Friday, May 23, 2014

Sensational Buttercream Decorating:50 projects for luscious cakes,mini-cakes and cupcakes By Carey Madden

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Sensational Butter Cream Decorating Cookbook is full of insightful knowledge on every question you may have about cakes and decorating.Carey Madden has created her very own go to cake bible that consists of step by step directions, along with beautiful detail photographs to create impressive cakes.This hard cover, includes delicious cake recipes,a highly flexible meringue butter cream and great tips to handle decorating challenges.So once anyone opens this recipe book they will see how much information it really consist of and will be overwhelmed with how much knowledge they will take away from it.

This cookbook starts off as beginners basic and continues to challenge the reader.For me I love that aspect of starting over and learning brand new ideas.It has given me great tips and hints to create future cakes and how to decorate at my best. I have already bettered myself in the field of cake decorating,especially in piping designs.I am still in major practice mode in this aspect of baking;however I am pretty impressed with myself that I was able to pull off a basket weave cake.

The basket weave design is one of the beginner cakes of the Sensational Butter cream Decorating Cookbook, which consists of a rich chocolate cake decorated with a Swiss Meringue butter cream.The manner of preparing this impressive cake is a lengthy one because it is basically three recipes in one.It also can be quite an costly cake to achieve since it includes an extensive list of ingredients along with equipment to be utilized.Lastly, the recipes do include extensive information and will acquire time to understand completely on what to do. Although recognizing these challenges this It stills has been a very rewarding and exciting process to create the basket weave design.

For me I accept that there are is always going to be encounters to be confronted in every cake that  I decorate and this one has had its challenges.There has been frequent steps to follow before the final recipe stages such as leveling the cake, creating a crumb coating and even learning a smooth icing technique.Although mentioning these challenges.Carey Madden has still done a wonderful job with her explanations and I took away a lot of knowledge from this guide book.

Now the recipe itself,the rich chocolate cake and Swiss Meringue butter cream were pretty simple to follow and had easy to understand directions.The both had great tips to help during the recipe process and in the beginning of the book it included tons of information about equipment,ingredients and techniques that are involved in the recipe. I love this aspect of this cookbook because it doesn't leave you clueless or questioning the process. 

There is wonderful photographs and detailed directions for each process the cake goes though such as the crumb coat and the smooth icing technique.The basket weave how to recipe has the same basic step although it is more challenging because its actually learning how to pipe a design.This takes practice and it took me some time to even reach this level and I am pretty happy with what I accomplished.I made sure to use the directions, photos and read about the piping techniques,which I have included in the recipe below.

So for the final result,I am pretty impressed with how well I did and no where thought I reach this close to the original appearance.I ended up with a beautiful impressive cake along with a spur of the moment improvisation of rosettes and chocolate sprinkles.It was well worth the length of time to create this cake and very rewarding.

Although not as rewarding as taking a bite of a piece.This chocolate cake was deliciously moist and rich with just a hint of coffee flavor.The Swiss meringue butter cream was sweet like butter with a very creamy and light texture.It paired so well with the rich chocolate cake and held the basket weave design perfectly.Its a top notch recipe and I definitely recommend cake enthusiasts to experience it for themselves.So go on and try out this recipe and then after pick this book up.The price is definitely worth with it when you learned how much it includes.It will definitely help strengthen your cake decorating.Trust me!

So for Sensational Butter Cream Decorating Cookbook with just one recipe review, I give this book an A+ with two thumbs up.This is definitely a winner for me and I will use it as my go to guide book for cake decorating.I send a thank you to the Rose Inc and a big thank you to Martine for sending me this book for review.I will cherish this generosity and will continue to say positive comments.Thanks you!

The Recipe

Rich Chocolate Cake

For 6inch (15 cm) cake layers

1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/3 cup boiling water
1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate,coarsely chopped
1 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter,softened
2 large eggs

For 8inch cake (20cm) cake layers

2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 cup boiling water
3 oz unsweetened chocolate,coarsely chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp white vinegar
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cups unsalted butter,softened
3 large eggs

 1.Prepared my 8 inch nonstick cake pans.Greasing the bottom and sides.Placing only parchment paper on the bottom and flouring the sides.Then I preheated my oven to 350F.

