After the success of my Baking Basics and Baking 1001- FAQ, here I come with one other category of basics – cake decorating. First I would like to tell you that I am not a professional baker. And I haven’t attended any classes. What I am going to share with you are some lessons I have learnt in these 6 years of baking and cake decorating. I am a self learnt baker and cake decorator who has failed nearly 75% times. But all those fails has helped me in understanding the reasons of the failure. As I have mentioned earlier, they are like stepping stones. If I look back at my very first cake, I feel that I have come a long way and I also need to go a long way to perfect my decorating skills. This series is to share my experiences and the lessons learnt during the awesome journey.
First let us take a look at various creams available in the market and how they can be used in cake decorating.
Amul Fresh Cream :
The most famous cream available in India is Amul Fresh Cream. This can be seen in the dairy products aisle in any supermarket. This is dairy cream and low in fat and is mainly used in making delicious, creamy chocolate ganache. Here are my recipes for the Dark Chocolate Ganache and White Chocolate Ganache. Click on the names to view the recipes.
Every time I post a fresh cream cake, the main query I get is whether to use Amul fresh cream for frosting. My advice to you is not to try it. Many have tried whipping this cream with zero results. Even I have tried it at my earlier stages of my baking. As the fat content in this cream is so low, it wouldn’t whip to stiff peaks. I have heard a few saying that they have whipped this cream but for me, it is a huge no no. If you are adventurous, try to whip it up. And if you succeed please tell me and I will surely change my opinion.
There is also another dairy cream which has little bit more of fat content. The brands available here in Madurai are Nilgiris and Kannan. These are rarely available and can be seen at the chilled dairy products section in any super market. Before I started using non dairy cream, I used this cream for all my fresh cream cakes. Though the fat content is more when compared to Amul fresh cream, the fat content in this cream is also low when we compare to the whipping cream we get in other countries. This whips to soft peaks easily and if beaten more than necessary, it will easily curdle and become butter. When used in cakes, this cream will start shedding tears very soon and it is not at all stable and so it cannot be piped easily. To stabilize this cream you can use pudding powder, which is an agar agar based powder. But still it is not too stiff and you will have problems if you are a beginner. But when you look at the taste, it is awesome. You can never compare this to non dairy cream. This is my most favourite cream used in cakes. So if you are not planning on a perfectly frosted cake but want a delicious cake, then you can go for this cream.
This is the cake made with heavy cream. It tastes heavenly.
Non Dairy Cream:
Non dairy cream are made with soy beans and they are available with added sugar. So decorating a cake with non dairy whipping cream is so easy as there is no recipe to be followed. Just whip until stiff peaks and just decorate. So this is the most easiest of the creams used in decorating. And there is no risk of over beating this cream. It would never curdle or turn into butter. And after decorating they stay stabilized in room temperature even for an hour. So this is a boon for cake decorators. When I was a kid, the cakes in available in bakeries were mostly butter cream cakes, but nowadays, they are fresh cream cakes. The cream is cheaper and cuts down the work of a baker and so it is preferred by everyone in the baking industry.
The non dairy creams easily available in the market are Rich and Tropolite. In Madurai, we get Rich and they are available as two litre frozen packs. So what do you do with a 2 litre pack when you bake occasionally? It is very easy to manage the pack. When you buy the pack, place it in the refrigerator (not freezer) and leave it there for 24 hours. The frozen cream would become liquid. Now open the pack and distribute the cream among five or six plastic jars. Or just measure 200 ml or 300 ml and transfer into small jars. Use one portion in your cake and freeze the remaining. When ever you are decorating, remove one jar from freezer, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours and use. Isn’t it simple? You will not be wasting cream if you follow this method.
Whipping Cream for Decorating:
Unlike ganache and buttercream, cream needs to stay chilled when beating. So how to do that. It is very easy. Place the bowl and beaters of your mixer in fridge for 1 hour before whipping the cream. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes. Place the chilled bowl inside it so that the chillness is maintained throughout the whipping process. Now pour the chilled whipping cream into the bowl. And fix the chilled beaters in the hand mixer and beat the cream. Depending upon the cream you are using, it may take three minutes to five minutes to get to the stiff peaks stage. If beating dairy cream, be cautious as it ill split easily. Once the cream has reached stiff peaks, you can chill the cream for 15 minutes before decorating. Always use oil based cakes when decorating with cream. Once the cake is baked, wrap in two or three layers of cling wrap and refrigerate the cake until chilled. Drizzle generous amount of sugar syrup on the cake layers before frosting as this will help maintain the moistness of the cake even when served chilled. Make sure to decorate the cake in a cooler place as heat would melt the cream and it would loose its stiffness. If weather is very hot, place the cake in fridge for 15 minutes between every layer of frosting.
I hope this post helps you to decide on which cream to use for which task and some basic points in decorating a cake with cream.