I Am Baker

Naked Cakes and Live TV

One of the perks of living in MN is Twin Cities Live.  It is a local show that is nationally recognized for the talent and quality of programming.  I am slightly biased because I happen to adore one of the hosts (well both actually!!) , Elizabeth Ries.  But even if I didn’t know her, I would still be a huge fan of the show!

Not only am I a #bigfan of the show, but occasionally I get to be a guest!  My most recent appearance was all about Naked Cakes.

Cookie Crisp Naked Cake!

This bottom of this cake is three layers of yellow cake prepared in 9-inch round cakes pans.  I used two yellow cake recipes and divided it between three pans.

The top tier is one yellow cake recipe equally divided between two 6-inch round cake pans.

Cookie Crisp Naked Cake!

Peaking out just a little bit is the frosting that I used between the layers… cookie dough frosting!  This is a really subtle way to create a cookie dough flavored naked cake.  You could also make the layers themselves with chocolate chips and yellow or white cake.

Cookie Crisp Naked Cake!

For the embellishment around the cake I used Cookie Crisp cereal!  Talk about a flash from the past.  You knew it was a special occasion if you got this for breakfast!

You could also make mini chocolate chip cookies if you prefer.

Naked Fruit Cake!

I also prepared a Chocolate Naked Fruit Cake.  This is two recipes of chocolate cake divided between four 8-inch round cake pans.  For the sake of travel and TV, I chose to only use three of the four layers.  It just got to be too high with four.

Naked Fruit Cake!

I used white buttercream in between the layers and added grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and a beautiful pear on top.

I sprinkled the cake with powdered sugar right before the segment.  And of course, using a rustic cake stand helps to create a rustic feel!

fruitnakedcake

To serve you may want to have a cut up pear on hand (as well as more of the other fruit) so that you can leave the decorative pear on the cake as long as possible.

Also, I love the idea of drizzling a fruit syrup over the cake right before serving.  Since fruit is a living thing, it will move and squish and leak wonderful fruit juices over the cake.  (which I love) If you want to incorporate that into the design the fruit syrup drizzle will help!

This is how the cakes looked a few minutes before the segment.  I ended up making it through the hour long drive with minimal damage, but you can see the frosting really seeped out of the bottom layer of the fruit cake.  I added a bit more fruit around that spot to try and cover up the mishap.

As I mentioned, RIGHT before I added the powdered sugar.  (which you can see in the actual segment)

See that pretty pink pastry bag in the back?  That is from Bakerella’s new line of products!!  I am super excited about her new line and have been so impressed with the quality if everything I have used so far.

Elizabeth Ries and iambaker.net!

Miss Elizabeth is going to have her first baby in just a few weeks! Such an exciting time.

If you want to check out my segment here it is!  Also… I cannot be held responsible for rogue cake decorating.  #justsayin #lookingatyouSteve

Are you local to Minnesota and have an idea that would be perfect for Twin Cities Live?  Just contact them here and let them know!
HOLIDAY GIFT BUYING ALERT!!!

SurpriseInsideCakesCoverSale

 

For a VERY limited time my new book Surprise Inside Cakes is over 90% off!!  As of today, Nov. 27th 2014, you can get it for $1.99!!!

HUGE SAVINGS!!  Also, you can choose to “Give as a Gift”.  You can pick the day the book is received (like Dec. 25th?) and the recipient will never know you purchased it for less than $2!

I Am Baker

caramel cake with apple cider whipped cream

This cake.

It’s… well.   It’s one of the best tasting cakes I have ever had the privilege of making.

Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

But here is the thing… I am going to share TWO recipes for this cake.  The reason being is that when I made it from scratch I used Rose’s Caramel Cake.  I made it and loved it.  Then I made it again and tried to tweak the recipe, but to no avail.  Every change I made did not help, and more likely it took away from an already perfect recipe.

This was especially true about the caramel icing.  There was absolutely zero changes I could make to improve upon the texture, flavor and consistency of that sauce.  It’s down right amazing.

The Apple Whipped Cream I got from Rachel Ray was also hard to improve upon.  (I did add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, but that is totally an optional step!)

