Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Colouring Sponge Cakes

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to create a baby shower cake for a new customer.

The whole idea is quite American, but seems to be hitting our shores with full force.  The idea is that, at your 20 week scan, you ask the doctor to write down the sex of the baby, put it in a sealed envelope and then deliver it to your baker asking them to bake a pink cake for a girl and a blue cake for a boy.  Now, whether or not you decide to know the contents of the envelope is up to you, but in this case, I am to be the only person, other than the doctor to find out the sex of the baby before everyone else.

At your baby shower, you then cut the cake and everyone finds out, at the same time, what sex your baby is going to be.

I was quite excited to be given the opportunity to make this cake.  However, my customer was a little concerned about the vibrancy of the colour of the sponge.  If it's a girl, it's not too bad, as pink is a pretty easy colour to work with.  Blue, however, is slightly different. 

From experience I can say that it is one of the most difficult colours to match.  Now, I'm not an artist and I don't know much about the "Chemistry" of colours, but I do know that when a bride has come to me asking for a certain shade of blue, matching it up can be a complete nightmare.  I usually get there in the end, but can be sure to have added all other colours to achieve the matched result.

So, the blue sponge may have proved to be a little difficult to reach.  However, I always work with paste colours.  There are infinitely better than the liquid colours.  They deliver a higher pigment, so usually only a small amount on the end of a cocktail stick with be required, and they don't taste.  Perfect!

My customer was concerned, as he had made coloured cakes before, and I think had probably used liquid colouring, and had never managed to achieve the right colour or the right taste.  Leaving me feeling a little uneasy and slightly unnerving my judgment, I decided to call up one of the Distributors of my lovely little pots of SugarFlair Paste colouring http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/sugarflair-food-colourings . They were able to reassure me that the sponge would colour beautifully and that there would be no taste. 

As customer satisfaction is paramount, I then whipped into the kitchen, and knocked up a batch of both pink and blue cupcakes.  I then split the cakes in half and photographed the finished article and popped it through in an email for him to see.  A message came through a few minutes later to say that he was really pleased.  Good news.

All I have to do now is wait until tomorrow to find out the sex and bake the corresponding cake.  I feel privileged to be able to create such an element of  surprise and suspense for a customer!

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