CAKE 101

 

CUTTING GUIDE

The catering and wedding industries are taught to cut cakes to very specific sizes in order to achieve the requisite number of servings. Typically, Wedding Cakes are cut into 1”x2” slices, and Celebration Cakes are cut into 2” x 2” slices.  If you cut a cake that is bigger than 6"  diameter into wedges, you will not be able to get the correct amount of servings. Below is a chart showing the industry standards for cake cutting in order to maximize the servings:

 
 
 

This GENIUS cake cutting technique by Australian cake decorator Katherine Sabbath is a fantastic way to ensure you get the right number of portions and still have beautiful looking slices!


SERVING GUIDE

All my tiered cakes are doweled and staked.  This is an absolute necessity for structure and stability  in any multi-tiered cake. Inserting a dowel into the tier below helps bear the weight of the tier above.  In addition, a central stake, which is driven from the top down through all the layers, stabilizes the cake for transporting and maneuvering. Those collapsed wedding "cake wrecks" you see doing the rounds on social media are the result of not being doweled! Some applied decorations may be anchored with toothpicks or skewers - be sure to remove these before serving. Sugar flowers will be on wrapped wires inserted into a straw - first remove the flowers and then remove the straw - tweezers can help with this.

This nifty little YouTube video by world famous cake decorator Ron Ben Israel gives you a quick cake disassembly demonstration:

 
 


TRANSPORTING YOUR CAKE

The safest way to transport your cake is flat on the floor of your car, such as in the trunk or in the passenger foot-well.  Cakes balanced on seats have a terrible habit of tipping forward! Make sure that there is nothing on the seat above that could fall forward onto the cake if you have to brake suddenly. A square of non-slip mat under the cake board or box can help to further prevent movement in the car. In very hot weather, it’s advisable to get the air conditioning running in the car for a few minutes before you put the cake inside.

STORING YOUR CAKE

None of my cakes require refrigeration and in general it is best avoided, as cold air contributes to the drying out of cake.  However, in very hot conditions it may become necessary to chill your cake to preserve its shape and structure.  Buttercream cakes and cupcakes present no problems, however be sure to remove them from the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve them so the frosting has time to soften up again.  

Fondant covered cakes are more problematic, due to the condensation that will accumulate on the surface when you remove them from the fridge, which can cause designs to wilt and colors to run.  An air-conditioned room would be preferable to a fridge, but if the fridge is your only option, then placing the cake inside a sealed cardboard box can help to minimize the condensation. Again, remove the cake at least one hour before serving to allow the cake to soften and any condensation to evaporate.

Please note that 3D fondant decorations, such as flowers, applied to buttercream frosting can wilt if exposed to moisture for long periods of time.  This can happen in a tightly sealed bakery box, where the fondant will draw moisture from the buttercream.  In these cases it is best to prop the lid slightly to allow the moisture to escape.

A WORD ABOUT COLORS

Some dark colored fondants can leave a temporary stain, in particular black, red and navy.  This is due to the high concentration of coloring needed to achieve the intensity of the shade. If this is an issue, guests can simply remove the fondant before eating the cake.
Certain buttercream frosting flavors have color restrictions due to their flavors - for example, it is not possible to make raspberry frosting aqua blue as adding blue color to a deep pink frosting will produce purple. So if you want a particular color of frosting, you will need to pick a flavor that has an inherently neutral color, such as vanilla, coconut, cream cheese etc.