That is the from-scratch recipes if you are willing and able.  And I do recommend it, that flavors are sensational!

The recipe I am going to list below is the semi-homemade version, using a box mix, caramel sauce in the jar and Cool Whip®.  Just because I can’t post this beautiful and delicious cake in the completely from-scratch form doesn’t mean that I can’t provide some sort of recipe for you to use!

First though, the assembly.

Make the cake in two square 9-inch cake pans.  I prepared them by coating with Goop and then lined with parchment.

Allow cakes to cool to room temperature.  Level cakes to the same height.

Prepare caramel sauce and allow to cool to room temperature. (or get caramel sauce our of fridge and heat to lukewarm)

Place one square layer cake on cake stand and cover in approximately 1/2 cup of caramel sauce.  You will want to sauce to be warm enough to move, but not runny. (The consistency can all be controlled through temperature at this point.)  If your caramel sauce is too runny, allow it to cool more before finishing covering this layer of cake, we are trying to avoid a puddle of caramel around the base of the cake.  After you have poured caramel on cake, chill it for about 15 minutes in fridge or 10 minutes in freezer.  You want to ‘set’ the sauce as much as possible.

Once caramel sauce is covering cake and firm, you can prepare it for the next layer.

Prepare apple whipped cream. (or get out your Cool Whip®)

Cut a straw into four equal sections and place in the four corners of the cake.

Caramel cake with straws to support

This step isn’t pretty, but is essential for this cake.  The whipped cream is not sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cake above.

Add about 1 cup of whipped cream to the cake and smooth out.  You will want to whipped cream to be no higher than the height of the straws.

Place next layer of caramel cake on top of whipped cream layer and repeat the step of pouring the caramel icing over the cake.  Use a bit less at first, as you do not want it to drip too much.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining apple whipped cream and pipe out pretty swirls on top. (I prefer this open star tip from Ateco)

Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (it’s a small amount, feel free to adjust to fit your tastes).

Drizzle top with a very runny caramel sauce. (Add a bit of milk to room temperature icing and stir until combined.  Put in piping bag and cut off the smallest tip then carefully drizzle.)

Chill until ready to serve.

Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

caramel cake with apple cider whipped cream (semi-homemade version)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • One container of caramel sauce (sizes can vary, just make sure you have at least 16 ounces)
  • 1-3 cups confectioners sugar
  • One 32-ounce container of store bought whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Apple extract or 1 tablespoon apple cider

Instructions

  1. Prepare yellow cakes according to the directions on the box in 9-inch square cake pans.
  2. Pour caramel sauce (about 16 ounces) into stand mixer. Add one cup of confectioners sugar and whip at medium speed until incorporated. You may add more confectioners sugar if needed; you are looking for a fairly thick consistency, one that is not overly runny.
  3. Place one layer of cake on cake stand and cover in about 1/2 cup of caramel frosting you just made.
  4. Open store bought whipped cream and add in 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp apple extract or up to 1 tablespoon of apple cider.
  5. Place about 1 cup whipped cream on cake and level.
  6. Repeat with next layer of cake and caramel, then pipe mounds of remaining whipped cream.
  7. Chill until ready to serve.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/caramel-cake-with-apple-cider-whipped-cream/

Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

TIPS: You want to cakes to be as level as possible so nothing goes sliding off with that beautiful caramel.  The caramel will become more runny the warmer it gets.  If you are able to give your cakes a slight concave in the center that would work as well.

The caramel is the trickiest part.  Once you are able to determine the best consistency to work with you will be set!  I found that the best way to practice was to use cupcakes and my guinea pigs.  (plus… yum!  Will share that recipe soon!) If you need this cake for a special event, be sure to practice first!

If you make the cake from scratch, you will have THREE layers of cake (lots of batter, never fill your pan more than 1/2 full).  I don’t recommend making this cake into a three layer (stability is an issue), so freezing the extra layer is a great option.

In the semi-homemade recipe I added powdered (confectioners) sugar to store bought caramel sauce.  I KNOW!  I know.  This is nuts.  But what I was going for in consistency.  The sauce needs to be a little thicker so that it does not simply spill out over everything.  You can skip adding the powdered sugar and just use much LESS caramel sauce so that spilling over is not an issue.

