Red Velvet Cake

June 15, 2012

This cake was made by a student in a workshop several years ago. It is still a lovely cake.

The following recipe will make a cake that is the size of the top three tiers of the cake in the photo.  It is advisable always to make separate batches of cake when you get into the larger sizes of Red Velvet.

When you are making a large amount of Red Velvet cake, it is wise to sift the baking soda in with the dry ingredients and then right before pouring the batter into the cake pans, fold and stir in the white vinegar.  Vinegar and baking soda mixed together is a chemical reaction that is suppose to occur during the baking process.  If you have too much batter, you might not be able to pour the batter in the cake pans fast enough.  Your cakes may fall or never rise.

Prepare cake pans by lightly brushing and wiping unsalted butter around the walls of the cake pan and lining the cake pans with parchment paper.  Dust the cake pans with a little cocoa powder which gives a lovely dark finish to the sides of the cake.

3 – 6” square pans which will be filled with 8 ounces of batter each.

3 – 8” square pans which will be filled with 14 ounces of batter each.

3 – 10” square pans which will be filled with 1 pound  6 ounces of batter each.

Sift together:

3 pounds  plus 2 ounces cake flour

½ cup Hershey Special Dark

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons baking soda

In the bowl of the 20 quart mixer blend with the wire whip:

6 cups sugar

6 cups oil

8 eggs added a few at a time

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Measure out 4 cups of buttermilk and add 2 Tablespoons red food color to the buttermilk set aside

In a small container have ready 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of white vinegar


Alternate the dry ingredients into the oil/egg mixture with the buttermilk and blend on low until the batter appears to be smooth and scrape down the batter and blend until smooth.

Have all your pans ready for weighing at the scale.  Remove bowl from mixer and at the very last minute add the vinegar.  This process is done this way because of the amount of batter you have to weigh for the pans.  If you were to add the vinegar and baking soda in the traditional manner by mixing the two together you would have the chemical reaction take place too quickly and your cakes might collapse or crater.  You still get the nice texture from the vinegar and a slight tang but you will not run the risk of failure.

Bake time is approximately 25 – 30 minutes depending.  Always test for doneness.

Cream Cheese Filling

2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature

6 ounces unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 pounds confectioners’ sugar

Put the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of the 20 quart and blend until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice.  Add the confectioners’ sugar a cup at a time and taste for sweetness as you do not have to add all this sugar if you might prefer this filling to be less sweet.

Prepare three square cake pans by lining them with plastic wrap.  You can cut square cake boards out of double thick cake pads used for sheet cakes using the square cake pans as the template.  Trim each layer of cake and place one layer in each cake pan.  Brush with plain simple syrup.

Pipe a dam of Italian meringue buttercream around the edge of each layer of cake and fill with cream cheese filling.  Continue and build each tier of cake.  Wrap and chill the cakes in refrigeration for at least an hour.  Ice as you would any tier of cake.  There are tricks to icing square cakes.

One such trick is to place an inverted square cake pan onto a cake turn table.  This will allow you to extend your cake turn table enough to give you an edge to work on.

My student is icing a square cake on an inverted cake pan on the turn table. She is using a speed tip as well.

To properly use a speed tip..that really wide tip you may see cake decorators use at the supermarket, hold the tip close to the cake to get a thin line of icing with each line.  Use a spatula to move your icing around your cake tiers and then a bench scraper for the finish work.  Pull the icing into the center of a square cake from each corner to get sharp corners.  With a little practice you can learn to ice artisan wedding cakes in no time at all.

Opera Cake

June 14, 2012

Traditionally, Opera Cake is a square cake half the size of the cake you would make here.  You can make opera cake into bite sized petit fours by just cutting them in tiny rectangles and glazing them with chocolate and a dab of 24 carat gold.  I have made wedding cakes of Opera Cake and they are exceedingly rich.  The coffee syrup should soak the layers of rich almond cake well and a thin layer of chocolate glaze or thin ganache is good under each layer of coffee flavored buttercream.

Opera Cake

10 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

10 ounces granulated sugar divided into equal 5 ounce portions

10 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 egg whites

6 ounces cake flour

4 ounces almond meal or ground almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare two half sheet pans with spray and parchment for lining.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer cream the butter and 5 ounces of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the yolks a few at a time and scrape down the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract.

Blend the flour and almond meal and set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the egg whites to a frothy point and add the remaining 5 ounces of granulated sugar in a thin stream and whip to soft peaks.

