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Buttercream Flowers


Wendy DeBord
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Hi there~

I agree with the other member who suggested the Martha Stewart Cake Decorating video. I have it as well and Ann Warren does have a segment where she briefly demonstrates how to do some of her flowers as well as making and tinting the icing for them. She pipes them directly on the cake. The cake is on a turntable that allows her to spin it at will. I also have her book "The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook". She gives her recipes as well as cake decorating instructions for various flowers. These include: roses, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, various lilies, wisteria, lilacs, hydrangeas, poinsettias, pine needles and pine cones. Each flower is also provided with recipes to achieve various shades.

For her daisies, she uses #4 and #59 tips. The centers are done with the #4 and the petals are done with #59. Roses are made with a #103 or #104 tip. She instructs to use a tip #103 and pipe the base with which should be about 3/4 inch in diameter, preferably circular. To make the rose center, you should pipe an "O" which consists of two overlapping "U"s. Then you add petals around it, which are getting bigger and at a more "open obtuse angle as you go." (Dang! Can't run from that math, ya'll!!! :rolleyes: ) FYI... Petals are made by positioning bag so that short base of rose tip is against the cake and the "long sides are almost vertical or flange out at an obtuse angle." Press out icing about 3/4 inch to one inch at a time in a random formation.

Hope this helps... if all else fails, go to the library and check out her book in addition to her video. I still couldn't catch on to her roses after seeing the video. That chick moves fast! :laugh: I got the book. While I've done a couple of her other flowers, the roses still give me trouble... then again, it's not like I've been practicing!!! Naughty me! Swept up in the wonderful world of gumpaste!

Diva
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Hi there~

I agree with the other member who suggested the Martha Stewart Cake Decorating video. I have it as well and Ann Warren does have a segment where she briefly demonstrates how to do some of her flowers as well as making and tinting the icing for them. She pipes them directly on the cake. The cake is on a turntable that allows her to spin it at will. I also have her book "The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook". She gives her recipes as well as cake decorating instructions for various flowers. These include: roses, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, various lilies, wisteria, lilacs, hydrangeas, poinsettias, pine needles and pine cones. Each flower is also provided with recipes to achieve various shades.

For her daisies, she uses #4 and #59 tips. The centers are done with the #4 and the petals are done with #59. Roses are made with a #103 or #104 tip. She instructs to use a tip #103 and pipe the base with which should be about 3/4 inch in diameter, preferably circular. To make the rose center, you should pipe an "O" which consists of two overlapping "U"s. Then you add petals around it, which are getting bigger and at a more "open obtuse angle as you go." (Dang! Can't run from that math, ya'll!!! :rolleyes: ) FYI... Petals are made by positioning bag so that short base of rose tip is against the cake and the "long sides are almost vertical or flange out at an obtuse angle."  Press out icing about 3/4 inch to one inch at a time in a random formation.

Hope this helps... if all else fails, go to the library and check out her book in addition to her video. I still couldn't catch on to her roses after seeing the video. That chick moves fast!  :laugh: I got the book. While I've done a couple of her other flowers, the roses still give me trouble... then again, it's not like I've been practicing!!! Naughty me! Swept up in the wonderful world of gumpaste!

JamericanDiva, you have been such a help... thank you!

Is the icing recipe (shown in her book) the right consistency for piping? I don't want to spend the money if I'm still gonna' have to tweak 'yet another' recipe. :hmmm:

Di

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Hi there~

I agree with the other member who suggested the Martha Stewart Cake Decorating video. I have it as well and Ann Warren does have a segment where she briefly demonstrates how to do some of her flowers as well as making and tinting the icing for them. She pipes them directly on the cake. The cake is on a turntable that allows her to spin it at will. I also have her book "The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook". She gives her recipes as well as cake decorating instructions for various flowers. These include: roses, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, various lilies, wisteria, lilacs, hydrangeas, poinsettias, pine needles and pine cones. Each flower is also provided with recipes to achieve various shades.

