Thursday, July 21, 2011

An Aussie Smoooooothing Technique! - LOVE IT!


My sweet friend Deborah sent me this link to a wonderful Australian cake maker - Not Quite Nigella. There was a fabulous article on how to get smooth sides on their cakes. I just have to say the Australians have the most beautiful, flawless cakes I have ever seen!!! Like Planet Cake...Seriously!??? Are they for real!?!! I digress...

Well, this article used a variation of the upside down frosting method...but even better - and easier!! Instead of flipping their cakes (which can be a bit tricky with a big cake), they add a board on top to line everything up so your sides truly are straight!!! Brilliant!! You glob a whole bunch of frosting/ganache on top, add your board, press down/level, and make sure it's lined up with your bottom board. Then, add your crumb coat of frosting and and guide your bench scraper around to smooth the frosting down.

Click HERE for the article

Now, I was a little unsure about this technique for one reason...how do I get the board off the top without ruining the beautiful cake!!????? She doesn't mention it's a problem in the article...so, I thought I'd see for myself. I'm working on a cake for Saturday and had a 8" and 6" cake to try it on...the results?!
Beautiful!!!!! The lid popped right off!! I only had a small little spot to touch up where I put my palate knife in to lift the board off...it was SUPER fast! Amazing!! Totally straight sides...LOVED it! I might have to do another video! :) hehe

So, now you an use the upside down method, or this Aussie method!! I haven't tried this Aussie method with buttercream though...not sure if that top board would "pop" off as easily!? - if you do try it, make sure you chill the cake REAL good before trying to get the board off...and if you try it with buttercream, let me know how it works!!!

Night Night!!


Click HERE for step by step pics

28 comments:

  1. So glad that it worked for you! Thanks for taking a leap of faith and giving it a trial run. Happy Caking!

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  2. I thought I invented that method! Wow, just when you think you discovered something!

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  3. Great technique! I actually tried it yesterday with SMBC. I let it sit in the frig overnight to make sure it was good and firm. Perhaps that was a bit long; the board did stick a bit. Nothing that couldn't be fixed and with practice, I think it would work really well. I love this because I like the upside-down technique but hate the stress of flipping the cakes. Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. I tried this method today. I LOVED how easy it was and how much less time it took. I did it with plain buttercream and mine did stick too. Much like Kristen said, it wasn't anything that couldn't be fixed but I'm not sure what would help the process of pulling the top off be smoother. I did it to a wedding cake and all four tiers pulled some of the icing off. Hhmmm... The sides and edges were perfect though! I almost wonder if putting some kind of extra grease or something in between the icing and the board would work? Btw, thanks SOOO much for sharing! :) Love your work!

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  5. Jason and Hannah: Yeah! I am going to do a video of this technique in the next few days, although it's going to be using ganache because the cake I'm using in the video will have to be ganache because it's going to be traveling a couple of hours. My suggestion would be to crisco the board you are using on top...that might do the trick! I'll try it on the video and see if it works better too! Thanks so much for the feedback! By the way, are you using a warm palette knife between the buttercream and board before trying to pop it off? That might help!

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  6. Why couldn't you just put a parchment circle the same size as the board and tape it to the board? Is the board not non-stick? Seems like this would work with buttercream after chilling? Cut the tape and just peel off the parchment/wax paper... Am I missing something? I am going to try this!!

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  7. Rochelle: Let me know how it goes! :) I have thought of that, but haven't tried it yet. Keep me posted! :)

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  8. Would it be possible to do this technique with the greaseproof cardboard cake circles instead of the foil covered cake drums/display boards? Where I live, the cake drums are pricey ($3 to $5 or more depending on size),so using two of them per cake--one for the ganaching and one for displaying the cake (the third/top one would be re-usable), would get expensive.

    Also, after ganaching the cake...how long does it need to chill in the fridge before attempting to remove the top cake board/drum with the warm palette knife?

    After the chilled ganached cake is out of the fridge and the top cake board/drum has been removed, does it need to come back to room temperature before covering in fondant so the fondant doesn't sweat or form bubbles? Does the cake coming back to room temperature affect the ganache in anyway, like make the ganache shell not as firm?

    Sorry for all the questions! Thanks in advance for your help!

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  9. AJane: Yes...the greaseproof cardboard circles would work. There's always a little touch up to do when you pop the circles off. Just use a really hot/warm palette knife, insert it right under the circle, slide it around, and it pops right off. Then, fill in any air bubbles and you're ready to cover.

    You can chill it in the fridge until it sets...sometimes only 30 min. or so. Or you can let it sit out overnight.

    I keep my cakes in the fridge but lately I've been taking them out for a good hour (so they're not super cold/condensated) before covering them with fondant. It gives me more time to smooth it before the fondant gets cold. But, depending upon your filling, your cake doesn't even need to go into the fridge at all before fondant.

    Best of luck! :)

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    1. That's great--I'm happy to know that the cake circles would work! I've been ganaching my cakes for about a year now and use the upside-down method (which I really like, but I get nervous with the flipping every time!). I can't wait to try this technique now too!

      I usually ganache my cake and let it set over night, I just thought that chilling it might help the lid pop off better?

      If there is no difference, I'll just let it set over night with the lid on and then try to pop it off the next day before covering it with fondant. I don't want to mess with cold cake/condensation and fondant if I don't have to, lol!

      One more quick question; I get really nice sharp corners with the ganache...but after I cover the ganached cake in fondant and smooth the fondant, the top edge no longer seems as crisp/sharp and is instead very rounded again--despite all of my smoothing efforts. Any ideas why this could be and suggestions on what to do about it?

      Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it! I love your blog, cakes, and pictures! I can only hope that one day my cakes will look as good as yours do!

      ;0)

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  10. AJane: The reason your corners aren't as sharp after fondant (even though they're sharp before), is because of the thickness of your fondant. The thinner you roll it...like 1/8" thick or less...the more sharp your corners will be. So, try rolling it thinner and see what happens. Also, taking some extra time to use two fondant smoothers at the top edge, pushing it to a 90 degree angle.

    Best of luck! :)

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions--I will try them with my next cake!

      ;0)

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  11. Thanks for both the tut on upside down method and the info on this method. I'm about to do my first real cake covering and hoping that I can do this without too much of a disaster. Love your blog and your cake designs are incredible!

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  12. This is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing! I wish I had thought of it. Have you ever heard of Chef Toba Garrett's "Spackle" technique for getting a perfectly smooth surface without ganache? I took a few classes with her and she taught that in her weeding cake workshop. It's fantastic! You basically make cake ball "dough" with extra frosting so it's spreadable and frost the entire cake with it. Then chill.

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  13. Hi Jessica!

    I just wanted to give a quick update that the grease proof cake circle didn't work so well as a top board after all--it didn't come off at all! I tried to get it up after letting the cake set over night, it wouldn't budge. I did the best I could to get it off, but it really messed up the top of the cake and even started lifting the top layer of cake off :0( It was as if the ganache under the cake circle never set at all--but the sides were fine. So in case anybody else is thinking of trying the cake circle boards, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm not sure why they didn't work though.

    Anyway, I fixed it as much as I could and then tried "speed setting" the ganached cake in the freezer this morning for about 30-45 minutes...but the condensation has been a nightmare. It's under a fan right now...I'm still waiting for it to set-up firm again. If I need to "speed set" a cake in the future, is it better to put it in the fridge instead of the freezer?

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  14. I would just like to add something about freezing.
    I made the ganache as I always do, to do the upside down method except I was short on time and immediately after making put it in the freezer. The ganache as a result never set. Never even froze! That cake was quite a disaster, you can't tell but it was disastrous.
    I've since made my ganache as I usually do and left it out over night then put it in the fridge for a few hours and it set perfectly.
    My question is, does freezing your ganache before it initially sets a recipe for disaster? Does it ruin the ganache? I'm fairly new to ganache and sharp corners but this disaster has put me off lol
    I have tried this Aussie method of the two boards and it was a disaster, but I haven't tried it since but I'm thinking I should. I was using white chocolate not my usual milk chocolate ganache so that's probably what it was that caused the problem.

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  15. Jade: I'm SO sorry!! I've never stuck it in the freezer right after putting it on my cake, so I have no idea. I'm wondering if that may have been a bad batch of ganache?! When you make milk chocolate ganache, you can't use the 2:1 radio like in dark chocolate ganache. Maybe the ratio was off?! With milk chocolate, you use 16oz of milk chocolate to 5.5 oz of heavy cream. Is that what you do?

    Other than that, I have no idea!!

    If anyone has advice for Jade, let us know! :)

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  16. Jessica, I love your cakes and your blog. Thank you for sharing your tips with us!

    Would this technique work on a square cake? I can't find much info about frosting techniques on square cakes. Thanks!
    Mindy

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    1. Absolutely!!! I used it for the amp in my electric guitar cake!! It's awesome!

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    2. Oh, that amp covered in ganache is gorgeous! How do you modify the smoothing technique with a tall cake? I noticed your bench scraper in the picture. Do you have to use a taller scraper to get smooth, straight sides on a tall cake?

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    3. Yes Mindy...you need a taller/wider bench scraper for the taller cakes. You can use anything that's got a straight edge because the boards are your guide.
      Best wishes!

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  17. Which boards do you use for this technique now? Did you switch from the cardboard ones?

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    1. Nope...I'm lazy. I still use the cardboards one. After it's set, I pop off the cardboard and go around it with a hot bench scraper to get any of the lines the cardboard causes.

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    2. Do you reuse them? Are the results still perfect sice the Wilton boards have ridges? I have Masonite boards and noticed that even the same size are not perfectly round when you stack them. So I am afraid to use them for this technique.

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    3. I don't reuse the boards if I'm using cardboard cake rounds. There are a few ridges, but I use a hot bench scraper after I pop the top one off to smooth those ridges a bit. I haven't worked with masonite boards...sorry! :(

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  18. Jessica I found this other link where she uses cling wrap on the top board to peel it right off and to reuse it. She uses tape to secure the top then when ready to remove she opens the cling wrap removes the board and then peeks off the wrap. I tried pasting the link to this post but couldn't. Also cake across the most amazing website. It's an Aussie decorator that created a website to tell us how much ganache we need to make based on size of cake. She just created a Facebook page for it with the document and instructions. Go on Facebook and find the ganacherator. She uses 2:1 ratio for milk chocolate as well as semi sweet as that's how they do it where she's from but there's also the white chocolate version too. Check it out.

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  19. Also found the Aussie cake drums for sale on a site in the US. They have all sizes including odd numbers. I am thinking of getting them just to ice my cakes and using the cling wrap method so I can reuse them. I just googled 5 inch cake drums and I think it's sugarshack that has them. All other sites I found only have the even # ones.

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  20. After ganaching the cake and you are ready to place the fondant, what to you use to make the fondant stick to the ganache? I love, love, love your cakes!

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