Carefully fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then sprinkle and gently fold in the flour and almonds.

Divide batter between the two pans equally and spread evenly and thinly.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cool and remove bake skin.  Use an 8” square template to cut the cake for building in the pan.

This cake was all Opera Cake. Because Opera Cake is filled with buttercream over chocolate ganache or glaze, it will firm up quite a bit in refrigeration which means it will hold up during a long reception quite well.

Process for making the Opera Cake

Bake the almond sponge cake in two sheet pans that are lined with parchment paper and sprayed with pan release or buttered.

Reduce 1 cup of strong coffee to two Tablespoons for flavoring the buttercream.

Boil 1 cup of strong coffee with 1 cup of sugar for 5 minutes and add 2 Tablespoons of coffee liquor for the soaking syrup.

Make the buttercream

Make the ganache for the filling under the coffee flavored buttercream.

Make the chocolate glaze for the top of the cake.

Using an 8” square template, cut the squares of sponge and the strips of sponge for the center pieces of the cake.  Line a 8” square cake pan with plastic wrap.  Start by placing a full square of sponge on the bottom of the cake pan.  Soak with the coffee/liquor syrup and then spread a thin layer of the chocolate ganache on top of the soaked sponge.  Chill until the ganache is set and then add the coffee buttercream on top of the ganache layer..add another square of sponge, soak with coffee simple syrup, cover with chocolate ganache and set in refrigeration before adding more coffee flavored buttercream.  Add the spliced layers of sponge and repeat..until you end with a neat square on top.  Chill and then cover the top of the cake with chocolate glaze and set in the refrigerator.  Decorate with gold leaf if desired.

Choux Paste for Eclairs

June 14, 2012

Some of you have asked for the recipes for eclairs and for puff pastry.  Here is the choux paste recipe for eclairs.  Technically called Pate a choux in French, this paste takes a bit of practice to learn to make well.  The trick is to cook the paste in the saucepan long enough to remove as much moisture from the paste as possible.  It is always advisable to cook out flour whenever it is used in something that is made in a saucepan, be it a French Vanilla Cream, choux paste or even a turkey gravy!

Choux paste for éclairs

 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups water

2 cups whole milk

1 pound unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

16 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F  .. Prepare sheet pans with parchment paper.

Bring water and milk to a boil with the butter, sugar and the salt in it.  Add the flour all at once and cook for 2-3 minutes to make a thick panade or paste..

Put the hot paste in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and with a paddle mix until warm/cool.

Add eggs one at a time.  The number of eggs depends on the viscosity of the paste.     If you add too many eggs the paste will be too thin and collapse and if the paste is too thick it won’t puff nicely.  It takes practice and a good eye to understand the correct viscosity or thickness of the choux paste and that takes time.  The amount of choux made from this recipe is quite large and you need at least a 6 quart mixer for this quantity.  If you have  a smaller mixer, cut the recipe in half..

Pipe the choux into 4″ long eclairs or round balls for cream puffs.

Bake at 425 until the puffs begin to rise.  After about 15 minutes in your home oven, check to see if the puffs are beginning to brown.  Turn the oven temperature down to 375 and bake in your home oven another 15 to 20 minutes.  If you remove the puffs too soon, they will collapse.  It is better to err on the side of well baked rather than under baked with choux paste.

Fill with French Vanilla Cream or Crème Parisienne and dip in chocolate glaze (see recipes).

The recipe will make two tiers of cake like this one. Remember to build your cake in a lined cake pan and chill well.

8 eggs separated

1 cup water

2/3 cups vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

12 ounces cake flour

6 ounces hazelnut meal (special order through PCC)

4 teaspoons baking powder (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon salt

5 ounces granulated sugar for the flour/hazelnut mixture

9 ounces granulated sugar for the meringue

Using two mixers with whip attachments, place the yolks in one bowl and whites in the other mixer bowl.  Add the water, oil and vanilla to the yolks and combine all on low speed.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the hazelnut meal with the baking powder and salt plus 5 ounces of the granulated sugar.  Whisk together so that the hazelnut meal is well incorporated into the flour.

Begin to whip the egg whites on medium high.  Add the 9 ounces of granulated sugar to the whites when they are at the soft peak stage.  Whip the whites until they are soft but completely hold their shape.

Put all of the flour/hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks and whip until well combined.  Scrape down the bowl and whip on high for about a minute.

