Archive for the ‘Birthday Cakes’ Category
There are some cakes that just speak to me. I have an entire folder of favorite cakes that I save in hopes that someday I can use them for inspiration. This month I had a request for a rainbow themed birthday cake. I must say, I was over the moon because I have saved up several cheery rainbow themed cakes. Probably my favorite is this rainbow heart cake by Wild Orchard Baking Company that I discovered on Half Baked. My second favorite is the new trend of covering the entire cake in rainbow sprinkles. Sprinkles just bring out my inner 5 year old. I was torn between these two styles of cake and so was Molly’s mom. On a whim, I thought why not make them both in one rainbow, heart, sprinkle cake.
Time for the nitty gritty. How did she do that:
6 inch chocolate cake(bday girl’s favorite) top tier
10 inch rainbow vanilla cake bottom tier
6 and 10 inch cake boards
Supports of choice for tiered cake – I use the Single Plate System(SPS) by Bakery Craft
12″ Round Cake Drum
Rainbow food colors – Christmas red,orange, lemon yellow, leaf green, sky blue, violet, pink
Fondant - 5-6 ounces of each color is enough for the hearts, balls and name
Sprinkles – 6 ounces of multi-colored nonpareils (fancy word for round sprinkles)
2.5 batches of white buttercream (a single batch is based on 2lb of powered sugfar)
Letter Cutters- FMM Funky Tappits and FMM Script Tappits were used for Molly’s name
Small heart cookie cutter
Large heart template – I created this template on a Cricut to cut out a 4 1/2 inch George(cartridge) heart.
#12 Wilton piping tip and a piping bag
Small offset spatula
Heart Tier Instructions:
The number of hearts needed will be dependent on the size of heart cutter you use. I lucked out and happened to have a heart cutter that fit exactly 14 (2 sets) of the rainbow hearts on each row. Officially a rainbow has 7 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.) I replaced indigo with pink for a little extra variety.
Use a couple of pieces of paper and outline your hearts to figure out how many will fit. I even labeled them with colors to help me test how many of each color I would be using. For a 6 inch cake, you need to cover a rectangle that is approximately 4in(height of the cake) X 20 inches(circumfrance of a frosted 6 inch cake).
For my cake, I needed a total of 42 hearts (6 of each color). Roll out each color of fondant to 1/16 inches thick. Cut your hearts and keep them in a ziplock bag so they stay soft. You can do this a couple of days in advance as long you keep them sealed. I made 1 extra of each color just in case.
Fill and frost your 6 inch cake. Starting at the front of the cake place the first 3 hearts vertically. If your frosting has crusted, apply a small amount of buttercream to the back of the hearts before you apply them. Add the next column of hearts to the left, then add the column to the right. Continue adding hearts left and right of the center. This makes sure any “adjustments” you need to make will be in the back. When I was 2/3 of the way done, I recalculated my spacing between hearts to ensure they would all fit nicely on the cake.
Sprinkle Tier Instructions:
For this tier, I wanted to carry the rainbow from the outside into cake. I baked individual layers to create the internal rainbow effect. I used only 6 of the 7 colors of the rainbow for the inside. I didn’t want the top tier to be super tall. I used just under two batch of vanilla cake. You want the tiers the same size, so you want to weigh or meause the amount of batter you make of each color. For the 10 inch cake, I used 2.25 cups of batter for each layer. I separated the batter and used the same gel colors I used for the hearts to color the batter. To make sure the color would stay bright, I added enough food coloring to achieve the color I wanted then added an extra dab. Bake each layer at 300 to 325 degrees. You want to bake these thinner layers at a lower temp so that they do not dry out and they do not dome. I did not have to level these thin layers. Once cooled, wrap each layer to keep them moist while the other layers bake. Freezing the layers for 15-20 minutes will make it easier to stack them later on.
Place a smear of buttercream on the 10 inch cake board and place the purple tier onto the board. Load your buttercream into a piping bag with a #12 tip. Pipe a layer of frosting over the entire layer and smooth it with a spatula. Add the next layer of cake, repeat layer of frosting until you complete your cake rainbow. Then frost the outside of the tier using your normal method. Smooth the front portion of the well where the white heart and name will go.