Apple Extract is not easy to find, I had to order some. (Pure Apple Extract from OliveNation).  You can substitute apple cider, but make sure that you start with teaspoons and taste test after each addition.  Be careful to not add too much liquid to the store bought whipped cream as it could become too runny to pipe.

This cake is WORTH the work!  It’s amazing.  Delicious!  Those flavors are genius and wonderful and a must for fall and holiday gatherings.

I styled this cake exactly like my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake and Red Velvet Peppermint Cake.  It’s a show stopper for sure!

I Am Baker

Puppy Chow surprise-inside cake

I love this cake.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Every little thing about it.  From the amazing chocolate flavor to the chocolate sprinkles to the glorious surprise waiting inside.

Delicious. Beautiful. (in my opinion!) and Easy.

Let’s get to it!

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

After assembling the layers of this cake I covered it in a thin coat of buttercream.  I used about 1 cup of chocolate sprinkles and gently pressed them into the cake.

After the cake was covered I used a fondant smoother to press them in further and to get the clean, sharp lines you see here.  Although I lightened it a bit (we are already losing light so quickly here in Minnesota!) this picture is basically straight out of my camera.

But lets take a step back.  Just how did I assemble it?

Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO

I started with three 6-inch chocolate cakes.  After chilling them, I used a 3-inch round cookie cutter and cut out the center of one of the cakes.

I then placed a thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge of the cake with the center cut out.

Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO

Next, I placed the cake with the center cut out on top of one of the other layers, frosting side down.  We want the frosting to act as a glue.

I filled the cake with that fabulous Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow.

Added another thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge.

Finally placed the last layer on top.

I chilled my cake at this point, as I find it easier to cover in frosting when the cake is stable and firm.

Cover with thin layer of chocolate buttercream and then sprinkles. (as directed above)

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

And now we are back to here.

Ready to see the surprise?

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

So fun right?

And totally delicious.  Pumpkin. Chocolate.  More chocolate.  Crunchy Chex® cereal bits.  It’s stinkin awesome!!!

For a cake.  I mean, it’s not world peace or anything. #da

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Here is the nitty gritty:

Prepare a batch of Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow. (Give yourself a few hours for it to cool and harden.)

Prepare a chocolate cake (you can use box mix or this wonderful Chocolate Cake recipe) in three 6-inch round cake pans.
Remove cakes from pans and chill until they are very firm.

Prepare chocolate buttercream.

Follow directions above for assembly.

Chill cake until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

And there you have it!  How to prepare a Chocolate Buttercream Sprinkle Covered Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Say that three times fast. ;)

If you like this cake be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

I Am Baker

Patriotic Cake {surprise inside cake}

So I do this thing with cakes where I hide surprises on the inside.  I have been doing it for about 4 years now.  I even wrote a whole book about it.

It’s kinda my thing.

Red White and Blue Surprise-Inside Cake!

I can’t help but love this cake.  I am so excited by this new way to share a surprise-inside and so excited that the idea police haven’t taken away my oven yet.   I mean, some of my ideas are crazy weird and should never be attempted in real life.

But occasionally this happens and for a moment all is right with the world.

Red White and Blue Surprise-Inside Cake! #usa

 

Yay!!  I spelled out USA in a red, white and blue cake!!

Whoops!  My ‘s’ is backwards.  Well, on one side of the cake it is anyway.

Red White and Blue Surprise-Inside Cake! #usa

 

In the piece it reads right.

I based the design of this cake off some of my previous cakes, and used this surprise-inside cake method to get the letters into the cake.

I also teach a class on Craftsy on how to get letters inside a cake!  It is a full 20+ minute video tutorial, going over every single detail and showing you step-by-step how to spell out what ever you want in a cake.

I wish I had the time to really perfect this cake before sharing, but I have another appearance on Twin Cities Live tomorrow and have to bake FIVE cakes to get ready!  (One of them is a surprise-inside of course!)  Talk about procrastinating… I just had to get this one done before starting them though!

