Opinions on food, drink and articles/TV shows involving them

Posts tagged ‘cake’

Baking with Chef Duff

When I first started watching the show “Ace of Cakes” several years ago, I was amazed and intrigued by what they did with cake. If you can dream it, Charm City Cakes can make it, which is really neat. The bakery is entirely custom-made cakes, so you can’t just walk in and order, say, a cupcake. Duff, however, says that he does not like cupcakes because he says people who make cupcakes think they can actually bake…that sounds a little harsh to me and I’m a big fan of the show.

Duff’s hatred for cupcakes has been going on for quite a while. In my opinion, I think that his dislike for them stemmed from his attempt at setting a Guinness World Record. He made the “World’s Largest Cupcake” and got the award, but it was later taken away because he made his cupcake in two parts. I guess the record-holder made one solid piece of cake. Winning a World Record, then having it taken away is enough to make anyone angry. I’ll get back to the subject of cupcakes in just a moment.

At any rate, I still love Duff Goldman and enjoy watching his show. His cakes, however, are very pricey. The most recent web prices report a minimum of $7 per person for a wedding cake (average is $15 per person) and if you actually calculate a serving size based on a box cake, it’s certainly not as big as a dessert you might purchase in a restaurant. The 3D and sculptural cakes start at $1000, a little too steep for mine as well as most people’s budgets.

A few month back I realized thatĀ Michael’s stores sell “Chef Duff” cake mixes, fondant, icing, and a wide array of other cake decorating materials. I was so happy to see this and purchased the white cake mix, white frosting, and white fondant. I also purchased a giant cupcake mold (not from the “Chef Duff” but from another company) and it was then that my idea to make my own “Ace of Cakes” cupcake came to life. Of course, there’s no way a cake from a box will be as delicious as one from “Charm City Cakes,” but it’ll have to do for now.

Like Duff, I made my cupcake in two parts, because of the pan I was using. I decided to make a giant cupcake with frosting filling inside using the special insert that came with the pan. Then, I put frosting on the top of the outside as well. Next, I covered that frosting with the fondant and then created multi-colored fondant “sprinkles” to go all over the top.

Here’s a photo of the giant cupcake pan. It includes an insert to create a dip in the middle of the cake, so that you can put frosting in the middle if you want. I did just that!

Let’s rate the individual parts, then I’ll sum them up as a whole:
Cake batter: I was surprised to see that the only ingredients that had to be added to the mix were oil and water (no eggs were necessary as with other boxed mixes); definitely better than your average store-bought mix; very tasty and I found myself wanting more; 4.5 stars

Baked cake: more buttery than a “regular” boxed mix; more dense than boxed cake also,but still very moist; seems to be good for carving; 4.5 stars

Buttercream icing:
great flavor; the frosting also stays together better than store-bought icing; it was a little hard right out of the package, but after mixing it a little with an electric mixer, it was just as good as home-made! 4.5 stars
Buttercream fondant: this one was a little tricky to rate since I have only had fondant on one other occasion; however, it was this year, so at least I remember the taste; nice and soft; flavor is alright, but not as good as the other one I tried before; 2.5 stars for taste; 4.5 stars for workability

The fondant claims to cover twice as much area as other fondants and I can see how that would be the case. It seems to be very pliable and doesn’t tear easily. It has a very gummy consistency without being sticky. Though the fondant did not taste the greatest, it did an excellent job of covering up the cake. What’s your take on eating the fondant with the cake? I think some people do and some don’t.

Baked cake + frosting: yum yum yum! Good combination. I couldn’t get enough as I carved off a little of the top piece before putting it on; 4.5 stars

Cake + frosting + fondant: The frosting helps make up for the fondant; though I wouldn’t want a lot of the fondant and am glad that I didn’t cover the bottom part with it, it was very tasty when you put everything together! 4.25 stars!

I did have a little trouble with theĀ  bottom of the fondant portion as it didn’t smooth out as well as I would have liked. However, that’s probably simply my lack of experience with fondant. Overall, I was very pleased with the way it turned out!

Baking this “Ace of Cakes” cake has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, so I was really happy when it all came together. A big thank you to E.S. for lending me fondant rolling supplies!