For her daisies, she uses #4 and #59 tips. The centers are done with the #4 and the petals are done with #59. Roses are made with a #103 or #104 tip. She instructs to use a tip #103 and pipe the base with which should be about 3/4 inch in diameter, preferably circular. To make the rose center, you should pipe an "O" which consists of two overlapping "U"s. Then you add petals around it, which are getting bigger and at a more "open obtuse angle as you go." (Dang! Can't run from that math, ya'll!!! :rolleyes: ) FYI... Petals are made by positioning bag so that short base of rose tip is against the cake and the "long sides are almost vertical or flange out at an obtuse angle."  Press out icing about 3/4 inch to one inch at a time in a random formation.

Hope this helps... if all else fails, go to the library and check out her book in addition to her video. I still couldn't catch on to her roses after seeing the video. That chick moves fast!  :laugh: I got the book. While I've done a couple of her other flowers, the roses still give me trouble... then again, it's not like I've been practicing!!! Naughty me! Swept up in the wonderful world of gumpaste!

JamericanDiva, you have been such a help... thank you!

Is the icing recipe (shown in her book) the right consistency for piping? I don't want to spend the money if I'm still gonna' have to tweak 'yet another' recipe. :hmmm:

Di

I think it should be. I've never made it as I've tasted her cakes and icings and didn't enjoy them. I've tried them on more than one occasion. (Yikes! Someone's gonna stone me!) I find when her cake sits out, the icing does get soft. It's made primarily of butter. I've used an IMBC type of icing... the one Sylvia Weinstock uses in her book, but I add some white chocolate to mine. I find that if I cool it down, it stiffens up. This can be done by resting your metal bowl with icing on a cold rag or cloth. That's what I do. I would really love to try Betty Van Norstrand's buttercream as the poster above said it was pretty good, but they lost the recipe.

Edited by JamericanDiva (log)
Diva
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"I've used an IMBC type of icing... the one Sylvia Weinstock uses in her book, but I add some white chocolate to mine. I find that if I cool it down, it stiffens up. This can be done by resting your metal bowl with icing on a cold rag or cloth. That's what I do."

Hi Diva --

Great minds thinking alike; after the disappointing airbubbles I got when I added 10x sugar to IMBC, I was thinking maybe white chocolate would be a better way to go. What proportions do you use?

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Hi there~

I agree with the other member who suggested the Martha Stewart Cake Decorating video. I have it as well and Ann Warren does have a segment where she briefly demonstrates how to do some of her flowers as well as making and tinting the icing for them. She pipes them directly on the cake. The cake is on a turntable that allows her to spin it at will. I also have her book "The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook". She gives her recipes as well as cake decorating instructions for various flowers. These include: roses, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, various lilies, wisteria, lilacs, hydrangeas, poinsettias, pine needles and pine cones. Each flower is also provided with recipes to achieve various shades.

For her daisies, she uses #4 and #59 tips. The centers are done with the #4 and the petals are done with #59. Roses are made with a #103 or #104 tip. She instructs to use a tip #103 and pipe the base with which should be about 3/4 inch in diameter, preferably circular. To make the rose center, you should pipe an "O" which consists of two overlapping "U"s. Then you add petals around it, which are getting bigger and at a more "open obtuse angle as you go." (Dang! Can't run from that math, ya'll!!! :rolleyes: ) FYI... Petals are made by positioning bag so that short base of rose tip is against the cake and the "long sides are almost vertical or flange out at an obtuse angle."  Press out icing about 3/4 inch to one inch at a time in a random formation.

Hope this helps... if all else fails, go to the library and check out her book in addition to her video. I still couldn't catch on to her roses after seeing the video. That chick moves fast!  :laugh: I got the book. While I've done a couple of her other flowers, the roses still give me trouble... then again, it's not like I've been practicing!!! Naughty me! Swept up in the wonderful world of gumpaste!

JamericanDiva, you have been such a help... thank you!

