Being a cake decorator in hot weather brings on a whole new challenge – It is (whatever you may think) still possible to enjoy cake decorating in the warmer weather – just follow our top tips……
Being a cake decorator in hot weather brings on a whole new challenge – your icing seems to have a mind of its own, air pockets appear from nowhere on your decorated cakes, decorations wilt and slide off, cupcake swirls collapse and everything gets very sticky (including you!)
It is (whatever you may think) still possible to enjoy cake decorating in the warmer weather – just follow our top tips……
Keep your room cool
If possible work early in the morning or later on in the evening when it is cooler.
Do your baking at a different time (or in a different room) to your decorating so you don’t make your working area even warmer.
Fit black out blinds to your windows (these are relatively inexpensive and keep a lot of heat out).
If you have a fan, place a frozen bottle of water in front of it so it is blowing cool air.
Keep yourself cool
Wear light, loose clothing.
The quickest way to cool yourself down is to run your wrists under cold water.
If you get very warm try putting slightly damp towelling wrist bands (the type squash players wear) in the freezer. Wear these on your wrists to cool you down.
Place a chilled damp flannel on the back of your neck.
Choose the right cake
Choosing a firmer cake such as madeira is sensible.
Choose more stable fillings
Sometimes it is best to say no – cream cheese frosting is not suitable for very warm conditions.
Stabilise traditional buttercream - either add 2 teaspoons of meri-white (pasteurised, dried egg white) per 500g icing sugar or replace half of your icing sugar with royal icing powder.
Our vanilla frosting works a treat (it includes meri-white, a pasteurised dried egg white which will stabilise the frosting). You can use this to pipe on top of cupcakes, to fill a sponge cake, to crumb coat and as a cake topping. If you prefer you can use alternative flavours for example instead of cream cheese frosting on a red velvet or carrot cake you can add New York Cheesecake flavour to replace the vanilla. (this is VERY delicious).
Instead of ganache our chocolate fudge topping is more stable.
Put less frosting in your piping bag and refill it frequently – this will stop the frosting melting due to the heat in your hands.
Be super organised so everything is ready and then you reduce your 'faffing time'. Over-handling your icings and piping bags will cause them to become too soft.
Choose the best icings
You still need to knead your sugar paste but for less time. I find Beau or Massa sugar paste especially good in warmer weather. If it is very warm pop your un-opened sugar paste in the 'fridge for 15 minutes before using.
More top tips
Once your cake is covered and smoothed - leave it alone!! The more you handle it, the more likely it is to end up with creases etc.
If your icing has cracked or looks a bit like elephant skin (this often happens if the icing is too warm and has therefore stretched) you can use a small piece of sugarpaste mixed with drops of water until you get get a gunge consistency, and then gently paint or pipe it on, and then wipe over with a dry clean paintbrush, leave it over night and you won't be able to see any cracking in the morning.
Air pockets are caused by fluctuations in temperature (usually) - pierce with a scribe, push the air out and smooth over the little dot (or put a butterfly on it!)
Keeping times will be reduced in warm conditions, usually by a third so if for example a cake usually lasts 3 days, it will likely only last 2 days.
Bleeding colours can be a real problem, especially if it is humid as well as very warm. If for example you wanted to pipe red lettering on a white cake it is best to pipe in white first in a slightly larger nozzle and then pipe red on top of that. If you were using cut out letters try to make them in advance so they are completely dry or cut them out in white first, then stick the red letters on top.