Today saw R and I buying more cake supplies. We went to the American Cake Decorating store for more specialised items such as edible pigment colours, flower nails, styrofoam dummy cakes, wooden dowels, latex gloves and a 10″ round baking tin.
The styrofoam dummy “cakes” I bought in two sizes … identical to the cakes I will eventually make on the day … a 10″ and a 6″. These will serve as my practice cakes, similar to a dressmakers dummy. I will get to see a model of my cake and see how I want to position them on the board. After I am happy with that I will then proceed to ice the dummy cakes with real fondant and butter cream. This will help me decide how I want to decorate the cakes on the day and will allow me to practice my piping skills. Mistakes won’t then give me a heart attack ~ simply scrape off and start again.
Currently I have the rich chocolate cake in the oven. It is a dense chocolatey cake that takes over an hour to bake at a lower temp. It smells so gosh darn good … the entire house smells of chocolate! Trouble is, I have to adjust the cooking times to suit cupcakes. The chocolate recipe is a large one and I had enough batter leftover for a 6″ cake. This is a good thing. +1 for the chocolate recipe.
After this I will be baking the Red Velvets and the vanilla cupcakes with jam filling. Tomorrow will be devoted to decorating them. I have a few ideas in mind but I cannot possibly do all of them. I am still undecided whether to ice the cupcakes with butter cream or fondant. I really want to include sugar butterflies so I will get onto making those tonight. I want them nice and transparent with just a hint of colour. I have the perfect silicone mould for it ~ First Impressions make the best silicone moulds and I have never been disappointed when working with them. Their moulds are top quality; laser cut to perfection and delivers high definition finish to any gum paste / fondant product … however, all top quality products come with a corresponding price tag. Also, due to the fact that it is in the US, the VAT charges to have them shipped over here in Europe is unfortunately a deterrent. I’d love to buy more of their products directly from them coz that allows for a wider range of silicone mould products. So I have to be content with what’s sold by other cake suppliers who carry the First Impressions brand.
My biggest challenge with cupcakes is getting that perfect dome. I have a pretty generic household oven and I believe the heat is not distributed evenly. There isn’t even a fan force function. I have a niggling suspiscion that this oven of mine creates hot spots within my cakes and this produces uneven tops. It’s not so big a deal on large whole cakes as i can simply trim off the domes but on cupcakes I like to see perfect, crack free round domes … not pointed ones. Perhaps I could trim off the tops of the ones I am going to cover in fondant.
I currently have red velvet cupcakes in the oven and so far so good. They look really red and they have risen nicely. This is only the second time in my life I am making Red Velvets and surprisingly it is not as hard as I remembered it.
Tried the chocolate cupcake and it was very moist and rich; a little on the bitter sweet side (more bitter than sweet). In my opinion, it did not tear away from the paper as nicely and it made the cake crumble a little. Cupcake did not dome nicely. The 6″ cake cracked on the top … but nothing a little butter cream cannot fix. Will wait for it to completely cool before I store it in the fridge and then crumb-coat it later tonight.
As for the Red Velvet cupcakes … wow! These were really good. They were moist on the inside, springy on the outside. It has a good chocolatey aroma (*takes a deep breath in) and a bright crimson colour. Cake pulls away from the wrapper much better than the chocolate ones, and the cake held its shape. Tastewise it’s DELICIOUS! It has a better crumb compared to the chocolate one. Every single cupcake domed nicely (YAY!! So its not my oven after all! *takes back all the nasty things I’ve said about the oven). So far the Rad Velvet recipe takes the lead. All we have to do now is wait for the vanilla + jam ones to be baked.
Too tired and can no longer be buggered to do any more baking, let alone make sugared butterflies and butter cream icing. Can not even be buggered to cook dinner, so we have ordered Thai takeaway ~ Pad Thai noodles. I just want to collapse on the couch and plan my next move. Kitchen still needs to be cleaned up later. R has been quite the darling today ~ after walking Doopey (our Bernese Mountain Dog) I came home to find R cleaning the kitchen, putting away the dishes from the dishwasher and making space on the bench top for me to begin my assault. For most of the afternoon he has been busy with his online gaming buddies (he usually tunes out from the rest of the world, me included, on days when he is gaming) but he stops in between to help clean up after me in between recipes. I suck at kitchen organisation and when I cook/ bake it usually looks like a war zone in there. But for now I am going to retire to the couch, have some dinner and worry about the dishes later.
To be continued ….
The preliminary verdict is in, folks. The tribal council has spoken. It seems to be a unnanimous opinion that the rich chocolate cake far out does the Red Velvet both in the taste and texture arena. But the taste testers in the office have yet one last face off to get through …. PURE VANILLA CAKE!
On Wednesday a batch of Pure Vanilla cupcakes will be making their way to AbbyWinters B.V headquarters and another round of taste testing shall ensue. Only then will the final verdict be announced. Currently in the lead and defending it’s position, Rich Chocolate cake can only wait until all the voters have had their say and the final ballot cast; a nail biting experience, to be sure.