Archive for the 'Kitchen Tips' Category


How to Cover Cake with Fondant


how to cover cake with fondant

Brush the sugar syrup lightly and evenly over the cake (or over almond icing). Knead fondant with some pure icing sugar until smooth; roll fondant until it is about 7mm thick. Lift fondant onto cake with rolling pin. Smooth the fondant with hands dusted with icing sugar; ease the fondant around the sides and base of cake.


Push the fondant in around the base; cut away excess fondant with a sharp knife.


Mix some scraps of fondant to a sticky paste with cold boiled water. You need about 2 tablespoons of this paste. Spread paste in the center of the prepared board. Place the cake on prepared board.


Move the cake to the correct position on the board; using a sharp knife, craft knife, or scalpel, carefully cut away excess greaseproof paper around the base of the cake.




Covering Cakes

fondant cake

Cakes need to be covered with some sort of icing to stop them from drying out, to preserve them and of course, to make them look sensational.


Traditionally, and for preservation, rich fruitcake should be used if the cake is to be kept for any length of time. In some cases, brides like to keep the top of a wedding caked to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage, in this event, a rich fruit cake must be used, and it must be covered with almond icing and then fondant.


Some people dislike the taste of almond icing; cakes can be covered with two layers of fondant. However, these cakes can only be kept for about 4 weeks.


You will need to make sugar syrup, which will adhere the almond icing and fondant to the cake.


All varieties of cake will usually keep quite well if covered completely in a soft icing such as Vienna cream of ganache. Since these icings are based on dairy products, the cakes should be covered and refrigerated.




If necessary, trim top of cake/s with sharp knife to ensure it will sit flat when turned upside down.


Mix a little fondant and cold boiled water to a sticky paste. Spread about 2 tablespoons of this mixture into the center of a sheet of baking greaseproof paper about 5cm larger than the cake. Position cake on top.


Patching: Use a spatula or flexible knife blade and small pieces of almond icing to patch any holes in the surface of cake, both on top and the sides.


Knead the almond icing gently until smooth, using a little extra sifted sugar to absorb stickiness.


Roll icing until it is about 7mm thick. Measure the sides of the cake, cut three or four strips large enough to fit the sides. Brush one side of each strip all over with icing sugar syrup. Attach the icing strips to the cake, sticky-side down. When covering a cake with right-angled corners, wrap the strips around the corners.



Use the base of the cake pan as template to measure a piece of almond icing for the top of the cake.


Lift the top of the piece into place, and rub over the joins between the pieces of icing for the top of the cake.


Leave cake standing on a paper to dry.


Basic know-how in Cakes


wedding cake


Each recipe specifies the required sizes of cake pans and the necessary qualities to make your cakes look the same as the one you would see made by experts-however, cake sizes and shapes can be changed to suit yourself and your chosen decorations.


Use well-shaped rigid, straight-sided, deep cake pans. The ones I use are made from good quality tin or aluminum.


I use pans bought from cookware stores and shops specializing in cake decorating equipment.



Lining cake pan neatly minimizes time-consuming trimming and patching of cakes. The lining helps to protect the cake during baking. For fruit cakes, use one sheet of string brown paper and two sheets of baking or greaseproof paper. Cut the paper at the base of the pan at an angle, so that paper fits corners neatly.



I used bought cake pans, however, cakes of unusual shape, such as heart, an oval, an octagon or even a petal, can all be cut from round cakes.


From square cake, you can easily cut cakes diamond or rectangular shapes.



There are several ways to make tiered cakes. Cakes can be placed directly on top of each other, although some cakes need to be supported with skewers. This is especially necessary when heavy fruitcakes are used.

Wooden skewers bought from butchers or craft shops are ideal-these are inserted in the lower tier/s of cakes, under the area that the upper tier will cover; the size of the board on the upper tier/s should be used as a guide when positioning the skewers.


You will need three or four skewers to support the upper tier/s. insert the skewers, pointed-end first, in the correct position, through the icing and the cake, right down to the board. Withdraw the skewers level with the surface of the cake, noting the position of each skewer; withdraw the skewers and cut them off at the marks. Insert the skewers back into the cake, ready to support the upper tier.