This is the very first ever (anywhere) surprise-inside cake with letters stacked out vertically in different layers.  I am so, so so excited about where this simple design will lead me and can’t wait to share those ideas with you!

Want more Surprise-Inside Cakes?  Check out my new book.  It is the ONLY book in the world about surprise-inside cakes!

And be sure to check my Facebook page tomorrow when I update it with a link to my Twin Cities Live segment. :)

I Am Baker

the last first birthday cake

Last Saturday was a bittersweet day.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!

 

My sweet baby Olivia turned one.

I sat in the chair and watched her play with a wonderful contraption that grandma had bought her, full of bells and whistles and shiny moving parts that can keep a little one entertained for hours.

She moved the pieces with her fingers then would stop to watch her fingers, all at once discovering her ability to maneuver the toys parts and her ability to make her hands do what her brain told them to do.  I could almost hear her thoughts as she went back and forth between wonder and excitement and the simple music of the pieces clinking together.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!

 

She noticed me watching her and dropped her toy to the side.  She quickly crawled over to my feet and reached out, grabbing my legs to assist her as she pulled herself up.  Standing before me and doing her little toddler dance of bending her knees and rocking back and forth, I knew she wanted on mommy’s lap.  I happily obliged and immediately asked for a kiss.

She nodded her head back and forth ‘no’ as is her habit whenever mommy asks for a smooch.  Then she leaned in to give me one anyway, which erupted into a frenzy of kisses all over her pudgy cheeks and forehead.

She giggled and fell into my arms, both of us sighing and smiling.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!

 

My sweet baby, no longer a baby, but now a curious and eager toddler, ready to explore the world on a new level, is ready to leave the onesies and bottles behind.

But I am not.

My husband and I decided that we were done having children.  And honestly, five is enough.  It’s more than most.  It’s our perfectly complete family and honestly it’s five more blessings more than I ever deserved.

But saying goodbye to being pregnant and bringing life into the world and nursing and rocking a baby to sleep in the wee hours of the morning… that is not something I am ready for.

Thankfully, there isn’t much time to sit around and mourn the loss of  a role that I was blessed with many times over.

Thankfully, my husband and children remind me often that life changes, people grow, and it’s best to adapt with a smile rather than fight it kicking and screaming.

Thankfully there are many more stages and wonderful life experiences in store.

Surprise-Inside First Birthday Cake!

And thankfully, we get to celebrate them with cake.

The above cake is a “first birthday” surprise-inside cake that I made for Olivia.  To make your very own “number 1″ surprise-inside cake you can follow the directions HERE.  (The link leads to my Countdown Cake with written directions as well as a video tutorial.)

It is a vanilla cake covered in the best basic buttercream and topped with mini rainbow coated chocolate chips.  The pink #1 is also vanilla cake (tinted pink with Ateco food coloring) and McCormick Strawberry Extract added.

In my new book Surprise-Inside Cakes I share many more cakes and techniques as well as snippets and humorous stories about life as a mom and wife.  It’s a great gift for a new mom, for any mom, or for anyone who likes cake!

 

I Am Baker

How to Make a Ruffle Cake

… in four minutes flat.

I shared this image awhile back.

Decorated Cakes by iambaker.net

 

Many of you asked for a tutorial on the chocolate ruffle cake and here it is.  However, I must mention something.  I sorta got a crazy idea and it ended up not going as planned so this tutorial is going to be a little different.  See, I decide to help add a visual aid so I did a 15 second video tutorial and posted it on Instagram.

Insert dramatic music here.

Since I had to film it with one hand and pipe with the other… well.  It wasn’t pretty.  Or very effective in terms of being a “tutorial”.

Lets just say this; if you take the time to actually pay close attention to what you are doing and apply even pressure and be consistent, you can get the pretty ruffles like above.  If you rush through it and have your four year old turn the cake stand while you are trying to simultaneously film and pipe you may end up with a wonky ruffle cake like I am about to show you.

Moral of the story:  Do as I say and not as I do.

Thank you.

Quickest and Easiest Ruffle Cake Ever!!

The concept is very simple!

Place crumb-coated cake on a cake stand.  Fill a pastry bag with a 127 tip and your choice of frosting. (I like this perfect buttercream as it is very white!)

