Read The Busy Girls Guide to Cake Decorating Online
Authors: Ruth Clemens
2 Remove the cake from the tin (pan) and adjust the height of the boards inside so that the cake can be split in the middle. Place the cake back in the tin (pan) and split through the middle. Scoring around the edge of the cake will help give you an even cut.
3 Flip the cake out of the tin taking care to keep it in one piece. The bottom should now be on the top. Insert two cocktail sticks (toothpicks) aligned vertically, one in each cake layer.
4 Place the cake onto a plate or board. Remove the top layer and fill with buttercream (see
) and jam as desired. Replace the top layer using the cocktail stick (toothpick) markers to align.
5 Using a palette knife, coat the top of the cake with buttercream. Then coat around the edge of the cake, working the buttercream around the sides from the top down to the base. Using the blade of the palette knife, scrape the excess buttercream from the cake to give a smooth finish.
6 Remove the cocktail sticks (toothpicks) and finally finish this area. Smooth the buttercream join at the top edge. Check with your eye that the cake is level. Chill hard in the fridge before covering with sugarpaste (rolled fondant) (see
Covering a cake with sugarpaste
Fruit cakes benefit from a layer of marzipan to help seal in their moistness and flavour and to act as a barrier to stop the fruit staining the sugarpaste (rolled fondant). It also provides a level surface for the sugarpaste.
Marzipan layers appreciate 24â48 hours to dry out slightly, which will provide a firmer surface to support the sugarpaste layer.
1 Cover the cake in a thin layer of apricot jam or marmalade using a pastry brush. Zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften if it needs it. This will be the âglue' to hold on the marzipan layer.
2 To cover a 20cm (8in) cake, 500g (1lb 1
oz) of marzipan is enough. If you love the taste of marzipan you can make this layer thicker but you will need more to do so. Lightly dust your work surface with a little icing (confectioners') sugar. Knead the marzipan gently to warm and soften it, making it easier to work with.
3 Take half of the marzipan and shape into a rough sausage shape. Keeping your surface lightly dusted with icing (confectioners') sugar roll out the sausage into a long strip, 4mm (
in) thick, to reach around the circumference of the cake. Measure the cake with string to help determine the length and width it needs to be.
4 Position the collar around the outside of the cake, ensuring that the marzipan sits neatly at the base. Trim neatly where the two edges meet using a sharp knife. If the collar protrudes above the cake, trim it level with a pair of scissors.
5 Gather together the trimmings and the remaining half of marzipan and roll out to 4mm (
in) thick on your work surface. Using the tin (pan) you baked the cake in as a template, cut out a circle for the top of the cake.
6 Place the circle on the top of the cake, gently sealing together the edges where it meets the marzipan collar. Use your hands to smooth the seams of the marzipan. Smooth the top and the sides, working out any major lumps and bumps. Repeat with an icing smoother.
“It's frustrating to find your marzipan or sugarpaste has stuck to your work surface. Check it frequently and dust with a little more icing (confectioners') sugar if necessary.”
Sugarpaste (rolled fondant) finishes a cake with a smooth polished surface and provides the very best canvas to work on when creating beautiful cake designs.
1 If covering a sponge cake, the cake needs to be chilled hard to set the buttercream. On removing from the fridge, shave off any lumps and bumps using a sharp knife. Set the cake on a plate or spare cake board. If covering a fruit cake, lightly spray the marzipan covering with a mist of water if the cake is to be served right away. If the cake is to be kept for any length of time it is best to use a clear alcohol such as vodka.
2 Roll out the sugarpaste on your work surface lightly dusted with icing (confectioners') sugar, trying to keep it in a circular shape and at an even thickness of 5mm (
in). Measure the size of your cake with a piece of string and use to compare to your sugarpaste. Trim off any excess â if one side is far too long the weight of the overhang will pull and crack as it is laid onto the cake.
3 Once the sugarpaste is rolled out to the correct size, use an icing smoother to polish it on the work surface. Then lift the sugarpaste using your rolling pin and lay it centrally onto the cake.
4 Using your hands, concentrate on the very top of the cake. Moving in a circular motion, begin to polish and smooth the sugarpaste. Cup your hands and polish again around the very top edge. Now turn your attention to the sides, gently working your way down the cake towards the base. Lift the sugarpaste out from the bottom, as if smoothing out a skirt, to encourage the sugarpaste to the cover the cake flat, lifting out any creases.
5 Once the sugarpaste is smoothed all the way down the sides, use an icing smoother to polish the surface. At the base of the cake, press down the smoother to start to form a mark where the sugarpaste can be trimmed.
6 Using a sharp knife, cut cleanly around the base of the cake to cut away the excess sugarpaste and remove.