Is the icing recipe (shown in her book) the right consistency for piping? I don't want to spend the money if I'm still gonna' have to tweak 'yet another' recipe. :hmmm:

Di

I know, this seems rather stupid to be replying to my own post... actually I'm just expanding on it.

It just occurred to me that Cupcake Cafe's buttercream icing is almost identical to the recipe that I use... I believe chefpeon (?) was the original poster. The only difference is that CC uses whole eggs whereas "our" French Buttercream recipe calls for 1 whole egg and 5 yolks -- and is way too soft for piping.

My question now is... (if the CC recipe actually is thick enough to use for piping) does their addition of eggwhites make that big of a difference in the consistency? That is, using whole eggs as opposed to using either whites or yolks. If so, I much prefer the flavor of French buttercream to Italian or Swiss.

Di

Edited by DiH (log)
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DiH, I didn't get a photo because it was a last minute order and I didn't have a camera, but next week the same people want a cake just like it so I will try to get and post a photo.

Ruth Wells, When I made the buttercream with the powdered sugar I did notice a funny texture, I didn't think it was air bubbles, but maybe the sugar not dissolved or something, so I beat the heck out of it and then turned the mixer to low for about 3-4 minutes to knock the air out. Seemed ok to me, I didn't see any air bubbles in the flowers.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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DiH, I didn't get a photo because it was a last minute order and I didn't have a camera, but next week the same people want a cake just like it so I will try to get and post a photo.

Ruth Wells,  When I made the buttercream with the powdered sugar I did notice a funny texture, I didn't think it was air bubbles, but maybe the sugar not dissolved or something, so I beat the heck out of it and then turned the mixer to low for about 3-4 minutes to knock the air out.  Seemed ok to me, I didn't see any air bubbles in the flowers.

Hi PastryMama -- interesting. I found that the texture got worse upon sitting -- I was piping with a full 12" bag and there was a marked difference in texture from first flower to last out of the bag. I did mix the heck out of it, so I don't think it was undissolved sugar causing trouble. Next time I'll try cycling it on low as you did and see if that helps.

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"I've used an IMBC type of icing... the one Sylvia Weinstock uses in her book, but I add some white chocolate to mine. I find that if I cool it down, it stiffens up. This can be done by resting your metal bowl with icing on a cold rag or cloth. That's what I do." 

Hi Diva --

Great minds thinking alike; after the disappointing airbubbles I got when I added 10x sugar to IMBC, I was thinking maybe white chocolate would be a better way to go.  What proportions do you use?

Hi Ruth!

Sylvia Weinstock's recipe makes about 12 cups of buttercream. To that I add 1/2 lb of melted Mercken's white chocolate chips (pailletes). Her recipe calls for:

3 1/2 cups sugar

13 large egg whites

3 lbs (12 sticks) butter

6 tbsp clear vanilla extract

Edited by JamericanDiva (log)
Diva
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Hi there~

I agree with the other member who suggested the Martha Stewart Cake Decorating video. I have it as well and Ann Warren does have a segment where she briefly demonstrates how to do some of her flowers as well as making and tinting the icing for them. She pipes them directly on the cake. The cake is on a turntable that allows her to spin it at will. I also have her book "The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook". She gives her recipes as well as cake decorating instructions for various flowers. These include: roses, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, various lilies, wisteria, lilacs, hydrangeas, poinsettias, pine needles and pine cones. Each flower is also provided with recipes to achieve various shades.

For her daisies, she uses #4 and #59 tips. The centers are done with the #4 and the petals are done with #59. Roses are made with a #103 or #104 tip. She instructs to use a tip #103 and pipe the base with which should be about 3/4 inch in diameter, preferably circular. To make the rose center, you should pipe an "O" which consists of two overlapping "U"s. Then you add petals around it, which are getting bigger and at a more "open obtuse angle as you go." (Dang! Can't run from that math, ya'll!!! :rolleyes: ) FYI... Petals are made by positioning bag so that short base of rose tip is against the cake and the "long sides are almost vertical or flange out at an obtuse angle."  Press out icing about 3/4 inch to one inch at a time in a random formation.

Hope this helps... if all else fails, go to the library and check out her book in addition to her video. I still couldn't catch on to her roses after seeing the video. That chick moves fast!  :laugh: I got the book. While I've done a couple of her other flowers, the roses still give me trouble... then again, it's not like I've been practicing!!! Naughty me! Swept up in the wonderful world of gumpaste!

JamericanDiva, you have been such a help... thank you!

Is the icing recipe (shown in her book) the right consistency for piping? I don't want to spend the money if I'm still gonna' have to tweak 'yet another' recipe. :hmmm:

Di

I know, this seems rather stupid to be replying to my own post... actually I'm just expanding on it.

It just occurred to me that Cupcake Cafe's buttercream icing is almost identical to the recipe that I use... I believe chefpeon (?) was the original poster. The only difference is that CC uses whole eggs whereas "our" French Buttercream recipe calls for 1 whole egg and 5 yolks -- and is way too soft for piping.

My question now is... (if the CC recipe actually is thick enough to use for piping) does their addition of eggwhites make that big of a difference in the consistency? That is, using whole eggs as opposed to using either whites or yolks. If so, I much prefer the flavor of French buttercream to Italian or Swiss.

Di

I'm not sure about the answer to this question, but I know when I eat her cake, I feel like I'm eating a great big glob of butter when I eat the icing. Me no likey.... :sad:

Diva
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"I've used an IMBC type of icing... the one Sylvia Weinstock uses in her book, but I add some white chocolate to mine. I find that if I cool it down, it stiffens up. This can be done by resting your metal bowl with icing on a cold rag or cloth. That's what I do." 

Hi Diva --

Great minds thinking alike; after the disappointing airbubbles I got when I added 10x sugar to IMBC, I was thinking maybe white chocolate would be a better way to go.  What proportions do you use?

Hi Ruth!

Sylvia Weinstock's recipe makes about 12 cups of buttercream. To that I add 1/2 lb of melted Mercken's white chocolate chips (pailletes). Her recipe calls for:

3 1/2 cups sugar

13 large egg whites

3 lbs (12 sticks) butter

6 tbsp clear vanilla extract

Thanks, Diva! Sylvia's proportions look pretty close to RLB's Italian buttercream, which is my default. I'm going to try this next time.

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RuthWells, come to think of it, I didn't even check RLB's book. I have it and indeed use it as a bible. I should see how they compare. I love her silk meringue buttercream and I add her fresh strawberry conserve to it....

Diva
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What's the deal with buttercream? (bear with me, I'm Dnish and have not grown up with the stuff) Most of the recipes I've seen in run-of-the-mill cookbooks look disgusting (lots of shortening and artificial flavouring), so I stopped after one attempt, because a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease does nothing for me.

/Mette

I agree with you Mette...buttercream is absolutely my least favorite. As far as CC's cakes...I've had it four different times and 3 different cake flavors. All got and A+ for visual appearance and about a D for taste. To me the layers were dense with not too much "fresh" flavor and the mouth feel of the icing is just totally wrong for me. It tastes exactly like you have described...a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease :unsure:

They are wildly popular though, so I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to this sentiment. :blink:

JeAnne

Xander: How exactly do you make cereal?

Buffy: Ah. You put the box near the milk. I saw it on the Food Channel.

-BtVS

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What's the deal with buttercream? (bear with me, I'm Dnish and have not grown up with the stuff) Most of the recipes I've seen in run-of-the-mill cookbooks look disgusting (lots of shortening and artificial flavouring), so I stopped after one attempt, because a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease does nothing for me.

/Mette

I agree with you Mette...buttercream is absolutely my least favorite. As far as CC's cakes...I've had it four different times and 3 different cake flavors. All got and A+ for visual appearance and about a D for taste. To me the layers were dense with not too much "fresh" flavor and the mouth feel of the icing is just totally wrong for me. It tastes exactly like you have described...a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease :unsure:

They are wildly popular though, so I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to this sentiment. :blink:

JeAnne

Gurl, I guess we're a 2 member club then... :laugh: The cake is also waaay to dense for my liking.