Cakes can be transported easily by placing them in a piece of thin sponge rubber (to prevent slipping) in a box as close to the size as possible. Cover an open box with clear plastic, sit box flat.


Tiered cakes are always transported with the tiers separated, and then assembled when they reach their destination.



As a guide, a 25cm square cake can be cut into 100 finger-length pieces. Cut round cake crossways into slices before cutting into finger-length pieces.



When the cake is cold, remove from the pan. Discard brown paper, leave inner lining intact. Wrap cake in plastic wrap to keep airtight, then in foil or tea towels to keep the light out. Store in a cool dark place. If in doubt about hot or humid weather, store the cake in the refrigerator.


The cake will keep for 1 year at room temperature if cooked and stored correctly, it can be frozen indefinitely if preferred.



Cakes will keep well if they have been correctly covered with almond icing and fondant. They need to be protected from moisture in the air, either rain or humidity, or worse, both. If possible, keep the cake in a cabinet or under glass or plastic so you can check for changes in the cake’s appearance.


If the surface of the cake becomes wet and sticky, remove the cake from the cabinet and stand it under an ordinary reading lamp (not fluorescent). Turn the cake every now and then until the fondant looks and feels dry, and then return it to the cabinet.


Decorated cakes can be frozen if they are to be kept for more that 3 months. Thaw the cake, covered, in the refrigerator. This process will take approximately 2 days.


*image courtesy of





Kitchen tips

Tips on Peeling and Trimming Fruits



· CITRUS FRUITTo peel completely: cut a slice from the top and from the base.
Set the fruit base down on a work surface. Using a small sharp knife,
cut off the peel lengthways in thick strips. Remove the colored rind
and all the white pith (which has a bitter taste). Cut, following the
curve of the fruit.
To remove rind: use a vegetable peeler to shave off the rind in
wide strips, taking none of the white pith. Use these strips whole or
cut them into fine shreds with a sharp knife, according to recipe
directions. Or rub the fruit against the fine holes of a metal grater,
turning the fruit so you take just the colored rind and not the white
pith. Or use a special tool, called a citrus zester, to take fine threads
rind. (Finely chop the threads as an alternative method).
· KIWI FRUIT– Follow the citrus fruit technique, taking off the peel in thin
lengthways strips.
· APPLES, PEARS, QUINCES, MANGOES, PAPAYAS– Use a small sharp knife
or a vegetable peeler. Take off the peel in long strips, as thinly as
· PINEAPPLE– Cut off the leafy crown. Cut a slice from the base and set the
pineapple upright. With a sharp knife, cut off the peel lengthways,
cutting thickly to remove the brown “eyes” with it.
· BANANAS, LYCHEES, AVOCADOS– Make a small cut and remove the peel
With your fingers or a knife.
· PASSION FRUIT, POMENGRANATES-Cut in half, or cut a slice off the top.
With a spoon, spoon the flesh and seeds into a bowl.
· STAR FRIUT (CARAMBOLA)– Trim off the tough, darkened edges of the five
· RHUBARB– Cut off the leaves and discard them (they are poisonous). Peel off
any tough skin.
· FRESH CURRANTS (RED, BLACK and WHITE)-Pull each cluster through the
prongs of a fork to remove the currants from the stalks.
· FRESH DATES-Squeeze gently from the stalk end to remove the rather tough


Kitchen tips

KITCHEN TIPS: Preparing Salad Greens


Preparing Salad Greens:
· In preparing salad, do not stick to the usual iceberg lettuce, cabbage or spinach. Try out other lettuce varieties such as: endive, chicory, dandelions or urugula. A combination of several leaves makes for an exciting salad.
· Wash leaves then drain. Dry the leaves by wiping or rubbing against a towel or using a salad spinner.
· Keep the dried leaves in the chiller until ready to use.
· Add the dressing just before serving so that the leaves won’t wilt at once.
· Add just enough dressing so as not to overwhelm the greens.

*image courtesy of


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