(Cookbook Tip: With nonstick pans take off 25F to the temperature. Ex: 350 goes to 325F.)

2.Then without using a double boiler. I filled a medium pot with water,less then half fill on low-medium heat and placed a large glass bowl over top,without touching the water.I then poured in the coffee granules and boiling water into the glass bowl,whisking, until the coffee was dissolved.Then I added the chocolate and heated it gently,whisking often,until completely melted.Then I removed it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.

 Tip:Be sure to use a kettle to create boiling water.
Cookbook Tip: Can replace boiling water and instant granules with 1 cup of strongly brewed coffee.
Tip:You can coarsely chop the chocolate or let it melt slowly.
Tip:Use a double boiler, if you have it and if not use the glass bowl technique.

3.I then sifted my flour,cocoa,baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.

4.Then in a second medium bowl,I whisked together the sour cream,vanilla and vinegar.From there, I whisked in the cooled coffee mixture,then placed it to the side.

5.Then with my kitchen aid stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed,I alternately began beating in the flour mixture and sour cream mixture.Three additions for the flour and two for the sour cream,beating until blended.Then I divided my batter by weight to my prepared cake pans and smoothing the tops.

6.Baked in the oven for about 40 minutes for the 8 inch's and 6 inches for 35 minutes.Use the toothpick test.If inserted into center of cake and comes out clean,its done.Then I let the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes and then slowly removed the cake to cool completely on racks before slicing and filling.

(My experience:Batter may begin going off the sides a bit, if so,keep baking just place a pan on the second rack.This can be easily fixed in the process of slicing)

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

The Recipe

Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Icing
 Yields about 5 cups

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup large egg whites ( 7 eggs)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups unsalted butter

1.Without using a double boiler.I filled a medium pot with water,less then half fill on low-medium heat and placed a large glass bowl over top,without touching the water.

2.I then whisked in together the sugar,salt, and egg whites.Then I began constantly whisking, until the sugar dissolved and the mixture reached 140 F on my candy thermometer or uncomfortable hot to the touch.

3.Then once the egg mixture reach the right consistency. I poured the mixture into my stand mixer bowl and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks formed and the mixture was cooled to room temp.Then I beat in the vanilla.

4.Then I weighed and cut my butter into small cubes about 1/4 inch in size.Then I slowly added two-three cubes of butter at a time to the cooled egg mixture,while beating.I did this until the butter was fully incorporated and the icing was smooth and satiny.I did have to turn up the power slightly at the end to help the icing come together.

5.Then I used the icing immediately;however it can be covered in plastic wrap and store at a cool room temperature for up to 24 hours.Then re beating to the right consistency when ready to use.

6. After the filling and crumb coat process in this recipe,I made a second batch of icing realizing one batch wouldn't be enough for the whole project. Doubling the recipe might be a good idea for next time.

Cookbook Tips:

Use a double boiler if you have it and if not use the glass bowl technique
If you don't have a stand mixer you can use a heavy duty handheld mixer,It will just take longer.

Cookbook Egg White Tips:

Heating the egg whites will help pasteurize and if particles of cook egg do appear in the mixture at the end of step 1,run them through a fine mesh sieves before continuing to step 2
Be sure to clean any equipment that will come in contact with the egg whites.Any small trace of grease will ruin a batch of meringue.Easy trick is to dampen a paper towel or cloth with lemon juice or vinegar to wipe down all equipment.
Once you add the butter to the meringue it will begin to separate and curdle,this is common and just keep beating.

Cookbook Tips

For larger cakes or project its best to double the ingredients to make 10 cups of butter cream.
(My Tip: Can make two batches separately so the icing isn't sitting out to long and you have a fresh batch.,you will end up with some leftover.

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Prepping the Cake

1.With my cooled cake rounds placed on a flat surface or turntable,I began leveling each one by placing a serrated knife on the east side and putting light pressure on the cake with my free hand and proceeding to slice to create a level top on each.

