Today we have a special treat for you on Party Tip Tuesday. We’re featuring Cakes by Kristen who is here to share some delicious tips on working with fondant, how to get started with cake decorating and more! Get a napkin ready because you’re going to drool when you see some of these cakes!
1) What is Cakes By Kristen?
Cakes by Kristen is so many things to me! I started baking as a child in my grandmother’s kitchen and developed a fond love for food and the memories that are often formed around it. Food plays such a key part in peoples lives, aside from serving as basic nourishment. For me, dessert is what was present in my life and in my memories. In an odd way, it serves as an outlet for me. To this day, if I am sad, I bake. If I am cranky, I bake. If I’m bored, I bake. If I’m tired, I bake. Baking is what moves me and makes me tick. I love the joy that desserts bring to people. Knowing that I am contributing to someone’s celebration as they create memories, truly fills me with joy.
So what IS Cakes by Kristen in its most basic sense? It’s a home run business that I started in March 2013. I attended the Culinary Institute of America and received a degree in Baking & Pastry in 2003. I traveled the country after graduating, working for some of the most prestigious hotels and restaurants in the country, including the Four Seasons Hotel and LeBecFin. I was a Catering Director in Washington, DC for Ridgewells Caterers and later a General Manager with Eurest Dining Services. These were some of the most amazing career progressions and I was blessed to work with so many talented people. However, I knew that having a family was on my heart and I didn’t want to miss a moment with my children. And so, ‘Cakes by Kristen’ was born. I have the distinct privilege to be able to pursue my passion of baking and my dream of staying home with my children (Mikayla and Connor). I live in a phenomenal community in Littleton, Colorado, known as Roxborough Park. The community here has been very supportive of my business and have helped me to grow faster than I ever thought possible!
2) For someone who wants to learn how to decorate cakes, what sort of basic cake decorating equipment would you suggest?
First and foremost, start small! Don’t go on Pinterest, find an amazing cake, and try to replicate it at home if you have very little cake decorating experience or knowledge. You will only be setting yourself up for failure and creating a fear of trying anything else in the future. To bake and decorate a basic cake at home, you will need very little equipment: a few large mixing bowls, a spatula, a mixer (handheld or counter top), an offset spatula, a Lazy Susan, a pastry bag, a pastry tip or two, and your ingredients. A Lazy Susan can be used as a make shift cake turn table in decorating. If you know how to ice a cake fairly well, but aren’t comfortable with making the decorations, Etsy is a great source to order pre-made decorations for your blank or partially decorated cake!
3) What are three things people should know about working with fondant?
Fondant is something that I often think of as edible Play-Doh when I am working with it. A few things to know when working with it:
- Keep the pieces that you are not using covered. Fondant dries out quickly and you don’t want to waste any. Cut off the amount that you need and wrap the rest in plastic wrap till ready to use.
- Fondant should never be refrigerated once laid on a cake. If you are covering a cake in fondant, it should not be placed in the fridge after being finished. The moisture in the refrigerator will absorb into your fondant and cause it to soften and droop when the cake is brought to room temperature.
- Keep your working surface well powdered with confectioners sugar or corn starch. If fondant sticks to the working surface, it will tear and stretch, and most likely be unusable. You can always brush off the excess powder or starch!
4) What is one unique cake & filling combination that you’d recommend?
I’m actually a huge fan of classic combinations. One of my most popular sellers is chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. It’s a super rich cake that never fails to deliver on being amazing. So yummy!
5) When you have extra cake after carving out a particular shape, what are some suggestions for the leftovers?
Cake pops! You can wrap and freeze leftover pieces and later use them to make cake pop ‘dough’. If you don’t like cake pops, make a cake trifle. Or you can even piece pieces together to make an ice cream cake! There’s so much to do with leftovers! Don’t just toss them in the trash.
We’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Kristen for these delicious tips! Be sure to follow Kristen on Facebook to see all of her amazing creations.