Applying the Sprinkles:
Before I applied the sprinkles, I took my large heart template and placed it on the cake. If you let your buttercream crust up a little you can attach your template with a little shortening around the edges. There numerous suggestions on how to apply sprinkles. So people say to use your hand and kind of press them into the cake. I tried that first and made a massive mess in just one handful so that was a total failure. Half Baked did a blog post where she chilled her cake and rolled the edges in sprinkles which would work great for a small cake or cupcakes but there is no way I could do that with a 10 inch tier. When researching sprinkle cakes, I came across a post on how to apply sprinkles to the side of a cake and since I was out of options, I thought I would give it a try and to my total amazement, it WORKED! Cut a strip of wax paper. I did best with strips around 2X 4 inches and place it on a deep cookie sheet or baking pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Literally sprinkle the sprinkles onto the sprayed wax paper. Shake it around a bit so the sprinkles form a single layer. Lift the wax paper and gently place it onto the side of the cake. Lightly rub your hand over the wax paper to transfer the sprinkles from the wax paper to the cake. Lift the wax paper off. if there are any sprinkles still on the wax paper, just move it to a bare spot on the cake and rub light over that spot. Do not press too hard or the buttercream squishes out between the sprinkles. Repeat until the cake is covered. I’m not saying you won’t have sprinkles bouncing around your counter but it is much cleaner and easier to do than trying to press them into the side. Don’t forget to pay special attention to the area around the heart template so that you get a very well defned sprinkle outline around the heart. Gently remove the template.
Cut out your letters in the rainbow colors. I used the Funky Tappits for the M and the Script Tappits for the rest of the letters. Roll out a fondant snake and create the swirl accents. Leave these items to dry. Roll out the fondant balls for the border. I made 8 fondant balls of each color and had a few extras. Attach the letters with buttercream and attach the fondant balls to the cake drum with melted chocolate. Don’t forget to add a ribbon to your cake drum and you are all set for a whimsical rainbow, heart, sprinkle cake.
It’s fun to make an ice cream cake that doesn’t require a freezer. My friend Jessica found this adorable cake design on Pinterest. The original was done by Abigail’s Bake Shop. I tweaked the details just a little bit for Addie’s first birthday cake. It went great with the pink frilly decor of Addie’s birthday party.
The cake is 4inch round on top of an 8 inch round. Both are strawberry cake frosted in buttercream with fondant accents.
Tools used for this cake:
For the swirls I used the medium swirl cutter from the
Swirl and Heart Patchwork Cutters.
The letters and the number 1 were done with the
FMM Funky Alphabet & Numbers Set.
To create the number medallion, I used the two larger sizes from my
Things I learned on this cake.
1) I’ve been wanting to try this technique for a while. For tiered cakes I normally use a support system called SPS (Single Plate System) by Bakery Craft. However, their smallest round plate is 6 inch. Since I needed a 4 inch circle, I decided to try Bubble Tea Straws for support.
Many cake decorators rely solely on bubble tea straws even for larger cakes so I thought I’d give it a go with a lighter weight cake. I was very impressed with the bubble tea straws. They were easy to cut and supported the 4 inch top tier well. I will continue using SPS for my larger tiers because I prefer not having to cut supports and SPS has always served me well. But I’m glad to know I have a good alternative for smaller tiers.
2) It’s the little things that matter. I took pics of the cake before delivery and I had not added on the pink “cherries” yet. Looking at the pics side by side, you can see what a big difference that little extra touch really makes.
3) This tip I learned from Royal Bakery’s FB page. I made the swirls and the medallion in advance. When it came time to place the medallion on the cake, it had dried so that it would not lay flush on the top tier. It would have been “OK” to have it on the cake flat and not flush, but that wasn’t what I wanted. Someone had posted on Royal Bakery’s page that if you have a fondant piece that has dried, you can place it in a tupperware container with a piece of bread and it would soften up. I left the medallion with a single piece of bread in a sealed container until the morning. Over night was too long for a piece so thin. In the morning it was way too soft so I had to let it firm up a bit before I could use it . Next time I would only need to leave it for a couple of hours. Either way, it’s definitely my new favorite trick.
I made this cake for Mari and Jeff’s 3 year old son Antonio. As you can see, the theme was the Disney’s Cars movie. Jeff and Mari did a great job designing the cake.