Starting at the bottom edge of the cake hold the tip very close to the base of the cake.  With one hand, start applying pressure to the bag of frosting.

Start turing your cake stand with your other hand.  Keep applying pressure and move around base of cake.  When you have gone around the cake once simply move your hand (the hand holding the bag of frosting) upwards about an inch and continue piping, making sure to overlap.  You will continue this up and around the cake.

When you get to the top, repeat the same process, just making your circle smaller and smaller until you reach the center.

How to Make a Ruffle Cake in Five Minutes!

Now.  Scroll back up and look at the picture with the chocolate ruffle cake.  I did that cake in five minutes too, I just tried a bit harder.  This white ruffle cake is a bit sloppy for my taste, but I hope you get the jist of it.

Next time  I won’t do three things at once.

Who am I kidding.  I am a mom of five, I will always be doing at least three things at once. :)

Christmas Ruffle Cake Tutorial

If you want to add some extra fun, trying making it a Christmas layer cake!

Christmas Ruffle Cake Tutorial

And that is my wonky ruffle cake with red and green layers.  Feel free to check out my 15 second (really, what was I thinking?!?!  A FIFTEEN SECOND tutorial???) tutorial on this on Instagram. :)

I Am Baker

frilly cake {a tutorial}

I had no idea what to call this cake… and after much thought frilly cake to mind.  I thought “frilly” seem to vague, so I looked it up in the thesaurus, hoping to find a better word.  But then, listed right below the synonyms for frilly were the antonyms.  And they were: plain, simple, unadorned, unfancy.

So yeah.  Frilly wins.  Cause this cake is NOT plain or unadorned!

Frilly Cake: Full tutorial by iambaker.net #frillycake #cakedecorating

And here is the best part… this decorating technique could not be easier!  Slip a 1M tip into your pastry bag, fill it with frosting of choice, then wiggle your bag back and forth up the side of the cake.  Easy!

Now.  The only (and I do mean only) setback to this method is the sheer amount of frosting.  After having made it a few times I decided that a smooth top was the way to go.

Frilly Cake Decorating: Full tutorial by iambaker.net #frillycake

 

First start by getting as smooth of a top as you can.  (I talk a bit about that in my post on How to Build a Layer Cake) You can leave the sides with only a crumb coat as they will eventually be covered with the “frills”.

Now bring the frosting up the side of the cake (more details below) and then swoop the tip of the frosting bag down.

Frilly Cake Decorating: Full tutorial from iambaker.net #frillycake

As you can see, once I got to the top of the cake I guided the bag over and down to the side of the piped row and then released the pressure.  Repeat that every time you reach the top of the piped row.  You will cover up the end of the frosting with your next piped row.

And now for the row itself!

Frilly Cake Decorating:  Full tutorial on iambaker.net #frillycake

 

This couldnt be easier.  Simply start at the base of the cake and apply pressure to your pastry bag.  (You will be using approximately a 2-inch width for your row, but this can vary depending on the size of your cake)  Move your tip up and back and forth at the same time, applying consistent pressure to the pastry bag.  When you reach the top bring the tip down and over as I have shown above.

I have made enough of these cakes now to know that you can achieve different results when applying different pressure and speed.

Frilly Cake Decoration:  Full tutorial from iambaker.net #frillycake

 For instance, in the cake picture above I moved slower and didnt apply as much pressure.  I tried to be consistent with my movements. (But got a tad sloppy with the very top part… whoops!)

Frilly Cake Decorating: Full tutorial from iambaker.net #frillycake

 

In this picture, I applied greater pressure and moved a bit more erratically, going for more of a “ruffle” look.  And yes, this is the same cake, I just made the sides different as an example!

Frilly Fluffy Cake!  Full tutorial from iambaker.net #frillycake

 

Here is another cake I did with the same technique.  I used my best Crusting Buttercream Recipe (dont read the comments if you dont like drama) on the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe ever.  Since this cake was a bit smaller (2 layers vs. the 4 layer cake above) it was easier to choose the “frillier” option of lots of pressure and quicker movements.