Edited by JamericanDiva (log)
Diva
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RuthWells, come to think of it, I didn't even check RLB's book. I have it and indeed use it as a bible. I should see how they compare. I love her silk meringue buttercream and I add her fresh strawberry conserve to it....

Oooh, the silk meringue buttercream is divine. I made the burnt orange variation several months ago (you caramelize the sugar while making the creme anglaise, then all orange juice & zest at a late point) and it was out of this world!

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What's the deal with buttercream? (bear with me, I'm Dnish and have not grown up with the stuff) Most of the recipes I've seen in run-of-the-mill cookbooks look disgusting (lots of shortening and artificial flavouring), so I stopped after one attempt, because a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease does nothing for me.

/Mette

I agree with you Mette...buttercream is absolutely my least favorite. As far as CC's cakes...I've had it four different times and 3 different cake flavors. All got and A+ for visual appearance and about a D for taste. To me the layers were dense with not too much "fresh" flavor and the mouth feel of the icing is just totally wrong for me. It tastes exactly like you have described...a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease :unsure:

They are wildly popular though, so I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to this sentiment. :blink:

JeAnne

Have you tasted a non-shortening buttercream? I agree that what most of the country considers to be buttercream (shortening + 10x sugar) is really revolting. If you haven't tasted a REAL buttercream, though, you're in for a great treat. My favorite true buttercreams all involve whipping eggs (yolks or whites), adding a cooked-sugar syrup, and incorporating real butter along with any number of flavorings.

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What's the deal with buttercream? (bear with me, I'm Dnish and have not grown up with the stuff) Most of the recipes I've seen in run-of-the-mill cookbooks look disgusting (lots of shortening and artificial flavouring), so I stopped after one attempt, because a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease does nothing for me.

/Mette

I agree with you Mette...buttercream is absolutely my least favorite. As far as CC's cakes...I've had it four different times and 3 different cake flavors. All got and A+ for visual appearance and about a D for taste. To me the layers were dense with not too much "fresh" flavor and the mouth feel of the icing is just totally wrong for me. It tastes exactly like you have described...a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease :unsure:

They are wildly popular though, so I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to this sentiment. :blink:

JeAnne

Gurl, I guess we're a 2 member club then... :laugh:

uh... make that 3 - when it comes to Italian Meringue BC anyway. French Buttercream on the other hand is to die for. Ooh la la! :wub:

I would love to know how to create a pipe-able French Buttercream. Any ideas, anybody?

Di

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What's the deal with buttercream? (bear with me, I'm Dnish and have not grown up with the stuff) Most of the recipes I've seen in run-of-the-mill cookbooks look disgusting (lots of shortening and artificial flavouring), so I stopped after one attempt, because a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease does nothing for me.

/Mette

I agree with you Mette...buttercream is absolutely my least favorite. As far as CC's cakes...I've had it four different times and 3 different cake flavors. All got and A+ for visual appearance and about a D for taste. To me the layers were dense with not too much "fresh" flavor and the mouth feel of the icing is just totally wrong for me. It tastes exactly like you have described...a mouthful of sweet, chemical tasting grease :unsure:

They are wildly popular though, so I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to this sentiment. :blink:

JeAnne

Gurl, I guess we're a 2 member club then... :laugh:

uh... make that 3 - when it comes to Italian Meringue BC anyway. French Buttercream on the other hand is to die for. Ooh la la! :wub:

I would love to know how to create a pipe-able French Buttercream. Any ideas, anybody?

Di

IMBC I like, only if it's flavored nicely... like when I put my white chocolate in there. I just know that people literally lick the plates, saying how nice and creamy it is, but just don't know "what" that flavor is that makes it sooooo good.

Diva
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I'm curious.  Those of you who confess to being "shortening snobs", what type of icing do you use for piping?

