Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:10 pm
I work as a cake decorator, and I feel like talking about cake decorating.

Is anyone else here a cake decorator?

Does anyone have any questions about cake decorating?

I went from working at a very high quality, high-volume custom place to a supermarket because of location.

It makes me angry, because I am obsessive about quality, and in an effort to cut corners the supermarket is ofen stingy and focuses on production over quality. They expect me to make 40 cakes an hour with improper supplies (yeah right.) Although, I am very fast now - I am not that fast. They expect us to use a ribbon tip as a leaf tip which is annoying because it splits the leaves.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,802 • Replies: 29
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Joahaeyo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:51 pm
yes, yes, yes

I would like to learn how to decorate sugar cookies.

could you please give me an easy icing recipe that I can play around with (food coloring). I had a great recipe (simple/few ingred), but in the process of transferring stuff from my old to new computer ...i lost it. Sad

any tips on how to use food coloring. I just bought some so I can experiment.
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 05:17 pm
Quick buttercream icing is always some proportion of these three ingredients:

1. Crisco/shortening
2. Butter/Margarine
3. Powdered Sugar.

And a flavoring:
Vanilla
Orange
Almond
(etc.)

I personally like to add a little water too, it helps with the consistency.

So, Cream some crisco and butter together in a mixer until they are well creamed and mixed. Then, slowly add in powdered sugar (preferably sifed) until desired consistency and taste. Feel free to add more of any of the ingredients at this point, or a small amount of water, until you like how it looks and tastes.

lastly, mix in a small amount of the flavoring of your choice.

Voila. Now you have a good, basic buttercream icing to learn on. It stays good for a long time, and it stays good forever if you don't use butter. With butter, about a week. If you use milk instead of water, it will need to be refridgerated.

For cookie decorating, you may want to have the icing stiffer - so use more powdered sugar, and maybe leave out the water.

For coloring, you can use your basic food coloring (kind of watery)
or specialty coloring which is a lot thicker/brighter and in custom colors. stir it into bowls or tupperware containers for different colors. the basic rule of food coloring is that it is easier to add then take away, so add it to your icing one drop at a time. Generally, coloring gets darker the longer it is exposed to air, and lighter when it is in the fridge w/moisture.

You can get cheap plastic decorating bags from online or a decorating store. These are very handy because you can throw them away when you're done.

COOKIES MUST BE COOLED BEFORE DECORATING OR ICING WILL MELT OFF.

You can also use Royal icing (made with egg whites) or Fondant icing* (cooked) on cookies - they are stiffer and have better keeping qualities. However, they are harder to work with and don't taste as good, so I reccomend that you start with buttercream.

*Fondant is really fun because you can make crazy, three dimensional stuff with it. It is quite versatile. I once made a cake that was shaped like a present, and the bow wrapped around it was made out of fondant.
0 Replies
 
Joahaeyo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 06:01 pm
no no Sad


Quote:
Quick buttercream icing is always some proportion of these three ingredients:

1. Crisco/shortening
2. Butter/Margarine
3. Powdered Sugar.

And a flavoring:
Vanilla
Orange
Almond
(etc.)

I personally like to add a little water too, it helps with the consistency.



I need exact amounts. I'm too anal. You're like my mom. She just says just guesstimate, and I can't do that. I need specifics!! Wink

thanks for the help! I wanted to make monogrammed wedding cake (shape) cookies for my bridesmaids for my wedding. Smile
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 07:09 pm
I'm sorry, I never measure it. But it's impossible to screw up. if you screw it up I'll give you an award.

odd the top of my head, I'd say about 2 cups powdered sugar per 3 tablespoons crisco and 2 tablespoons butter. plus a sprinkle of water and a drop of vanilla. The stuff is 100% modifiable.

Also, there are a variety of recipes online.
http://www.baking911.com/recipe_cakes_frosting_btrcrmwilton.htm
http://www.cooksrecipes.com/cake/basic-buttercream%20frosting-with-variations-recipe.html
http://www.recipesource.com/desserts/frosting/02/rec0228.html
http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipes.recipeListing/filter/dianas/recipeID/201/Recipe.cfm
0 Replies
 
Joahaeyo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 07:16 pm
thanks!!!
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 01:03 pm
I just bought some new cake dec. supplies last night *snoopy dance*

I have previously avoided taking my work home with me, but every time I make a cake I think, "I'm a cake decorator, my cakes should have flowers all over them!"

