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Cake Decorating help


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This may sound clueless, but does anyone have any techniques to share regarding writing on the sides of a cake? A friend asked me for a cake this weekend.....I'm pretty comfortable piping on top of the cake, but the design I have in mind involves writing on the sides of a 10-inch round layer cake. I considered using a paintbrush and some loose icing or ganache, but I'm not really sure this is the best way to go. Any tips appreciated, thanks!

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The easiest way to write on the side of a cake is to have a tilting cake decorating stand. If you can imprint the message first and then pipe over it that would be helpful too.

Believe, Laugh, Love

Lydia (aka celenes)

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What I do is make a "banner" out of modeling chocolate.....write on the banner with chocolate, let it set up, then stick it to the side of the cake. Easy AND cool!

Here's an example.....

BARBIE2.jpg

Edited to add:

You can use a modeling chocolate banner on buttercream or fondant too.

Edited by chefpeon (log)
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Celenes and chefpeon,

Thanks for your suggestions. I had no idea there was such a thing as a tilting cake stand! Chefpeon, thanks for the beautiful photo example. Modeling chocolate just might work for me this time...I've never used it though-do I purchase this or can I make it? I briefly searched web & found a recipe which called for 6oz choc & 5t corn syrup (did not indicate what type of choc). Does this sound about right?

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I briefly searched web & found a recipe which called for 6oz choc & 5t corn syrup (did not indicate what type of choc). Does this sound about right?

That sounds ok.....preferably you want to use white chocolate.....that way you can color it whatever color you want. It's ok to use paste color on modeling chocolate....you don't have to worry about the chocolate "seizing" because the process of incorporating the corn syrup has already "seized" it in a sense.

Good luck with it!!

:rolleyes:

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Thanks again for the response. I'm guessing that I do not have to use the best qualtiy white chocolate for this recipe? Will the type of "chocolate" sold by Wilton & other companies (looks like large choc chips--I don't know what it's called) be suitable for this application? I already feel relievd that I won't be trying to pipe drippy chocolate on the side of the cake this weekend........ :smile:

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Will the type of "chocolate" sold by Wilton & other companies (looks like large choc chips--I don't know what it's called) be suitable for this application?

I have found that if you use the chocolate "coins" (also known as pistoles) that it's a pretty safe bet you can use them. On the other hand, white chocolate "chips", like the kind that are meant to go in cookies and such don't work so well. There is extra "stuff" in them that keeps them from completely melting and losing their shape, and this extra "stuff" is not so good when you're trying to melt it down. Stay away from the "chips". Chop up a white chocolate bar if you have to.......

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Celenes and chefpeon,

Thanks for your suggestions.  I had no idea there was such a thing as a tilting cake stand!

You can just prop the cake up on one side. I've done this before by stacking some heavy books on a towel, and then propping the cake up on one side. The towel will ensure that the cake doesn't slide away and fall! You should also ensure that the cake is well attached to the board as well! :shock:

Ange

ange

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I write on the sides of cakes..........it's really the same as decorating work on the sides.........and it's something you should practice and get comfortable doing.

What I do so I can work on the sides of a cake is get eye level with the sides. Either I'll prop up the cake on a box (if the cake is small) or with big cakes like wedding cakes I sit low so my eyes are even with the sides of the cake.

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Thanks again for the response. I'm guessing that I do not have to use the best qualtiy white chocolate for this recipe?  Will the type of "chocolate" sold by Wilton & other companies (looks like large choc chips--I don't know what it's called)  be suitable for this application?  I already feel relievd that I won't be trying to pipe drippy chocolate on the side of the cake this weekend........ :smile:

The Wilton product (Candy Melts) is not real chocolate; it's confectionery (compound) coating. I suggest using 10 ozs. of white Candy Melts to a scant 1/3 liquid cup of light corn syrup. Do not heat the Candy Melts over 100 degrees before adding the corn syrup. Stir and fold only until the mixture thickens and is well incorporated. Flatten on waxed paper and let sit uncovered at room temperature for a few hours until it firms up. Using the heel of your hand, knead a handful of clay on the work surface until it is the consistency of Play-Doh: soft and malleable, but not sticky.

Clay made with Candy Melts will be softer than clay made with real dark chocolate. For dark chocolate, use 10 ozs. chocolate to 1/3 cup corn syrup. Milk and white chocolates as well as compound coatings require less syrup. Chocolates with a high-ratio of cocoa solids will require a little more than 1/3 cup syrup. Since all chocolates vary so much, you may have to adjust the quantities. To make a firmer clay, use a little more chocolate (or slightly less corn syrup).To make a softer clay, use slightly less chocolate (or a little more corn syrup).