I am definitely a shortening snob, so I'll chime in! Thus far I have relied almost exclusively on Italian meringue buttercream for piping, but it's really not stiff enough for more intricate flowers (I can do roses, but not daffodils). I'm looking for stiffer variations.

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I tend not to characterize myself, or anyone else, as a snob about anything, even in jest, especially in the context of an online discussion forum, that tends to lead things astray and divert discussion from something more diverse and productive into something more personal. What I try to do is understand where people are coming from, then decide the way I'm going to go and for what reason. That's because taste is subjective, your client's wishes will always be unique as well as how you--as a pastry chef or cake artist--decide to serve those wishes. Skill levels, pricing and palate awareness are also highly variable as you move around the country.

Me--I only use an Italian meringue buttercream or a French (yolk) buttercream to cover tiered cakes, and when I used to do all-buttercream-decorated cakes (I don't anymore except under very strict circumstances) I only piped with the same buttercream. But I've also never decorated a cake with a piped buttercream flower, except maybe grapes or lilies of the valley as a kind of repeating motif layer. When I went pro my entry level buttercream cakes had gum paste, modeling chocolate or marzipan flowers. If I used French inside I usually closed in Italian and piped in Italian, with good butter, because it was more firm than French. That's what my clients tasted, that's what they liked, and I was prepared to jump through stressful hoops to accomodate them because that was what I offered them. They tasted my buttercreams, they tasted other buttercreams, they evaluated the role buttercream played in the overall taste equation and they made their choice. How I flavored it and applied it was one part of what made me distinctive--and every cake baker has to go their own way on this, at their price point.

I did fold a % of Crisco into an Italian meringue buttercream (replacing a % of the butter) on a few occasions when I had agreed to do an outdoor buttercream cake and I was concerned about the timing and stability of that cake given the temperature that day. I didn't like it in that application, it wasn't as functional, and it didn't taste as smooth or unctuous, and for someone who places a high demand on themselves on taste--even more so than appearance--that bothered me a little. (I'm not bothered using shortening as an ingredient at all--in fact, chefette and I developed a few desserts which used Crisco advantageously--we were once "Crisco chefs of the month" a few years ago.)

That's a hurdle, an expectation, that I place on myself, but on no other. That's really nothing more than how a professional has to adapt to any number of little issues which are going to crop up and which can go wrong later--and that's where the professionalism and experience level of any given person comes into play. It's often these little choices we make along the way--and why--that distinguish us. I do the same thing with rolled fondant, I roll it out thinner than recommended, I always avoid coloring it too deeply and steer my potential clients away from anything like that--even if that means I lose them as clients. We all do this to a certain extent when we decide what fillings to pair with a given cake--how long it will have to sit out to decorate, how long to transport, to sit out on site, etc--and often I'm making decisions based on external factors and coming up with ways to style the cake or create decoration that might allow me to push flavors or fillings into different directions--usually also based on taste. On rolled fondant I pipe royal or tempered chocolate.

But all of those are personal decisions--there's really no right or wrongs--they exist in the subjective marketplace of ideas--and the subjective marketplace of consumers--both help us decide what's the best approach for each one of us.

Dense, fresh, silky, smooth, whatever, these are all terms that don't have any real meaning out of their very specific contexts--what your client has tasted and liked and hired you for, what combination of yours that they thought was good. Dense can be good, ethereal can be good. Tastes "good" trumps all of this, and tastes good is always going to be subjective. It's not like we can infer anything from those terms in some meaningful objective way, outside of saying something like "you might try this recipe for x, I find it a little lighter and less sweet than this recipe for y." That's something more objective, something which might be verified. So, too, sharing techniques--and how you go about applying techniques--and that's also very subjective and personal--but there are methods, for instance, which can be employed to reduce the amount of aeration in a buttercream which does correlate with generating something more smooth and speadable later when it comes time to close your cakes. Whether you choose to pursue that path is entirely up to you. The technique and recipes are just that, techniques and recipes--how we choose to acquire them and employ them, and why, is but part of how we connect with our clients, well that's always going to be very personal.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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