I wanted to start listing some frequently asked questions…..
Q. Does your buttercream need to be refrigerated?
A. No, the ratio of sugar to fat acts as a preservative, keeping bacteria from growing. Putting a frosted cake in the fridge is just asking for trouble, once you take the cake out condensation will form causing colors to run and in some cases may make the frosting melt. This is not true everywhere in the world but it has happened to me enough times to make me stop.
Q. With that amount of butter is your frosting yellow?
A. No, my frosting is actually fairly white, I’d say closer to ivory than off-white. The camera is not a friend of my caking.
Q. What kind of colors do you use?
A. Wilton makes gel paste colors, these are concentrated food coloring that will not thin your frosting. There are other brands out there but these are the quickest and easiest for me to find.
Q. How do your cakes hold up in heat and humidity?
A. Very well, although I haven’t tested a cake in the sunshine yet. If it’s humid or hot you should add less liquid at the end, you may not need the whole amount I have listed.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
A. From the world around me Anything and everything can inspire cakes, my garden, a cool design on a shirt or plate, a movie, anything!!
Q. Why don’t you post more recipes?
A. I have 3 cake recipes that I use exclusively, chocolate, yellow, and pumpkin. Reasons are because they are reliable, easy and people love them. All three recipes are posted on here. I’m the same way with frostings, I have vanilla buttercream and chocolate, those I use the most and because I know how they work and know they are delicious, I just don’t want to try anymore recipes.
The yellow cake is kind of like my base cake recipe, by swapping out the vanilla and adding other extracts you can get a wide variety of flavors. I also like to add lemon or orange zest, and sometimes swap out half of the milk for sour cream. (see ‘Recipes’ section)
Q. Do you use fondant?
A. Never have, and at this point I can’t see myself ever using it. I love buttercream, love working with it, if there happens to be something I can’t make with it I’ll resort to candy clay. I like the challenge of buttercream but I also like that people can and will eat the WHOLE cake. The only complaint I’ve ever had about my cakes is that they were TOO irresistable and had to be immediately devoured.
On the flip side, if I were to start using fondant I would want my cakes to look like Mayen’s (09165067633), Tonedna or Nivia’s.
Q. What consistency do you use?
A. I used to try and have separate consistencies but now I do everything with a medium to thin frosting. Yep, even for my roses (see my ‘Buttercream Roses, 3 Methods’ video)
Q. What do you do with your leftovers?
A. Everything goes into the freezer in freezer ziplock bags. I keep buttercream for 2 months then I toss, not because it’s bad but because I run out of room!
Q. How do you re-use your leftover frosting?
A. I let it come up to room temp on my counter-top, then stir it to make it smooth again. It’s generally a little thinner coming out of the freezer or fridge so I use it mainly for decorations, not for frosting a whole cake.
Q. How long does it normally take to do a cake?
A. To make the frosting and decorate an entire cake usually takes me 3-4 hours. Sounds like a lot but it goes quickly, and I usually have a movie playing in the background so I’m not focussing on how long I’m caking.
Q. Why don’t you allow comments on some of your videos?
A. It’s mainly the recipes that I don’t allow comments because I get the same questions over and over. I have tried to answer all the questions in the videos and in the notes under the videos.
Q. What advice can you give to a beginner?
A. Practice, practice, and more practice. This is the same for anything in life right? Who becomes a great pianist by only playing once a month? Of course, decorating cakes is somewhat different than practicing piano because it’s highly fattening creating cakes on a regular basis. What I had to start doing is giving away my practice cakes. Hubby took them to work, I gave them to family members, even to a local used bookstore that we frequent.
There is an alternative to constantly making cakes for practice, you can use buttercream to practice on the backs of cake pans, cutting boards, I’ve been known to even use the bottom of a cup! Don’t color your frosting that way you can use it over and over again. I have a recipe posted for practice buttercream, keep it in a sealed container in a cool place (not the fridge) and it will keep indefinitely.
I also recommend reading as much as you can, cake forums, books, etc., that was how I got nearly all my information. Also watching videos on youtube was extremely helpful. Between those source I learned the Viva Method, how to pipe roses directly on my cake, and how to correctly frost a cake using a spatula.
Q. How much should I charge for my cakes?
A. I am a bad source for this, I tend to undercharge period because I’m not trying to make a business, this is a hobby for me and I’m glad people are willing to pay for my addiction
However, I have a couple of suggestions, you can price out everything you use, right down the the electricity used from turning on the oven, and base your price on that, plus how much time you spent on the cake. Or you can check out what other places are charging locally and go from there.
Here’s a link my friend Kathy gave me and I think it’s definitely helpful:
One more thing, I’ve noticed on the cakecentral.com forums people complain because they gave a discount to a ‘friend’ and that person took advantage of them. This is what I say, if you’re using quotations around the word friend, then they’re not really your friend and you are setting yourself up. If you really want to give a discount make sure you aren’t shortchanging yourself.