It is better not to refrigerate this clay; it will become sticky, if you do. Left-over clay will last about 3 weeks stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

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Thanks all for the fantastic information. I find myself looking forward to making this cake....... Yes, Wendy, I sure could use lots of practice! Chocartist, will the cake be okay for a time if I refrigerate it with the modeling chocolate on it, or will it be a sticky sweaty mistake? Is it better to use higher quality chocolate--I don't know what i'm thinking----maybe that the better quality will have less sugar & therefore will attract less moisture???

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Is it better to use higher quality chocolate--I don't know what i'm thinking----maybe that the better quality will have less sugar & therefore will attract less moisture???

Don't overthink it. I refrigerate modeling chocolate all the time. It all depends on what kind of conditions are outside and in your environment that determines sweating. Besides, we're just

talking about a banner here. You're not going to have a sweaty sticky mess. Don't-uh-sweat it. :raz:

I use banners because they look cool, and they're easy to do. I can also write directly on the sides of cakes, but not with chocolate, since it drips. I have to use buttercream or something else to write directly on the sides.

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Another, real easy way to do writing on the side of the cake is by using alphabet cutters and gumpaste or a 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. There are some nice cutters avaiable. Hereare some examples of some cakes (blue baby cake and anniversary cake beside it) with writing done using the cutters (although the examples are not on the sides :blink: )

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Another, real easy way to do writing on the side of the cake is by using alphabet cutters and gumpaste or a 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. There are some nice cutters avaiable. Hereare some examples of some cakes (blue baby cake and anniversary cake beside it) with writing done using the cutters (although the examples are not on the sides  :blink: )

I've seen that site before somewhere. I remember it cuz none of the pictures enlarge for me when I click on the thumbnails. It must be using some pretty fancy schmancy coding that's written for the minority rather than the majority of computer users.

All this to say that if it doesn't work for some of you, it's nothing that you're doing wrong.

Di

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Another, real easy way to do writing on the side of the cake is by using alphabet cutters and gumpaste or a 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. There are some nice cutters avaiable. Hereare some examples of some cakes (blue baby cake and anniversary cake beside it) with writing done using the cutters (although the examples are not on the sides  :blink: )

I've seen that site before somewhere. I remember it cuz none of the pictures enlarge for me when I click on the thumbnails. It must be using some pretty fancy schmancy coding that's written for the minority rather than the majority of computer users.

All this to say that if it doesn't work for some of you, it's nothing that you're doing wrong.

Di

It's my website- and unfortunately, since I am not a web designer, it still has some quirks that need working on. :wacko: I find if I click on the cakes from the top left corner and go "in order" from left to right, top to bottom, the pictures open up.

I used javascript on that effect, but have no idea why that is happening. If anyone knows how to fix that problem, I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions. :biggrin:

I e-mailed a contact who designs websites for help and never got any response, so now I have to find someone else who might be willing to work on getting the quirks out of my site, that is if I can't fix it myself.

Here's my old site with pictures that open up easily if you want to see examples of the writing done with the cutters. There is actually an example of writing on the side of a cake, done with larger cutters.

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Another, real easy way to do writing on the side of the cake is by using alphabet cutters and gumpaste or a 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. There are some nice cutters avaiable. Hereare some examples of some cakes (blue baby cake and anniversary cake beside it) with writing done using the cutters (although the examples are not on the sides  :blink: )

I've seen that site before somewhere. I remember it cuz none of the pictures enlarge for me when I click on the thumbnails. It must be using some pretty fancy schmancy coding that's written for the minority rather than the majority of computer users.

All this to say that if it doesn't work for some of you, it's nothing that you're doing wrong.

Di

It's my website- and unfortunately, since I am not a web designer, it still has some quirks that need working on. :wacko: I find if I click on the cakes from the top left corner and go "in order" from left to right, top to bottom, the pictures open up.

I used javascript on that effect, but have no idea why that is happening. If anyone knows how to fix that problem, I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions. :biggrin:

I e-mailed a contact who designs websites for help and never got any response, so now I have to find someone else who might be willing to work on getting the quirks out of my site, that is if I can't fix it myself.

Here's my old site with pictures that open up easily if you want to see examples of the writing done with the cutters. There is actually an example of writing on the side of a cake, done with larger cutters.

