Tag Archives: cakes

Exceptional Mother’s Day Cakes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake for Exceptional Mother's Day CakesPresident Woodrow Wilson certainly knew what he was doing in 1914 when he finally got congress to designate the second Sunday every May as Mother’s Day.  A special day set aside to honor mothers certainly calls for desserts worthy of that honor.

I have selected six cakes that can be made in part or completely ahead.  As I am not a proponent of naked cakes, each is easy to finish so you won’t be tied up fussing with frosting it.

A quick note about freezing the cake layers.   Freeze them first, then wrap them completely in foil.  This will keep from smooshing the sides or tops of the tender cakes.

I am posting this early to give you a chance to get one of these special Mother’s Days cakes underway to honor your mother, grandmother or yourself. Continue reading

One Batter – Two Classic Cakes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Whole cake for One Batter Two Classic CakesTwo Classic Cakes from German Chocolate Cake batter, makes either one the star.   I have to admit I am one of the few people in America that doesn’t get one of the Two Classic Cakes – The Red Velvet Cake.  Traditionally a white cake with the barest amount of cocoa colored with red dye to which a bit of vinegar is added to make it even more red which, after baking, is filled and finished with Cream Cheese Frosting.

To make the cake part more interesting at the bakery, we used the Second Classic Cake – the German Chocolate Cake to which we added red dye and a little vinegar.  As you can see from the photos – red it is.  The cake has one of the most tender crumbs of any cake. Continue reading

Cake Talk

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Epresso Fudge CakeWhile the most important aspect of any cake is the taste and texture, there are other important features regarding cakes.  So we are going to address some of them.

Preparing the Cake Pans – Cake Pan Prep for Flat Layers

Splitting cake layers – As anyone knows who as been reading this blog, I like to bake the exact number of cake layers I need as opposed to splitting them.  However, I realize that not everyone has as many cake pans as I do.  There are many ways suggested to split cake layers.  Toothpicks marking where the cake should be sliced as well as an adjustable cake slicer are a couple.  However, one thing is not usually mentioned.  If the layers are partially frozen, they are easier to slice cleanly.  This is especially true of sponge and chiffon layers which are light and delicate.    A long, sharp, serrated knife can be a big help as it can go from one side of the cake to the other.

Filling cake layers to avoid trimming them – This is a method we used at the bakery for a lot of our cakes, especially if they had wiggly fillings, like ganache, pastry cream, lemon curd, etc.  You will need a deep cake pan the same size as the layers.  In other words, we used 9×3 inch cheesecake pans to assemble 9 inch cakes.  Our pans had removable bottoms but that is not strictly necessary.  Place a cake layer in the pan, Continue reading

French Buttercream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Brown and White CakeFrench buttercream is distinguished by the use of egg yolks as well as whites.  A sugar syrup is used and it is flavored with vanilla or other flavors of your choice.  The combination of egg yolks and egg whites will whip into a foam that does not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.

This buttercream is the last of the European buttercreams based on an emulsion.  This is considered to be the most stable of all of them as it uses whole eggs and  yolks not a meringue as do the Swiss and Italian.   Although this is not as light as the Swiss and Italian, it is by no means heavy.  We are talking degrees here.   I think this buttercream has a richer, deeper taste due to the added richness of the yolks.

If  you research this along with the other two you will find varying amounts of the eggs, yolks and whites (for the Swiss and Italian) along with varying amounts of sugar and butter. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe as long as the proportions are correct.  The French buttercream requires a hot sugar syrup as does the Italian.  However, because whole eggs and yolks are being used, they do not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.  Just beating them will obtain the desired effect.

Continue reading

Drying a Fondant Covered Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Drying-Fondant-Cake-1-of-1-518x299The only wedding cake I ever had collapse was a fondant covered  cake that sat at room temperature overnight and got too warm as it was undercoated with buttercream.  After that experience, every fondant cake, no matter what time of the year and how big or small it was, was refrigerated.  Drying a fondant covered cake after it has been refrigerated is important to remove the condensation that occurs. They would be pulled out several hours before delivery.  In most cases, they would  be wet, either a little or a lot depending upon how hot and humid it was even in air-conditioning.  The warmer the weather, the more water on the cake.

Since the cakes couldn’t be delivered in this condition, I had to find a way to dry them.  It actually is very easy – once I thought of it!  Place the cake or cake layers on trays and place them on a speed rack or table.  Surround the rack or the table with heavy duty fans.  Turn them on and the cake usually dries within 20 to 60 minutes, depending upon how wet they are.

A beautiful cake that is firm and, as importantly – DRY!!!

Notice the rack it is on.  It is a side loading rack, which is very important in a bakery.  More on that later.