Posts filed under: ‘How To Videos‘

Failure to Launch Part 1

Heres a great youtube video on how to make Italian Merignue Frosting– a slightly different method than Swiss Merignue.

I some how failed to post this yesterday which brings me to my choice of topics– failure!  Failure is a pretty negative word and Im not one to quit on a project so when it comes to a cake that I’m less than please with I at least try find a lesson in whatever went wrong. Whether its learning a trick  to stacking a cake better (cause the top tier toppled over in the car ride) or just delegating my time better on a project.  Below are some photos of beautiful cakes made by some culinary greats that I was inspired to recreate only to have less than stellar results, and a couple of tips on different techniques.

The cake featured above is by none other than Sylvia Wienstock. She’s been the queen of fabulous culinary works of art long before the Cake Boss picked up his first pastry bag.  She’s based out of New York City and her work is featured at every big New York Wedding there is.  She’s been called the Leonardo Da Vinci of cakes– a title you don’t just earn over night.  I used this photo as an inspiration for a cake I made this weekend for a friends birthday. Ultimately I didn’t spend enough time on this cake to render a mirror image of the photo which left me frustrated…and only escalated when the cake frosting melted everywhere in the car ride up. So here some advice on Italian or Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Italian Meringue/ Swiss Meringue ButterCream is alot less sweet and so fluffy some people think its whipped cream frosting.  It is by far my absolute favorite frosting but there are some down sides when working with it

First– its expensive to make. 2 sticks of butter a dolop of milk or water and a bag of confectioners sugar will run you about $5 bucks and render a great simple buttercream– and you can easily cover an 8″ cake with it.  Italian or Swiss Meringue call for a 2-3 cups of sugar, 2 lbs of butter and at least dozen eggs whites only but really after all the time it takes to make this excellent frosting whose got time to use the yolks?  –Its almost double the cost of American Buttercream and it doesn’t go as far. The time you spend whipping and mixing rarely will cover and decorate more than a 8″ / 10″ cake.  Its also a little tricky to make– I’ve screwed it up and gotten soup plenty of times to know. Both under mixing and overmising can lead to a total waste of time and ingredients.

Secondly, It also doesn’t take color well. Food coloring tends to drown in the meringue, barely blushing from a scoop of color. You will eventually notice if you pipe with it, that the color comes out as the frosting heats in your hand but that completely unpredictable.  Its so soft at room temperature I tend to find that piping flowers is only easy for those who are beyond the novice stage of piping.

And it melts….and melts and melts.  In the refridgerator you’ll find the frosting binds up just like butter does, making for a firm surface to work on once your cake is frosted, and chilled, but just let that cake find its way into a warm car for delivery or sit in the sun light and you are looking are melty soupy madness in no time.  I reconmmend experimenting with this before deciding to go and whip up a batch for the next birthday party your invited to.

Why would you suffer through something so finicky?  Well because it tastes soooo good! When I was making Jamie’s Cake this weekend it was suggested to not knock myself out with a crazy design but rather bring a cake that was simple and tasted delicious.  I was pissed I had to run into the kitchen of the restaurant and try and doctor the sides of the cake I had already spent so much time on only to have to use a butter knife to try to fix my now botched cake.  And those beautiful fondant roses I made? Were now covered in frosting…. Strangely enough the cake was a hit!  I watched people lick their plates literally to get a few more tastes of the ohhh so finicky frosting.

I didn’t originally photograph this puppy out of disappointment, but found myself tagged in facebook later, so I figured why not post it– so hopefully I’m not the only one learning from my mistakes.


Add a comment May 31, 2011

Fondant Roses

Here is a simple and easy way to make fondant roses without using cutters or any sort of shaping tools, just your finger tips.  I led this exercise with a big group of girls scouts and it was very popular!! Enjoy!

I wanted to do a quick recap of a great event I was honored to be apart of.  the Girls Scouts of Westchester Hosted their First Annual Mother Daughter Event this past February 6th.

Over 130 Moms and Daughters joined in to decorate Valentine’s Day Cupcakes, Made their very own truffles and event sculpted roses out of Fondant.  I had a great time leading various introductory exercises in Cake and Candy Decoration!!

RECIPE RECAP: Most of these reciepes are listed on this blog already, so below you will find a links to the original directions (in light pink script) as well a quick recap of what we did at the GS Event.  Enjoy!!

Oreo Cookie Truffles

1  package of Oreos

1 brick (8oz) cream cheese softened

16 oz (1  standard package) semi sweet chocolate

1-2 tbsp shotening

Grind oreos in a food processor until they are a fine crumb.  Add soft cream cheese.  Roll into 1″ diameter balls and place on wax or parchment paper.  For best results refridgerate for one hour.

In a double boiler or microwave melt semisweet chocolate and shortening.  Chocolate burns easily!!!!!  In microwave you should heat for 30 seconds then mix.  Repeat until chocolate is smooth.

Dip chilled truffles in chocolate one at a time.  For best results use a plastic fork for the dipping.  Break off the 2 inside tines of the fork and balance the truffle on the two outer times to remove the truffles from the choolate.

Place on Wax or parchment lined trays and refridgerate.  For an added touch finish with a colored chocolate.  I suggest using Wilton Candy Melts.

They are available in a variety of colors and are easily melted in the microwave.  Pour into a plastic Pastry bag withWilton Tip One on the end to make a drizzled design on your finished truffles. Place in miniature cupcake cups or candy cups.

Marshmellow Fondant

1 bag mini marshmellows (get the name brand not the generic there is a distinct difference in the way the fondant sets up with the more expensive marshmellows)

4 Tbsp of water

2 lbs. of Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2 cup Shortening

Melt marshmellows and water in a double boiler.  You can also use the microwave to melt and mix in short spurts of time.  Do not overcook!!  Marshmellows should look bright white and foamy when done right.

If you have a couter top mixer grease the accompanying bowl with shortening.  Add the melted marshmellows and Confectioner’s Sugar and use the dough hook to need into a dough.

If you are kneading my hand stir in a few cups of confectioner’s sugar, then grease your hand with a generouse layer of shortening and begin kneading.  Fondant will form a into a strong ball of dough with a little elbow grease.  Fondant can be dyed with regular food coloring.  I recomend gel base food coloring (Betty Crocker makes a gel base colors found in most grocery stores, or you can use Wilton Color.) Add a few drops of the color of your choice and knead.  Wearing glove to keep your fingers color free is recommended.

***To store Fondant cover with a thin cover of shortening and seal (AIR TIGHT!!!!) in a plastic bag or with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  Fondant dries and hardens when exposed to air so it it important that you keep what you are not using covered at all times.

4 comments March 1, 2010

Butter Cream Frosting

My first video blog or vlog if you will!!!!  I edited this myself with iMovie.  I’m not as Mac saavy as I’d like to be so I’m gushing with delight!!  For any of my new students who’ve just begun Course One this is the frosting you’ll need to prepare for class.  For anyone is just no good at making homemade icing, well watch below and see if you can improve your frosting skills the same way I’m improving my techie nerd skills. 

Butter Cream and Chocolate Butter Cream

1 cup Vegetable Shortenting


1/2 c butter and 1/2 Shortening

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

2-4 TB water or Milk

2lbs Powdered sugar (if making chocolate frosting omit 1/2 c powdered sugar and add 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder)

1 Tb Meringue Powder (for Wilton class recipe, optional otherwise)

9 comments November 8, 2009

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The Cake Eccentric

Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets