Thursday, October 1, 2015

How To Order Cakes Like a Pro Part II

This blog still gets a lot of traffic on the original How To Order Cakes Like a Pro post. I thought an update with some additional information might be in order. This time, I just want to define some cake terms that we use here at the bakery so that you can talk cake like a boss:

Sheet Cake:  a single-layer cake

At grocery-type stores, sheet cakes come to the store, frozen, from a factory and are usually rectangular. At a custom bakery like Cakeapotamus, all cakes are baked to order. Therefore, a rectangular cake isn't any easier (or cheaper) than a round, square, or paisley shaped cake.

Sheet cakes can take a while to decorate, too!
A sheet cake is a single layer of cake with no filling (because where would it go?), covered in icing.

Layer cake: a cake with two or more layers with icing, fruit, or other fillings between layers of cake

Most of the cakes we make at Cakeapotamus are layer cakes, and most of our layer cakes have three layers of cake with buttercream between the layers.

This cake has six layers

Icing: the stuff you cover a cake with (also called frosting)

We use a few different icings at Cakeapotamus:

American Buttercream (ABC): This is the fluffy, sweet stuff that's on most of our cakes. Our house buttercream is American Buttercream with a secret mix of flavors and extracts. But ABC can be colored and/or flavored all sorts of ways. We can even flavor it with coffee creamers, chocolate, or cream cheese.

Ganache: CHOCOLATE! This is a pretty flexible icing that we can use to ice a cake. It can also be used as that delicious, runny chocolate that drips down the sides of a cake.

Whipped Icing
: This is the less sweet, but very temperature-dependent whipped creamy icing.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC): This is the rich, less-sweet buttercream that's a little more stable than the whipped icing. It can also be flavored all sorts of ways. Like all meringues, it is egg-based.

Royal Icing: This is the sweet icing that we use to decorate sugar cookies- it dries hardand can be painted on with food coloring

Fondant: Also called sugar paste (and occasionally "fondue"), fondant is the pretty, smooth sugar paste that goes on a cake over a layer of buttercream or ganache.

Modeling chocolate: This is a flexible version of white chocolate (that can be colored) that we generally use to make cake toppers and details. Modeling chocolate can be used to cover a cake, too.

Filling: The stuff between the layers

You can fill a cake with just about anything. Buttercream, fruit, jams, and ganache are the most popular fillings, But there are no rules for filling. You can put Nutter Butters between cake layers if you want. Or you can fill a cake with Skittles:

The inside of a cake can be as interesting as the outside if that's what you're into.

Carved/Sculpted cake: Cakes that didn't come out of the oven shaped like that

Carved and sculpted cakes are my favorites! But they're also difficult and time-consuming. They are made by baking a sponge or pound cake in standard pans, then using a very sharp knife to carve the cake into a custom shape.

Got any other cake words I should include here?