Cake Review

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

July 27, 2011


Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Experiment #2 is finished. I am already planning the “dress rehearsal” next week for Experiment #3. Here’s a little review of how this layered, chocolate cake in three tiers (12″, 10″, and 8″) fared.

Let’s start with the end. After three days it’s still moist. The recipe is the one used for our wedding. The cakes were only frozen for a small time to cool. The top layer looks the best. The frosting used to ice the top was a different batch, and I believe a little stiffer than the others. I finally figured out tip #789 which allowed for an easy, smooth distribution of frosting for a smoother finish.

This time, to start, I decided to do three separate batches of cake. This was on the recommendation of the kindly lady from the Decorette Shop who agreed with my “lots of cupcake” assessment. One cake recipe is perfect for the 10″ and 8″, filling the pan half way and resulting in 2 dozen cupcakes. One cake recipe was not enough for the bottom tier. This tier ended up uneven and thinner than the others. So, next time, I will either double or make half again as much for the first tier. The others I will do the same. So, perhaps next I will end up with 36 cupcakes.

Slicing the 12″ tier with the serrated knife was hard. The smaller layers were easier, but I’m not wholly certain it didn’t just get easier with practice. I have some ideas of going slower and using the turntable a little smoother. The bad cut also aided in the “tower of Pisa” look.

I wasn’t sure how to use the rounds with getting my cake out of the pan. So, for each cake I used the next size up round, let it cool, then for the 10″ and 8″ I inverted them onto the correct sized round for slicing, frosting, and assembly. I probably let it sit too long because for each layer, the top came off a bit and I had to use some deft knife moves to keep the cake in tact.

I had just under 4 lbs of powdered sugar left when it came to making the frosting. This was not enough to comfortably frost the three cakes and layers. Since, I have purchased an additional 6 lbs, one of which was used to create the decorative frosting. I also need to ensure the frosting is stiff enough to yield that crisp, smooth look. The next recipe I try will be the “Swiss Buttercream” which includes egg whites. The eggs whites help with the stiffness. Think of meringue.

My husband lent me two different snips. Neither was long enough to sufficiently cut the dowel rods. Two dowels seemed to be plenty for structural reinforcement. I can’t wait to buy cake boxes and try out the dress rehearsal transport. Stacking the cakes, despite the awkwardly snipped dowels, was kind of easy. I have even lifted teh cake a few times back on and off the turntable for various adjustments. It’s held togehter.

Now, decorating the cake was perhaps the most fun. I decided on a green and pink theme to contrast the brown chocolate icing. I had visions of crisp leaves and flowers. My unpracticed hand did okay. It was a good learning experiment on what the tips will do, learning to train my hand to lift and apply the right amount of pressure. For the actual wedding cake, I want to do simple beading to compliment the live rose petals that will be used. I learned making a bead is hard! I think I have the right sized tip for that, regardless. After the “dress rehearsal”, I plan to make some smaller cakes where I can practice the border decorations.

All told, this has been a very enjoyable experiment. I haven’t been able to execute these experiments when I wanted originally, but we still have time. The wedding is 5 weeks out and I’m on experiment #3. After this, I will be playing with decorations, as stated, and flavors of cake. The requested chocolate will be the recipe used for experiment #2. I am thinking of having layer 3 and 1 as the chocolate layers and layer 2 the white/vanilla with raspberry filling. Stay tuned!

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