Simple Syrup

symple syrup

Where I come from we like our cakes extremely moist. I don’t know how many of you have traveled to the Caribbean and tried the well-known “Rum Cake”
from Tortuga.This cake is extremely moist, delicious and comes in many flavors
too. 

That is just an example of the kind of cakes we like in Puerto Rico; extremely
moist. Some people even use Brandy instead of rum. Personally, 
I prefer
rum better, but adding the alcohol is always an option. Cakes that 
are made
with just flavored Simple Syrup can be equally delicious.

Many of you have asked me: “What is simple syrup?” Well, this blog is for you. It’s just as simple as the name implies. It’s basically sugar and water cooked until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t want to overcook it since making the sugar too thick would be harder to get into the cake.

There are many recipes for simple syrup and all of them work. The most common one is in the ratio of 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar (225 gr) to 1 cup of water (225 gr). Some people make a stronger version by using 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water instead. You can always choose what would work best for you. I will write the full recipe in the website.
The video tutorial is at the end of this blog. Press here for recipe.

Learn how to make simple syrup for your cakes.

My recipe for simple syrup consists of 1 cup (225 gr) of sugar to
2/3 (150 gr) cup of water. I do less water in my recipe because this way
I can add flavorings to it. You can always add more water if you are not
adding anything else to the syrup. 

The next question I usually get is: “How much liquor do I add to the recipe?”

I can say 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup, but the problem is this amount will vary depending on so many factors. For example, if you use Captain Morgan Rum you probably will need less rum than if you use Bacardi rum because of the extra spices it contains. I like to use Bacardi Rum because it has a very smooth flavor that doesn’t ‘pack a punch’ as you bite in the cake. Then again, some people might want the rum flavor stronger and that is where things are going to change. Each person has his own opinions when it comes to taste, so the best way is to test it and see what you prefer to use with your own cakes. If you decide to try the simple syrup with Rum, try adding first a few tablespoons of the rum and taste it. From there, you can add more rum if you want too. Another great flavor to add is Amaretto.

Amaretto is one of those liquors that I usually add by looking at the bottle. Basically, I add the liquor until the syrup starts turning into a brown tint. Rum and Amaretto are the most loved flavors in my business. Even though it’s alcohol, by the time you cut a piece of the cake you will have the flavor but you won’t get drunk from it. It’s just a small amount of alcohol, unless your cake is soaked in it and you made the syrup too strong.

Simple syrup is mostly used in sponge cake since that particular cake tends to be on the dry side. The sponge soaks the liquor really nicely. But it can also be used with other types of cakes. Just make sure to test it. For some recipes a little goes a long way. Some people will use simple syrup when a cake didn’t turn out moist, maybe due to overcooking or a bad recipe. You can use it not only to ensure a cake is moist, but to help a cake stay moist for even longer!

If you don’t want to use alcohol in your cakes, you can always add other
flavorings. If you use extract, I usually just add another 1/4 cup of water to my
recipe or just make the basic recipe a 1:1 ratio. You can use juices too or even concentrated juice to give flavor. I have used strawberry syrup from my

‘Strawberries in syrup recipe’, and also concentrated orange juice with great success.

Coconut milk is still another option you can use. Lemon juice with simple syrup
makes a lemon cake sooo delicious. Again, there are so many options!

You can even add lavender, ginger honey and many other flavors to infuse the syrup.

Vanilla Simple Syrup

Vanilla Simple Syrup

 

Remember, you can keep your syrup simple with the addition of vanilla, but if you want to compliment the flavors of your cake just add extra flavors to the syrup. Simple syrup is not only used in cakes. Bartenders use it for drinks all the time. For those who will ask: “Can I save the leftovers?” Yes, you can. Some people will save it for up to 2 months in the fridge, but make sure that where you store it is completely clean or crystals can build up in it. I usually make it as I need it. It’s so easy to make.

You can make flavored syrups for coffee with leftovers too. For example, with vanilla, you can add it to coffee or tea. You can make syrup for ice cream or pancakes by adding simple syrup to jam. You can make some caramel or melt it, and add the syrup to make a soft caramel that you can pour over desserts or even coffee. This syrup has many uses. I have even used it to fix a jam that I overcooked were it becomes a bit too hard.

