Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cake paperwork

There are two easy techniques involving paper (of sorts) that can improve the appearance of your cakes tenfold. One of them involves getting your cake out of the pan in one piece. If you've ever held a cake upside down over a plate for what feels like eternity, waiting to see if it's going to properly invert or bisect itself as gravity takes over, you'll know why this first technique is so important. Get a roll of parchment paper (available at any supermarket in the same section as the foil, plastic wrap, etc.). Put your pan on it and trace around the OUTSIDE of the pan. When you cut the circle out, cut INSIDE the circle you traced (just a little less than a quarter-inch) and the parchment paper circle should just fit inside the pan.
You can, of course, buy pre-cut parchment paper circles, but to me that's a bit like having someone butter your bread for you, and is a great example of yet another piece of cake gadgetry you don't need. Spend that money on a fancy new tip for your piping bag, if you're jonesing for retail therapy. After you've greased and floured your cake pan, put the parchment circle down and then pour in the batter. Your cake should literally fly out of the pan after you've let it cool for about 15 minutes, give or take. Just remember to peel the parchment paper OFF before serving, stacking, eating, etc.

This next paper-related step is all about presentation; how to make your own foil-wrapped cake circles (yet another thing you can buy ready-made at any cake decorating store). I'd be inclined to spring for a store-bought shiny foil cake circle for a big event, but just for cake with friends it seems a bit much. Get a roll of cake foil (it's paper on one side, foil on the other, and safe to use with food), pen, scissors, tape, and a cardboard cake circle larger than your cake.
You can find cake circles anywhere that sells cake decorating supplies; I think I've even seen them at Wal-Mart. I'd advise against using any old cardboard you might have lying around because 1) who knows what all it's come into contact with, and 2) it might not be strong enough; cake circles are really sturdy. Start by tracing the circle on the foil, and then adding a 2" margin around it; the margin doesn't have to be perfect (I always freehand this).
Cut the circle out, then cut a fringe of pieces about 1" wide from the outer edge of the circle to the inner circle you traced. Put the cake circle in the middle and start taping the fringe to it (I like to tape the pieces at "12, 3, 6 and 9" so the circle stays well-centered.
When you tape all the pieces down it will look like this:
Flip it over and here's the final result:
The beauty of cake circles is you can leave them behind, if you're taking a cake to a party; no more worrying about losing yet another one of your dinner plates, your mother's cake stand, etc. Next time you visit a store that specializes in cake decorating, take a moment to check out all the varieties of foil that are available; you might be overwhelmed!

No comments:

Post a Comment