Sunday, February 25, 2007


I decided this week to try baking a cake from scratch.

Well, SCRATCH that idea!!

The mixing went well, it seemed to be the right amount of batter for the two pans...but this is what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

My best guess is that it rose up over the edge of the pan then didn't have enough substance to support itself so it collapsed.

I'm wondering if this is more of the "baking at high altitude" issue.

Then, to make matters even more interesting, it stuck to the pan (even though I had prepared them exactly the same way I have been) and had to be scrapped out with a spatula

I stacked it up so it "resembles" a cake, but I didn't even bother with frosting, knowing that with all those cut edges I might just as well crumble the whole thing into the bowl with the frosting and stir for the way it would look.

It doesn't taste bad (its chocolate with coffee in it), but the texture is WAY off.

Anybody got a recipe to use pieces of unfrosted cake in anything?

{sigh} definately back to the drawing board.....

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Its a cake, version 3.....

notice the improvingly smooth sides....and the nice "swirlly" design on the top....

we're not ready for prime time yet, but its definately improving.

This week I'm going to try to find someone that knows about the Wilton tips and find out if there actually is a "daisy" tip, or some information somewhere on how to do that....probably means royal icing is in our future.....

oh, and BTW, this week's cake is spice with cream cheese frosting.....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

its a cake, version 2.....

Ta Da!

Now doesn't this look much better? (aside from the fact that its chocolate, that is!)

This was amazingly easier....

I used the newly purchased 9 inch round pans (although a standard cake mix doesn't quite fill these as much as I'd like), and I didn't have to trim off the sides to put it together, which definately made the icing easier.

The new spatula for spreading also helped a lot.

And then there is this nifty item!

My mother gave me this. It was intended actually as a pancake turner, but it worked really well to move the cake layers from the cooling racks to the cake plate (or the top of the first layer). Its sturdy enough and stiff enough to make that journey without letting the cake break.

I'd say that lesson 2 went quite well!

Monday, February 05, 2007

...oh, its a CAKE!

Those of you that read my studio blog yesterday saw this picture with a "what is it" tag line.

Just as a reminder to anyone that's not keeping up, my daughter is getting married this summer, and we are playing with different ideas for the cake.

The purchase of all of that cake mix was strickly one of economics....when the store puts them on sale for $0.69 each, we stock up.

So the answer to "what is it?" cake!

....and yes, this is a cake too.

What you need to know is that I've probably made all of half a dozen (including this one) cakes that I actually took out of the pan and frosted, etc., etc., preferring instead the ease of baking in a 9x13 pan and just frosting over the top

Wedding cake can't be done that, some practice is required here just to test all of our theories, ie:

Theory 1: Can we use liquid egg whites that come in the little boxes at the supermarket instead of wasting all those yolks from whole eggs.

Answer: yup, that's what I used in the test cake and it rose just fine

Theory 2: Can we bake cakes from a standard box at this altitude (over 6000 feet) and have them come out right (remembering with horror our escapades with the angel cake before Christmas)?

Answer: yup, they rose okay, came out of the pan fine, just needed a wee bit more time to be done than the box said (which is probably a function of oven rather than altitude)

Theory 3: Can I actually do the base frosting?

Answer: uh, well,'s the problems encountered with this little experiment....

first off, I don't have a pair of round cake pans that are actually the same size (I told you, this hasn't been done much!) But I did have 2 square ones, so I decided to go with those.

The problem here is that square pans don't have straight sides and so to frost the cake I had to trim off the edges (think of this as cutting the crusts off the bread on a peanut butter sandwich ... BEFORE you try to spread the peanut butter!) Bad idea!

The second issue was that I used a commercial (from a tub) frosting, and because it didn't taste like anything (as in it was just sweet), I added some flavoring (almond), but that changed the spreading texture.

The third issue also had to do with the frosting....I also didn't have any paste food color on hand (I seem to remember giving what was left of the good containers of this stuff to my daughter....maybe not), so I had to use liquid, and...... you guessed it, more texture issues

So, here are today's conclusions:

1. We can bake cakes and even have them taste good (I did add a little almond flavoring to the cake mix too, and that worked out just fine)

2. If I'm truly going to test this frosting thing, I need to bake some cakes that I don't have to trim off the edges of. (I found 2 heart shaped pans in the cabinet this morning.....guess what we'll be baking for next week!)

3. I need to get some proper colors to play with .... oh goodie, an excuse to go to either Michaels or Joanns (evil den's of eniquity!!)

4. I was told last night by our cake guru in California that there actually is a daisy tip that Wilton puts out....guess we better look into that too.

Our excursions into making daisies out of marzipan will be fun too.....

so, watch this space!