Raspberry Cake filling

Tutorial Coming Soon.

 

Another question people tend to ask: “How much syrup do I add?” You can use a pastry brush to add the syrup to your cake. It will add smaller amounts of syrup and you don’t have to worry about adding too much. Another way to safely add smaller amounts would be to use a spray bottle. If you are trying to make a very moist cake like the Caribbean version, then I suggest a squirt bottle, like the ones Wilton sells for the candy melts. With it, you can add plenty of syrup fast.

Typically, I layer my cake and add the syrup to both sides of each layer. This way I ensure there is moisture on both sides. Once I do this, I like for the cake to rest at least overnight, so the flavors come together and the syrup spreads through the cake plus, a cold cake is stronger, so you can layer it and crumb coat easily. In simple steps:

  • Bake Cake
  • Seal and place in the fridge before it completely cools down
  • Let cake rest overnight (it can stay in the fridge safely for 4 nights, SEALED WELL)
  • Layer my cake
  • Add simple syrup on both sides of each layer
  • Add filling
  • Give the cake a crumb coat,
  • Seal the cake with Saran Wrap so it doesn’t get all wet from condensation
  • Place the cake in the fridge either overnight or until it cools down enough
    to give a second coat.

Don’t leave the cake in a hot environment. A cool house will do ok if the fillings
in the cake are safe to be left out the fridge. Personally, I place my cake in
the fridge so it cools down. This way I can apply the second coat to my cake
very easily.

There is another way the simple syrup can be added to a cake. You can add the
syrup before the cake has cooled down completely and this helps the syrup
spread faster. Then you place the cake in the fridge sealed well. But you have
to keep in 
mind that It will be more difficult to layer a cake after the syrup
is in it, and layering the cake while the cake it’s warm can be a problem
since the cake is too soft.

Most of the time that I have seen people adding the syrup to the cake this way,
don’t layer the cake. The only have one layer of filling in a 4 inch tall cake.
Some people don’t like doing it this way because they feel the cake will ferment.
I have seen it done successfully but you have to take precautions if you do it
this way, especially in the hot summer days. Always do a test cake for the
area you live in to see which option works best for you. I usually work in
an area that has AC.

Vanilla flavored cake

Vanilla cake soaked in vanilla, almond, amaretto simple syrup.

It’s important to keep in mind that a cake that has been soaked or lightly sprayed
with simple syrup, will taste better by the next day. The reason for this is
because the syrup needs time to spread around. In the cake above you
can see patches 
of dry areas. That’s because the photo was taken as
soon as the simple syrup 
was added. After you let it rest, the syrup will
reach those areas.

 

Some options for chocolate cake can be dark rum, cherry syrup, Frangelico, Amaretto, Chambord,  chocolate liqueur or Kahlua.

For butter cakes you can use Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Chambord, Coconut Rum, white chocolate liqueur and so much more!

Once again, you can keep the syrup simple or you can add flavors to complement your cake.

For those who prefer a Latin style cake, I will do another blog dedicated just to that cake and I will go through how much syrup per cake you can add. In the meantime here is the tutorial.  Press here for the link to the recipe.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial.

Have fun with the recipe. Until next time, ta ta!

Edna 🙂

 

 

Cake Fun Contest- Week 4!

Here we have the winners for last week by popular vote. Congratulations No Ordinary Cakery and Daniella Dahl!

 

 

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

Daniella Dahl‎

Daniella Dahl‎

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are in the last week of this contest. I need you guys now to vote for your all time favorite cake. We still have 2 categories to choose from, beginners and advanced.
Please make sure to vote for one person of each  category.

Here are the 3 advanced winners. Choose your favorite one.

Michelle Head

Michelle Head

Beverly Call Brown

Beverly Call Brown

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

 

And here are the 3 winners from the past weeks for beginners. Choose your favorite one!

