2022 has been a record breaking summer in the UK. We’ve run into a few problems because of it.
Coping in the heat?
At the time of writing, the mercury is rising to 32 degrees Celsius. Which for us down in Devon, is hot! Sun-soaked weekends at the beach, tan lines, and office ice-cream have seemingly all upended the usual complaints about the British summer (usually quite wet!). However, for a cake delivery business, it’s not all joy.
At The Gift of Cake HQ, we’ve encountered a few problems due to the high heat. Not least, we’ve had to temporarily suspend sales of our Gold-award winning Champagne and Strawberry Cake. Unfortunately, some of our cakes are affected by the heat more than others. If you’re expecting a cake delivery from us, we’ll share some tips on how to store cake so you can enjoy it at its best.
When designing a cake, quality and attention to detail must be at the fore, in flavour and form. A cake must not only taste good, but look good. And with our Champagne and Strawberry Cake, our development baker definitely produced a winner on both counts. A recent gold award is testament to this.
However, the heat has revealed a slight oversight. The champagne buttercream flowers, consist primarily of butter and icing sugar. Given that the melting point of butter ranges between 32 to 38 degrees Celsius, buttercream is susceptible to melting during a record breaking heatwave. Use the slider on the left to see what extreme heat does to this particular cake!
For the home bakers – We’ve added a few ways you can somewhat heat-proof your buttercream below. But, you will have to compromise on taste; Which is why these methods are simply not viable for us. Especially considering the delicate flavour of a champagne flavoured buttercream.
If you’re interested to learn more about the cake’s development, check our Cakespiration page regularly. As we’ll be discussing its creation with our development baker soon.
Here’s how to store cake
In this heat, the topping/filling in any cake may loosen a little, whether it’s topped with a cream-cheese frosting, ganache, buttercream or drizzled with a lemon syrup. Depending on the outside temperature and the time of delivery, it may be necessary to chill your cake. Either in its tin or the bag it came in. But it’s vital you take it out a few hours before serving, as most cakes – and definitely ours – are best enjoyed at room temperature.
If you’re not eating it all at once, it’s best to store your cake in an airtight container in a cool dry place. While it may seem logical to put it back in the fridge (if no cool and dry place is available) it can actually lead to your cake drying out faster. This is especially true of cakes with any exposed sponge, i.e. partially frosted and cut cakes – these should be covered and wrapped to preserve moisture.
Storing your cake in a cool, dry place, in an air tight container will make your cake last for much longer. Our cakes, if stored properly, will typically last for 5-days upon receipt. We regularly conduct shelf life tests on all our products, and have found that our cakes can last longer than this. But, these tests are performed in a controlled environment at our SALSA accredited bakery, Truly Treats. At home, it’s best to stick to the recommended guidelines.
Why cakes shouldn’t be stored in a fridge
Not storing cakes in a fridge may seem counterintuitive, as we are all well accustomed to keeping food that’s likely to spoil in the fridge. The cooler air in a fridge acts to slow down the rate of bacterial and mould growth, preserving food for longer. However, uncovered food in the fridge dries out faster than when just left on the kitchen side.
How fridges dry out food.
A fridge recycles the air within itself to maintain its desired temperature. But the constant cycles of refrigeration act to draw out any moisture found in food. Cold air is dryer, holding less water than warmer air. It draws out and absorbs any moisture found within food, speeding up the drying affect.
Warmer, wetter air (let in by opening the fridge door or an imperfect door seal) is then cycled by the fridge and turned back into cooler dry air. This constant repeated drying cycle may be ideal for dry-brining meats and drying out chicken skins before roasting. But any baked goods will go stale much faster in the fridge.
Baked goods go stale as the starch molecules in flour recrystalise, hardening and forcing out the moisture they absorbed in the baking process. Recrystallisation starts as soon as any baked good begins to cool down once it’s baked, and happens much faster at cooler temperatures. Hence why a cake should never be stored in the fridge for extended periods.
All this cake talk piqued your appetite?
You can believe it’s not butter – How to heatproof your buttercream.
We’ve all been there, watching our hard work melt and slide before our eyes. There are many different buttercreams out there, here a few which can withstand the new British summer.
- Use a solid vegetable fat also known as vegetable shortening like flora. The melting point of vegetable shortening is much higher than butter. Depending on how hot it is, use a 50/50 mix with butter to retain some of the buttery flavour. Shortening has a high fat content, and importantly added emulsifiers. Which will help prevent your buttercream from beginning to slide at higher temperatures.
- Use more powdered sugar. Using more sugar that the recipe calls for will result in a firmer, stiffer buttercream. Be aware, this is more likely to crust.
- Buttercream made with egg whites. Such as a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, this stable but less sweet buttercream is made with egg whites and sugar, which is cooked in a bain-marie until the sugar is dissolved. Which once cooled slightly, is then whipped until stiff peaks begin to form. Once cooled, butter is slowly incorporated into the mixture along with any flavourings.
Send a Gift Today and Order a Cake for Delivery
There are three simple steps to order a cake online for delivery and to show your appreciation:
1: First, select your choice from our range of handmade gourmet cakes.
2: Then, show your appreciation and include a thoughtful message
3: Finally, enter the shipping details.