  63. Hi Jessica,

    How cool is your blog? So much fun and yummy stuff to look at! :)

    I have a question about the ganache you use to crumbcoat before you put fondant on. Do you put that on after you carve and JUST the ganache or so you have a layer of SMBC underneath the ganache? Also, have you ever flavored the ganache? I am looking for a hazelnut or nutella flavored ganache in particular. Any ideas how I could possibly incorporate that flavor and not jeapordize the structure of the ganache? :) Any ideas would be awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :)

      I only crumb coat in one or the other...not both. I fill my cakes with SMBC but crumb coat with ganache only.

      If you want to flavor it, then use lacquers...alcohol based. You add it after you've added the cream and the ganache has come together completely, but before it cools. You can also infuse flavors to the cream before you add it to the chocolate...with lavendar, etc. by adding it to the cream and letting it seep for a while. Then, discard the unused herbs and add it to the chocolate. Yum!

      Delete
  64. Thank you! Wow, you really know what you're talking about! I'll have to run out and see what lacquer flavor options I have. A bit of flavor goes a long way! :) You're the best!!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Can I use white chocolate chips for the ganache recipe you have posted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as they are truly white chocolate (preferably couture white chocolate), then the 3:1 ratio works great! It doesn't not work for the vanilla chips in the grocery store. You need like 6 parts vanilla chips to 1 part heavy cream for that to sorta work out! :)

      Delete
    2. I've used Nestlé white chocolate chips very successfully. Just make sure you use a 3:1 ratio of chocolate to cream so it's not too soft. Also, make sure you weigh both ingredients. My daughter skips the cake and just eats the ganache!

      Delete
  66. Hi! I was curious about the 1:2:3 ratio SMBC recipe. I don't have a scale to measure in oz, can I just use cups? One cup egg whites, two cups sugar, 3 cups butter? Thanks! Love your site!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I love SMBC because it doesn't have to be exact! :) Yes, you can use cups for the 1:2:3 ratio!

      Blessings!

      Delete
  67. Can I make Michelle's fondant using candy melts like when making marshmallow fondant? I want to make it red. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Michele Foster Fondant recipe doesn't call for any chocolate. So, if you're wanting to make it red, buy the Americolor Super Red and add that to the liquid before adding the powdered sugar. I wouldn't put candy melts in it unless the recipe calls for chocolate.

    If you use this recipe:
    http://cakecentral.com/recipe/true-black-mmf

    then you can use red melts in place of the chocolate.

    I hope that helps! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I saw the variations to make it white chocolate and wondered if that could be substituted for melts.

      Delete
  69. How long can you store modeling chocolate? Can you freeze it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It stores like chocolate...a few months in a dry, cool place wrapped up in air tight saran wrap and ziplock bag. I do freeze mine if I don't have plans to use it any time soon...it comes out of the freezer to room temp beautifully!!

      Delete
  70. Which is your favorite fondant mmf or mff? I am venturing to making mff for the first time. While I love mmf I've had headaches with it not turning out and having to redo the batch using the same recipe. I also think its sticky but love the taste. I have heard so many wonderful things about mff that I want to try it. Also for mff is it easy to color after it has rested overnight? I read on CC that it's difficult to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  71. hi love your creations, i tried to make cakes like yours but they are alway lumpy :(. I dont know why this happens

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  72. When you are using ganache for crumb coating, do you spread on like you would a butter cream icing and could you use the viva paper towel method to smooth it like butter cream? Love, Love your site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No you can't because it doesn't crust. The paper towel would pull off the ganache. You can use the upside down frosting technique or the Aussie Smoothing Method...just search this site for both and try one out. You'll love it with ganache!

      Delete
  73. Hello Jessica...love..love..love your site! My question is:
    When you print on edible paper, do you have a special printer that uses edible inks????
    Also, do you ever make cakes without using fondant and decorating the buttercream??
    Thanks so much...Carlene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carlene! Thank you!