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Daniella Dahl‎

Daniella Dahl‎

Debbie Shaw

Debbie Shaw

Remember to choose one cake for the advanced level, and one for the beginners level. Post the names of your favorite cakes in the comments below. I will announce the winners next week.

I will ask of you guys to not spam the contest with fake votes or business promotions; this is a contest that is for fun. Remember to vote only once, and to list the names of each contestant for each division. Just have fun with it.

Next week I will post the winners of this 4 week contest.
Thanks so much to those who participated in this contest. The winners will win a DVD from my collection, check them out here:

http://designmeacake.biz/DVD-Tutorials_c2.htm

I will do another one soon so others can have the chance to win too and show off their beautiful creations to other cake friends.

Sugar Hugs!!
Until next time

Ta ta!

Edna 😉

 

Cake Fun Contest- Week 3

We are reaching the end of this contest. So many beautiful cakes! I wish all of them could win a prize, but I assure you that you guys are all winners in my heart. The love and passion for cake decorating shows.

Here are the winners for this past week contest. Beautiful job!

Michelle Head-advanced

Michelle Head- advanced

 

Debbie Shaw- beginner

Debbie Shaw-beginner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We now begin voting for this week contest. This is the last week for the contest, but I love when everybody shares their work with me, so please keep sharing! I still need you to come and choose the winner for this week and the winner of the month which will be posted next week. So stick around. 🙂

Scroll down to choose your favorite beginner and advanced cake. Leave a comment below with your favorites for each division.

Here are the names and the cakes chosen for Advanced cakes:

Brenda Oliveira Henkel

Brenda Oliveira Henkel

María Alejandra Lizárraga

María Alejandra Lizárraga

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

No Ordinary Cakery-Cabanatuan

 

 

Here are the names and the cakes chosen for Beginners cakes:

Daniella Dahl‎

Daniella Dahl‎

Holly Rhodes

Holly Rhodes

Sandra Van Berkel-García

Sandra Van Berkel-García

Remember to choose one cake for the advanced level, and one for the beginners level. Post the names of your favorite cakes in the comments below. I will announce the winners next week.

I will ask of you guys to not spam the contest with fake votes or business promotions; this is a contest that is for fun. Remember to vote only once, and to list the names of each contestant for each division. Just have fun with it.

Next week I will post the winners of this week and then the voting will begin for who is the winner of the month, for both advanced and beginners category.
Thanks so much to those who participated in this contest. I will do another one soon so others can have the chance to win too and show off their beautiful creations to other cake friends.
I need you guys  to stick around to help me choose the winners next week too. I will post the reminders in my Facebook Page.

Sugar Hugs to everyone!

Until next time..ta ta!
Edna

 

 

Cake Fun Contest- Week 2

Week 1 was a success. Here are the winners chosen by you guys.

Alis Nonoleta Nuta was the winner for the beginners cake, and Beverly Call Brown was the winner for the more advanced cakes. These 2 cakes were part of our first weeks competition.

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Beverly Call Brown

Beverly Call Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We now begin voting for the 2nd week of this contest. Scroll down to choose your favorite beginner and advanced cake. Leave a comment below with your favorites for each division.

Here are the names and the cakes chosen for Advanced cakes:

Christine Jelloian

Christine Jelloian

Leyla Sanabria-Perez

Leyla Sanabria-Perez

Michelle Head

Michelle Head

 

Here are the names and the cakes chosen for Beginners cakes:

Debbie Shaw

Debbie Shaw

Jessica M. Dorman‎

Jessica M. Dorman‎

Judy Stebbings

Judy Stebbings

Remember to choose one cake for the advanced level, and one for the beginners level. Post the names of your favorite cakes in the comments below. I will announce the winners next week.

In the meantime, don’t forget to post your cakes with the BEGINNERS or ADVANCELABELS on them so I can place your cake in the right division. Post them on the thread that is pinned at the top of my page by clicking here: Facebook Page Design Me a Cake.

Remember you can be a winner! The final prize will be a cake toy for each division from my web Store www.designmeacake.biz. Go check out all the goodies!!