(There are great step by step diagrams and directions in the cookbook for more information) 


Important Recipe Note: At first I thought the basket weave cake recipe included butter cream icing for the whole project including the filling and crumb coat.It actually only includes what you need for the final icing along with the piping.So after I filled and crumbed coated this cake I made a second batch of icing while it chilled. This was not a problem since I was lucky enough to have more ingredients.

This is one batch of butter cream icing.
1.Using this one batch of ivory butter cream icing.I spread a good size dollop of icing gently from the middle to the edge of the bottom cake layer and then I placed the second cake layer on top.

The amount of filling used will vary on how much the person desires and if you choose the spiral filling that the cookbook instructs.The spiral filling will most likely use more butter cream and create more height. This can be done by filling a piping bag with or without a tip and then slowly start 1/4 inch from the outside edge and place firm pressure on the bag to create a tight spiral filling into the center of the cake.Then gently placing the second cake layer on top.Also if any icing is leftover from the piping bag it should be placed back in the icing bowl for the crumb coat.

(Tip:The filling can easily be colored before use,I just kept it ivory since I didn't know how much I planned on using for the filling)

(There are great step by step diagrams and directions in the cookbook for more information) 

Crumb Coat

A very important aspect to decorating a cake is the crumb coat.This helps in preventing crumbs from interfering with the final icing.

1.So when I completed the filling. I used the leftover icing and dye it a medium brown with my food coloring gel. I used a toothpick to add my gel coloring and used my stand mixer with a whisk attachment to slowly mix in the coloring,until it reached my desired color.

(Tip: The icing may separate due to room temperature of the butter.I just kept beating the mixture, until it reached the right consistency)

2.Once it reached the right color and consistency, I use an offset spatula and gently spread a thin layer of icing across the top and around the sides.This is when its perfectly fine to have crumbs release from the cake and mix into the icing.Then I placed the cake rounds in the fridge and let the icing firm up.

 (My Tip:If there is any leftover icing without crumbs in the mixture.Keep this aside to use for the smooth icing technique)

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Smooth Icing

While waiting for the crumb coat to firm up I made a second batch of icing.In this batch I reserved 2 cups of ivory butter cream to create a light brown icing for the basket weave piping and the rest to create a medium brown for icing and piping.

1.Once the cake was chilled I kept the cake on the center of my turntable.I then stirred the medium brown icing with a rubber spatula, until smooth.While keeping the reserve icing in the fridge for later use.

2.Then I placed a large dollop of icing on top of the cake and used my straight blade spatula to spread the icing from the middle to the outside.

3. I then placed my metal spatula tip at the center of the cake while having the back edge resting horizontally on the surface and the front edge at 45 degree angle.Then I began spinning my turntable counterclockwise with my free hand and gently applying pressure to the surface,until smooth.

(There are great step by step diagrams and directions in the cookbook for more information) 

 4.Then I scooped another dollop of icing and spread it onto the side of the cake.I spread the icing while spinning my turntable.Once I could longer cover anymore area.I spread another dollop of icing to the bare side and continue to spread the icing until I covered the sides.

5.Then I smoothed the sides by holding the spatula vertically with the tip touching the turntable and the back edge touching the surface at a 30 degree angle.Then I span the turntable clockwise and applied gently pressure with my spatula,continuing until smooth and when the icing created a lip higher then the top surface.

6. Then I removed the lip of the icing by placing the back edge of the straight metal spatula horizontally at the south-southwest position on the top of the cake with the front edge at a 30 degree angle towards the center of the cake.Then I swiped the spatula towards the center of the cake,smoothing down the lip.Then I span the turntable slightly and made another swipe from the edge to the center,until all lips were removed.Then I placed the iced cake in the refrigerator until well chilled and placed any leftover icing in the fridge to keep cold,including the 2 cups of reserve.

