Saturday, May 12, 2012

The 8 layer cake

 Hadlee just turned 8.  It's hard to believe I have an 8 year old.  It's ridiculous really.  I asked her what kind of birthday cake she wanted, expectin to hear something like 'Justin Bieber' or 'Hannah Montana.'  She responded saying she wanted an 8 layer cake.  With chocolate and funfetti cake, pink frosting and purple roses.  I thought about it for a while, trying to decide what the best way to do that would be.  I was stressed out planning on stacking 8 TIERS up on top of each other.  But then I realized a layer is not the same thing as a tier.  I decided to have 2 layers per tier.  I think in the end she probably would have preferred an 8 tier cake because when it was all put together, it was hard to tell there were 8 layers from the outside, but I am really not sure how the stacking would have gone.  This is the largest (tallest) I have made to date and I thought I ought to try this before making one as tall as Hadlee herself.  Maybe next year I will attempt 9.  It did seem boing just to make a cake of layers and not in a fun shape.  I decided to try to do the whole thing with buttercream rather than fondant.  I let it psych me out and ended up having to hurry and decorate the cake so I just went with the dots.  Next time, hopefully, I won't have the same problem and I can skip the psyching out problem.  I already did it right? 

The cookbook for our baking club came in handy for tips on stacking the cakes and decorating.
I used a yellow cake recipe (for the funfetti cake) and a buttercream recipe from this book.  While they probably aren't going to be my go to recipes, the tips in the book were worth it.  And I also used a chocolate frosting from the book to go between the chocolate cake layers and it was delicious.  I will try a different buttercream recipe for the next cake for sure.  In the buttercream recipe I used, the egg whites (a lot of them) are whipped and then a sugar mixture is boiled over the stove to a certain temperature and then beat into the egg whites.  After beating for the specified time, huge amounts of butter are whipped in the mixture, making buttercream.  No powdered sugar!  After frosting an refrigerating the cake, the frosting was easily smoothed when it had set up a bit but I don't think this frosting is meant to be colored.  It seemed like the gel color mixed in okay, but after refrigeration, all the color seemed to seep to the surface.  So while I was smoothing, I was taking off darker frosting than was underneath.  It was kind of weird.  If I were sticking with white, I might try it again but I already have my eye on another recipe for next time.  This was my first attempt at roses and I have decided I need some serious practice. 
Maybe one day I will be a cool as this guy.  I even used the chopstick like he does but I guess I need some serious practice.  Also I guess my dreams will all come true because I watched this video.  What?  That's what it says.

I just watched this one and I wish I had taken the time to watch it before I made the roses.

Like I said, the funfetti cake wasn't anything to write home about, but the chocolate cake was pretty darn good.  Hadlee was happy with her cake and we all survived to tell about it.  Part failure (the decorating and frosting coloring, the funfetti cake, if we are keeping track), part success (the chocolate cake, the stacking and leveling), but Tyler keeps telling me to be easier on myself when something isn't perfect on the first try.  Maybe he's right.  But seriously, I think it should be perfect!  At least it was partially successful, right?  I will keep telling myself that.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tooth Cake

We had a summer break between Tyler graduating and starting dental school and we knew it would be much easier for me to find a good paying summer job than it would be for him, so I went to work.  The hygenist who worked with me was such a great co-worker and friend that I wanted to do something special for her birthday.  I remembered her telling me that her favorite cake was German Chocolate Cake and I started thinking of ideas.  This is what I came up with. 

As a Dental Hygenist, she basically cleans junk off of people's teeth all day and some people have quite a bit.  I thought it would be fun to make the Coconut Pecan Frosting be the "junk" on the teeth.  The "gum tissue" ended up looking more like bubble gum in the end, it's a hard color to duplicate.  Other than that I was happy with the result and I think she was too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beach Cake

My niece, Ellah, wanted a beach theme for her birthday.   She asked for a cake that looked like a sand castle.  I wish we kept the picture she drew for us of what she wanted it to look like.  It was really close to the sand castle on this cake.  She just wanted it to be 3 layers, no towers or anything, and have a couple sea shells on it and a flag.  Kate finally talked her into having a beach scene and adding her pathetic sand castle to it.  She agreed.  The palm trees are rice krispy treats with caramel and chopped up pretzels on the outside.  We used sugar paper for the leaves.  The sand is a mixture of white and brown sugar and then we torched it to try to get it to stay in place.  Which worked pretty well, but it was still a little messy.  All the shells and beach things white fondant and then painted with food coloring.  I wish I would have gotten some close up pictures of the beach things because they actually turned out pretty well.  I wanted the water to look like water so we tried candy.  I think the look is what I wanted, I would just want to figure out something different for next time. I covered the cake with fondant first and then poured the candy over.  It was still a little too hot and melted the fondant in a couple places.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin Cake

Tatum, my niece, has an October birthday and her mom wanted a pumpkin cake.  This was before we moved (2009) so I was able to accommodate.  The first cake was nothing less than a complete disaster and I ended up starting over at about midnight.  I remember it was almost midnight because I was at the grocery store getting more supplies minutes before it closed.  I ended up using two bundt cakes with the flat ends together.  They also wanted German Chocolate Cake so the coconut pecan frosting was in the opening in the middle and I kept telling everyone it was pumpkin guts.  I really like to make people think they are eating something gross, I guess.
I have links to the butter cream frosting I used and the fondant on the tips and recipes page.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lightning McQueen Cake

 Calvin's fourth birthday.  He has always loved any kind of car, so of course, he loves the movie.  He was on a Gluten-free, Caisein free diet at the time, so the cake inside is gluten free.  He has this all to himself and I made a cake full of gluten for everyone else.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ballerina Cake

 We scheduled Hadlee's family party for her 5th birthday to be the same day as her dace competition so family coming from out of town could attend both things.  She decided (or I did, I don't remember) that she wanted a ballerina cake.  
 The ballet slippers are gum paste and the rest of the decorations (bows) are fondant.  I think the hardest part of the cake was trying to match the color of the two different materials.  It might have been better to have the ballet slippers be pink and the bows be another color entirely.

 While I was looking through her birthday pictures, I saw this one and had to post it.  Her making a wish.  I wonder if it came true.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Truck Cake

 I had used fondant a couple times before, but this was a first trying to decorate the outside with buttercream for the details.  I used a 9x13 pan for the cake and then I bread pan for the cab of the truck.  I had planned on using fondant to cover the cupcake tops but they weren't working out how I wanted, so I settled for just the cupcakes themselves.  I debated whether or not to put this cake on the blog since it's far from perfect, but we all have to start somewhere.