I will ask of you guys to not spam the contest with fake votes or business promotions; this is a contest that is for fun. Remember to vote only once, and to list the names of each contestant for each division. Just have fun with it.

Remember, October 6th is the last date to submit your cakes for the final drawing. So if you didn’t win this week, keep posting your cakes with your title of beginners or advanced level. Good luck to everyone!

Until next time, Ta ta!
Edna 🙂

Let’s Have Some Cake Fun!

This week I am starting a contest that will run for around 4 weeks. This past weekend was the first week of the contest, and I asked my cake friends to share their cakes in my Facebook Page for Design Me a Cake. I was going to put the names of each contestant in a jar and choose 3 winners each week, but to make it a bit more fair for beginners I’m choosing 2 divisions of 3 winners: Beginners and Advanced. That way beginners won’t feel intimidated by the more advanced cake decorators.

I want to make it clear that there are many beautiful cakes posted in the thread. It’s very difficult to choose just 3 winners for each division. So to make it fair, all the names went into a jar for each division, where both jars will have a lucky draw to declare the winners at the end of the contest.

The next 3 cakes I’m posting below are competing for advanced cakes of this week. Choose one of these as your favorite. Here are the names and the cakes chosen:

Beverly Call Brown

Beverly Call Brown

Brenda Oliviera Henkel

Brenda Oliviera Henkel

Charmaine Magro

Charmaine Magro

The next 3 cakes below are the those chosen from the beginners jar. Choose one of these as your favorite:

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Alis Nonoleta Nuta

Laurie Young

Laurie Young

Tiona Reed

Tiona Reed

Remember to choose one cake for the advance cake, and one for the beginners. Post the names of your favorites in the comments below. I will announce the winners next Friday.

In the meantime don’t forget to go post your cakes in the Thread for the contest  I posted in my Facebook Page Design Me a Cake.

Remember you can be a winner! The final prize will be a cake toy for each division from my web Store www.designmeacake.biz. You can go check out all the goodies.

I will ask of you guys to not start spamming the contest with fake votes. One vote per person for each division each week. Just have fun with it.

Remember, we still have a few more weeks to play so if you didn’t win this week; keep posting your cakes with your title of beginners or advance level. Good luck to everyone!

Until next time, Ta ta!
Edna 🙂

Best Salted Caramel Recipe Tutorial

Salted Caramel Recipe

I love the taste of caramel. When I was growing up, I loved sweets. But chewy caramel that sticks in your teeth is not something I enjoy as much now that I am an adult. So let me introduce you to the next best thing. Soft and delicious salted caramel. Here is the link to the recipe, it will be posted in my website.
Salted Caramel Recipe, click here!

This trend is already few years old, and many “food experts” might complain about how tired they are of this trend and how they think it’s overplayed. But let’s face it, why should we stop enjoying this just because people are tired of hearing about it?  If you are a true caramel lover, you will eat this, drink this and if you could find a way, bathe in it! lol

From ice cream, to coffee, drinks, cookies and all sorts of food, the salted caramel is not going anywhere. Caramel and cake is a match made in heaven. It’s great with a vanilla butter cake, but if you love turtle chocolate, then you can imagine how delicious this will be inside a chocolate cake as a filling, combined with toasted pecans. A very decadent treat for chocolate lovers.

Some people will tell you that making caramel is difficult, but I think that like anything else, all you need is a good recipe, good tips and a bit of practice. Yeah, you might fail at trying, but trust me, it’s the only way to learn. To be quite honest my first try was a complete success. It was my second try that failed. But I learned from it.

So let me see if I can make this easy for you, guys. Eventually I will try to do a video tutorial, but in the meantime, writing this blog will have to do.

For making Caramel you will first need a good metal pot. Stainless steel works well. It’s not suggested to use non-stick pans due to them being just lined with just a thin coat of the non-stick material and the experts say that the heat might break that thin coating and it can get into the caramel. I have a pan that’s made completely of a non stick material and seems to do great to make caramel, which makes me wonder if that’s okay to use because I’ve already used it! lol These days I stick with the stainless steel pot just to be safe.

