Here are some more answers to questions that I am asked when talking or teaching about cake decorating
Where can I get different sized & shaped dummies?
I can highly recommend Dummies Direct. They can make any shape and size of dummy from standard round or square with straight or chamfered (curved) edges to wonky tiers and balls. I sometimes also need holes in these to accommodate supporting dowels. I simply tell them where I need the holes drilled and the diameter. This saves you doing it at home and covering your house in tiny polystyrene balls that stick to everything.
Should I transport a tiered cake ready stacked or as individual tiers and assemble them at the venue?
For the most part I stack cakes before taking them to the venue. I ensure the cake is adequately dowelled, has any necessary internal supports and that the tiers are stuck (edible glue) firmly. I put it into a sturdy box and put some non slip matting in the boot of my car. I always transport cakes in the boot as it is the largest, flattest part of my car and I am not tempted to keep turning to look at it as I used to do when I put cakes on the passenger seat (and put the seatbelt on!)
I often have limited time at venues and depending on the style of the cake there may be extensive assembly which requires ample time. For example, the first ever official wedding cake I delivered was a two (deep) tiered cake with orchids around the base of each tier. I was too nervous to stack it before hand so I did it at the venue. I had to assemble the tiers before I could attach all of the orchids around the middle of the cake. My hands were shaking, the venue was really busy and chaotic (most venues are pretty calm) and it took me around an hour and a half to get the cake to the finished stage.
You may feel it is safer to travel with them individually but the pressure of an unfinished cake once you arrive at the venue is immense.
That said there are some cakes which have to be part assembled and finished in situ. I made a Gothic wedding cake which had a moon, castle and bats flying around the tiers on wires. Had I transported it ready assembled it would have cracked in places as a result of wires bouncing. In this case I knew exactly what I needed to do at the venue so I took all necessary tools etc and gave myself extra time.
In short I advise pre assembly with a few precautions in place and careful driving or where assembly at the venue is absolutely necessary have a plan, take your kit and give your self plenty of time.
Can I freeze butter cream?
Yes, it freezes really well. Just be sure to put it in a container with a tight lid. Take it out of the freezer the night before you need it to let it defrost thoroughly and then whisk it before using.
How do I stick my sugarpaste covering to a cake dummy?
Use a damp cloth and rub this all over the dummy so that it is completely covered with water although it should not be dripping off. This water does not need to be boiled as it is being used on a non edible tier. You then roll out and cover it as you would a real cake tier.
Is is possible to make my own edible glue?
Yes, you can make it by using Tylo powder. There are full instructions on the back of the tub although I tend to make it by eye. You will need some water in a small pot (with a lid) which you then sprinkle the Tylo powder onto. It will sit on top of the water and slowly dissolve. I always make up a new batch in the evening so that it is ready to use the next morning. If it is too thick you can add more water and if too runny add more powder. If the glue is too thick it will be difficult to brush on evenly and if too runny it will not be as strong as it should be.
It will keep well in the tub for around 10 days and you will then need to make a new batch. You will know when it it is passed it’s best as it will start to go cloudy. I prefer this glue to ready made and find it holds even heavy flowers/decorations on the side of the cake.