Tips from my Top Tip Tuesday Facebook posts will be archived here to make them easier to refer back to. If you have a topic you'd like me to provide tips on just leave a comment below!
If picking up your order it is best to transport the cake box in the (empty) boot of your car on a non-slip mat. This is much safer than the back seat as it is more level. Even better, have your order delivered and save yourself the hassle!
Cake and cupcakes usually taste best at room temperature. Check whether your order requires refrigeration, if so remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes before serving for maximum flavour!
Displaying Cake Pops (26/4/16)
Cake pops can be displayed in a myriad of creative ways. For some added colour why not use glass vases filled with jellybeans to suit the theme, then poke the cake pop sticks in. For an extra touch tie a bow around each vase in a complimentary colour with a tag to show what flavour the cake pops are.
Storing Leftover Cake (3/5/16)
On the off chance you manage to have some cake left over (not very likely, but it does sometimes happen!), the best way to store it is to remove any decorations and wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. If your cake contains perishable fillings (cream cheese, etc) or your home is hot and/or humid, you can place the leftover cake in the fridge, otherwise it is fine to store at room temperature.
Planning a Dessert Buffet (24/5/16)
When planning a dessert buffet always choose quality over quantity. Aim for a combination of quality cupcakes, decorated cookies, cake pops, chocolate covered Oreos and/or lollies in your selected colour scheme. By using an array of pretty cake stands, platters and jars to present them in/on, you'll maximise the visual impact without going over the top.
Dessert Buffet Signage (7/6/16)
An important element of a good dessert buffet is signage. Guests like to know what's on offer before they make their selection. This can be as simple as place cards describing the various desserts, or as elaborate as little blackboards on mini easels. There are even customisable sets that you can download and print to match any colour scheme. Think about what will best suit your theme (and your budget) and go for it!
Cake Smash Cakes (23/8/16 - 6/9/16)
Cake smashes generally look most effective with vanilla cake with coloured frosting or coloured cake with white frosting. Avoid red or brown cake or frosting as they don't make for very pleasant photos once smooshed all over baby's face...
With Cake Smash Sessions it is best to choose either elaborate background/decorations with a simple outfit, or an elaborate outfit with simple background/decorations. You want the focus to be on the child and the cake.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but buttercream frosting is more effective in Cake Smash Sessions than fondant. A messy baby is pretty much guaranteed
Displaying Cupcakes (3/1/17)
Cupcakes have the most visual appeal when displayed on a stand to add height. Specialised cupcake stands are ideal, but stacked cake pedestals can also be stunning. Try mixing and matching different stands for an eclectic feel.
If you don't want to spoil the look of your cake by adding candles on top, make sure to ask when ordering for the candles to be added to the cake board. This way the birthday boy/girl has the opportunity to blow out the candles without detracting from the aesthetic of the cake.
Acrylic Cake Toppers (17/1/17)
Acrylic cake toppers are a stunning way to personalise cakes or cupcakes for your special occasion, and also add visual height to your cake. If care is taken to pack them away safely, toppers can also be saved for future occasions.
Cutting Cakes (24/1/17)
When cutting cakes for serving it is advisable to make light markings with the knife to guide where you will be cutting. This helps to gauge whether you will have enough pieces rather than running short at the end. Also make sure to wipe crumbs off the knife blade with paper towel between cuts to give a cleaner edge.
As you all know, my speciality for large cakes is buttercream frosting. Yes, I do occasionally make fondant covered cakes, but my real passion is buttercream. But why use buttercream?
1. Buttercream frosting tastes so yummy!
With fondant covered cakes the icing can sometimes be the part that some people pick off and leave on the plate, it has a very sweet taste that some people find unappealing. Whereas with a buttercream covered cake the corners and outside pieces are often the first to go, everyone wants the extra buttercream frosting!
2. The buttercream flavour can be paired with the flavour of the cake
This adds extra scrumptious-ness. Some examples of flavour combos are Chocolate Mud Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, White Velvet Cake with Cookies'N'Cream Frosting or Chocolate Mud Cake with Mint Frosting.
3. Buttercream has a more pleasant texture than fondant
Fondant has a chewy texture that can also have a dry, hard outer layer which some people find unpleasant. Buttercream has a soft, smooth and creamy texture, sometimes with a very thin crusting layer (so that the buttercream can be touched lightly without leaving a mark, making the cake more easily transported).
4. Buttercream is less expensive than fondant.
In terms of ingredients buttercream is less expensive, which can lead to a less expensive cake depending on the design of the cake and decorating time required. Of course an elaborate design in buttercream will require more time and therefore cost more, but a simple design of rosettes can be very visually effective and cost effective too!
Having said all that, fondant does have its place and its purpose. Cupcakes can be decorated with buttercream and have a fondant topper for extra decoration, also fondant decorated cupcakes have a thin layer of fondant over a thick layer of buttercream. I also use fondant to cover decorated cookies.
I hope this gives you some insight into the benefits of using buttercream on large celebration cakes. However, if you have your heart set on a fondant cake, please ask and I may be able to accommodate. If the cake you want is outside my skill-set will happily pass on the details of other local cake makers who specialise in fondant covered cakes.
Whilst the majority of my orders are for cupcakes, when clients want a large cake I often get asked "What size cake should I order?". Hopefully I can make your decision easier with the following three points:
How many servings do you require?
The first point you need to consider is how many guests will need to be served cake. This may be the entire guest list, or if the cake is to be accompanied by cupcakes and/or other desserts, you can likely reduce the number of servings quite considerably. For example, a cake that is part of a dessert table as pictured below would cater for a lot more people than one that was the sole dessert for an event. Also, if the cake is to be served after a full three-course meal (at a wedding for example), fewer people are likely to require cake.
How large would you like your cake slices to be?
As a general rule most function centres will slice cakes either in 'party' sized portions or in 'wedding' sized or 'finger' serves, with the latter being the default option. Party serves are usually 1.5 inches by 2 inches, whilst wedding or finger serves are 1 inch by 2 inches. Wedding serves may seem small, but are usually sufficient, particularly when following a meal. If your function centre will be slicing your cake and you would prefer party serves rather than finger serves, be sure to let your function manager know.
Perfectly Petite Treats generally recommends party serves for birthdays, Christenings, baby showers, etc. If you would prefer to slice your cake into larger serves, you will need to take this into consideration when ordering your cake and order a larger size. The chart below may help when it comes time to cutting your cake.
Do you want your cake to be the centrepiece of your event?
If you wish you cake to be a focal point and make a statement, you may need to order a larger size than the actual number of servings you require. This has the added bonus of increasing the chances of having leftover cake for you to enjoy later!
Another option to help your cake look larger and become more of a centrepiece is to purchase or hire a cake stand. There are MANY different sizes and styles of cake stands available, so be sure to look around to find one that will be a perfect match for your cake.
Has this helped you in deciding 'What size cake should I order'? Are there other points you think I should add? Either way, leave a comment below to let me know!
If you're planning on ordering a cake you might also be interested in reading my The Benefits of Buttercream article.
Perfectly Petite Treats is owned and run by Krystal Conlan, a 33 year old home-baker. All products are freshly baked from scratch in her home-based council-approved kitchen in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.