Friday, March 11, 2011

Special Occasion Fruit Cake, Sugar Decoration, Royal Icing

Chef Gert & Chef Keith's Wedding Masterpieces

Chef Andre & Chef Gert's Teddies

Today's decorated fruitcake is a juxtaposition of the old, the new and the timeless. Fruitcakes have been around since ancient Rome, when pomegranate, pine nuts and raisins were mixed into barley mash and baked (not very appetizing, is it?). In the Middle Ages, honey, spices and preserved fruits were thrown in and the name "fruitcake" was born.

Coupled with this the modern take on cake decorating, where colorful and easy-to-use sugar pastes allow a chef's creativity to reach new heights, and patrons find endless inspirations from a favourite comic character for a child's birthday to edible models of a couple on their wedding day, possibilities are endless for both inspired chefs and delighted customers alike.

Baked Fruitcake, Patched With 66% Marzipan, Glazed With Apricot Jam

Despite the long baking time, our fruitcakes did not burn, thanks to Chef Keith's advice to insulate them with up to 8 layers of silicon paper all around, and a crowning piece the end of baking. The cake came out moist, amber gold and smelled an absolute high (from the brandy, that is). A thin coat of jam binds the marzipan to the cake, which at 66% almond content tastes vastly superior to cheaper versions and is therefore the perfect paste to coat and smooth the cake with, not to mention good enough to eat on its own!

Rolling Out Marzipan, Wrapping Fruitcake For Smooth Surface

Covering Cake With RTR, "Sandpapering" For Smooth Surface

RTR or Ready To Roll is a commercial sugar paste that is a dream to use: unlike fondant or marzipan which absorbs too much moisture from the air and gets all sticky on you, RTR reminds dry, pliable and a sheer joy to work with. Brings to mind our croquembouche and I wonder why we weren't given RTR to make the decorative flowers with then.

Cake covered and smoothed, it is now a ready canvas on which you may add any decoration your imagination dictates. Chef Gert finished up Chef Keith's design of the cake started yesterday and shared with us some tricks of his own along the way.

Gluing On Columns & Flowers With Icing Sugar

Edging Cake Frills, Leaving Onto Side Of The Pot To Dry & Harden

 Weddings Are Always Better With Cake

As with all fruitcakes I've been given in the past (and unable to dispose of without offending the gifter) I took a teensy weensy bite of chef's cake and by golly was it good! I did not taste any overly sweet dried fruit, all I picked up was a Bang! In-Ya-Face hit of brandy and I immediately fell in love with fruitcake for the first time! Sure the fruits and nuts provided moisture, texture and crunch, but it was the heat of that brandy going up my nose that had me going back for more. Happy Hour at 10 in the morning? Bring it on, I say!

My Porcelain Flower & Butterfly Fruitcakes

I kept my cakes simple that's how I like them: not only are they easy to slice, there is also far less of the sugary stuff around to distract from the cake. That said, I wouldn't mind making a decorative cake again, this time with a more complicated design to try my hand at. 

Have a look at what the other (more creative) guys and gals in my class did!

Lily & Sunny's Pretty-In-Pink Creations

Jing's Octopus, Smital's Sleeping Baby
Erica's Baby Converse, Matin's Sunflower

Jo Ann's 2 Tier Wedding Cake!

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