Monday, 16 January 2012

Birthday Cakes

If you're feeling inspired to decorate a cake, this is how I do it...

1. Choose what style of cake you're going to create. I choose a Bear for Gemma's Birthday.

2. Assemble all the baking products. I used a Vanilla Cake Recipie, but you can make any flavor cake you prefer. I find that the cakes turn out better if the cake itself is a little drier (vs. very moist). If you are using a recipie from scratch, you need to double the recipie. You can also use 2 boxes of cake mix.

Vanilla Cake
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degree C.
Beat sugar & eggs approx. 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Transfer to cake pan and bake for approx. 60 minutes (until knife or toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean).

3. Grease the cake pan so the cake will not stick once you try to take it out. I use the Wilton Cake Release and find it is easy and works fantastic. Pour the batter into the pan, be sure not to touch the bottom or the sides of the pan with the spoon/spatula or the cake will have a tendency to stick in these places.

4. Bake the cake according to directions. Once baked, let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Make the bottom of the cake even by cutting off any excess that has risen over the edge of the cake pan. Remove the cake from the pan by turning onto a cooling rack. Let completely cool before transfering the cake to a cake board or cake keeper.

5. Once the cake has completely cooled you are ready to start icing it. Assemble all the ingredients for the icing. I use the Wilton icing recipie. It will tell you on the decorating instructions how much icing you will need. Seperate the icing into bowls using the decorating instructions on how much and what color of icing you will need.

Wilton Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
4 cups (1 pound) sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Wilton Clear Vanilla Extract

Cream butter & shortening with mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium spped until light and fluffy. Yields about 3 cups. 

6. I always start decorating a cake by putting a thin layer of icing all over the cake. This is something that my Grandma always did and I find that it not only helps fill in some of the holes that may be in the cake, but it also defines the cake shape a little better and makes it easier to see the impression for the outline of the cake.

7. Now just follow the decorating instruction for the cake. If you have a Wilton cake pan but the instructions have gone missing, you can always find the instructions here. Search for the cake pan you are using and download the pdf instructions. The neat thing about the site is that it will also give you additional ideas on how to use the pan to create your own masterpiece.

8. I started by icing the sides of the cake. I use an icing spatula as I find it easier to get it smooth then if using a knife. To make the sides nice and smooth I dip the icing spatula in a glass of very hot water and smooth it out.
Next I outlined the cake with purple icing and filled in the eyes and nose. In the instructions it says to smooth out the eyes and nose by putting corn starch on your finger and smoothing it, but I find that it works much better to wet your finger in a glass of water and smooth it that way.

9. The next step is to start filling in the bears head and paws with the white icing.

10. Next I filled in the purple body of the bear.

11. Then I added the ruffles to the body for the dress and a sash with bow.

And Viola!

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