Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Birthday Cake

So I promised that I would give Joseph' birthday cake it's own deserves it. I was no less than thrilled with the outcome of this cake. My decorated cakes are pretty well hit or miss. And when you know about all the mishaps that happened with this cake...well, you would be surprised there was a cake at all. :)

First of all, I bought a cute little 6" cake pan to make Joseph's smash cake for his party. Oh how I have dreamed of the day he would dig his hands in a cute little cake and get all messy and be cute for the pictures.

Oh how I dreamed.

It was not to be.

I gave Joseph a cupcake on his birthday. He was unsure about it to begin with...and this is not because he has never had sweets. He's had sweets. It's hard to keep him from them when I bake as much as I do. Anyway, he finally dug in and I thought we were good to go, but no. He had a meltdown over the icing on his hands and he was wiping it on his face and trying to wipe it off of his face with his hands and that icing was going nowhere. S0, no smash cake. The last thing I wanted at his birthday party was a meltdown. It's HIS day, not mine.

Sooooo.....I had to rethink my cake design because I was determined to use that cute little cake pan (it's really not that's basically the top tier of a wedding cake). So, I decided to try to tackle a tiered cake.

The cake was Martha Stewart's Yellow Butter Cake. This was only my second or third scratch cake....and the others were cupcakes. Scratch cakes make me nervous, but only the best for my little Munchkin. I let everything come to room temperature and I got it all mixed and in my parchment lined pans and into the oven. When the timer went off, I looked in the oven and knew something was wrong. My 8" pans were all sunken, but my 6" pan looked ok. I took them out to check for done-ness and my 6" pan deflated in seconds flat. OH NO!!

Oh well, I guess baking cakes from scratch is just not my thing. So, I called Michael and asked him to stop on his way home and buy a cake mix.

I sat down a little later and studied the recipe to determine what had gone wrong. It didn't take me long to figure it out. If you look at the recipe, the flour is broken up into all purpose and cake flour. I only put in all purpose. So, half my flour was missing. Also, I had left out the milk. I had a friend over while I was baking it and was too busy yapping, I guess.

On a good note....Martha's yellow cake with only half the flour and no milk makes a DELICIOUS treat. I cubed it and served it on my fruit tray. It got rave reviews. Maybe I made up something awesome. :)

I later remade the cake and it turned out beautiful.

The icing was Italian Meringue Buttercream....fancy, I know. Like I said, only the best for my Munchkin. This was a very tedious frosting...and it took a while to make, but it turned out beautiful.

Now, I should tell you that I made the cake and the frosting and put the crumb coat on the cake the day before the party. My plan was to get up on Saturday and frost and decorate the cake.

I took my BEAUTIFUL buttercream out the fridge Saturday morning to find it VERY firm...think like a stick of cold butter. I knew that it would never be spreadable in time for me to decorate the cake before the party....enter freakout mode.

I thought about trying to soften it in the microwave...but I was scared of over doing it.

So, I just put a small amount in a bowl and started beating it with a hand just looked curdled.

I put a tiny amount in a bowl and tried softening it in the melted.

I put the melted in the bowl with the icing I was beating and beat it again....

And it came back to life.

So I did this with the rest. Let me tell you though..this icing doesn't like food coloring...but finally I got it all together.

At one point, I didn't think I was going to have enough icing....which made me freak a tiny bit because this icing is time consuming and I said before. But I made it work.

So, for those of you who want to know:

The bottom tier was 2-8" round cakes with chocolate frosting in between the layers (store bought...I had made enough from scratch)

The top tier was a 6" x 3" round cake carved out to make the "road" climbing up the top of the cake. The pan I got was made in USA...something I'm always stoked about.

It took 1 1/2 recipes of cake batter to make all the layers.

The road was Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting, but all else was the italian buttercream.

I made 1 recipe of the buttercream, and if I had not used the chocolate frosting in between the layers, it would not have been enough.

The cars were Fisher Price Wheelies Racers.

The flags were just card stock that I colored on with a sharpie and taped to lollipop sticks.

And I tasted just as good as it looked.

The only bad thing is that I don't know how I am every going to top this one!

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