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Cake baking questions
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you see my note about the 8-piece silicone set at Costco for $20? If a Costco near you doesn't have it I could send it to you pretty quickly.

As for cutting off the top. Try not to. The baked layers will have nice "finished" edges from the more intense heat on the exterior surfaces. These will resist the friction of applying the icing much better than a freshly cut surface. The freshly cut surface will just exfoliate crumbs into the icing and make you both nutz.

The reason they suggest cutting is to level the layers. What works just as well (I think) is turning your bottom layer domed-side-down on the cake circle. Then put the top layer domed-side-up. There will be some peaking to the top of the finished cake but, so what? If there's a lot of dome on your layers and you don't like it aesthetically, place both freshly-cut surfaces down so that you are still only icing the sealed surfaces.

I prefer to bake a single deep layer and split it horizontally. This minimizes the doming altogether. It also results in a shallower (I think more sophisticated looking) cake. But don't bother with this yet. Save it for another time when you feel more experienced.

Now, when you go to ice your cake, begin by covering the exposed edges of your cake circle (some are meant to have a "reveal" and have a printed or scalloped edge; others are exact 8" or 9" circles and will not be apparent under the cake) or your serving plate with 2" strips of parchment paper. Slide them betwixt the bottom of the cake and what will stick out beyond it. Four or five will do.

Sandwich the layers together with frosting or filling.

Put a verythin layer of icing on the whole exterior. This may end up full of crumbs and look really disappointing. No matter. Be not dismayed! Put it aside for however long it takes to firm up. Notice that the parchment strips have schmutz all over them but, smart you, you're going to slide them out when you're done and have a pristine looking finish. Not yet! Wait until you're all finished. I just wanted you to see why you put them there in the first place.

When the first coat is set up, frost the cake again with the remainder of the icing. It will go on smoothly and all the annoying crumbs will be stuck inside that "crumb coat".

Meanwhile, check with your friend and see what the cake of her dreams looks like in her imagination. It may have all the voluptuous peaks of a Duncan Hines box. In that case, you may want to encourage her to have a separate filling (between the layers) so you will have enough icing to lavish on the outside. OR you may want to prepare a double batch of icing. You'll dump and/or sample a lot of this but it can eliminate some frustation on the first cake.

OTOH, perhaps she will be able to understand that her boyfriend will be able to taste the cake better if she is spare with the frosting and garnishes it with some chopped nuts or judiciously placed something (fruit is good but perhaps not best on devil's food with a caramel icing -- perhaps a frozen and smashed up Heathbar pushed into the icing on the sides and a drizzle of melted caramel over the top or just a "halo" of crushed something...)

OK. Time to slide those parchment strips out from under the cake. Is that impressive?! Looks like perfection! I know it does! Probably tastes (at least to a cake person) as good as it looks too.

PS Thanks to all our wonderful advice, I only lost two strawberry plants in the torrential rain we had for about 3 weeks! Wink
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't you feel good about all that hard work you put into making a happy home for your strawberry babies? Good for you, Sweetie!

Rainey: I'm officially decreeing you QUEEN OF CAKE! This information is so helpful and so detailed that I feel absolutely confident of being able to finally make a cake that I'd want to eat!

I did see your mention of Costco, but I want to see if there are any in Chicago, first. If there aren't any and Walmart doesn't follow through, I'll contact you immediately and have you ship out the pans. Do you accept PAYPAL? Laughing

All this talking about cake triggered some dormant brain cells in my head last week and I suddenly remembered that my mom would make for me those darling Baker's Coconut Cakes when I was really, really young (under 5-6 years old!) I have a box of stuff from her that I rarely dig into, but this weekend I went hunting and found BOTH of the original Baker's Coconut Cut-Up Cake instruction books in there!!!

Do you remember them, or has anyone else had them? They were the "Be All and End All" of cakes, back in the 50's, and you were one lucky kid, indeed, if your mom made them for you. Here's a photo of the cover:

Now, Rainey, you've inspired me enough to not only make cakes, for the first time in MY life, but also to make coconut lambs, lions and bears...oh my! Thanks for all your sage advice, especially all the details about frosting. Now, I can't wait for Kim and I to start going all Marie Antoinette and "Let them eat Cake"!

