Specialty Cakes for the Holidays

Few things are more unique and personal than the gift of food. And during the holidays, when dessert often becomes the main focus at our celebrations, our options become almost limitless. With so many to choose from for that special holiday touch, specialty cakes might be our saving grace.

Cake has come a long way since the ancient Egyptians began making breads sweetened with honey more than 5,000 years ago. Breads that were made for sustenance back then gave way to cakes that today are designed to make a splash. Specialty cakes, as their name implies, are made for a special occasion. A specially decorated cake can make a holiday meal brighter and giving it as a gift can make your visit sweeter.

Holiday cakes are versatile, particularly eye catching, full of color and flavor. You can choose based on theme, content, color, and size. Whether you’re looking to make a decorating statement or a culinary one, a specialty cake could be the item that ties it all together with style.

There are several things to keep in mind when deciding on a specialty cake. Who will eat it? Is it geared for children or an older crowd, and if so, how many? How much do you want to spend? What will it be paired with? Do you want to bake it yourself?

If you want to use grandma’s recipe, consider the complexity and labor associated with this feat. Baking it yourself highlights your creativity, but buying it online might be a better alternative if you’re strapped for time. For example, a traditional Christmas fruitcake sells online for between $25 to $75, can be sent to anyone on your shopping list, and could arrive in a festive tin box just in time for Christmas.

Which cake is right for your holiday get-together? The list of choices varies from traditional to trendy and includes fruitcakes, panettones, cheesecakes, tarts, gingerbread and even ice cream cakes. Cupcakes are the latest trend in holiday treats; hundreds of stores catering to this niche have sprouted both as traditional stores and as online sites. The cupcake market alone is projected to grow by 26% through 2014 to more than $20 billion in sales.

“Fondant is not the only way to go anymore,” says Samantha James, a line cook and professional baker in State College, Penn. The trend in holiday specialty cakes is “simple, not as busy,” she adds. James’ holiday favorites include pies and spice cakes, which use nutmeg and ginger. A pie is an inexpensive and delicious addition to any meal and can cost as little as $5.

Ultimately, it may all come down to desert being the big finish, the pièce de résistance, or the icing on the cake, if you will. For those occasions when only a Santa cake will do, a specialty cake will leave guests oohing and ahing all the way to next year. Proof that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Rolled Fondant – The Hot New American Cake Icing

Rolled fondant is a dense smooth white sugar mass, comparable to a pie dough used for decorating cakes. Rolled Fondant can be rolled and draped over a cake. Fondant originates from the word “fondre” which means to dissolve and is named so because it melts in your mouth when eaten. Fondant may be used as a modeling paste or to construct wedding cakes and fondant cakes for all occasions. Fondant is somewhat new to this country and has been gaining in recognition over the last ten years or so. Rolled Fondant has been well-known in Europe and other countries for decades. The influence is spreading here as availability of prepared Fondant grows. Rolled Fondant is sold to the baking and foodservice industry in 20 lb., 5 lb. and 2 lb. pails. Rolled Fondant products should be stored in a sealed container and will last for up to one year.

This is what the professionals do to prepare their Rolled Fondant. After removing your Fondant from the container, separate the product into smaller pieces and situate in mixing bowl with dough hook. If you coat or spray the bowl and hook with a vegetable shortening this will put a stop to the icing from sticking and allow trouble-free removal of product once mixed. Mix on slow speed for 1-2 minutes, kneading the icing to a smooth even uniformity. Color or flavor may be added prior blending. Of course, you can kneed the dough by hand if you do not have a mixer. Memo: Comparable to chewing gum, the gums in Rolled Fondant turn out to be more flexible and extendable once worked, this is why it is essential to knead well before rolling out.

The adding of extra gum will make the icing more extendable, and will also trigger the product to dry faster. Ready-made Gum Paste (gumpaste) is available for this purpose and is perfect for the production of sugar flowers and more. Gum Paste flowers can also be made well in advance of use.

Regular climate temperature changes may necessitate the icing to be softened or made a little stiffer. If you sense the need to stiffen the product, knead into the dough a little powdered sugar. The addition of a couple drops of glycerin to the fondant will soften the icing during the colder winter months, however once the product is stored at room temperature no add-ins or product changes should be needed.