Oops :blush:, sorry. I didn't mean to offend you; I know firsthand how much work goes into a website. Unfortunately, I can't offer any suggestions... I stick to plain ol' HTML.

"I find if I click on the cakes from the top left corner and go "in order" from left to right, top to bottom, the pictures open up."... nope, that still didn't do it for me; however, your old site operated just fine. Your cakes are terrific. Nice work!

Di

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Thanks again for the response. I'm guessing that I do not have to use the best qualtiy white chocolate for this recipe?  Will the type of "chocolate" sold by Wilton & other companies (looks like large choc chips--I don't know what it's called)  be suitable for this application?  I already feel relievd that I won't be trying to pipe drippy chocolate on the side of the cake this weekend........ :smile:

The Wilton product (Candy Melts) is not real chocolate; it's confectionery (compound) coating. I suggest using 10 ozs. of white Candy Melts to a scant 1/3 liquid cup of light corn syrup. Do not heat the Candy Melts over 100 degrees before adding the corn syrup. Stir and fold only until the mixture thickens and is well incorporated. Flatten on waxed paper and let sit uncovered at room temperature for a few hours until it firms up. Using the heel of your hand, knead a handful of clay on the work surface until it is the consistency of Play-Doh: soft and malleable, but not sticky.

Clay made with Candy Melts will be softer than clay made with real dark chocolate. For dark chocolate, use 10 ozs. chocolate to 1/3 cup corn syrup. Milk and white chocolates as well as compound coatings require less syrup. Chocolates with a high-ratio of cocoa solids will require a little more than 1/3 cup syrup. Since all chocolates vary so much, you may have to adjust the quantities. To make a firmer clay, use a little more chocolate (or slightly less corn syrup).To make a softer clay, use slightly less chocolate (or a little more corn syrup).

It is better not to refrigerate this clay; it will become sticky, if you do. Left-over clay will last about 3 weeks stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Clay made with confectionery coating tends to get stickier than real chocolate clay. I agree that refrigerating something as simple as a banner should not be a problem. However, unless the room is as cold as the refrigerator, you can expect some condensation to form on it when you bring it out. Refrigerating the cake in a box and allowing it to come back to room temperature before removing it may help. In either case, I'd go with the banner rather than attempting to write with chocolate on the side of your cake.

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Recipe Rx anyone? Attempted 1st batch of modeling white chocolate & the cocoa butter seems to have separated out. Is there a remedy???????

Sometime that happens to me......either because I used a different brand of chocolate, or because I stirred it a bit TOO vigorously.......

but I've never had to throw it away because that happened.....damn.....it's too expensive to toss!

I'll do anything to fix it!

Most of the time, the separations have been slight enough not to matter much, so I just wrapped the modeling chocolate in plastic, let it sit a day, and knead as normal. Never a problem.

One time though, I used a brand of white chocolate I wasn't familiar with, and I'll be darned if it didn't separate out so bad it was like a chocolate gob in a POOL of oil. Surprised the hell out of me. No matter how much I stirred, it would never come together. So, thinking I had nothing to lose, I stuck it on the mixer. Slow speed at first, then a bit faster, and miraculously it came together.

Still, though, I'm never using that brand of chocolate again!

I'm guessing your chocolate will still be workable. I don't know how much separation you are dealing with here. At this point, since some time has gone by since you originally posted, your chocolate isn't that warm anymore. Just let it sit to "ripen", then knead it. It should be ok.

Let me know how it goes. :wink:

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I'm guessing your chocolate will still be workable. I don't know how much separation you are dealing with here. At this point, since some time has gone by since you originally posted, your chocolate isn't that warm anymore. Just let it sit to "ripen", then knead it. It should be ok.

Let me know how it goes

chefpeon,thanks for your help. I was actually dealing w/mucho separation, and I'm sure that it was due in part to my lack of technique & the unusually warm weather(therefore warm kitchen) we've been having here. The recipe I used indicated no special method other than to stir the corn syrup into melted chocolate......Anyway, I ended up letting the chocolate sit in the fridge for brief periods after which I would give a quick knead. It did come together, save a few small bits of hardened cocoa butter which I was able to remove from the "clay" and flick in the garbage(I know, so unprofessional). The modelling chocolate did roll out easily & looked great on the cake. The lettering was a breeze. Chocartist, I did put the cake in a cardboard box & experienced no sweating. The birthday cake recipient was very pleased. So thanks again all for sharing your knowledge!

joshalow: your cakes are so lovely. Thx for the link to your website.

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