Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adventures in Cake Baking

It has been a busy season of birthdays for our friends and family around here, and it is not over yet.  Dad is next, then my good friend Christi (who won't get a cake because she doesn't live nearby) and Frank.  Those are just the April birthdays.
Our awesome buddy Alley's birthday was last weekend and though she share's a birthday with Saint Patrick's day I decided against a green cake. Instead I opted for a springy, girlie cake.  I tested another Vanilla cake recipe, this time from Smitten Kitchen.  I made the cake ahead, froze it and thawed the night before, which worked beautifully.

Since I was feeling very ambitious I also made homemade Marshmallow Fondant flowers.
Alley's Birthday cake

As well as raspberry filling, lemon curd and cream cheese frosting in advance. 
lemon curd, raspberry filling and cream cheese icing

Here is the final result.  This is pre Cake Decorating class, which I took last night.
I think this one is cute but the "polka dots" that I was going for look more like hershey kisses.  
Alley's Birthday Cake

Mmmm, Vanilla layer cake with lemon curd and raspberry filling and cream cheese icing.
Alley's Birthday cake

I also practiced my flower arranging skills and made a pretty for Alley.
Alley's Birthday flowers

And a few bud vases for myself. 
bud vases on my table

All this baking has served as practice for a baby shower cake that I am to make next week.
I have learned quite a bit from these last two cakes and my class last night.
Some things I have learned:

*Marshmallow fondant is messy to make but much cheaper and tastier than store bought.

*Wear latex gloves when kneading colors into fondant!

*Cake flour (like any other flour) should be measured using the scoop and sweep method, not packed in with the side of the cake box.  I knew better when I did it, and both cakes had a courser and drier texture than they should have.  Now I need to retest both recipes with correct measuring techniques and get a canister for my cake flour.

*Putting your cake in the freezer after crumb coating for about 15 minutes will make frosting the cake much easier.

*Pipe your lettering in the same color as your cake first, then trace over with another color.  This helps tremendously!

*Cake decoration, like any other craft, requires practice to master.

*Cream Cheese Icing pipes beautifully.  So glad, since it is so much tastier, in my opinion.

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