Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That's The Way The Cookie, er Cake, Crumbles

It's been awhile since I've posted about my kitchen mishaps.  Thankfully there haven't been that many to speak of, but a couple weeks ago I had a good one!  Two weekends ago we had Liam's 2nd 1st birthday party.  Did you follow that?  Liam had another 1st birthday party; this time we celebrated with Will's side of the family .  He was able to share the party with his sweet cousin who turned 6 years old.  Since his cousin had a Rapunzel themed cake and since there was around 14 of us (I think) we decided another cake was needed.

My sister-in-law had some cute animals with letters of the alphabet on them that came with the present she got Liam so she pulled out the L, I, A, and M for me to use if I wanted.  I decided to make a small, square, two layer cake with "grass" and a cute little graham cracker crumb path for the animals.  And of course sprinkles, lots and lots of sprinkles.

Recently on Pinterest I found a method of getting cakes to bake evenly and with a flat top.  The tutorial I used can be found here.  This was a major game changer for me and made me much more interested in making layer cakes.  It  really couldn't be easier either!  You just cut a strip off an old kitchen towel as wide as your baking pan is tall, get it wet with cold water, wring it out so that it's still fairly wet, but not dripping, drape it around your pan and secure it with a safety pin:

When I started this cake project I was super excited to use this method again.  I was so excited, in fact, that I forgot to grease my pan.  I remembered about half way through the baking time and knew it wasn't going to be pretty.   I was right:

Sigh...  I felt a little better in that I had used a cake mix leftover from cake pops that I hadn't used.  If I would have made this from scratch I probably would have been pretty upset with myself.  It also helped that I had another mix in the basement.  Originally I was only going to do 2 layers but I decided I would do 3 since I ended up having one intact layer from the first cake mix and would have 2 from the second mix. 

I set about making the second layer from the first mix and made sure I greased the pan.  I was quite pleased with the results:

I grabbed the second cake mix and got to work.  Since I only have one pan for baking layer cakes I tend to get a little impatient at times.  This would be one of those times.  Apparently I didn't let the cake cool long enough because as I turned the pan upside down onto a cooling rack to await placement on the unfrosted first layer it fell apart:

Sigh again....  At this point I was seriously considering throwing in the towel, going to Meijer, and buying a cake.  But, I still had that last layer to bake so I decided to give it a go.  I greased the pan, channeling Paula Deen in the process, and baked the cake.  I gave it ample opportunity to cool.  While I was patiently waiting I whipped up a batch of Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.  You can find the recipe here.  With the exception of my friend Leanna's similar buttercream recipe (she couldn't remember the exact measurements so I found a similar one online) this is one of the easiest, and most tasty frostings I've tried. 

Once I was sure the cake was cooled and I had frosted the first layer I popped the second layer out the pan and slapped that puppy on top.  Not really...  I oh-so-gently placed the second layer on top of the first layer and proceeded to do a crumb coat on the cake.  If you ever wanted to know how to properly frost a layer cake I found this amazing tutorial that is very detailed, but very easy to follow!

So here's my little cake with the crumb coat:

I am happy to report that no crumbs made it through to the final coat of frosting!!  I should say that I cannot be absolutely certain regarding the accuracy of that statement since the side of the cake is covered in sprinkles and the top has "grass" piped on...

And here's the cake with the animals on top:

And here's the adorable Rapunzel cake my talented sister-in-law made (she even made her own marshmallow fondant, which was quite tasty!):

And here's the aftermath:

And here's one of the Birthday Boy opening up his present from Grandmama and Grandpapa:
Needless to say, though the cake caused me several headaches it was worth it (and tasty too!).   Next up in my food related postings will be a tutorial on how to make the Tangled/Rapunzel Tower Cake Pops seen in the background of the picture above!

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