Once you have your pot, you  want to make sure that you use a spatula that can withstand heat. Metal is no good because it can create crystals, and wood is not good either due to the high heat that is created by the sugar. I use a silicone spatula that I love and can take the heat. Make sure the pot you have is tall. Once sugar is hot and you add the other ingredients, the mixture will boil high and the last thing you want is sugar all over your stove, or worst, a sugar burn. Be careful, sugar is one of the worst burns ever. Have some cold water around for just in case. Oh, and a little trick, vanilla is the best medicine for a burn. It will heal it better than anything else. Promise.

First place the water in the pan. Then you can add the sugar. Some people will say that you can put the sugar alone with no water, and yes, they are right. But the water actually serves a purpose. It will make sure that the sugar will cook evenly. To avoid crystallization, you can add 1 tablespoon of clear corn syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. But if you don’t have the cream of tartar, don’t worry, it will work without it. If you don’t have the corn syrup then you have to be extra careful so your sugar doesn’t crystallize. You want to mix all these ingredients and you want to turn your stove to high heat. Don’t ever leave it unattended. As soon  as it starts boiling you want to bring the heat down to a medium or medium high heat. This will depend on your stove. But I have pictures so you can see what you are looking for when you are working with the sugar.

Some people recommend covering the pot with a lid for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. The lid creates condensation that drips inside the wall of the pan making sure that no crystals are created. I do this and it works for me. But keep in mind that this is just at the very beginning. If you keep that lid all the time, it won’t let the sugar reach a higher temperature, something that it needs to do to create the caramel. Other people like to brush the sides of the pan to get rid of the crystals. If you rather use the brush, then go for it. It’s a matter of preference. Personally I place the lid until the sugar is dissolved.

I stir lightly the sugar to make sure everything is dissolved completely. But don’t do this for too long and don’t stir like crazy. All you want is to make sure that the areas where the pot gets less heat are dissolved. This brings me to another point  that I have to mention. Make sure the pot you use gets even heat from your stove.

Sugar for CaramelYou can see above the sugar is melted already and the center of the pot is boiling more than the outsides. I take my spatula and kind of push the outside ring towards the center very gently to make sure all the sugar is dissolved and the heat spread everywhere. Be very gently with the stirring. Too much will create crystals. Some people say to leave it alone but for me mixing it here and there very gently does a better job. So you might have to try to see what works for you best.

Sugar boiling for Salted CaramelIn the photo above you can see the sugar is bubbling evenly. I don’t use the thermometer  when I make this recipe, because the color of the sugar will be very obvious. But for those who prefer the reassuring presence of a thermometer, I added not one but 2 thermometers and I will explain why in a bit.

DSC_0402

You can see in the photo above that the sugar is starting to turn yellowish. We need the sugar to get to a golden amber reddish color. To get to that stage it will take a bit of time.
I suggest you don’t leave this alone at any point. You can lightly stir the mix to make sure it’s heating evenly. In here you can see the 2 thermometers.

Thermometers testing

In the next photo I place on the top right side, the reading of my digital thermometer. You can see that the sugar is turning more yellowish. Stay close because once it turns amber it can go from amber to red to burn in the blink of an eye. One thing I can say is, burnt caramel has no fix. The only one that gets to enjoy that taste is the trash can. So please, stick close to your sugar.
Now, if you look at the candy thermometer, it’s reading 220 F. But my digital one is reading 282 F. I love my digital thermometer. It’s very accurate. The other one works well but if it doesn’t reach the mixture then it won’t give an accurate reading. If you notice in the photo, it doesn’t reach the sugar properly. So this is my biggest issue with this type of thermometer. If you are making smaller amounts, it won’t reach the mix. So I usually stick with my digital one. Never fails me!

While the sugar is getting to the right stage, I make sure I have the rest of the ingredients ready to go. I put my heavy cream in a measuring cup and add the vanilla and the salt to it, mixing it well. Then I get 3 tablespoons of salted butter.

Caramel sauce, cooking the sugar.

Now we are seeing a beautiful golden color. See how beautiful this looks, bubbles heating evenly through the pan. You can lightly stir if you want. LIGHTLY!