      Yes...when you print on edible paper, you'll need edible ink in a designated printer just for cakes. I picked up a Canon Pixma printer at a garage sale for $5. You can buy ink online...just google edible ink Canon printer. OR, you can go to your local Dairy Queen or Cake Shop and have a sheet printed there. It depends on how much you use it.

      I rarely make cakes without fondant unless it's the ruffle style buttercream cake. I just haven't perfected super smooth buttercream...I'm slightly a perfectionist! :)

      Blessings! :)

      Delete
  74. hi i love your site but i need some help because want do your design hot air balloon cake but is very hard cover that cake because is very tall,can you explain me how to do that? im be confused about laid the cake,and can you tell me what pan size did you used for the bottom please?,thank you so much

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    Replies
    1. I'm actually setting up to do a video tutorial of that! :) Hopefully I'll get it filmed in the next few days and up on the blog in a week or two! :)

      Delete
  75. Hi Jessica, hello from over the pond - I would also like to know what's the best way to cover tall cakes with fondant/sugarpaste I'd rather not see a join ??


    Many Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually setting up to do a video tutorial of that! :) Hopefully I'll get it filmed in the next few days and up on the blog in a week or two! :)

      Delete
  76. Hi Jessica, I have just discovered your blog and wouold like to say how good it is. I am able to find the english version of some of the ingredients you use. I am however having difficulty with bubble straws. are they just drinking straws. I can not find them on a uk site.
    thanks

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!

      They are bubble tea straws. You can find them in asian markets. They are just really big/fat drinking straws.

      You can see them here too:
      http://www.amazon.com/40-Bubble-Tea-Straws-Rehabilitation/dp/B000AN47XS/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1346616387&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=bubble+tea+straws

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  77. Hi Jessica,
    I must thank you first and foremost for being a source of inspiration and many lessons to the cake decorating world! I have been decorating cakes for a couple of years now and although I do not have a blog, I continue to amaze myself and thank the Lord for allowing me to find this talent in me. I want you to know that I truly appreciate the help and support that you provide online and am always amazed that you are constantly ready to answer any questions...of which, I have one...how do you color your modeling chocolate? powders? oils? Americolor Flocoat added to regular colors? Thank you again for your time:)
    D

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    1. Thank you so much Delma! :)

      I've recently found that you can use regular gel colors (Wilton or Americolor) to color modeling chocolate as long as you add it to the corn syrup first!! You need to mix it into the corn syrup, then, add that mixture to your melted chocolate. It works perfectly!

      If you're going to color the actual chocolate, then you need to use candy colors...or powders, but I haven't used powders before. I use Americolor Candy Colors.

      I hope that answers your question! :)

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  78. Hi I wonder if you can ask me this question or better said "problem".After having the cake in the fridge I start giving a litlle layer of buttercream for the crumbs. Next to the fridge, and next start to put the fondant over. Ok, but after 3 hours the fondant became to fall truh the sides and starts to have "infations" on the sides. I have read and see a lot of videos or covering cakes but anyones tell about the problems for the "transportation" for the cakes and the problems of the "humidity" areas. Please tell us about these because we have had nest weekend a big problem with that in a wedding.It was a 3tier cake. We make the cake in 2 parts.Arriving to the party we saw that the 2 tiers cakes have so big bubbles in the sides and the fondant stretch in the sides. Thanks
    Alex

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  79. Any tips for working with fondant in high humidity? Today I almost quit cake decorating. My fondant was tearing and so soft. I even cried from the stress. It was so humid and I kept adding more and more sugar and corn starch but the fondant was still too soft. When I put it on the cake it had elephant skin from so much corn starch and it was tearing. I used MFF. Do you think that using MMF would've been better?

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    Replies
    1. Oh I'm SO sorry!! :( I don't know, but I do know that the marshmallow based fondants are harder to work with in humidity because of the sugar content. You should try the Bakels Pettinice, here's a link:
      http://www.fondantsource.com/pe.html

      It's what they use in Australia...which has a lot of humidity! :)

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  80. Hi Jessica, I would like to know what do you use to attach the fondant to a ganache cover cake, crisco or just water? Thanks a lot!

