Thank you for joining me again as I make my way through Mr. Lischetti's fantastic decorating book. As I mentioned in my first review, I was quite surprised to find recipes and baking instruction in what I thought was simply a sculpting book. I love a good sponge cake, and Mr. Lischetti's approach to cake assembly using a ring mould appealed to both myself and the baking staff here at Pink Cake Box. So we collectively decided to take a stab at it. I’m not a pastry chef (but have worked in bakeries and kitchens) so I value the opinion of our talented staff as far as methods go. I will include their opinions as well as my own. We decided to test out the moulded cake construction method.
My associate and talented pastry chef Kimberly did the baking while I asked questions and took pictures. The sponge cake recipe wasn't excessively fussy, though I can see a home cook having to remake it once or twice possibly to get it down pat. Kimberly commented that the recipe can only be doubled which would make it awkward when baking enough layers for a large tiered cake. Incidently, while we don't have our own sponge cake recipe to share, we've posted several different recipes in our recipe section.
The sponge came out of the oven in just about six minutes, we turned it out and wrapped it in plastic until cool. As advertised, it stayed moist and flexible.
Kimberly suggested soaking the cake with syrup before cutting for the mould, which worked out quite well. Construction was easy and we had a filled cake ready to chill in a fairly short amount of time.
We forewent Mr. Lischetti’s icing technique (though if I was at home I might well follow it) in favor of the classic Pink Cake Box version as seen in our Cakes 101 DVD.
We chilled it again for a final coat and set about decorating it. Kimberly’s professional opinion was that the mould technique made it much easier to get a crisp, straight edge. We used a meringue based butter cream as advised in the book.
Decorating! This was hard because I had both the fairy from the book and bunny from the Cake Masters class. The consensus in the shop was that the fairy should go on the cake. I fondanted in ivory and covered my board in green.
The general idea was to make the top of the cake into a flower in which our pink fairy could reside. I inserted orchid sepals to make a fantasy flower.
I cut "grass" for the base.
I textured a piece of fondant a little smaller than the center of my cake using a clean, dry dishtowel.
And the final result...!
What else can I say? The baking and construction turned out exactly as expected and I do think this was the easiest cake I've fondanted yet due to the extremely smooth sides created by the sponge cake in the mould.
I think there is a lot to take away from Animation in Sugar whether you aspire to Mr. Lischetti's aesthetic of modern whimsey or not. It is a very versatile book with a great many possibilities. Excellent all around, and I expect I will be recommending it to students and co-workers alike for years to come.
Book: Animation in Sugar by Carlos Lischetti
Skill Level: Advanced/ Beginner/ Intermediate
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Anna is a classically trained sculptor and illustrator who started her career in cake decorating with Ron Ben Israel in 2000. Since then she has worked for a number of well known cake studios in the New York area doing complex sugar work and design. Her specialties include freehand painting,...