In this modern age of desserts, we have become in awe of the creations that can be made with just a few wimple ingredients that can create edible masterpieces. With shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes, we were shown just how special cakes can become with intricate detailed work that can impact the lives of many others. As many of you already may know, I want to be a pastry chef. I am also extremely fascinated by the concepts of specialty themed cakes. Many techniques that are used can be implemented even for home bakers to surprise themselves in making their own specialty cakes. Although the ingredients and recipes are simply, it essentially is based on the intricacy and articulation of each item produced.
There are so many variations of themed specialty cakes that make each one even more valuable due to the time that was spent to put it all together. Each cake has its own secret that makes it possible to make it a timeless work of art.
Fondant is the most used product in specialty cakes as it creates a template for the cake, it can be purchased already made or can be homemade. It is like a pliable sugary dough that is used to cover the cake to create a smooth texture or appearance. It can be colored and applied as needed depending on the intended design.
Rice Krispy Treats are used for structure as it is sturdier to build with as it will stand well. It is very pliable but after it hardens can keep its shape. Modeling chocolate is better than fondant for this reason because it has more stability as it hardens where fondant stays in a somewhat pliable stage, if it hardens especially by extreme cold it will eventually crack whereas modeling chocolate will not. Modeling chocolate is simple made by melted chocolate and heated corn syrup which is then allowed to set before use. Isomalt is the boiling of sugar and water to make a glass candy look. It is usually used to make the appearance of coral reefs (if colored), ice, or glass.
Finally, there are gravity defying cakes that can be difficult to understand in terms of its production but it uses inedible pieces in order to make it possible. Usually, items like balloon sticks or PVC will be used to have a greater sense of structure and can vary based on the weight of the cake and the piece that needs to defy gravity as the choice of structure must be able to hold the piece up without the threat of falling or crushing the cake.
Specialty themed cakes, although they may be beautiful, are complex and need a lot of thought in order to bring it all together. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the CUNY CUE Conference and preceding the event, I went to the meeting to discuss some ideas with the OpenLab’s The Buzz. I thought it would be fitting to bring a cake but I wanted it to be epic and evoke the sense of CityTech pride that would still cater to the meaning of the event.
With the help of my sisters, I was able to create a beautiful cake although the perfectionist in me only saw the imperfections of the cake, everyone was amazed. My sisters and I were relieved as we had put in so many hours to complete the cake that the positive reaction was worth every second of frustration and dedication to fulfill the potential of the cake we had wanted to create.