by Sharon Wee
So I’m finally back from my holidays and I know this is a little overdue, but I have finally complied a list of tips and ticks based on your requests awhile ago.
I’ve split it up into 3 parts and part 1 is all about the basics (stuff that is under the fondant) and part 2 and 3 will be all about the decorating.
Please note these are my suggestions and the way I do things, it is not the be all and end all and if you have tips of your own, feel free to post them in the comments section so everyone can learn from them too!
Preparing the cake:
- Don’t bake and decorate your cake on the same day. Ensure your cake rests over night and chill your cake before cutting as it’s less likely to be crumbly and the ganache will also set instantly.
- Like the cake, don’t make and use your ganache on the same day. It needs to rest overnight at room temperature and should feel like smooth peanut butter.
- To ensure a moist cake, each layer should be brushed with syrup before assembling.
- Ganache should be made with pouring cream not thickened cream because thickened cream contains geletin. Ganache should also only be made with good quality chocolate (couverture if you have a choice) and the ratios for dark and milk chocolate are 1:2 (cream:chocolate) and for white chocolate 1:3.
- DO NOT overheat your ganache. This could be overheating the cream or even microwaving the cream and chocolate mixture for too long. This causes the ganache to split (meaning the oil comes out of the chocolate) or seize (meaning you’ll find lots of little tiny balls when the ganache sets).
- If the above happens, it’s fixable! Let the split ganache cool down (or place it in the fridge for awhile) and then remix the ganache until the oil and chocolate recombines. If the chocolate has seized, simply re-microwave in 30 second bursts until the ganache has melted but is not hot, then remix well and let it set.
- Make sure your cake and board size match – for example if you have a 8in cake, make sure you have an 8in board even if the cake shrinks don’t be tempted to use a smaller board. This ensures your cake sizes remain consistent and it will also help with the step below.
- When ganaching the sides of your cake, you will NEED a 90 degree scraper. Metal is better than plastic. When scraping the side of the cake (to get the excess ganache off), ensure the scraper is always kept at a 90 degree angle.
- The turn table is your friend! It’ll help you ganache the sides and top of the cake a lot better. Hold the scraper on the side of the cake with one hand and rotate the turntable with the other hand and use the cake board as a guide. ALWAYS look at the cake at eye level along the way to ensure everything is even.
- Use hot water and a metal spatula to smooth out the ganache after it has set (let the ganache set for at least an hour). The ganache should be smooth and even before covering. Look at the cake at eye level, the ganache should be smooth, but the top of the cake should also be flat and even at all angles. Don’t get lazy with this step as this is one of the most important elements in getting a good looking cake!