On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

The Movember Cake


A week has passed since I finished decorating the cake. Perhaps enough time to have forgotten how awfully the fondant was applied. You guessed it, it took me two attempts. Thankfully using Crisco on the ganache makes pulling the fondant off far less nerve wracking than putting it on. I had almost all of it completely smoothed over the cake when a small tear appeared. I couldn’t see a way to disguise it which lead me to pulling the whole lot off.

I suppose I should explain the cake was 5″ high, 6″ wide. That is pretty close to a Double Barrel cake, so I was somewhat nervous before I even go started. And as it turns out, had good reason to be.

I was happy with the shade of “gold” I had for the fondant, but it was 30degrees and probably not the best of conditions to be working with fondant (I think it dried out too fast) or modelling chocolate. I really do know how to challenge myself 🙂

Alright, here’s a photo, and a good close up so that you can see how painful it was for me.

Best Mo

elephants were here

I had a hard time with the moustaches. Not only was the modelling chocolate far too pliable, I couldn’t get mirror images of the moustaches. I tried using the dresden tool to mark the outline of the moustache and used this as a guide to cut with the craft knife. It worked best, but took me too many attempts where I screwed up my face before I had this wee brain wave.  I’ll know better for next time.

If we go way back, the ganache gave me no end of grief either. I used some I had previously made and had frozen (which I think had been another difficult batch). Adding this now room temperature ganache to the remainder I had from the previous week resulted in a curdled ganache. I fixed it using the same method I have previously written about. But on the Saturday morning when I was setting out to ganache the cake, I had to warm it a little to make it pliable, and that was enough to make it begin to curdle again. For all that, it applied just fine, and I’d say this was my easiest and quickest application, and I had a really nice smooth top using the upside down method. I didn’t take any photos because the sides were a little grainy looking, but I knew it wouldn’t be at all noticeable under the fondant. It was smooth, just not baby bottom smooth.

So the second attempt to cover the cake in fondant wasn’t perfect either. I ended up with a thin section which has started to pleat as I was smoothing the sides down during the application.

I couldn’t really let it go like that. I needed to do something to lessen the wincing I was doing. Mr Fussy was called upon for some ideas but had none. I’m not surprised 🙂 I didn’t want to add another colour, I loved the colour. So as you can see I made two sorts of collars. And I managed to get the fondant rolled through the pasta attachment on the KitchenAid in one piece. Hoorah!

The bottom collar was using a PME broderie anglaise cutter. My first time using it and it pressed nicely. I then rolled the fondant collar up and then unrolled it against the cake, having first brushed a little water to ensure it adhered. The top thinner collar was made using a friller cutter with a scollop and then once I had the top edge on I used one of my gumpaste tools to make the little fan-type impression.

Gumpaste tool impression

It still didn’t disguise all that awful elephant like texture, nor did adding in the modelling chocolate pieces. I just had to close my eyes and accept it was what it was.

Anyway, the cake and cupcakes went to work with Mr Fussy. He delivered them to Grant who was unaware that I was making a cake for him. Grant organises the Movember campaign for their work. He gratefully accepted the goodies and got busy with a bit of marketing and sold the cake slices and most of the cupcakes collecting some money for their Movember team.

MarketingI had filled the layers with Italian Meringue Buttercream I’d made some weeks ago and had frozen. It re-whipped up fine and smoothed nicely between the layers. I was itching to know when the cake was cut, whether it would be nice and dry or whether it would look a bit damp. After all, the cupcakes, which were thicker than each individual layer of cake, were baked perfectly. I was eagerly waiting for the verdict. But alas the cake looked damp. I can only put it down to the buttercream separating/weeping. I’ve been told the cupcakes were “delicious”, but no one that had a slice of cake made a comment to Mr Fussy. Mr Fussy works in a different section to Grant, and the “sale” of cake/cupcakes was made to Grant’s team first. Mr Fussy’s team leader sniffed out the baking and bought a cupcake and passed on his comment.


Where does that leave me? I’m happy with the cake. It really has the most pleasant vanilla flavour. I’ve made it agains this weekend and used Raspberry Emulsion with it. I’ve got the 4 individual 6″ cake layers double wrapped in Gladwrap and in the freezer.

Again I made cupcakes with the other third of the cake batter. I got 15 cupcakes, for some reason the batter this weekend yeilded more than last weekend. Mr Fussy says it’s the air temperature. The only changes this week were the use of the emulsion, Mainland unsalted butter instead of my favoured Lewis Road Creamery butter, and I didn’t quite have 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk, probably about 20ml short, which I added cream to make up the balance. But I wouldn’t have thought those very minor changes would have made the difference.

2013-11-23 16.30.46

I’m back to the drawing board with the Ganache. This weekend I’ve made another. I’m using a different method, a method that required me to fish out the candy thermometer. I’ve used Whittaker’s 50% chocolate and Meadowfresh cream. It wasn’t looking good. Well it was looking glorious when I made it and put it into the container. But this morning the ganache was really soft. I doubt it hard hardened at all. I popped it into the fridge for most of the day. I pulled it out as I was preparing dinner. It certainly had gone solid. And I’ve just checked, it’s room temperature now and it would need a little warming to make it spreadable. I was a bit disheartened this morning when I checked it, but perhaps it will be right now that it’s been in the fridge to harden. I’m crossing my fingers!

2013-11-23 09.01.29As for the Raspberry Emulsion, it’s from Lorann, it has a sort of honey/raspberry flavour. When I sniffed the bottle it smelt like it had almond in it. But I can’t detect that at all. While there’s “something” in the flavour of the cupcake, I can’t taste it’s raspberry (Mr Fussy’s favourite berry fruit). Going back to that dreadful batch of ganache, I remelted some of it and used it in the last of my frozen (but now room temperature) Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC). The buttercream re-whipped up nicer than the one used for the Moustache cake. I’m not quite sure why, other than I left it on the bench for several hours rather than having popped it into the fridge to thaw out overnight before then leaving on the bench.

2013-11-23 09.23.26The chocolate added to the IMBC was a little bit warm and as it whipped it had a few grainy bits which played havoc with the 2D Wilton tip. It clogged it up. I had to scrape the buttercream off and re-pipe it with the 1M Wilton tip. But boy it tasted so good, so so good. Loved it. Mr Fussy said the cupcake in all its splendour did have a raspberry taste. Perhaps it needed that chocolate IMBC to bring out the flavour better.

And the remaining dodgy ganache was used tonight to make a chocolate sauce. In the sauce you can’t tell there was anything wrong with it. Waste not, want not.

Next year, if I’m still playing around with cakes and decorating, my Moustache cake will surely be better. I am almost of the belief that the homemade fondant has a little more elasticity and forgiveness since it applied much easier on the Canterbury Show Day cakes.

Grant also had a sausage sizzle during the week. I’m thinking he had quite a good week for fundraising for Movember. I’m glad the cake and cupcakes were able to help in a small way.

Sorry for the mix of photos from various devices/sources.


2 thoughts on “The Movember Cake

  1. Good to know that the IMBC can be frozen and still behaves well when thawed out.

    So good that Movember is gaining in support each year – just as important as the women’s cancer events.


    • Ahh, I never even considered it couldn’t be frozen Alison. I just assumed it would be like SMBC 🙂 So yeah, if you make a batch that’s more than you need, chuck the rest in the freezer and plan another cake 😀

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