6 inch and 10 inch tiers
White Almond Sour Cream Cake
Buttercream Frosting (double batch using 4lb of powdered sugar)
14 inch cake drum
2 lbs black fondant
1/4 lb of red fondant
small amount of yellow fondant
small amount of white fondant
brown, copper, green and blue food coloring
1 lollipop stick
black ribbon (1/2 inch width) to edge the cake drum
Wilton Square Cut-Outs
Makin’s Clay Extruder
Piping gel or water
Small paint brushes
Piping tips 32 and 233
FMM Funky Alphabet Tappit Cutters
Number Chocolate Mold
Red and yellow candy melts
Template for Cactus and Sign
Roll out a thin round of black fondant to cover the 14 inch cake drum. Apply piping gel or water to the drum, and place the black fondant on top. Trim the fondant to the edge. Let this dry for a couple of days. Do not store in an airtight container or it will not dry.
Next make the chocolate 3. Melt the red and yellow chocolate melts in separate containers. Remember to always melt chocolate at 1/2 power to avoid scorching. To get the multiple colors, mix a small amount of yellow and red chocolate together. Fill the bottom of the mold with red, then the middle with orange and then the yellow. Using a toothpick mix the edges where the colors meet to create a smoother transition. Tap the mold to remove any air bubbles and let set. Once the chocolate is complete set it should easily pop out of the mold. Depending on the temp between 30 minutes to an hour.
Frost with white frosting and smooth. Place a dab of frosting on the black cake drum, and place the bottom tier centered on the drum. Roll out the black fondant to about an 1/8 inch
Using the medium square cutter, cut out several squares. Avoid cutting too many in advance or they will get too dry.
Attach squares using buttercream. To evenly space the squares, place the square cutter gently next to the black square on the cake and apply the next square. While the cutter was still in place, place the next black square above the cutter to create the checkerboard pattern. Next, roll out about 1 lb of black fondant to 1/8 of inch. Using a 10 inch cake circle as a guide, trim the fondant so that you have a 10 black circle. Lightly dampen the back of the black fondant circle and place it on the 10 inch cake. Knead in a generous amount of shortening into a small amount of red fondant. Using the medium round disk, extrude a red rope long enough to go around the 10 inch cake. If you do not have an extruder, you can roll a simple rope.
Using a thin paint brush, paint water or piping gel along the top edge of the black squares. Apply the red rope around the top ledge of the squares. Roll out a small amount of yellow fondant and cut into thin strips. A Ribbon Cutter is great for this but if you don’t have one, just use a pizza cutter. Cut the strips into short pieces (just under an inch in my case). Attach the yellow pieces along the board and the top of the 10 inch tier to create the stripes in the road. For the name, I used the FMM Funky Alphabet Tappit Cutters . On a surface dusted with cornstarch, roll out red fondant pretty thin. Then place a piece of saran wrap over the fondant and pressed the letter cutters into the fondant. This is a great way to keep the letters from sticking. Paint the back of each letter with a very small amount of water and attach to the squares.
Fill the 6 inch cake (on its own cake board) with white frosting and cover tightly until ready to use. Tint 4 cups of frosting blue. I intentionally did not mix all of the color into the frosting so that it had streaks of white throughout it for clouds. Frost the 6 inch cake in the blue frosting. Smooth and set aside. Roll out a small piece of white fondant for the Route 66 sign (see template under Supplies). Cut out the route sign and let this sit for an hour or so to stiffen up. Knead in a generous amount of Crisco into a small amount of black fondant and place it in a clean clay extruder. Using the medium circle disk, extrude a snake that will be the sign pole. Place this somewhere to dry straight. Switch the disc in the extruder to the smallest circle and extrude another snake. Apply water around the edge of the Route sign and attach the thin black snake to create the outline. Use another thin snake to make the two sixes. Let the sixes dry before attaching them to the sign. Attach using a small amount of water.
While the sign is drying, cut the lollipop stick in 1/2 to be the base of the flags.
Cut 2 pieces of white fondant and attach to the lollipop sticks. Be sure the flags are facing opposite directions. Using a pizza cutter or ribbon cutter, cut strips of black fondant. Using the same width, cut the strips into squares. Apply the squares with water to the white flags to make the checkered patter. Let dry.
