Cool tips for cakes

Lovin Oven Cakery owner Ken Slove believes refrigerated delivery trucks are an important investment for bakeries.

For an increasing number of cake and dessert shops, refrigeration and freezers play a vital role in improving efficiency and quality control from the minute your cake decorators start making chocolate decorations to the time your elegant cakes arrive at wholesale customers’ doors in refrigerated delivery vans.

Lovin Oven Cakery owner Ken Slove, who runs a successful cake shop in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, says he is a firm believer in the importance of using refrigerated delivery vans to ensure your cakes arrive in optimum condition.

“What is piece of mind worth? I can’t put a dollar figure on that,” Slove says. “I know that when our product leaves here that it arrives at their facility just like it was when it was in our cooler. We don’t have any issues. I am not worried about phone calls saying, ‘Hey, the cake fell. Your roses slid down the side of the cake.’ So the return on my investment if you’re doing 1,100 cakes a year, that’s recouped pretty quickly.”

Refrigeration and freezers can play an equally important role in enhancing the efficiency of cake production.

Bakeries often will freeze a variety of flavors of cake layers that are base iced and then thawed prior to decorating. Having multiple flavors of cake in the freezer allows you to give more options to customers who may want their cake in a hurry.

At Das Meyer Fine Pastry Chalet in Arvada, Colorado, near Denver, they produce all sorts of chocolate decorations and sugar flowers ahead of time and store in a cool and dry environment, so they have the quantities they need exactly when they need it.

A word of caution: According to Craftsy.com, it is generally better to keep the flowers in a cool, dry place rather than in a refrigerator or freezer. There are a few reasons for this, such as:

As the flowers thaw from the chill, condensation can form.

Too much moisture can be removed from the flowers and they can crack in a very dry refrigerator.

Sugar flowers can be time consuming to produce, so it’s nice to have the option of making them in advance. Plus, the longer they are able to dry, the more firm they will remain, making them less likely to sag once applied to a cake.

As long as they are kept cool and dry, sugar flowers will keep for a very long time, so they can be created even weeks before a wedding or event, and then applied to the freshly baked cake. So whether you’re storing fondant flowers for a birthday cake to be served next week or storing gum paste flowers for a wedding cake to be served in three months, these tips will serve you well.

Once dry, sugar flowers should be stored in an airtight container; a plastic container with a lid is a safe bet.

Add some padding to your container, especially if your flowers are delicate. Foam or tissue paper applied to particularly delicate parts can help save heartache later.

Keep the flowers in a cool, dark place to keep them temperature controlled and to keep the colors from fading.