Fold the whites into the yolk/hazelnut mixture until they are very well combined.  Remember that you have baking powder in this cake so the possibility of the cake falling is remote.

Divide into your cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes.  This is enough batter for 3 8” cake pans and 3 5”cake pans.

5 ounces of batter can go into the 5” cake pans and  12 ounces of batter an go into the 8” cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes..

Chocolate Mousse which can be flavored with

Praline Paste

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate melted and cooled

3 ounces egg yolks

3 ounces whole eggs

4 ounces granulated sugar for hot syrup

¼ cup cold water

14 ounces heavy cream whipped

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the yolks and whole eggs until they are light and fluffy.

Moisten the granulated sugar with ¼ cup of water and boil it to a temperature of 240 degrees F.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and refrigerate until needed.

When the syrup is 240 degrees F, pour over the whipped egg mixture in the heavy duty mixer and allow to continue to whip until cool.

The melted chocolate should be no cooler than 90 degrees F. when you pour it into the cooled egg mixture.  The chocolate needs to be immediately and with some vigor folded into the eggs.

Fold in the whipped cream and thoroughly blend.  Add the vanilla and you have the most delectable chocolate mousse ever..!

Flavor with praline paste for a hazelnut mousse by putting a couple of scoops of the praline paste in with the melted chocolate before you add the chocolate to the whipped eggs.

You can ice the cakes with Italian meringue buttercream flavored with chocolate or just vanilla.  To flavor buttercream with chocolate, you need to melt a weight of chocolate that is 25% of the total weight of the buttercream you are going to flavor.

If you have 28 ounces of Italian meringue buttercream, which is a single recipe, you need to melt 7 ounces of good chocolate.

Frangelico Simple Syrup

Flavor 1 cup of simple syrup with 1/2 cup Frangelico liquor

Your simple syrup should be made by boiling 1 cup sugar in 2 cups water for 10 minutes and make sure it is cool before adding the Frangelico liquor.

Flavored syrups are good in refrigeration for a week or so but it is always best to use all your products as soon as possible.

Two tiers 8″ and 5″

Line the cake pans with plastic wrap and place a prepared layer of cake in each pan.  Brush layer of cake with Frangelico syrup and pipe a dam of Italian meringue butter cream around the rim of each cake layer.   Fill with hazelnut mousse, top with another layer of cake, brush with syrup, pipe the dam and fill with the with the final layer of cake upside down and brush with syrup.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Remove from the pans and invert on cake boards right side up so that the syrup continues to move downwards.  Ice with Italian meringue buttercream and if you are going to cover your cakes with white chocolate fondant, chill them very well before hand.  Remember to always ice your cake boards so that the fondant has something to adhere to at the very bottom of the cake.  Stack as you would with support dowels in the 8″ tier.  You can glue the cakes with royal icing on the top of the 8″ cake or just assemble at your venue or at home so that there is no dowel mark showing on top.  Some people will create a hole in the bottom of the top tier of cake through the cake board and place a dowel half way up into the top tier.  It is up to you to discover what works best for you.

People are apprehensive about doweling cakes and putting stabilizing dowels in cakes.  You just have to do it enough times successfully so that you gain confidence.

Best of luck!

Swedish Princess Cake

June 12, 2012

Because the cakes are domed with whipped cream, placing cakes on separated plates like this is a way to serve a Princess Cake for a wedding cake. Otherwise, ice the filled cakes with buttercream before covering with marzipan.

I was very fortunate to have gone to the California Culinary Academy beginning in January of 1979 which meant, I was the second class formed in that school.  Bo Friberg was the pastry chef instructor at the time.  Bo was a Swedish pastry chef who was very well trained in Sweden.  He was also the pastry chef at Tiburon’s well loved bakery cafe, Sweden House.  His signature cake in my estimation was Princess Cake which is a light delicately flavored cake covered in marzipan.  This was my birthday cake every year for I don’t know how many years.  It was my favorite cake growing up.

When I went to New York City soon after beginning my baking career, I made Swedish Princess Cake for a job application at William Poll Gourmet Luxuries and Catering which used to be located on Lexington Ave. and 72nd Street.  I got the job.  Princess Cake has always been a truly beloved cake.