(There are great step by step diagrams and directions on how to create the smooth icing technique in this cookbook)

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Basket Weave Chocolate Cake

8 inch cake,sliced,filled and crumb coated
5 cups of medium brown icing
2 cups of light brown icing(Reserved from the 5 cup batch of icing before the dying process)
2 pastry bags
2 couplers
2 #6 tips
# 48 basket weave tip
Metal ruler and toothpicks

Technique used in the cookbook:
Smooth icing
Transferring the cake
Lines and Smooth scallop border

1.Once the cake was fully chilled.I took out the remaining medium brown icing and beat it using my stand mixer until it reached the right consistency again.

 2.I then transferred the remaining medium brown icing into a pastry bag with a #6 tip.Its best to have a coupler with your piping bag to make piping easier.There is also many tips and tricks about piping in this recipe book such as how to pipe and hold a pastry bag,along with what equipment to use.

Cookbook Hints For Using A Pastry Bag:
  •  Cutting off the tip: I snipped about 1 inch off the tip.When inserting the coupler it extended about half of the thread of the coupler.
  • Placing the tip and coupler:I placed the decorating tip over the part with the extended threads,secured and twisted the coupler ring over top of the tip, until secure.
  •  Filling a pastry bag:With my left hand I folded the top of the bag down over my hand and then proceeded to scoop icing from the bowl using a rubber spatula and carefully dropping it into the bag
  • Closing bag:With my right hand I held the pastry bag and with my left hand I twisted the empty top portion.Then I slipped the twisted portion in between my thumb and index finger.
  • How to Hold a Pastry Bag:With my right hand,I held the twisted off portion in between my thumb and index finger while the excess bag drapes over the back of my hand.Then I placed my index finger of my left hand near the narrow opening and use it to guide the bag and keep steady.

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

 3. I kept my chilled cake on the center of my turntable.Then I used a ruler to create imprints on the side of the cake to have a guide line for piping.The space between each line is about 1/2 inches all around.

4.Then using my medium brown icing in a pastry bag.I piped over the imprints making vertical lines. I held the pastry bag at a 45 degree angle to the cake with the tip gently touching the starting point and with moderate pressure squeezed to create an anchor of icing and then lifting slightly while moving my hand to create a even line.Then touching the end point with the tip and then releasing the pressure. Continue until all imprints are filled.If any leftovers used for icing decoration.

Cookbook Tip:Gravity will help create straight even lines

5.Then I beat the reserved ivory butter cream icing and added brown food coloring gel to create a light brown icing for a basket weave pattern.Once it reached the right consistency and color. I placed the icing in a new pastry bag with a coupler and basket weave # 48 tip.

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission. 

6.Then I held the pastry bag perpendicular to the cake and the tip aligned vertically.I place the tip against one of the vertical lines at the top edge of the cake.I then squeezed the bag with even pressure and moved the tip towards the next vertical line,lifting gently away from the side of the cake whiling passing the second line.Then I released pressure when the tip meet the edge

7.I proceeded to leave a blank spot under the piped line that is the same width as the basket weave,then I continued to make another band of icing below the first one,until I reached the bottom.

8.Then I repeated step 4 by creating bands on the gaps by the start point being the line in the middle and overlapping the second line to the meet the third line.I continued adding bands with equal space between them down the side of the cake to the bottom edge.I continued until all the spaces were filled.

(Cookbook Tip: I worked as quickly as I could since the warmth from my hands can change the consistency of the icing)

9. Then I changed my piping tip to the #6 on the light brown icing and piped a smooth scallop border around the bottom.

 (There are great step by step diagrams and directions in the cookbook for more information on smooth scallop border )

10.Then I used whatever icing was leftover  and improvised by creating a rosette decorations on the top of the cake along with chocolate sprinkles.

(There are great step by step diagrams and directions in the cookbook for more information on Rosettes )

Courtesy of Sensational Buttercream Decorating: 50 Projects for Cakes, Mini-Cakes & Cupcakes by Carey Madden, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

1 comment:

  1. So impressive! I just reviewed this book, too, but started with rosettes! I think it;s a beautiful book & you did such a great job on your cake.


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