To create the desert rock formations, mix copper and brown food coloring into white fondant. Knead the color in until you get the desired effect. Roll this out very thin. Then just tear it into pieces of various shapes and sizes.
Using the paper templates and toothpicks, mark the front of your cake where the Route 66 sign will go. Then mark where you would like each cactus to be placed. Between each cactus, attach a desert rock formation using buttercream.
For the cactus, I added kelly green and juniper green food coloring to the left over blue frosting. Fill a piping bag with green frosting and cap with tip 32. Start at the top of each cactus and pipe down. Then add the arms to each cactus. Once done, place the 6 inch cake in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will make it easier to place on top of the bottom tier. While the top cake is chilling, assemble your support system. In my case, I use the single plate system (SPS). Insert your support system into the bottom tier. Once the top tier is chilled, remove it from the freezer and place it on the plate (or dowels if that’s your support structure). Attach the Route 66 sign and pole to the 6 inch cake using frosting or piping gel. Apply the flags to the top of the cake. Using a glue gun, attach the black ribbon along the base of the cake drum to cover up the rest of the silver foil.
The toy cars and number 3 were added on site.
I’ve never been a fan of sugar free anything…please, I am a baker and true sugar junky. However my dear friend Laura gave up sugar many years ago and it’s great except I was never able to make her a cake. That is until I found this sugar free cake recipe on Sharon’s fabulous blog http://sugaredblog.blogspot.com. I tweaked the recipe just a bit. I was very nervous tweaking the recipe because scratch recipes are much pickier than doctored box mixes but I couldn’t resist. I used 1/2 regular cocoa and 1/2 dutch processed cocoa and I also added a little almond flavoring which is my favorite with chocolate cake. Next time I’m going to try all dutch processed cocoa and see how it goes.
Sugar-free Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour (I used Swan’s cake flour but AP should work as well)
1½ cups Splenda (granular no calorie sweetener)
¾ cup non-dairy creamer powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp regular cocoa powder
¼ cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa (Sharon’s recipe uses all regular cocoa)
¾ cup vegetable oil (can sub ¾ cup apple sauce for oil)
1 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
3 eggs separated
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond flavoring
Fresh strawberries for filling and decoration
I had read that sugar free batter doesn’t rise as much as regular cake batter so I decided to use 2 six inch pans to ensure I got a nice height to each layer.
To prep the pans I used my homemade cake release (recipe is at the end of my Go To Chocolate Cake post). Squirt some cake release in the pan and spread it around using the pastry brush. Be sure to fully cover the bottom and sides of each pan.
Fill pans 2/3 of the way full. I overfilled just a bit because everyone said sugar free cakes don’t rise as much as regular cakes.
The original recipe says to bake at 350 which I did (even though I normally bake at 325). The reason I decided to follow the recipe is because of how picky scratch recipes are and also because everyone said sugar free cakes don’t rise like regular cakes. Ummmmm…see for yourself.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean. These took about 40 minutes in my oven. Next time I will definitely be baking at 325. But believe it or not that super tall mound worked out in my favor this time. (Keep reading to see why).
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then take a sharp bread knife and lay it along the top edge of your pan and level each cake while it’s still in the pan. Save the scraps.You need tto remove the dome to turn the cakes onto a cooling rack.
Have 3 cooling racks handy. Take the first cooling rack and place it over the cake pan, holding the rack tightly to the pan, flip them both over..keeping the cake pan firmly against the cooling rack. Because the cake release is so great, the cake normally let’s go with just a subtle shake of the pan. (Note I do NOT run a knife along the edge of the cake when using cake release. This usually creates crumbs and issues when I ice my cakes). Here you can see that you also get a really nice side to the cakes (no crumbs) using the cake release.
Take another cooling rack and lay it on top of your cake. There should be a cooling rack on bottom, cake in the middle and a cooling rack face down on the cake, firmly (but gently) hold the cooling racks together and flip the cake over. The cut side of the cake should now be face up on the cooling rack. Do this for both cakes. Let the cakes cool completely (for a 6 inch cake this is usually 45 minutes to an hour).
While the cakes are cooling, make your frosting.
A single batch was just enough frosting to cover a 6 inch 2 layer cake.
