I’m often asked by beginner cake decorators “Why Madeira cakes, can I not use a carrot cake or a Victoria sponge?” The answer is you can use any cake you like, especially as you become more experienced. However, as a beginner, I suggest you use Madeira. The reasons for this are two-fold.
Why Madeira cakes – two reasons:
Soft cakes can cause decorating problems
Firstly a soft cake, such as a Victoria sponge, will be more tricky to carve and won’t hold its shape so well when iced. Over the years I’ve seen plenty of examples of ‘crumpled’ icing. This happens when the weight of the icing has caused the cake to literally sink into itself. This is especially important with ball-shaped cakes.
Shelf life of cakes
Certain cake recipes like a carrot cake or coffee and walnut cake will only stay fresh for a day or two. This gives you absolutely no time to decorate and also puts you under a lot of pressure.
Recommended cake recipes
If you have any of my cake books you will know that I always include Madeira cake and a couple of my favourite Chocolate Cake recipes. I recommend them as they not only taste delicious but also give you a firm sponge. One perfect for carving and covering that will also last up to 2 weeks. These cakes freeze well for up to a month and will be fresh when defrosted.
I’m not saying these are the only recipes you should use, but they are the recipes that I trust to give beginners great results. Perhaps you have some fab recipes that you are happy to share?
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