Sunday, April 17, 2011

So excited I could burst!

Oh my gosh you guys. I said earlier I was going to decorate my first cake this weekend, and I did. Yesterday I finished decorating it and I have been all smiles since. It was SO much fun to do and it's just so so great.

I said I needed a purpose for a cake, and thanks to my boyfriend Josh, I had one. One of his buddies had a baby last week, so I made them a cake. I have never met these friends, so I am going to be the weird girl who gives them a cake, haha. Poor them, having to be the guinea pigs for my first cake.

Be prepared...this entry is going to be pretty photo heavy.

I started off using just the yellow cake mix. This time, since I was going to have to get this whole thing out of the pan, I used my teachers recipe for a cake release.

This was made up of Crisco and flour...a lot of it. Wilton sells a cake release for about $5, so this is a cheaper version and apparently better than just using spray.
In goes the mix.

My teacher gave us the hint that when using this boxed mix: follow all directions as stated, but add one extra egg white. It makes a lighter cake. Oh and another tip I was unaware of: before you put it in the oven, bang the pan on the counter a few times to get all of the air bubbles out. (be smart about this if you are using a glass pan - no one likes glass in their cake)

I got it out of the pan! I held my breath when I flipped it out. I was so nervous it would stick or fall apart. Sigh of relief!
Not that great of a picture, but it was nice and fluffy!

I bought this tool at the store to split my cake in half (instead of making 2 cakes), it is pretty much just a wire but it worked really well. My teacher said you could also use thread, but that requires a steady hand that I do not have. So for 3$, I took the safe route and bought the tool.
Worked great!

The top half
The baby is a boy, so I colored some butter cream frosting blue to put in between the layers. I was really careful when I did this step because the outer frosting was going to be white, so I didn't want to overfill the frosting in the middle, otherwise the blue would show through in some places.
Sliding the top layer back on was also pretty terrifying. the top did crack but the frosting in the middle held it together (and once the whole thing was frosted, no one would know anyways)
Then I needed to start frosting the entire cake. It is easiest to start with the top of the cake (I'll get to why in a second). Start with a bunch of frosting because if the frosting gets too thin, crumbs will start to get lifted off of the cake and will be spread around in the frosting. Brush as much of the crumbs off beforehand to make this as little of an issue as possible.
It took me a few minutes to get the frosting even on the top, and I did it pretty slow to avoid getting crumbs mixed in with the frosting. The top turned out well, and it was crumb-free! Ok, now on to frosting the sides. I have to admit, my teacher showed us how to cheat on this step. If you frost a lot of cakes the Wilton Tip #789 is going to be your best friend! It helps you frost the sides in one nice swoop. I found mine at Crafts Direct for under $4.
The tip allows you to do smooth or textured lines

I decided to go with the textured look and it was so effortless. That tip is fool proof!
Now I had to pretty-up the cake. Last class we learned a lot of different borders and piping techniques, but I went with the easiest one. I didn't want the border frosting to be all blue, so I filled up a piping bag and did a streak of blue down the side.
Doing the color that way allowed me to get just a streak of blue in every flower, I was really happy with how the color came out.
I went around the top and sides and did the same piping technique
All the border work done!

The border on the top helped fill in the gaps from the frosting on the top and side of the cake. Next I had to smooth out the top so it didn't look rigid and bumpy. Butter cream will get a slight crust on it after it sits for a few minutes, which makes this step a little less scary. I took a cup of very hot water, a steel smoothing spatula, and got to smoothing.

If you dip it in the water and go over the top, it easily smooths everything out.
All smooth and ready to decorate! (yikes!)

This was where I pretty much stopped breathing. Yup, I had to decorate the very naked top of this cake. I had BARELY done any writing practice and did not feel quite ready for this...but I had come this far.
"Welcome Baby Dylan" It was actually pretty legible!

The cake still looked pretty I got overly ambitious and decided to pipe a football on the cake as well as put the baby's D.O.B. on it.
Yes...that is a football...not a brown lemon...
I added some grass.

All done!
So happy!! The only thing that could have brought me down is if my cake would have slid off the board!

I feel like my first decorated cake turned out great! I am still beaming. The whole process made me so happy and seeing the finished product was amazing. I have so much more to learn and a lot more practicing to do, but I couldn't have asked for a better trial cake! I can't wait to watch my decorating get better and better. I guess I will find out the true reactions to this cake when we give it to his friends tomorrow. If I get it smashed over my head in thanks, then I'll reconsider this path!

*Also, to answer some additional questions:
I let my cake cool overnight before I cut it in half and frosted it.
The cake cooled in the pan for 3 minutes before I flipped it out.
As long as the cake is completely cool to the touch, you are safe to frost and cut it!
The tips I used for piping were (all Wilton): 18, 2, and 789


Cindy said...

Wow Bri; I'm impressed!! I am going to learn a lot from your blog. Did you really put that much Crisco in the pan? Guessing that's why it came out so nicely...The boxes always say lightly, which is why my cakes stay half in the pan. How long to you let the cake cool before taking out of the pan and cutting it in half?

finnyme said...

Thanks CS!! It did make a lot...I think the recipe is 1C crisco and 3/4C flour. I am going to double check with my teacher on Thursday to make sure I should be using that whole batch. The came came out with zero trouble, but it was a tad greasey due to the cake release. I let this cake cool overnight before I cut it and frosted it, but as look as it is completely cool to the touch, you are good to go. Oh and I let the cake cool in the pan for 3 minutes before I flipped it out. I appreciate the is really helping me figure out what other things I should be adding. Hope that helped :)

Sandra said...

Oh wow..and this was your first time?
I can't even put the icing right :))
You did fantastic job and your cake look amazing!!!

briarrose said...

So cute!

Mark said...

Nice job. Looks like a lot of hard work.

Eftychia said...

Yummy cake! Thanks for the detailed photos.