Throw tradition to the wind and forget the pumpkin, pecan and apple pies this Thanksgiving. Try your hand at something new for dessert: an exciting Thanksgiving-themed cake. Baker Krista Kingston Rattan offers her expert advice for helping to make your next cake perfect.
Krista has been baking for 13 years, mostly for fun and not a regular business. Her love of baking grew out of an extension of her need and love to be creative, and that transitioned into trying her hand at making her kids’ birthday cakes.
Even as a little girl, she always had a creative mind and a passion to make things prettier and better. She dreamed of being a fashion designer and actually has a degree in fashion. But life and family put her on a different path—one she never would have expected: baking.
The very first cake she baked turned out better than she expected, and Krista was eager to continue to learn more. Being self-taught, she knew she had to learn more after a few decorating disasters and a few dry cakes. She practiced, bought books, watched videos and took a couple of basic classes just to soak up any techniques that would advance her skills.
Here, she shares some of what she's learned.
1. Measure flour by weight with a food scale rather that a traditional measuring cup. Doing this will allow for accuracy and drastically change the bite, texture and flavor of the cake. Inaccurate measurements and remixing are two of the biggest reasons why baked goods come out with less than expected results. Home food scales are relatively inexpensive.
2. Always chill your cake before cutting layers (torting) and icing. Once chilled, do a crumb coat (first layer of icing to trap the crumbs). Then, chill the cake for another 20 minutes and proceed with the final layers of icing.
3. Color the fondant, buttercream or royal icing in advance as to allow the coloring to absorb into the icing fully to achieve the true desired color. Gel food coloring is best because it contains significantly less liquid when incorporated into your icing and has excellent pigment and comes in many colors.
4. When using fresh flowers or greenery on a cake, always check to see if they are edible, non-toxic or toxic. Be sure to seal the ends of the foliage if they are to be put directly in the cake. A couple of sealing options are flower spikes or Safety Seal.