Any time your Rolled Fondant remains exposed to the air it will dehydrate, therefore it is very essential that the storage of it is proper. I suggest storing it in the original bucket after use. Your covered cakes can be refrigerated and/or frozen. When doing so the cake should be kept covered or packaged, as refrigerated units often have elevated humidity which may trigger water condensation on top of the cake surface.

This is a great tool approximately determine how much fondant you will need to properly cover a cake. – Cake Diameter 6″ Net Weight Required 10 oz. – Cake Diameter 8″ Net Weight Required 12 oz. – Cake Diameter 10″ Net Weight Required 18 oz. – Cake Diameter 12″ Net Weight Required 24 oz. – Cake Diameter 14″ Net Weight Required 48 oz.

Here are the typical ingredients for white/vanilla Rolled Fondant. Each manufacturer is different so do not take the following as exact fact. Sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, flavorings, gum tragacanth, titanium dioxide glycerine, cellulose, corn starch, potassium sorbate, acetic acid. The majority are also manufactured with Zero grams Trans Fats, Zero grams Cholesterol, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, and containing no animal-derived ingredients. Verify each label to make certain it is Certified Kosher.

Beautiful creations prepared with Rolled Fondant have become progressively more popular with consumer and are highly rewarding to the baker. Some of the well known and celebrated cake designers and sugar artists use Rolled Fondant and Gum Paste. These products can be seen on cable and satellite TV food shows such as “Ace of Cakes” (Food Network), “Cake Boss” (TLC), “Food Network Challenge”, “Ultimate Cake Challenge” (TLC). The finest cake shops, bakeries and patisseries use Rolled Fondant and Gum Paste products to achieve their works of edible art.

There is one brand of Rolled Fondant manufactured in the United States. The name of this company is Satin Fine Foods. Their products are made with the flavor of Americans kept in mind. Their signature flavor is unmatched. In my opinion it has excellent elasticity/flexibility when rolled out, unproblematic to handle and seemingly unbreakable. The satin-fine texture allows it to be rolled awfully thin. The product is certified Kosher Pareve.

After modeling the decorations, your pieces will dry just as you planned for. A high-quality Rolled Fondant will not over dry and crack. A high-quality Rolled Fondant seals the cake, keeping it moist and fresh while also increasing the shelf life of the cake. The completed cake may be refrigerated or frozen as soon as it is covered.

To conclude I want to explore growing your profit margins with usage of Rolled Fondant. With expenses well below that of dairy products used in buttercream blends, the profit margin has grown for bakeries offering specialty cake products using Rolled Fondant. The item produces the quality, elegant looking cake which is gaining in popularity in the baking industry as well as the retail sector.

For more information pay a visit to your nearby oasis cake decorating supply store.

Five Reasons Why You Should Opt For Specialty Cake Pans

The preparation of specialty cakes draws the attention of many people around the world. People are now eager to make cakes with excellent and innovative designs. There are many specialty cake making schools that let you go through the basics. The introduction of specialty cake pans has revolutionized the industry. With a wide range of shapes and size, people need to buy it for the preparation of cakes. The size of it varies from miniature to extra large and of different materials.

To Be Innovative: In the past, people knew only about classic, round-shaped pans. Now, there are many innovative designs available that let you make excellent cakes of your choice. There are special pans for kids with complex and intricate designs. The design of the pan is the feature that gives a particular shape to the cake. So it is very important for you to buy a pan that suits you. In fact, you may need to buy more than one to make a variety of designs.

To Be Attractive: The cakes that are made of specialty cake pans are very attractive. Moreover, it increases the scope of decoration. If you intend to be a professional, or if you want to show your talents to others, then it is mandatory for you to buy specialty cake pans that suit you.

To Preserve Shape: A great feature of the specialty pans is that it is bendable. So the cakes can be easily removed from the pan. It preserves the shape of the cake and gives originality to the cake.

To Make Cleaning Easy: Many of the cake pans are made of silicon. So it is easy for you clean. Moreover, it withstands high temperature. The cakes that you prepare will be in good shape and will be presentable to others.

To Conform To Standards: Some of the quality cake pans are approved by FDA, as they do not transfer particles to food. This feature of the pan is very important.

You should go for specialty cake plans if you are a businessman or if you are an individual who loves to make cakes at home. Opting for specialty pans gives you a lot of choice. The options will be wide open to you and you can make the best out of your own resources. Why should you wait, go for the best!