18th Birthday Cake

I think I should have a reality show. Just some cameras around the kitchen that film me when I make a cake. I’m sure people would love to watch me have mental break downs, sometimes cry, throw things around the kitchen, and talk about how I’m wasting my time with what I’m doing, yelling how something only is getting me $50 and I spent 12 hours making it… Yeah, I’m a mess. A horrible, horrible mess when I’m doing a cake. I really should consider a small sedative.

Anyway! As you can see below, I was ready for a long night. You can also see that it was day time when I started. God, this was a long day/night. I had my coffee ready.

ImageI started soaking my new bake-even strips from Wilton. I figured they were worth a shot. They are supposed to prevent the sides from cooking before the middle, and therefor make for even baking. They suggested soaking for at least 5 minutes before putting them around the cake pan.

ImageRight after the batter was finished mixing I wrapped the cake pans in the strips. I left them soaking. When I put them in the oven, I heard some sizzling as the edges touched the bottom. I pushed the two pans together to prevent the strips from hitting the oven. When I looked into the oven, I was shocked to see my cakes were baking level. I wish I could express how excited I was to see them baking like this. Perfection really.

ImageThey took a little longer to cook (about 10 more minutes), but look at them. Just look at them! All that baked even perfection. Sigh. Not sure I would ever get something this level and perfect again. I also knew this was bad foreshadowing. Something going so right at the start? Yeah. This means problems ahead… And… Yes. Problems happened.

ImageI decided I wanted to make a 8″ layer, 6″, and top it off with a 4″. I bought 4″ cake pans. I thought they looked pretty cute.

ImageLook how beautiful they all are just sitting there. All level, and waiting to be decorated. I wish i could have left them like this.

ImageIt was time to make my buttercream. I bought a new container of Crisco. Not sure why I’m adding this picture (it’s getting late), but I thought the Crisco looked so pretty all smooth in the container. I’m weird, okay?

ImageI followed this old recipe I had for a crusting buttercream. There was some notation from the author that she always tripled the recipie in her 5qt mixer. She said it was always filled to the top, but the icing always came out smooth. Well. Here it is. This was overflowing. I couldn’t even add the rest of the powdered sugar! I will never do that again. Holy bananas that was insane. How would this seem like a good idea? The mess it made, oh dear.

ImageThe amount of buttercream ended up coming in handy, but more on that in another blog post. Here are all my cakes iced and Viva’ed. Oddly enough, the hardest cake to ice was the 4″ one. But still, it went kinda smoothly. So I was again worried disaster was close by. I should consider making a cake with just a buttercream. I need to work more on the edges to do that, but it may be possible!

ImageSo I started trying to cover the cakes in fondant. It wasn’t going well. I weight out the fondant to make sure I was using enough. Rolling it out was more difficult than it should have been, but once it was on the cake it wouldn’t lay correctly and was getting immediate elephant skin. I must have tried for two hours to get these things covered correctly. I had to keep throwing out fondant and then cover it again in buttercream, waited for it to crust, then covered it again in fondant. Ugh. At some point in the middle of the night I just gave up and left it covered horribly. If you look, you can see the problems. The picture on the left is the dowels in the cake. I even spent a good 20 minutes trying to sharpen a dowel to stab through all the cakes. I gave that up eventually and stabbed it with a metal skewer. Then I put the wooden dowel in. That worked. I’m sure I’ll have to figure something else out in the future.

ImageSince I gave up and decide to roll with that I had, I decided to try and cover the imperfections up with dots, and a boarder. I didn’t think to take a picture of the back of the cake. At one area I have it covered in dots. Boy oh boy was it a mess. I could only hope they would have the cake against a wall, or be distracted by something else to look at. The picture below is the final cake. I had to add a bunch of flowers to the top since the purse was too big to use as a cake topper. It would have worked if I didn’t add the 4″ layer.

ImageHere is the little purse I made that I ended up putting in front of the cake. It was a bit sloppy, but I was in an angry state at this point. I thought the purse looked cute though. The buttons were a nice final touch.

ImageOverall, they seemed happy with the cake. I should note they asked for the cake to be sweeter and more moist than the cupcakes I made for them the other day. I make my cupcakes moist with a muted sweetness. I’ve always hated desserts that were hard to eat because of their level of sweet. But, I did what they asked. I soaked that cake in simple syrup and broke out my ultra sweet icing. They liked this, so I made a note to use the same procedure for future cakes.

 

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Practice and Messing around

I had to make an 18th birthday cake. I was told that the girl liked “girly” things, like purses, shoes, some specific brand names, and the colors pink and purple. I wouldn’t have the time to order a Coach or Michael Kors cutter, and I knew if I didn’t cut it out exactly right it wouldn’t look good so I just scratched the idea. I wanted to try and carve out a mini-purse for the top of the cake. I figured I would need a sturdy cake. I found a recipe (which I will not give because I don’t want to bash it), and figured I would try it out.

I set up my pans as I usually do now (Crisco spray and parchment on the bottom), and as you can see they came out warped as usual it seems. Very frustrating. But it was a test cake that I planned on chopping up so I tried to not be too upset over it.

ImageI also finally made edible “glue.” To make it I added small chunks of gum paste to water and let it dissolve.

ImageAnnnnnnd I can show you my greatest new purchase… A digital kitchen scale! A few recipes I found went by weight and it was extremely frustrating. I bought this scale from Target. So far I use it to weigh my powdered sugar, and I find it very helpful.

ImageI also got this fabulous new Wilton purchase from Michaels. In my very first post I showed the little pouch that came in the Wilton Ultimate Kit. The reviews for it were very poor. I used it myself once, and it was a pain to use (trying to open it and refill, and making sure it didn’t spill). So they came up with this new thing. So much easier. Easy to refill and store.

ImageMoving along, I thought it would be a good idea to try and make my own show without any molds or cutters. I printed out some shapes online and tried cutting them out. It was a bit difficult since they didn’t come out smooth. I also tried using a shot glass (see below) to form the show. I used the glue I made and tried to attach everything together to see how it would look. Bottom line? Meh… I wasn’t impressed. At some point I would like to get some things to shape and dry them. But since my funds are super limited, that won’t be happening for some time.

ImageI gave up on the shoe thinking it wouldn’t be a best idea if I couldn’t make it look good. I took one of the cakes I made and carved part of one of them into the shape below.

ImageOh a side note, the cake tastes horrible. Just nasty. I threw out the rest of it. I’m so glad I tested it instead of making it the day I planned on making the cake. I figure the shape above could work for a cake. We will see!