For the Marzipan:

Real marzipan is made with pure almond paste and the fresher the almond paste the better.  (see my page on Suppliers and Ingredients)


14 ounces almond paste

14 ounces confectioners’ sugar

3 ounces corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon rum

Break up the almond paste into small pieces and place it in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.  It is advisable to add the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time and using a  paddle mix the almond paste and confectioners’ sugar until dry crumbs the size of peas is achieved.

Add the corn syrup and the vanilla and the rum if you like.  Rum can be omitted but it is delicious.

Make sure the paste is soft and pliable..wrap and set aside for covering the cake.  You can refrigerate marzipan for up to a month.  You can use the marzipan immediately.

Chiffon Cake

8 eggs separated

2/3 cup oil

1 cup cold water

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

14 ounces cake flour

14 ounces sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

With whip attachments, place the egg whites and egg yolks in separate mixing bowls.  In the bowl with the yolks, add the oil, water and vanilla.  Whip on slow speed until frothy.

Begin whipping the egg whites on moderately high speed.  When the whites are at the soft peak stage add 2/3 of the sugar and continue to whip to a meringue..

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/3 of the sugar or 5 ounces and add the dry all at once to the egg yolk mixture and whip on medium speed to incorporate the ingredients well.  Scrape down the bowl and continue to whip for 1 minute on moderately high speed.

Fold the whites into the yolk mixture and and make sure the whites are well incorporated.  Bake in the pans for about  20 minutes, give or take a few.

Strawberry Preserves

The nice thing about making strawberry preserves or any preserves for Swedish princess cake is their freshness and the ability to add lemon for brightness.

You can use commercial preserves of your choice.  Raspberry preserves are often used but strawberry has always been a favorite as well.

1 pound strawberries cleaned and finely chopped

2 cups sugar

Rind of a lemon

A couple of teaspoons lemon juice

1 packet pectin

Cook the strawberries and sugar over medium high heat until the juices run and the mixture begins to boil.  Add the rind of the lemon and the lemon juice and bring to a boil.  When the mixture comes to a rolling boil add the packet of pectin and boil for exactly 1 minute and remove from heat.  Pour into a clean container and cool for a day.   Preserves should be used immediately.  For wedding cake making, it is advisable to make preserves just for the cake that is being filled with them.  It is best not to use homemade canned preserves for wedding cakes.  Use commercially made preserves for safety reasons.

French Vanilla Cream

1 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons corn starch

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream whipped

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, using a paddle, beat the yolks and the whole egg until they begin to lighten.  Add the granulated sugar to the egg mixture in a thin stream.  Allow to beat until the egg/sugar mixture is light and increased in volume.

Bring the milk and the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan.

While the milk and heavy cream are warming up on the stove, add the corn starch and the all purpose flour to the egg mixture and beat well to thicken.

After the milk and cream show the first signs of bubbles, remove from the stove, stop the mixer and pour in a small amount of the hot milk/cream to temper the eggs.  You never want to shock eggs with hot liquids..this process has to happen slowly.  Begin to blend slowly and then pour mixture back into the saucepan and start to warm the mixture up on the stove once again but use a whisk to keep the mixture moving as it heats up because you don’t want lumps to form.  The process of heating this custard with the corn starch and the flour is a process that bursts the starch in both ingredients and that is how the custard is thickened.

When a bubble is reached and the temperature is about 160 degrees F or a bit more, remove from the stove and add the vanilla extract.   Pour the contents of the saucepan into a flat shallow container and place plastic directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming..chill well.

Whip the 1 cup of heavy cream and fold into the cooled custard to lighten it up.

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and add the sugar.  Whip to stiff peaks and chill to reserve.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 cups cold water

Boil for 10 minutes and cool


Bake the chiffon cakes

Make the marzipan and the strawberry preserves.

Whip the cream

Make the French Vanilla Cream

Have simple syrup ready

Prepare the layers of chiffon cake by removing the bake layer.  On the bottom layer of cake, spread a generous amount of strawberry preserves.  Place another layer of cake on the preserves and brush with simple syrup.  Cover the second layer with a generous amount of French Vanilla Cream.  Place another layer of cake on the French Vanilla Cream and brush with simple syrup.  Cover the whole cake with the chilled whipped cream and dome in the center so that when you cover the cake with marzipan it will have a rounded top.

Roll out the marzipan and drape over the cake.  Marzipan can benefit from being rolled out over a thin dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Decorate with royal icing piped in any design you wish or just decorate with a simple pink marzipan rose which is the traditional decoration.  These cakes are often tinted green, however for a wedding cake, the natural color of the marzipan is beautiful.  You can color the marzipan any color you wish but keep the colors light and pale..dark marzipan is unappetizing.

