Monday, June 7, 2010

Candy Cakes

This past weekend we celebrated Bug turning 3 and Sweets turning 6 with an old fashioned sweet shop themed party.  Which would explain why I have been neglectful of my blogging as of late.  I made everything for the party and will be sharing all of the details with you this week.  The first thing I have to share with your are the cakes that I made.  I only recently got serious about learning cake decorating.  In the past I just did whatever worked.  I really have wanted to take a class but unfortunately time hasn't been on my side with that. So I did what I usually do when I want or need to acquire a new skill, watch Youtube.  This might not be the most conventional method of learning, but it works for me.  So after a few videos and reading up on a few different sites I hit Walmart and picked up a couple of new cake tools.  I already had in my possession some decorating bags, basic tips and couplers.  I bought an angled icing spatula, a cake leveler and a fondant smoother.  I made a basic butter cream icing based on several different recipes I saw on line that I will post here.  The technique that worked best for me was to use a crumb coat, then apply a second thick coat of butter cream, smooth the best I could with the spatula and then let it crust.  After that I laid a Viva paper towel onto the cake and went over it with the fondant smoother.  This produced the smoothest butter cream I have ever accomplished.  I found this technique everywhere, so just Google smooth butter cream and you will find dozens of how to's.  After that I decorated the cakes to the max with lollipops, candy sticks, suckers, gum balls, candy bars, rock candy, smarties, gummy bears and sprinkles.  The kids loved them and I was super proud.  I should also note that I made the cakes the day before I decorated them and it made it not quite so exhausting.  The blue cake was two layers of chocolate chip cake and one layer of devil's food cake.  The green was red velvet.

Here is the basic recipe I followed.  You really need to add the sugar cup by cup to see how much you need you can always add more or add a little water if you need to thin it out.  This recipe is for a shelf stable butter cream or one that doesn't melt and turn rancid sitting out in the heat.  From what I have learned the sugar preserves the butter.  Using Crisco makes butter cream so much more stable than using butter alone.  I know a lot of people think that is gross and I used to also but seeing the difference it makes in the appearance of the cake I can say it's totally worth it and the icing was great tasting also. This does not make a pure white frosting for that you will need to use just shortening, sugar, clear vanilla and clear butter flavoring and meringue powder.

I c. Crisco
3 sticks butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
I bag or 4 cups confectioners sugar
water if needed (you can use milk if you are not concerned with making it shelf stable)
2 tbs meringue powder

Cream the butter and Crisco together.  Add vanilla.  Add sugar 1 cup at a time.  Add meringue powder.  Stir until well mixed and at the right consistency.  Use or refrigerate.