Here a step by step to fill-and-cover your cakes.
With vegan frosting, which are usually a bit more runny and delicate compared with an usual frostings. The first time I actually decorated a cake, I couldn't believe how easy and satisfying it was. I personally find it particularly meditative, a meditation in pursuit of beauty.
With our ever-evolving world and the social media interaction, we are becoming dependent on a constant media interchange. If technology has allowed us to simplify communication, it has pushed us to abandon that liberation feeling of boredom typical of our childhoods. Do you remember what it feels to be bored? In all honesty, I hardly do.
But I am trying hard to do less and be more. Staring at passing clouds or at the ants busyness with my children, just to "do nothing". And enjoy some presence to the moment.
And, if clouds and ants are not your things ( and you do not have kids that force you anyway), then frost a cake. It is always a good idea to make cake to beat our social media idiosyncrasy.
The switching away from the "should" (social media/emails/calls...) shall give us a renewed feeling of freedom.
More cakes, more friends and peace in the hearts.
What you need:
Offset spatula, ice cream scoop or a big table spoon of your choice, a barbecue wooden stick.
A completely flat dish or board for the cake.
Tips and Tricks:
•If the cakes are rounded on top make them even cutting the top with a sharp bread knife.
•Keep the frosting always a bit cool.
•If you are a slow and the frosting becomes too runny, put frosting & cake back into the fridge for few minutes. If the frosting is too stiff or cold whisk it until smooth but still creamy.
•Measure your filling in equal quantities between layers, using the same spoon or an ice cream scoop.
•Some frosting can change colour over the hours, it is better to frost the cake just before serving or shooting.
•If the cake appears wobbly when you start frosting it, poke in the middle of the piled layers a long barbecue stick, this helps to keep stability while you cover the cake.
•The last cake on top has to be upside-down to make a perfect final appearance.
How I organize my baking :
Bake the cakes the night before, oven on ventilation to squeeze 4 layers in one baking session.
When preparing the cake have all the ingredients on a clean table, as you use them put them back straight in the cupboard where they belong, this prevents mess and forgotten or doubled ingredients.
Make the frosting the night before too so it sits overnight in the fridge, nice and set for decoration.
Some frostings can be made even two nights in advances ( yogurt based, sweet potatoes based), well sealed in an airtight container. This means that if you use cashew nut you need to plan well ahead the soaking.
Think about the colours for decorating a day or two before, look at Pinterest, even make a board. Ask yourself questions: what season is the cake for, do you want contrasts or only one colour, does it need a flower or some greenery...
Keep always some good looking frozen berries for decor.
Decorate within your pantry reach, simplest things make the most effective decor!
These simple steps allow you to dedicate lot of time to the decoration on the day you need to serve or shoot the cake!
Some of the directions below are based on Linda Lomellino's (call me cupcake) directions and adapted to vegan cakes.
- Place your cakes on top of each other measuring your filling, so each layer appears equal in the slices. (If the filling is different in colour from the frosting leave 2-3 cm from the edges of the cake, and pipe all around the filling some frosting so the colours don't get mixed on the outside).
- Repeat for all your layers and place the last cake upside-down.
- If the layered cake is too unstable and the filling appears too slippery place a barbecue stick in the middle, and put into the fridge for few minutes if needed.
For this cake above we had to soak the layers in pistachio milk , which was pouring out the sides, luckily the colour was almost transparent but in other cases this could represent a problem. You can easily solve it pouring your liquid well ahead of time, and wait for it to be completely absorbed, clean any extra dripping and only then start decorating
- Scoop some abundant frosting of top of the cake.
- With an offset spatula or your favourite spatula, ( I love to use this terrible silver knife above, even if I own a proper spatula), you will start spreading the crumbs coating layer, which aesthetically makes a so called naked cake, and more prosaically is meant to hold the crumbles and the little mess, so you can cleanly cover your cake with the thicker, final layer of frosting.
- To make a naked cake simply spread an even layer of frosting across the top. Spread all the extra frosting, exceeding from the edges, down the sides making a thin layer all over the cake. Add some frosting if it is needed.
- Make sure all the gaps are filled with the frosting, and you can (very gently) scrap away any extra.
- Do not put the extra frosting back in the bowl with the rest of it, because it is now full of crumbs or tiny bits.
- If you want to completely cover the cake leave it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before continuing with the final, thick layer.
- To completely cover the cake scoop more frosting over the top and continue down the sides as before. To have the frosting perfectly smooth wash the spatula and a dry it with a clean cloth, do this between each passage. Spread the frosting all round and draw the spatula up and in toward the centre of the top of the cake, to have an even and smooth surface and clean edges.
- The final touch to decorate the cake is up to you!
Have fun! Silvia x
A naked tres leches cake in the picture above.
A fully covered cake in the picture below.