Baby shower cake with shoes made of gum paste.

For the following cake you will need 3 – 9″ cake pans prepared with pan spray and lined with rounds of parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl measure:

1 cup Hershey Special Dark Cocoa

Pour over the cocoa:

1 cup strong coffee that is hot and whisk well

Add to the coffee/cocoa:

1 cup cold water

In the bowl of a heavy duty 5 quart mixer with a paddle cream together:

6 ounces unsalted butter

2 ounces vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar


2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 whole eggs one at a time

Sift together:

3 cups of cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

After the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla are well creamed and you have added the eggs to that mixture one at a time, scrape the bowl well and beat with the paddle until there are no lumps of butter remaining.

Alternate the flour with the coffee/cocoa mixture in thirds scraping often to make sure there are no lumps of flour or butter remaining.  Do not overmix.

Pour even amounts of batter in each pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the cake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for at least 15 minutes before depanning.  Cool the cakes before chilling them well in the refrigerator.

For the Blackberry Mousse Filling

10 ounces organic frozen blackberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cold water

2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

2 cups heavy cream whipped

Place the frozen blackberries into a saucepan and stir in the granulated sugar.  Allow to sit until the juices from the berries starts to emerge.

Over a medium heat, start to cook the berries gently.  Bring to a boil and strain immediately.  Cool in a large shallow bowl to a temperature of 110 degrees F.

Bloom the powdered gelatin in the cold water and melt in the microwave or in a saucepan of hot water to at temperature of 110 degrees F and then stir in the blackberry mixture well.

Refrigerate until the temperature decreases to about 87 degrees F.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Chambord Simple Syrup

Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of granulated sugar in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.  Cool and add 1/2 cup of Chambord, blackberry liquor..if you wish to add more Chambord adjust the taste to your preference.

Build your cake in the usual manner by lining a 3 inch high cake pan with plastic wrap.  Trim a layer of cake flat and brush the cake with Chambord syrup.  Pipe a dam of Italian meringue buttercream and fill with blackberry mousse.   You can double the line of the dam to achieve a thicker filling.  Repeat and end with the top layer of cake turned upside down so that the cake is nice and flat.

Chill for at least 8 hours to set the filling.  Open the plastic wrap and place a cake board on top of the cake, flip out and flip the cake back onto a cake board so that the syrup continues to move down the cake..this is important…because if you allow the cake to remain upside down on your cake board the syrup will move out of the cake and soak your cake board…not a good thing..always remember that when you syrup a cake to place the cake on the cake board so that the syrup is moving down.

Ice the cake and decorate as you wish.

The best carrot cake recipe that I have found is as follows:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare three 9 inch cake pans by spraying the walls and bottom of the pans and lining them with rounds of parchment paper.

Because carrot cake is oil based, it is freezer friendly.  Bear this in mind when you are going to produce carrot cake for wedding cakes because this is a good cake for freezing filled with the cream cheese filling.  Always build the cakes in plastic wrap lined pans and wrap the cake very well for the freezer.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer with a wire whip emulsify:

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

2 cups of granulated sugar

Sift and set aside:

2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt


3 cups carrots


1 cup walnuts


1 cup raisins (optional)  determine if your bride and groom would like raisins.  They can be left out of this cake with no problem

Add the dry ingredients to the oil/egg mixture and mix until just combines.  Add the carrots, walnuts and raisins and mix until blended.

Pour into cake pans evenly.  Remember to weigh your batters no matter what a recipe says.  Then divide your batters by weight.  Once you have weighed one recipe it will be the same for all future recipes.

Bake this cake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until done and cool in the pans.  Depan and chill well before filling with Cream Cheese Icing.

A note for wedding cake makers:

You want to ice the carrot cakes for your tiered wedding cake with Italian meringue buttercream and not cream cheese icing.  Cream cheese icing is too soft and will be unpleasantly messy for cutting.

Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces softened cream cheese

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces unsalted softened butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In the bowl of a heavy duty 5 quart mixer with a paddle, blend the cream cheese, butter and confectioners sugar to a smooth consistency.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice and blend well.  Do not over mix.

This lovely filling will firm up in refrigeration.  Pipe a dam of buttercream to contain the cream cheese filling in your cakes.