1 Large box sugar-free chocolate instant pudding mix
1-cup low fat milk
2 cups heavy cream
In a mixing bowl, pour the milk. Measure out the heavy cream in a separate container and open the pudding box. Quickly pour the pudding into the milk beating just until absorbed. (Here is where I screwed up. I over mixed the pudding and left it sitting just long enough it got globby). Then add the heavy cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Place frosting in fridge until ready to ice the cake.
When I added the heavy cream my pudding didn’t really dissolve and I ended up with chocolate pudding chunks in my frosting. Next time I may skip the milk all together and just use the heavy cream. I was so disappointed in my frosting because it meant the cake wouldn’t look very pretty. And my friend Laura deserves a beautiful birthday cake. Since the frosting tasted great and just had dark spots in it, I decide to try the “crumbs” on the side look. This was my first time trying this technique.
I took the tops I had cut of both cakes and crumbled them on to a cookie sheet. I placed the cookie sheet back in the oven. The oven was off but still warm from baking the cakes earlier. I left them in there about 30 minutes. I took them back out of the oven and let them cool for just a couple of minutes. I placed the crumbs in a gallon sized zip lock bag and ran my rolling pin over the bag crushing the crumbs so they were very fine.
Now that the cakes were cool, I needed to level them completely. Because they had risen funny, the top edge was not actually level. I have the BEST cake leveler in the entire world called the Agbay. And before you say it YES I know it’s expensive and YES it’s worth every single penny.
Level both cakes if removing the dome was not enough. Place a coupler at the bottom of a piping bag with no tip. Fill a piping bag with your frosting. Put a dab of frosting on a 6 inch cake board and place the first layer of cake cut side down. A bit of the board will be showing, this is OK. Put a thin layer of frosting on top of the cake. Using just the couple (no tip), pipe a border around the edge of the cake. Place sliced strawberries inside the border just below the top edge. Put another thin layer of frosting over the strawberries just to the edge of your border.
Place your next cake cut side down onto the frosted layer. Ice the cake normally. I used the edge of the cake board to guide me in the thickness of my icing. At this point my cake had all the little black specks from my pudding frosting.
So time for the messy part…applying the crumbs. I placed my cake on a large piece of parchment paper then I took a handful of the crumbs and placed them gently on the side of the cake. More crumbs ended up on the parchment than on the cake. I repeated this until the sides of my cake were covered. Obviousely crumbs had also spilled along the top so I carefully applied more crumbs to the top edge of my cake. I placed the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This was going to make it easier to put on my pretty cake board. I took the cake out of the freezer and set it on a decorated 8 inch cake board covered in wrapping paper then food safe cello wrap and a ribbon around the edge. Then using the star tip I piped small rosettes long the border of the cake and placed the strawberries on top. With the fresh fruit and whipping cream this cake does require refrigeration.
Laura and I cut the cake and had a nice slice with a glass of milk. I don’t think you would know it was sugar free unless someone told you! I was pleasantly surprised.
Happy Birthday Laura.
This recipe is a family favorite. It’s my dad’s favorite birthday cake and has been since he was a little boy. The frosting is a traditional buttercream with fresh strawberries. It does require refrigeration and is not really meant for piping or decorating.
1 box White Cake Mix
1 small box of strawberry jello
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup of oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen – do not thaw)
1/2 cup of water
Mix all ingredients together. I usually follow the cake mix doctor’s recommendation of mixing for 2 minutes. My great grandmother said this will fill 2 eight inch pans but she was not talking about “professional” cake pans. I really find this cake will fill 2 6 inch pans and a few extra cupcakes.
Edited to add: Bake at 325 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Usually 30-45 minutes.
1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen – thawed)
1 stick of room temperature butter
2lbs of powdered sugar
Blend strawberries and butter together with hand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar to desired consistency. This frosting can be used as a glaze by reducing the amount of powdered sugar you add. If your strawberries are very juicy, you may need to add a bit more powdered sugar to get the consistency you desire to ice your cake.
Because the frosting isn’t very decorator friendly I wrapped this cake in Chocolate Pirouette Cookies. It took just over 2 containers of cookies. Fresh strawberries are piled on top with a red ribbon to finish the look. The ribbon also helped the cookies stay in place on delivery:)