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    Replies
    1. I have a little spritz bottle I fill with 50% water and 50% light corn syrup. I spritz that on my cake before covering in fondant. The next time I do a cake, I'm going to try using crisco (like I do for my dummy cakes) because it's not so sticky and you an manipulate the fondant a bit. We'll see how it works on a real cake! :)

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  81. Hi there! Do you use your molding chocolate for most of your decor? I want to use it as it seems to be a better taste than fondant. Can I use molding chocolate the same way as fondant? Or is there a certain trip/tips that you can give me? What's the dry time on the chocolate? Does it keep it's shape well?

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    Replies
    1. Yes I use it for a lot of decorations. Yes, you use it the same way. No tips/tricks...you just need to make some and play with it. It's wonderful! It depends on how thick you make it as far as dry time goes. Play with it...you'll love it! :)

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  82. Hi Jessica,
    to cover a 10in cake how many ganache do I have to prepare? Thanks a lot! Maria

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    1. If you went to 32oz of chocolate and 16 oz of heavy cream, that should give you plenty with some left over which you can freeze! You can go a little less...but I always make more than enough just because I can reuse it later on.

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  83. Hi Jessica,

    Thank you so much for all your ideas and tips. This blog is amazing...so much information. You are such a generous person.

    If you have time, would you please let me know if I should be using room tempreture unsalted butter for the SMBC recipe that you have above?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! :)

      Yes, room temp, unsalted butter! :)

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    2. Thank you so much for your response.

      God bless!

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  84. Hi Jessica
    My son is getting married 2 days after Thanksgiving I'm making a 3 tiered wedding cake...would it be better to freeze the cakes with smbc then defrost then put fondant on or freeze after putting the fondant on? how would I prepare the cake for freezing and how would I defrost... Got a lot of other responsibilities and need to free up some time
    Thanks for your willingness to teach!
    DeAnna

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    1. Hi DeAnna!
      You could actually make the entire cake a few weeks ahead of time (with fondant and decor) and put it in the freezer - done! If you don't want to do the decor then do it with fondant on...it provides another layer of sealing to keep it fresh! I would freeze it, then take it out and quickly wrap it up several times then put it back in for a few weeks. Around two days before you'll need it, unwrap it as soon as you take it from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. When you need it, take it out of the fridge and put a fan on it for 30 min to dry up any condensation and you're set!
      Best wishes to you and your son! :)
      Jessica

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    2. By the way, my Egyptian cake was done this way...frozen ahead of time after I had decorated it.

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    3. you really are amazing can't believe how quickly you responded!! This really is a gift you have... Praise God!!!I am doing the rehearsal dinner and Thanksgiving dinner so pray for me lol

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    4. one more question do I use saran wrap directly on the cake after flash freezing then put in a cake box worried I'll mare the cake if anything is on it

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    5. No problem! :) I flash freeze and wrap it up in seran wrap. Everything is so hard that the seran wrap doesn't hurt anything. You just need to get it on and off before it starts to condensate! :)

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  85. Hi Jessica, I have been following your blog for baking cakes. Just like you, I'm self learning too. My problem is I live in the Philippines and it's very hot here. Do you think this is the reason why my marshmallow fondant are too soft? I have tried adding more sugar and cornstarch but nothing works. I also tried adding tylose powder to it. While rolling, it's okay but when I'm trying to dry out some fondant decorations, it sort of condensates just like when it is wrapped around cakes? Any ideas on this? I would appreciate it so much! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, and by the way, you don't need to use cream in Michele Foster's recipe. I just use low fat milk and it works great! :)

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    2. See my reply on your question down below...

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  86. Hello Sharon!

