Mid-Week Cooking: Birthday Cake Edition

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Last week I was getting ready for Liv’s party and doing lots of research on torting, carving, and popping. Sounds like I could have been researching dance moves, but alas, just baking. : ) Here’s what I made with in-progress pictures.

For Liv’s cake, I made a template and realized it was going to take me three 9 x 13 cakes to make this little girl.

So, I baked 3 cakes, like normal, no pictures of this.

One thing I found that worked great was mixing up a batch of 1 cup crisco, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup vegetable oil. (Made more than enough for greasing three 9 x 13’s.) Use a brush and brush it on the bottom and sides of your pan. The cake will come out really nicely! I also put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom first as well.

Take out of oven, place on cooling rack and set your timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip cake out on cooling rack.

Now I wasn’t doing this whole process in one day, so at this point, I wrapped the cakes in saran wrap and foil and froze them.

The next step was to “torte” the cake… make layers.  This is best done at room temperature. So I pulled the cakes out of the freezer and let them sit a bit.

Then I used this handy thing to trim the top off to make it flat, and cut the cake in half.  It is only $3.29 and I used a 40% off coupon! I think it saved me time and headaches!

To separate the layers of the cake without the layers falling apart, I found it great to use these kinds of pans.

For the layering, I just used canned frosting. You make a “dam” or a higher wall of frosting around the outside and then fill the inside with a lower layer of frosting.

Then put the second layer on top.

Even if you’re doing this all in one day, the carving stage works best chilled, so either put the cake in the fridge for a few hours, or in the freezer for a bit.

At this point, you’ll need a cake board or makeshift one. I just had Craig cut a piece of plywood and covered it with wrapping paper and wax paper!

Put a little bit of frosting down as “glue” so your cakes do not slide around.

Put frosting between the edges so the cakes are stuck together.

Lay your template down on top of your cake. (If you have a design, picture, or idea for a cake and would like me to make a template for you, let me know!) I was really glad I had the template and didn’t have to freehand carve it.

Start carving! I used a bread knife. I read that you should exaggerate the details because they’ll get lost in the frosting.

Make your frosting. Here I am trying to match the one of the colors from the party scheme. I did this the night before and refrigerated it in an air tight container. Before frosting, take it out of the fridge, stir it up to get the bubbles out and let it get to room temperature before frosting.

Do a crumb coat: a thin layer of frosting that seals in the crumbs to make frosting the cake much easier. The trick is to wait until the crumb coat is DRY before frosting the outer layer! I also didn’t realize you’re actually supposed to thin the frosting down for this step as well… that would have made it much easier.

Frost your cake. I don’t have any  tips on this step because I was so busy I actually didn’t do it myself! My brother-in-law David did it for me, and he did a great job! Thanks David!

Next I will show you what you can do with all the cake you cut away!

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