The Frilly Cake: Full Decorating Tutorial from iambaker.net #frillycake

 

Hope you like this quick and easy way of decorating a cake.  But I must warn you… you will use a LOT of frosting.  For this 4-layer cake I used three of my Cream Cheese Frosting recipes. Three full recipes!  But, I happen to love frosting so I hope you will forgive me.

Let me know if you have any questions!  Happy Cake Decorating!

 

 

I Am Baker

Candy Corn Cake

This cake is completely inspired by candy corn.  But not the  regular candy corn, Brach’s Indian Corn.


Have you seen this type of candy corn?  With the chocolate on the bottom?  I found it to be the perfect cake inspiration! (picture below)

But I went wrong on this cake.  I was in a hurry.  A BIG hurry.  I needed to have this cake done and be out the door in 57 minutes.

So I used all box mixes (which is fine with me!) and canned frosting (horrible mistake).

Something happened.  I sampled the canned frosting and thought it tasted like cardboard.  Even the chocolate.  They were all just awful.  I wouldnt feel comfortable serving this cake to anyone.  Is it just me?  I used to not mind them at all!  (To be fair, I stuck to one brand.  It could have just been that brand.)

I am a huge proponent of supporting  peoples choices in baking… if you want to use canned frosting I would never bat an eye.  Heck, I would support and encourage you for choosing to bake!

But for me, I think this was my very last time.

And also, I didnt do a pictorial tutorial frosting the cake because I was planning on doing a video tutorial but then something came up and I didnt.  I think I have developed a really, really easy method of this type of graduated layer decorating, and cant wait to share!  Seriously, even my kids can do this with great success!

So please be patient with me.  That video is on the top of my to-do list, I promise!  Well, right after homeschooling.  And finishing my book.  And laundry.  But its up there!

 

Candy Corn Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 3 containers white frosting (or three cups)
  • 1 container chocolate frosting (or 1 cup)
  • Optional: Orange extract

Instructions

  1. Bake chocolate cake in 8in round cake pan. One cake will be used, so you can wrap the other 8in round cake and place in freezer.
  2. For the white and orange layers, simple prepare white cake batter as you normally would. Divide batter in half and tint one half orange. (Add orange extract if you wish)
  3. Bake white cake batter in 8in cake pan and bake orange cake batter in 8in cake pan.
  4. For frosting, take one container of white frosting and tint it orange. I used gel food coloring and about 4-6 drops.
  5. To assemble cake:
  6. Place chocolate cake on cake stand. Place thin layer of chocolate frosting.
  7. Place orange layer on top and cover in thin layer of orange frosting.
  8. Finally, place white cake on top and cover entire cake in crumb coat.
  9. Decorate as you wish.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-cake/

In my instructions for preparing this cake I ended with, “Decorate as you wish.”  Um, lame!  But since I cannot possibly leave you hanging completely, I will share this link with you.  Sweetapolita has a great video on how she does this style of decorating.  Her method (while very different from mine) is flawless perfection.  She is a master!

 

If you like this cake you will love my new book Surprise-Inside Cakes!  (especially the Ombre Cake I share in the book!)

I Am Baker

How to Build a Layer Cake

One of the most common emails I get is “Can you do a tutorial on how to make a layer cake?”

And while I am no expert, I would love to share the tips and tricks that I use!

 

This is the SUPER FAST and EASY version.

Use a good recipe.  This can be a box mix or your favorite homemade recipe.  You are looking for a cake the bakes up flat and even and moist and firm.  Easy right?

Just in case your cake does not bake evenly, have no fear!  You can simply level your cake.  There are three easy ways to do that:

Use leveler or a long serrated knife to skim off the top dome part of your cake.

If your cake has risen above the edges of your cake pan, you can rest the knife on the edges of the pan and use the pan as your guide.

As soon as your cake is done cooking, take a clean towel and lay it on top of your cake.  Press gently and evenly.  Tip: This only works if your cake is done cooking!  So make sure you test it.

Make sure all your layers are the same height.  

Neapolitan Cake

Chill your layers before assembly.  I find that working with a chilled or partially frozen cakes really helps.  There is nothing worse than trying to assemble a layer cake and having it fall into pieces in your hands.  And you totally know I am speaking from experience.

