Backdrop for Cake Photography?

Cake and white plate on a wooden background pattern. Note the clean uncluttered background and non obtrusive pattern
Cake and white plate on a wooden background pattern. Note the clean uncluttered background and non obtrusive pattern

The All Important Backdrop

I am not a photographer by any means. That would be my sister’s field. As unfortunate as it is, she doesn’t live near by and even if she did, it would be a bit much to ask of her to photograph each and every one of my projects.
She has, however, armed me with a really nice camera that I still don’t know how to use very well, so a lot of the time I find myself grabbing my iPhone and firing off a few shots.

Camera or iPhone, the importance of having a clean background in a well lit environment is essential. It is the difference between producing an eye catching photo or just one that folks will wiz by without much notice. Therefore, a backdrop for cake photography is a must.

There really is no need to go and purchase expensive backdrop material, as long as you have a clean, wrinkle free back panel of some sort. A fresh un-patterned wall, in a naturally lit area of your home will suffice if you do not have any other choice.
If you take an open area picture and ALL of your stuff is in the background,or that every so popular wrinkled sheet, it detracts from all of the hard work and laborious hours you put into creating that fabulous cake. Understandably, if it is a wedding cake that you are shooting and you are in the venue of the wedding, you may be stuck with clutter in your background.

For this reason, I love the “fuzzy background” look. But that would take camera lesson or two and I haven’t talked sissy into making us a video yet.

Ok, I’ll throw out a shameless plea. Sissy, if you are reading, we need you!

I will show you what I have devised. It makes a world of difference in the quality of photos going up on my site and facebook page.

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Levolor blind wall mounted above my spare bake table
Levolor blind wall mounted above my spare bake table

I was fortunate enough to have a spare bake table in a fairly well lit area of my studio. Armed with a standing adjustable lamp (goodwill store $3.00) and a small ringlite (ebay 109.00), and a wall mounted Levolor blind, I am able to take a pretty decent photo. I have mounted a the blind so that it pulls down over the bake table when I am ready to use it and when I am done it rolls up and out of my way. The blinds do come in colors, but I found that with the varied cakes that I do, the plain white worked for all.

Steampunk Owl cake with dark, patterned background.  A bit busy and not a crisp view of cake details
Steampunk Owl cake with dark, patterned background. A bit busy and not a crisp view of cake details
Steam Punk Owl Cake on a plain white background.  Note the lack of wrinkles. Levolor blind!
Steam Punk Owl Cake on a plain white background. Note the lack of wrinkles. Levolor blind!

You could also use a roll of wall paper with a light background pattern. You don’t really want anything too busy or the result would be the same as clutter.

So let’s clean it up cakies! And now we wait……….for that highly anticipated video tutorial on how “SIMPLY” work your SLR camera. Yay sis!

Until next time

Happy Caking
Lesi

Fresh Harvest Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Upside Down Cake
Peach Upside Down Cake

One of the first cakes that I ever made on my own, without the help of my grandma, was a pineapple upside down cake. It was ridiculously sweet but super simple to make and a staple in our home economics class. As far as instruction was concerned, it was pretty much a no brainer for the teacher and an easy victory for the fledgling bakers.

Basic white cake with canned pineapple and a maraschino cherry topper.
Ewwwwwww! Just the thought of eating a Maraschino cherry now turns me green.

Now that I am grown, (and I use that word loosely), I have a more refined palate. Or at least my cake eating counterparts do. I have sworn off cake, for the time being anyways, so baking this and NOT eating it was a challenge.

I am a lover of fresh. I love fresh veggies, fresh fruit, fresh made just about anything. I am also just back from a small excursion to the interior of British Columbia where it’s harvest time in all of it’s glory. But one can only eat so much fresh fruit in one sitting and are therefore forced to find a way to get the most out of this short season. So, if you are into canning and preserves, you can enjoy for months to come.

I brought back with me, a load of fresh picked peaches. Hot on the heels of my newest cake experiment (an absolutely scrumptious almond cake), I decided to add a little peachiness to the mix.

As a throwback to my joyous pineapple upside down cake days, I present to you, (drumroll please)………..

Peach Upside Down Almond Cake

It’s so delectable, it requires nothing more than a fork, but a little whipped cream wouldn’t be completely out of order!

Upside down peach cake made with fresh harvested peaches and marzipan batter
Upside down peach cake made with fresh harvested peaches and marzipan batter

Ingredients

One recipe Master Cake Mix
4 oz almond paste (Marzipan)
One large peeled, cored and sliced peach
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup of brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). 325F Degrees for convection

Convection Cake Temp
Convection Cake Temp

2. Topping:

Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan and melt to combine fully. Mixture should resemble caramel. Be careful not to burn this mix. Let it cool slightly and spread into the bottom of 7″ parchment lined cake pan. Arrange your peach slices on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.
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IMG_8912

Caramel Sauce
Caramel Sauce

3. Cake:
Crumble the marzipan into the master mix and combine well. Prepare your batter according to the Master Mix recipe below.

4. Spread batter evenly over the peaches.

Almond Cake Batter
Almond Cake Batter

5. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

6. Cool 10 minutes in pan, remove the parchment from around edges and invert onto a serving plate.

7. Gently peel back the bottom parchment paper and Voila! Peach Heaven!

Peach Upside Down Cake
Peach Upside Down Cake

My master cake mix is the base for all of the cakes that I do. You can add a variety of ingredients to create any cake you desire. For example, a little adjustment with some spices and grated carrot and you have a luscious carrot cake. Add melted dark Belgian chocolate, a shot of espresso and you have a most decadent moist chocolate cake.
I like the convenience of making it ahead and freezing it until it’s needed. You never know when the mood to bake a cake will strike and I’m always prepared! It’s also the perfect density for carving without sacrificing that wonderful mouth feel.

Master Cake Mix (Makes eight 7”x 4” rounds)
· 8 c. all purpose flour
· 1/4 c. baking powder
· 2 c. unsalted butter (may substitute vegetable shortening)
· 6 c. powdered sugar
· 1 tbsp. salt (optional)
·
Mix ingredients together. Make 8 equal portions of 3 1/3 cup each.
Will store 6 weeks or will freeze for 6 months.
***If you add 2 cups of powdered milk to your master mix, you can use water instead of milk when adding wet ingredients during cake making

To make Almond Cake add:

3 1/3 cups of Master Mix
with 4 oz. Marzipan mixed into it
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

Mix ingredients until well blended. Fill parchment lined cake pan 1/2 – 3/4 full. Bake for 45-50 minutes on convection setting 325 degrees F

I really hope you are enjoying this season as much as I am. Please watch the posts in the days to come for more spoils of my harvesting. Fresh caking ideas to come!

Happy Caking

Lesi