I have never been a baker, but I love beautiful desserts and I love to eat desserts, the beautiful ones and not so pretty ones. I don’t discriminate against any sweets.
I think the reason I didn’t do well with baking is that patience is required. It is a science where you can not do just a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Like I have said before, patience has not been one of my greatest virtues. As I have gotten older I have found a love for baking cakes. In fact I now find it very calming for me, because there is no way I can rush the process, so I have no other choice but to be patient.
What I have found is that you can make a box cake and then pretty it up and people will not know that you did not bake from scratch. I do bake mine from scratch because like I said, I have been finding it very calming to me and I like a more dense cake than the box mixes provide.
I was not a decorator by any means, and I did not have all of the tools that I needed to make a professional looking cake, so I just fake it and use what I have. Look at Pinterest and find a cake that you want to duplicate or can tweak it to make it your own.
I love using ganache for a drip effect. You only need 2 ingredients.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (no milk chocolate)
Heat the cream up in a saucepan. Remove from the hit right before it starts to bubble up to boil. Pour over the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and let set for 2-3 minutes and then stir together. The longer you let set the thicker it will become. You can use it for piping if you let it get thicker. I like it for pouring for the drip look on a cake.
In the cake to the left, I let it cool more and put in a squeeze bottle and went along the edge and dripped some over the edge. The cake on the right is what I call a beautiful mess. Impatience set in and I did not let the ganache cool long enough, so it ran down the sides and puddled it at the bottom. I started to wipe it off and then I realized that I like the look and everyone thought I did it on purpose.
My cakes are never smooth frosting. I have a couple of tricks for this. I take a fork and drag it around a cake to give it horizontal stripe look or take an offset spatula,(you really do need an offset spatula for icing a cake) run it under very hot water, wipe off the water, and then lightly run it over the icing and it will gently melt the icing and help smooth it out.
Another cake I like to do that has become popular lately is the naked cake. This is where you use minimal icing or no icing on the sides. I love the look of these cakes. People who are not fans of much icing (I have only heard of these people, I can not imagine they exist) like the naked cakes. I still put a thick layer in between the layers.
Get creative on what you use to decorate the cakes, so that you don’t have to worry about what the icing looks like and you don’t have to write on it or pipe the icing, unless you are good at it, which I am not.
- Place a stencil on top of the cake and press on sprinkles and then remove the stencil
- Use candy pieces to decorate the top
- Fruit cut up or sugared makes a classy looking cake decoration
- Melt chocolate almond bark and put it in a squeeze bottle and you can write or draw onto parchment paper and once hardened you can remove and put on the cake
- Melt hard candies and then let harden and break into pieces for a glass look
If it doesn’t turn out like you had planned, just go with the flow. In the words of Bob Ross “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents”. Just look at how nice my happy accident turned out for the Chocolate Peanut Butter cake turned out.