There are many methods to torting, or using frosting in between the layers of your cake.  I like to do what is easiest and whatever method requires as few tools as necessary. (Yes, you may call it what it is.  Lazy.)

I just decide before hand how thick I want my layer to be and then use an appropriate amount of frosting.  One half cup is a nice thin layer on an 8in cake,  but 1 cup of frosting is my go-to amount.  I like frosting.  Lots of it.

I typically use about a cup of frosting on a 6in as well as an 8in cake.  I dont recommend that.  You be normal and use less on that 6in cake, ok?

Place your first layer on your cake stand.  Put  frosting on it and use a small offset spatula to make frosting an even layer.

Place your next layer on top.  Some frosting should “spill out” the sides and that is ok.  Repeat this process;  frosting, layer of cake, frosting, layer of cake, until you have added all your layers.

When making a layer cake it is important to do a crumb coat.

A crumb coat is simply a thin layer of frosting applied to a cake.  The crumb coat is intended to seal in crumbs, hence the name, crumb coat.  I talk more about it here, or you can watch a video here.

Some frosting may have spilled out, or your layers may not be perfectly aligned, or maybe your cake is slightly lopsided.  Doing a crumb coat is a great opportunity to fill in any problem areas.

 

Want to see how this cake turned out?  It’s the New Years Eve Cake in my book, ‘surprise-inside cakes’

Use an offset spatula.  I put a dollop on top of the cake and then use the spatula to bring it down over the sides, making sure to get the frosting all the way to to bottom.

If you have a rotating cake stand, you can place your spatula flat against the cake and slowly turn the stand.  This will help smooth out the frosting and create an even coat.

Once your cake is covered in the crumb coat, I usually chill it.  I like the cake to settle and the frosting to set.

To decorate a cake, I start by putting a smooth layer of frosting on.  This is done the same way as the crumb coat.  Place a dollop on top of the cake and pull it down over the sides using an offset spatula.

To smooth out sides, make sure cake is covered in an even layer of frosting, then place spatula flat against side of cake.  Slowly turning cake, smooth out layer of frosting until you have polished, even coat.

This step takes practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t look perfect.  Just keep at it until you are comfortable with how your cake looks!

I have also placed my cake stand directly on a rotating stand, and this helps me when smoothing out the edges.

How to Frost a Cake!

In my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes I share many MANY more details on this method.  I also share techniques on what to do if your cake domes, if it sinks in the middle, and how to do easy (no-fuss!) frosting decorating techniques.  Not to mention over 40 cakes with surprises inside!

Check out Surprise-Inside Cakes now! (It’s on sale for 93% off!)

 

I Am Baker

July 4th Cake

I have made a flag cake before.  It was ok.  But I wanted to kick it up a notch.  Make something really wild that no one* had done before.

*There is a reason no one had done it.  Its crazy. 

IMG_3277.flagcake

I decided to make a cake that was twenty five layers.

Um.  Why would one decide to do something that is seemingly impossible and has no historical accuracy or reference?

IMG_3237.flagcake

I don’t know.

Banging. Head. Against. Wall. Repeatedly.

I think I had too many cups of coffee the day I decided to make this.

 

IMG_3331.flagcake

That being said, I decided to continue my blogs ‘ruffle’ theme and make vertical stripes on the exterior.

IMG_3393.original

Pretty little red, white, and blue ruffles.  I think I am addicted.

How does one serve a twenty five layer cake?

IMG_3449.flagcake

By chopping it in half thats how!

Then I cut myself a slice, hummed at little America the Beautiful and had a bite.

IMG_3532.julyfourthcake

Red Velvet Cake with White Cake with buttercream frosting.

Here’s to you!  I am hoping you are enjoying your long weekend, that you are soaking up the sun, that you are giving yourself a break and relaxing, and that you are with people you love.

Happy 235th Birthday America! You dont look a day over 200. ;)

*****
See my other patriotic desserts here!

Red, White & Blue Pancakes

Patriotic Cupcakes

Patriotic Rose Cake

Red, White & Blue Surprise Inside Cake