    Yes...marshmallow fondant is NOT for every climate. It is the most sensitive to heat/moisture because of it's high sugar content!! So, it's probably not the best option for you! Sorry! :( Have you tried making Michele Foster Fondant?

    http://cakecentral.com/a/michele-fosters-updated-fondant

    It's still home made but it's not a marshmallow base so it's not as sensitive to heat/humidity. Also, Bakels Pettinice is used all over Australia, so that might be a great one to try if you want to buy store bought.

    I hope those work! :)

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  87. Hi
    Just wondering if you have used Crisco (assume this is just vegetable shortening?) instead of corn syrup/water to cover your cakes with fondant yet? Was wondering how that went as I'm keen to use if it gives more ability to move the fondant around?
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I just did it and loved it! It obviously only works for a ganache coating. It does give you the ability to lift and move air bubbles around a bit. I'll be using that in the future. It does take a few more minutes to do, but I liked it!

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  88. Hi jessica! love ur work ..!! I have floated this question to so many sites but couldn't get the answer from any..:( now the same question I'm asking from u in hope that u will reply:) anyways my question is ..I use italian or swiss meringue butter cream to frost my cupcakes, because weather of our country is quite hummid. My butter cream frosting turn out perfect in terms of taste and texture and also hold its shape well, but the problem is ..when I refrigerate my cupcakes butter cream becomes harden as if we are eating butter on the top of cupcake..:( Moreover, if I keep them at room temperature for longer time then they become too much glossy and started to loose their shape. Whats the solution?? Which frosting should I use to decorate my cupcakes which not only hold its shape but also stay fluffy and soft in refrigerator as well?? Thanks in advance and waiting for ur reply ..:)

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    Replies
    1. If you eat SMBC or IMBC cold it does taste like you're eating a cube of butter! :) You have to eat that frosting at room temp. My solution would be to not refrigerate at all (meaning frost the cupcakes at the last possible moment). OR, take them out of the fridge a few hours before they'll be eaten. That way they're still slightly cool, but not cold and not warm/glossy. If you need to make the cupcakes ahead of time to save time, they freeze beautifully. So, make the cupcakes a few days ahead, freeze them, wrap them up nice and tight and keep them in the freezer until the day of. Then, make your frosting and frost them on your way to deliver them. I hope that helps! :)

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  89. Thanks Jessica for the quick reply and I do like that the way u told, in order to overcome this problem but do I have to say the same to my clients ? :( because some of them were complaining that ur cream is so hard ..:( and this makes me so embarrassing...I tell them to eat the cupcakes at room temperature but because of weather they refrigerate the left overs and when they eat next day, the same fluffy cupcakes frosting changed into block of butter ..:(

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry! All butter based buttercreams do the same thing. If you want you can try using shortening because it doesn't harden up as much as real butter...but to me, that's gross! :) All the higher end cake studios use a SMBC or IMBC because they're using real butter and not a vegetable fat. So, just let your clients know that this is the highest quality buttercream you can give them, but they have to eat it at room temp or it doesn't taste as good. That's about all you can do...sorry! :)

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  90. Hi Jessica,
    I need to prepare a cake cover in buttercream frosting with some shapes made with fondant and gumpaste. The filling needs refrigeration. So my question is, if the shapes on the cake will be damage. Should I cover the cake? I really need your suggestions. Thank you so much! Best, maria

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    Replies
    1. No, your decorations will be fine. They'll condensate a bit when you take it out of the fridge, so don't touch them until they dry or you'll leave fingerprints. I put all my cakes in the fridge and have never had a problem! :)

      You could also wait until the day of the party and put the decorations on if there's just a few.

      Best wishes!
      Jessica

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    2. Great!...thank you so much! :)

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  91. Hi Jessica,
    For SMBC, I tried your second recipe using marshmallow cream and powdered sugar, so delicious!! Thank you!!
    Now I want to try the first one using egg whites. If I use the pasteurized egg whites, do I still need to heat it in a double boiler? What does the heating do, I wonder?
    Also how much buttercream does your 5/10/15 generate? I'm going to frost 24 cupcakes.

    Thank you so much. LOVE your website!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah! :)

      You'll want to still heat it because you want the sugar to dissolve into a syrup.