Red Velvet cake is another wonderful cake that should be filled with cream cheese filling.

Lovely fondant covered cake in Tiffany Blue with large bows made by my student, Evie.

Chocolate Glaze

June 3, 2012

The thing about glazing is that it is temperature sensitive.  You can certainly glaze buttercream iced cakes but the buttercream might crack.  Some people swear by glazing cakes that are iced in whipped chocolate ganache which is a recipe that will follow this one.

The important thing is to glaze an iced cake to get a smooth coat of glaze.  Glazing over a screen on a plastic wrap lined sheet pan is helpful because catching the glaze on the plastic wrap will make short work of packaging the chocolate glaze and storing it in the refrigerator.

In a saucepan, heat to a boil

8 ounces of milk

8 ounces of heavy cream

5 1/4 ounces corn syrup

Add to the hot cream

1 lb 4 oz good quality semisweet chocolate

Whisk until smooth and then whisk in

3 1/4 oz unsalted butter that is room temperature

Allow to cool until the mixture starts to thicken.  If you use the glaze while it is too warm, it will melt the undercoat.

Chocolate Glaze is good for glazing cakes but it is also good for dipping eclairs in as well.

Building a good cake studio is not difficult and it is advisable to purchase the right equipment.  Determine how many cakes you would like to make per week and calculate the through-put which will tell you the size of pieces of equipment necessary to accomplish your production goals.


The Deluxe Oven is designed as a gentle convection oven which means it has small fans that gently circulate the air throughout the oven.  The cakes do not list or get blown to one side as with ordinary convection ovens and they generally come out rather flat on top which reduces waste.

The Deluxe gentle convection oven can be stacked.

This oven has 4 decks and can bake an enormous amount of cake per shift.  The maximum number of wedding cakes produced in my studio during the height of the season was 10 between my friend Dan Mikosz of Decadence Custom Cakes and myself.

The refrigeration could hold at least 27 tiers of cake.  I had True refrigeration and a freezer which was very handy for the kind of production that was done in this studio.  We were able to produce as much cake as we did because the cakes were freezer friendly.

When you fill a chiffon cake with a mousse you can easily freeze that tier of cake as long as you don’t ice it until just prior to the event day.  Chiffon cakes are very freezer friendly and our production week started on Tuesdays with the event day being either a Friday or Saturday or Sunday.  I would not freeze cakes longer than a week or so unless you have huge production and a walk-in freezer with racks that I know as covered wagons.  Reach-in refrigeration is perfect for small production.

These are True T-49 large capacity is a refrigerator and one is a freezer. They serve a small studio very well.

Mixers are essential for any sort of well run cake studio.  The 20 quart Globe mixer could easily make over 10 pounds of buttercream at one mixing and the 40 quart could make over 20 pounds of buttercream at a single mixing not to mention enough cake batter to completely fill the oven.

This 20 quart mixer is an essential piece of equipment for any cake studio.

Here is a picture of the beloved 40 quart Hobart.

The 40 quart Hobart is actually a petite floor model and for small cake studios, this mixer is ideal.

So this is an overview of some of the pieces of equipment you will need if you wish to build a small cake studio.  Remember that certain pieces of equipment need to be on dedicated electrical outlets.  If you care for your equipment well it will serve you for years and years.

Straus Family Creamery

June 3, 2012

Straus Family Creamery hails from Northern California and if you are fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, no doubt you are well familiar with these wonderful dairy products.  For my students in Seattle, I want you to become familiar with this butter package which can be found at Whole Foods Markets or PCC Markets.

For cake makers, Straus Family Creamery Organic Unsalted Butter is about as ideal for Italian meringue buttercream as butter can get.

Fat content of 85% which is as ideal and perfect for Italian meringue buttercream as butter can get. Let the buttercream whip in the bowl for at least 10 minutes after this softened butter is added to assure the creamiest and most delightful buttercream you are ever going to ice a cake with.

Three pounds of butter will make enough buttercream to pipe dams, crumb coat and ice three tiers of cake sizes, 10″, 7″ and 4″.  Depending on whether or not you are using fondant will determine the amount of buttercream you need under the fondant layer.

TheStraus Family Creamery Organic  heavy cream can be found at PCC Markets in Seattle.

Cream as it was meant to be.

This cream is so rich and thick I had to use a knife to poke through the thick cream that formed on the top under the cap of the bottle.  Amazing!!