Many moons ago, well September, I wandered along to the local university centre (posh term for college) and signed up for an evening cookery course for this academic year. The course itself is about cake decoration and the module we have been working on for the past few months is decoration using Royal Icing such as; coating cakes and various piping techniques such as lettering, crowning and flowers.
We have just started our first assessed piece, over the next 6 weeks, where we have to design and decorate a cake using the various competencies that we have learned, practiced and raged at for the last few months.
As part of this we have to reflect on the stages/weeks as we go along. What went well/wrong, needs changed/altered/removed etc...
So I thought I might as well stick a version of that on here for you lovely people to read and see how I am doing.
I am currently not sure how the posts will work as it is immensely difficult to explain some of techniques without actually showing you them but we will see how it goes anyway.
Stage 1 - Marzipan
One of the first things we learned and surprisingly you don't just roll out a big sheet, plonk it on and smooth it out, it is a little more complex than that...
1) Firstly, what you do is, roll out a sheet of marzipan, in a circle, wider than the top of your cake. Invert your cake so the completely flat side is on the marzipan and cut out, using a sharp knife, a circle of the top of the cake. Take off the cake and brush with apricot jam then place the circle of marzipan on the top.
2) To create a perfectly flat side and a level cake, stuff marzipan in the little ridge on the underside of the cake, this secures the cake to the board, makes the side perfectly straight and makes the top of the cake level as well. Once stuffed, trim off any excess so it is even with the cake wall and smooth it round.
3) Using measuring tape, measure the circumference of your cake. Roll out the marzipan in along thin rectangle to the length you previously measured allowing excess for the top, the marzipan should be about 1/2 cm thick. Brush the cake walls with apricot jam and wrap the marzipan around it. Smooth the sides and make sure the sides seal with the circle of marzipan on the top.
Leave to dry for a day or two.
Yes, the cake is off centre but that is deliberate for design purposes. Next week: A Royal Icing coating.