      It depends on how much frosting you put on them, but I would use 6:12:24 for ratios and you'd be fine with a nice swirl! :)

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    2. Thank you for the reply Jessica!

      If I use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, do I still need to heat it? I think the powdered sugar dissolve pretty easily...

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    3. I wouldn't use powdered sugar. I've not heard of someone doing that so I don't know how that would work? You need to make a nice meringue...I don't know if you used powdered sugar how much more you'd need to use. Sorry...I'm not good on that substitution! :)

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    4. Thanks Jessica! I will follow the recipe with granulated sugar.:)

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  92. Hello Jessica,
    You are a sweet genius!! I just spent almost 25mins reading whole page to look for an answer to my question so that you do not have to answer it again. But I have many factors against my plan :( We are doing 2yrs old party in backyard on next Saturday. I was planning to make SMBC on Friday then fill, crumb and cover all with SMBC. Then decorate with fondant stripes and poko dots. Cover it in Card board box and refrigerate it overnight. Then as you have suggested as above, I will take it out 2 hours prior to party and put under fan for 30mins. Do you think this will work or should I just decorate with SMBC then put in refrigerator overnight. And do fondant accent after condensation of the cake?

    I am sorry for long question, I hope it's not as confusing to you as it is for me :)

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    Replies
    1. You'll be totally fine with the fondant stripes on the buttercream!! No worries there at all overnight in the fridge all complete and done. Just take the cake out a few hours before it's going to be eaten so it can be enjoyed at room temp. You probably don't even have to worry about the fan but you can if you want to! Enjoy the party! :) - don't fret...it'll be great!

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  93. Hi Jessica...I have a question that I hope the master can answer. I need to make a bridge over a little river on a cake. It will only be a few inches and needs to be a tree limb or log and obviously arched over the river. I don't know whether I should use fondant, fondant with tylose powder or gum paste mixed in, modeling chocolate or rice crispie treat covered in fondant. What do you think? Is 2 days in advance enough time to make it? Thanks...I think you are awesome and your cakes are amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there! I don't know about "master"! :) But thank you!!

      Without seeing a pic I would say gumpaste. But, you could use modeling chocolate depending upon how it's made, how thick it is and the dimensions. Do you have a little drawing you could email me??

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    2. Gum paste worked great...thanks!

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  94. Hi Jessica,
    Can you put modeling chocolate figures in the fridge, especially ones that have painted accents on them? I am not sure if they will get ruined if the cake sweats after being taken out of the fridge.
    Thanks,
    Erin

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    Replies
    1. Do you need to put them in the fridge? Can you mount the figures before the party? If you need to put them in there, they should be fine if there's nothing extending out from them. If modeling chocolate changes temp too much things can sag if they're "suspended" out. If there's nothing sticking out, then you should be fine with moving it from the fridge to room temp. Just to be sure, put a fan on it so it dries up the condensation before it even starts.
      Hope that helps! :)
      Jessica

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  95. Hi Jessica, your blog is AWESOME and your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing all your tips. I've been using the upside down method and LOVE it! I picked up the bench scraper and Ikea lady susan also. I use SMBC and occasionally ganache to conver all my cakes. The smbc is pretty smooth. (I refrigerate my smbc and let it come to room temp then stir with a spoon but I'm thinking I should whip it for a few mins bc its not as smooth as when I first make a batch of smbc). After I complete the upside down technique, I put the cake back in the fridge to harden for a few mins then lightly brush it with tylose glue before I cover with fondant. I roll out my fondant 1/4 inch thick (any thinner and every imperfection is shown) and smooth the fondant on the cake with two wilton fondant smoothers. My fondant cakes never look smooth after Ive used the two smoothers. I don't know what I'm doing wrong and I'm tired of round edges and unsmooth fondant appearance. I cut out a rectangular piece from a plastic pocket folder (instead of x-ray paper planet cake recommends), disinfected it and used them to get sharper edge but my cakes still looks unsmooth. Any advice?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diana!!
      Thanks so much for touching base!! It sounds like you are doing everything right!! So, perhaps you can send me a picture of one of your cakes in that "unsmooth fondant appearance"?! My email is listed above under my picture. That might help me out. There's two things I'm wondering about...what fondant do you use? - and if you're using the upside frosting technique and your cake is nice and smooth, why not roll your fondant just a bit thinner? Shoot me and email and we can go from there! I'll try and helps as best as I can because I understand how frustrating it can be!!! :)
      Blessings!!