Sugar at 320 degrees F

Here we begin to get that beautiful golden amber color. 320 degrees F. It’s almost there and will get darker in matter of seconds. Have everything ready to throw into the pot. Stir lightly to make sure the color is even.

Golden amber ReddishNow, here we go. This is the beautiful golden reddish amber that we want. It’s time to put the rest of the ingredients in. Take the pot out of the heat. Notice how much space I have between the sugar and the top rim of the pot??

Caramel, butter heavy cream mixture

Watch how high it boils after I place the butter and the heavy cream in it. You can see the line where it went to. Check the metal dot and see the distance of the mixture in this photo and compare it to the photo before. So please..use a tall pan. I don’t want people getting burned.

Once I add the butter, I use a whisk to stir the mix. And while mixing it I add the heavy cream and keep stirring. Then I place the pot back on the heat and mix it there for a minute or so more. Just make sure the ingredients are mixed and the butter is melted.Then take it out of the heat.

Hot caramel

 

Once you take the pot out of the hot stove stir a bit more and you will get to see this beautiful caramel color emerge. Don’t be fooled by how watery this mix is. Once this cools it will be a lot creamy.

Salted Caramel in Jar

I place the caramel in a Mason Jar since it’s meant for hot mixes. Be very careful pouring.
This is very hot so take precautions. The jar will get hot too. You will get around 14 oz of Caramel from this recipe. I haven’t measured the exact amount, so forgive me for that. lol

How to clean hot sugar from panSo now that you are done with the caramel and it’s cooling down, how do we clean this mess? Well, the easiest way to clean anything with hot sugar is to add water to the pan and boil the water. It will dissolve the sugar. And it’s very important to clean the sugar because any left on the pan can mess your next batch of caramel. So make sure it’s completely free of sugar.
Salted Caramel RecipeNow that you’re done and cleaned up. You can enjoy your delicious caramel. You can use this hot or just let it cool down. Store it in the fridge. Once you store it in the fridge your caramel will harden. You have many options now.
*If you want the caramel softer, you can heat it. I place mine in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds, depending how thick or thin I want it. You can heat more if you want.
*If you want it thicker, add less heavy cream.
*If you want it more like syrup, take it to the pan again and add more heavy cream to it. *For cake filling, you want it creamy, not too soft or it will be a mess in your cake. It it’s too stiff to spread you can lightly heat it so it’s more easy to spread but don’t add heavy cream or it will make it too soft.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Now, keep in mind that you might fail and get crystallized sugar the first time you make it. But read again all the tips and try again. Once you learn to make it, you will never forget. At the end of the day it’s just sugar!. You got to be the boss. 😉

Here is the link to the recipe. It will  be posted in my website along with my other recipes.
C
lick here for Salted Caramel Recipe.

 

Until next time..ta ta!

Edna 😉

 

 

 

 

A New Start

Sugar Rose

I have been using the Blog included in my website for a long time.
But my server changed owners and they have decided to not update my services. The most amazing part is that I am still a paying customer but seems easy to not tell customers that they have decided to forget you instead of helping you do a smooth transition to the new services. I found out because my website was moving so slow and not working as it used to do.

Not being happy with this situation I have decided to try another blog. I am right now working in a new website for my company, Design Me a Cake. I will be moving all my tutorials, photos, recipes and everything I have in the old website.

I didn’t build my website in one day. It took years to build. I open a website to help my students learn and it grew more than I’ve have ever expected.

My dream is to continue to make the website bigger and add more information, more designs and even advanced tutorials so that everybody have easy access to them. I have my DVD’s but people in other countries have a hard time with the shipping charges and I totally understand why. I just found out yesterday that Global Priority went up for around 5 dollars more. It’s a bit hard for me to see this. But I am trying to work around this.

The photo of the flower I just posted its a Gumpaste Rose.. I will talk more about it in my next post.

I have a lot of work ahead of me. Hopefully things will move fast.
All I can do is keep working and hope for the best.
It’s a New Year with a New Start…

Sugar Hugs, and until next blog… Ta ta!
Edna 🙂