So I splurged and got a home set. Those "cheap" bags were marked up to $19.99! What a rip off. They should have only been $10, but that's Michaels for you. Never buy anything from them unless it's 1/2 off that day, because 1/2 off is the normal price for the item. Sheesh.
0 Replies
 
Joahaeyo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 11:36 am
i love new supplies. you'll have to post pics of some of your work some time.

i got a cookie cutting set (wedding related - wedding cake, hearts, things of that nature) for christmas.
0 Replies
 
Ay Sontespli
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Jan, 2005 08:07 pm
Buttercream Icing
Wilton has a foolproof recipe
1/2 butter
1/2 shortening
4 cups icing sugar
3 - 5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

I have used this recipe for years! Now that I live in Australia I am not sure how I am going to make it since they do not have shortening here...they have some disgusting stuff called 'copha' and I am telling you,that stuff is nasty!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Jan, 2005 10:25 pm
Hmmm, can one get Crisco by mail?
0 Replies
 
Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Jan, 2005 10:32 pm
I believe it is usually called "cooking fat" over here.

You can buy it in any supermarket.

Copha is only really used for chocolate crackles.
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 12:55 pm
These guys have the best cake decorating bags, hands down:
Keeseal bags
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 02:21 pm
This is interesting.

Portal Star, my daughter used to work in a grocery store bakery and was broken-hearted when they went from in-house cookies to receiving frozen ones from the warehouse.

I don't think she did any cake decorating, there was a special person who was in charge of that. I like to watch decorators make roses!

Is Crisco necessary? I quit using it in favor of all butter, even for pie crusts. I'm not sure what it is made from and it seems strange & unhealthy.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 12:00 pm
I was always impressed with the decorated cookies at the supermarket - nice smooth icing.

I finally figured out how to do it myself with royal icing. (my decorations always looked like lines of icing)

I just dip the tip of my finger in water and dab the icing I want to smooth over. A little dab 'll do ya.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 12:05 pm
Piffka, I looked at Crisco at the market yesterday. It is hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated, vegetable oil, including soybean oil. I stay away from trans fats myself, have read that butter and even lard are better re health.
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 01:33 pm
Piffka wrote:
This is interesting.

Portal Star, my daughter used to work in a grocery store bakery and was broken-hearted when they went from in-house cookies to receiving frozen ones from the warehouse.

I don't think she did any cake decorating, there was a special person who was in charge of that. I like to watch decorators make roses!

Is Crisco necessary? I quit using it in favor of all butter, even for pie crusts. I'm not sure what it is made from and it seems strange & unhealthy.


Yeah, in house cookies are better. Actually, cakes don't suffer at all from being frozen, so it doesn't matter where you make them as long as they stay frozen before useage. You can make a cake, put it in the back of your freezer in a well sealed bag for up to four months, let it thaw for a half hour and it will still taste just as good.

The reason for using crisco is that:
A. It has an even consistency and taste
B. Butter has a stronger, more distinctive flavor which can overwhelm other things in large amounts.
C. It is white, unlike butter, and that is important for wedding cakes and color accuracy.

I think crisco is unhealthy. Is it a trans fat? of course, it is cake, its not like its all that healthy in the first place Smile.
side note: when I worked in a bakery where we could eat all the cake we wanted, I gained 20 lbs! I'm actually glad the current bakery I work in has a stricter policy on cake-eating.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 01:39 pm
Re trans fat -
http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/transfat/q_a.html
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 03:28 pm
Thanks for explaining about the Crisco, PStar, and thanks for the links, Ossobuco.

I hadn't thought of the color aspect, though there are some butters that are nearly white -- depends on what the cows are eating. Very Happy

Still, I think that since I don't make frosting too often and like the extra flavor in butter, I'll keep using it, knowing it won't be quite so stable.

Interesting about cakes being fine to freeze. Is that frosted or unfrosted?
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 07:06 pm
Piffka wrote:
Thanks for explaining about the Crisco, PStar, and thanks for the links, Ossobuco.

I hadn't thought of the color aspect, though there are some butters that are nearly white -- depends on what the cows are eating. Very Happy

Still, I think that since I don't make frosting too often and like the extra flavor in butter, I'll keep using it, knowing it won't be quite so stable.

Interesting about cakes being fine to freeze. Is that frosted or unfrosted?



Either way. Freezing damages anything with cell walls (think: plants.) And cakes and icing are all made out of ground, processed things - so nothing to break. They don't have too much water to expand and contract either, so the texture stays the same. If your icing had something like bits of strawberry in it, that wouldn't work, but otherwise its okay. Just be sure to contain well to prevent freezerburn.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 07:53 pm
Thanks, PStar. That's easy to remember.
0 Replies
 
 

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