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  96. I have a question!!! Is there any way to paint on buttercream frosting with the gel food coloring? thanks you so much :)

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    Replies
    1. I have NO idea!! I wouldn't think that would work unless you used a crusting buttercream. I know that stenciling works with either royal icing or an air brush...on crusting buttercream.

      If you try it, let me know how it goes! :)

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  97. Hi jessica, lov ur site, learn so much from you!! i am making a 3 tier choc cake covered in fondant and have to keep it out of fridge for 2 days prior to party...looking for best filling to use, filling has to be non dairy...you think i should use a chocolate genach or will that be too heavy tasting or do i make a buttercream with margerine or crisco and add some kind of flavoring to that? hope to hear from you soon. thanx so much!!

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  98. Hi there!
    Ganache isn't non dairy...would that be a problem to use? I always use a buttercream for my filling because it's not so heavy....and ganache for the crumb coat. You can leave that combo out for several days as long as the buttercream doesn't have anything perishable in it. Best wishes!!

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  99. thanx so much for your quick response! genache is not a problem i just thought that it might be too heavy or rich for filling would love to use a buttercream but like i said would have to subsitute margerine or crisco for butter...not sure if that will be so yummy?

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  100. Hi again, just noticed your comment about genache i will use non dairy creamer to make the genache...i think i should get a good consistency...let me know what you think. Thanks again for all your amazing wisdom that you so graciously share!

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    Replies
    1. If you put some great flavorings in the buttercream it can taste pretty yummy! I love ganache but it's so rich for me so, it's a personal preference. I prefer to use buttercream! :) Best wishes!!

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  101. Hi Jessica,

    I am looking for a light buttercream without eggs so i cant use SMBC even though i love it.. So i was thinking of your fluffy vanilla buttercream with powdered sugar and marshmallow fluff. Wanted to check if i can use it under fondant?

    Thanks you the the amazing tutorials and recipes.

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  102. I wouldn't put in the marshmallow fluff and then you'd be fine. I'm so happy you've found me and have found some great stuff here!! :)

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  103. Hi Jessica,
    I saw your website today and it's great! I've making cakes since five years but still get confused with using fondant. Can you suggest any readymade chocolate flavored fondant which is less sticky? Also I have to make a beer barrel cake lying sideways. If I make two 8" & 6" cakes, trim them, ftost and then covet it with fondant. Now is it ok to flip it sideways to show the barrel lying sideways? It will make the layers vertical. Do I need a dowel or a support passing thr u the cake horizontally? Do you think this way will work ? Plz advise. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there!
      I just add a few ounces of melted chocolate to the melted marshmallows as well as an extra tablespoon of corn syrup. Then, I sub out a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
      Your cake should be fine being put on it's side. That's how I've done my purses. I do keep them chilled so they stay nice and stable or I'll use ganache as a crumb coat. So, either way you should be fine. Blessings!

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  104. Great blog, everyone has there own take on making cakes and fondants on here, a great bit of tips and advice to be learned here

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  105. Hi! Just wondering do you feel the SMBC is safe for pregnant women? I'm just worried because ive been told eggs have to be...well completely cooked through.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I ate lots of it while preggers! �� you do cook it so that any bacteria is cooked out. I think it's 160 degrees or so. You get it hot without cooking the eggs and for the sugar to dissolve. Blessings!!

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  106. Hi!

