Hot weather 1 - Cake decorator 0

Who else is meting like Olaf when Elsa's power is gone? I am not a summer person. I love to complain about the weather and this is ideal complaining circumstances for me!

However it's not just me that's melting, my cakes are too! My buttercream won't set, my sugar paste is sticky, my decorations are sliding off the side of the cake and air bubbles are forming under my icing. Nightmare!

I once googled "cake decorating in hot weather" and loads of posts came up from Australia and America and I thought, yes, it's mostly hot there, they will know what to do! A lot of them mentioned air-con........the what now? Here in the UK it's unlikely we have air con, just doors and windows, and the wasps do love an open window when the icing sugar is out!

Tips and Ideas

Here are a few tips for all you bakers and cake decorators to help you overcome some of the problems that arise when trying to bake in the heat.

# After you have whipped your buttercream you can pop it back in the fridge to chill a little and if it's not needed right away bring it out just with enough time to bring it to room temperature.

# If you're using piping bags don't over handle them You can pop them in the fridge to chill a little if needed - not too much as the buttercream still needs to pass trough the nozzle. You can also fill your piping bags little and often keeping the buttercream from melting inside the bag between your hands.

# After your crumb coat, leave the cake in the fridge for long enough to chill the sponge slightly longer then when you add your second buttercream layer or your sugarpaste it will stay cooler for longer.

# If you're whipping cream, pop the bowl and whisks in the fridge for 15mins before you need them helping to keep the cream cool.

# You won't need to knead your sugarpaste for as long as usual and use cornflour for dusting rather than icing sugar as cornflour will not get sticky when its hot.

I like to use a high quality sugarapste at all times. As much as supermarket brands are getting better they are designed for quick use so they contain a high moisture content so they don't need to be kneaded for long. The moisture will make the sugarpaste get sticky quicker in the heat. You could put the paste in the fridge for 15minutes before you start.

# If you do find that you have air bubbles in your icing you can pierce them with a pin. I use sterile acupuncture needles.

# If you can do your decorating in a separate room from your baking then do. The kitchen will stay warm for much longer after the oven is off in the hot weather and that's not ideal for buttercream or sugarpaste - or you!

# Do not store you cakes in the fridge! The sponge will go dry and your sugarpaste will sweat and melt! I know, Ironic considering that's exactly what the heat is doing to you!

If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning then great! If like me a fan is your best bet then freeze a few 2litre bottles of water and pop them in front of the fan. It's not perfect but the fan will be circulating cool rather than warm air. You could have a couple of bottles in the freezer and rotate them to keep the air cool.

If all else fails and the cake is melting beyond repair, pour a glass of prosecco, cut a slice and eat it quickly!

Good luck!

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