    Have you ever used ganache under modeling chocolate? I'm doing a patchwork cake and couldn't think of a reason why it wouldn't work, but I wanted to ask an expert. :-) Additionally, it will be a separator tier smaller than the cake (8 inch cake on a 6 inch styro cake layer), so there will be an overhang. I normally would ganache the outside of the board too and cover the whole thing. Do you think that would be a problem? I don't want the patchwork to slide off the sides of the cake! It has to stand for 12 hours or so, and I will do it the day before. So really it needs to stand for approx 30 hours!

    Thank you so much!

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  107. Oh it will be totally fine! I'd apply it right on the ganache with a little sugar water. No worries there!! :) Have fun!

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  108. Hi, Jessica -

    Missed it if this has already been answered - but with the 1:2:2.5 ratio - I'm guessing that the eggwhite weight is liquid ounces, the sugar is dry-weight ounces, and the butter is solid-weight ounces. Did I get this right? I'm going to make this soon... Thank you much and love your Craftsy classes!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!
      I just plop everything on my scale and weigh everything by weight...in ounces. I hope that's what you're asking! :) I don't measure any volume or measure anything by cup. Just the scale. I'm so happy you've enjoyed the classes!! Blessings!

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  109. Jessica - thanks for the prompt response - I guess I was wondering mostly about the eggs - I would think that 5 liquid-ounces in a glass measuring cup and 5 dry-weight ounces on a scale would be different amounts... now, its late - go to bed! 8?)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, things can weigh different than their fluid ounce measurements...but I literally weigh everything! :) - and it all works out!! :)
      Off to bed...again! :)

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  110. Hi Jessica, wow your cakes are amazing!!
    I am making a car cake for a friend for tomorrow and I have never made a decorated cake!
    I have a few questions from reading your account I have the following plan:
    Step 1) Make cake leave to cool and cut sheet cake into 3 rectangles
    Step 2) Fill with buttercream and jam and stack
    Step 3) Freeze overnight - until able to carve
    Step 4) Leave to defrost in the morning
    Step 5) Once carved cover with buttercream and chill for 15 mins
    Step 6) Roll out fondant (thinly) and cover

    Would you say that is reasonable, I am making a victoria sponge cake and so filling it with buttercream and jam would I fill the cake with this before freezing?
    Also I am making the cake in a sheet pan, would a 4 egg recipe be suitable for this?
    Thanks so much in advance!!

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  111. Hi Jessica! Your cakes are amazing, what an inspiration!!
    I am totally new to cake decorating, as a surprise for my friend's birthday I am making a car cake, going through your blog I have come up with the following steps:
    Step 1) Make cake leave to cool and cut sheet into 3 rectangles
    Step 2) Fill with buttercream and jam and stack
    Step 3) Freeze overnight - until able to carve
    Step 4) Leave to defrost in the morning
    Step 5) Once carved cover with buttercream and chill for 15 mins
    Step 6) Roll out fondant (thinly) and cover

    I was wondering, if it would be a bad idea to freeze the cake with the buttercream and jam filling?
    I am making a sponge cake in a sheet pan, do you think I should use a 4 egg recipe?
    The cake is for tomorrow so would really appreciate any advice you could give me as I am starting the baking tonight eeeek!
    Thanks so much in advance!! :D

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!
      Sorry for just getting to you today. But your plan sounds great! No worries on freezing it...just wrap it up well and you're set. I wish you the best!!! Take care!

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  112. I made your swiss meringue buttercream recently and it turned out fabulous. Then today I tripled the recipe and my sugar never melted all the way. I whipped the egg whites and sugar for 20 mins over a water bath...the temperature was right on my candy thermometer but the sugar was still grainy. I tried to make it anyway but failed. Then I attempted again with just doubling the recipe, still grainy! I whipped it for forever it seemed over hot water and it it never melted. I don't know what happened :( I'm living over in Italy and I don't know if its the brand of sugar I'm using, but there are limited options of brands I can buy. I soooo wish they sold the bakers sugar here on the military base. Please help! I think I'll just have to go with the other buttercream for now, but will it be ok to make ruffles? I'm just filling and crumb coating a 9 in cake, then I want to do ruffles or another technique. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Bummer!! Did you happen to use egg whites the first time then liquid egg whites the next time? I cannot imagine why your sugar isn't melting...that's so weird. Are you sure you doubled all the ingredients...not just the sugar? How hot are you getting it? Yes, SMBC is great for piping and ruffles and all sorts of buttercream designs. Let me know the answers and I'll try to help! :)

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    2. I used egg whites both time and yep I doubled all the ingredients. It was so weird, and frustrating! My temp got up to 150 deg on my candy thermometer and in the youtube video it said it should just need to get up to 140 to melt...?? I ended up using the other buttercream you posted, which was still great. But I love the texture and taste of smbc. Reminds me of Italian buttercream, which I'll try next to see if that recipe will work over here in Italy. I sure hope so! Thanks for your reply.

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  113. Hi Jessica! I recently purchased your Simple and Clean Cake Design. Thanks for the 50% discount. I love your class very informative especially for starter like me. I watched everything but haven't used it yet in my cakes. I am stay at home mom in single income through my husband. I'm trying to save in baking that's why I haven't used your techniques. It might be thus coming weekend for our Bible Study group member who's having birthday.

    Anyway, I have a question in crumb coating using buttercream. On your video, I've noticed that your cake was already light crumb coated. Is that chocolate gnache then coated again with SMBC? It looks very stable. I am thinking if I'll crumb coat and fill my cake with SMBC it will bulge just like what happened in my last cake after I top with just fondant skirt (not the whole cake). My next question is does the gnache affects the flavor of the cake or the filling if I am going to use fruit flavor SMBC for filling then use gnache in crumb coat?

    Thank you so much. God bless you more and your classes.

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!! So excited for you and your new cake adventure! :) That's how I started...making cakes for friends and family here and there. The round cake I crumb coated had been filled with ganache, so it looked like it had a crumb coat on it, but it was very light...just more of a wipe around from any ganache that squished out. Then, I shipped it like that to Denver since I didn't have much prep time before filming. I chill all my cakes really good before crumb coating so they are nice and stable...that's the trick!! :) Make sure after you stack/fill the cake, you let it rest overnight with a light weight on it. THEN, chill it down really good and then crumb coat and chill again and cover in fondant. That will keep you from getting any bulges. You can taste the ganache...so, as long as it compliments (like vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache) it will taste yummy!! :)

      Blessings to you!!
      Jessica

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  114. Jessica, Please tell how to make petal dust at home

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  115. Your work is great and precise and I'm glad I purchased your class. You've taught me so much. Thank you.

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  116. Hi Jessica, I love your work! have a question. I am wanting to make a choc mud cake (will use your new recipe :-)) with ganache crumb coat. if i whip the ganache will it still be strong enough to hold under fondant? Also i want to try your SMBC recipe as i have only ever made the UK version which is 1 part butter, 2 parts icing sugar. Will the SMBC be more stable? Its to crumbcoat a minion cake. Thank you x

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    Replies
    1. I love using SMBC and feel like it's very stable...and light! It's totally different than a powdered sugar based frosting. If you whip the ganache and it doesn't set to a firm shell within an hour or two, just pop it in the fridge for 30 min and it'll be nice and firm to cover in fondant.
      Blessings!!

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  117. Thank you sooo much for your blog!! My question is after you stack and fill your cake layers and after you put on a crumb coat (let's say buttercream) do you cover your cake when you put in the fridge?

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  118. Sorry didn't finish previous question.....after you stack and fill cake layers and crumb coat...if you leave them in the fridge overnight....do you cover them and if so with what?

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    1. I stack and fill then put in the fridge to settle overnight or leave at room temp for a good 6+ hours with a light weight on it after I've wrapped it in saran wrap. After it's settled and chilled (if it's been at room temp put it in the fridge to firm up) then I crumb coat and once that is firm, cover in fondant. I let it settle before I crumb coat. Blessings!

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