[PS to all History Buffs: yes...I know it was 'bread', not 'cake', but let me keep my dilusions, okay?]
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ejm



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, I know that there are costco stores somewhere in the vicinity. I'll find out where they are and check them out. I still haven't gone to Canadian Tire to see if they have the pans. It's just been so disgustingly cold. As soon as it warms up, I'll be on my bike to investigate.

(That's very kind of you to offer to ship them here. If I can't find any, I may take you up on it.)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth- Surely you could call from inside where it's warm and cozy. Then, before you made a trip you'd know if it were going to be worthwhile.

Personally, I don't think there's a colder place on the planet than Eastern Canada when the temp goes down and the wind blows. And, tho you can make the case that I'm a spoiled SoCal gal, I made that assessment when I lived not terribly far south in New York. Laughing

Light a fire and have a cup of tea. If you can't get them when it's warmer you know where to get me. Wink

And, Bee, if you're checking your local Costco the SKU# is 847978 (in case it's something they don't carry yet but might consider).

Honestly, this is a great deal. Single cake pans were $14 on that site that Elizabeth located and this has 2 plus 4 other pans and 2 silcone spatulas. I have half a dozen slicone spatulas and spoonulas and I use them every day.
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ejm



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I'll definitely call ahead. But I'm also going to wait until (if?? ... it's snowing AGAIN today) it gets warm and cosy outside too. The bike ride to get the pans would be a fun adventure.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"And a fun time was had by all."

I'm happy to report that Kim is well on her way towards enjoying the entire process of cooking from scratch, and this weekend, we had the absolute pleasure of baking a layer cake together.

I had previewed ejm's carrot cake, making it the previous week, and dumping it off at my partner's apartment. It made an 8 x 13 sheet cake with the cream cheese frosting...and it lasted 24 hours! Apparently, one piece led to another, which led to another until it was gone! Cake for breakfast, cake for lunch, cake with tea... you get the idea.

So, having picked up the silicone pans Rainey so highly recommended from a Chicago Costco, we baked the carrot cake (this time) in the round forms and made it into a layer cake.

Apparently, this is a truly magical recipe, as Kim's trial cake lasted only 24 hours, too, when she brought it back to her sister's home!

Thanks, Everyone, for holding my hand and walking me into another whole world of baking! And Kim says, "Thanks, Guys, too!"
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ejm



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile Dairy_Queen, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that you all liked the carrot cake and that it turned out well both times. (It IS good, isn't it?) Smile

-Elizabeth
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ejm: you know that I had never baked a cake prior to yours, because my cake-eating experiences had been akin to munching sawdust. So, I was absolutely Shocked stunned Shocked when I saw the cake disappear that fast and the SIZE of the pieces that Sally and her roommates cut! They had to be 4" x 4"...it was like those girls had NEVER eaten cake before! I managed to have two "lady-like" pieces before I dropped it off: first, without frosting to see if the cake turned out and the second sliver with the frosting, to taste the difference.

It's too early to say, regarding myself, but I may have to change my mind about cake! Wink I'm so glad that you posted both of those recipes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy Queen, I'm so happy you enjoyed your cake baking (and even better, eating) experience! I too was an unsure cake baker, prior to this year the last one I made I think was when I was 13, and it was by a lady named Betty Crocker! People on these forums urged me to give it another try and for my new year's resolution I resolved to bake some cakes from scratch. So far this year I've made 6 different cakes, each different and all save one very successful---but what I enjoy more than the cake itself is the process! i love creating the batter and watching it grow and change----truly delightful.

And Kim is lucky to have such a good friend!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooh! David! You may be ready for something like Alice Medrich's Chocolat. When you find that making something that is not only delicious but visually striking there's not tellin' where that can take you. Wink
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David: this was a nice story, about how you, too, overcame Fear of Cake and have already made 6 of them this year!

Okay, you guys and gals, be prepared to laugh or roll your eyes. Laughing Rolling Eyes

I never do anything "half-way". It's either All or Nothing (I don't know what that falls under, in Psych #101).

So, I've baked my first and second cakes. But, I would look longingly at cakes in cookbooks that were bedecked with festoons of flowers and other pretty decorations.

Then, my partner, Sally, told me this weekend that she was hosting a British Tea Party at her work, to educate the "Colonists", as she calls us. Laughing She doesn't bake, a wit, so she asked me to make the sweet portion of the tea, while she concentrates on the savory.

I knew that I was going to make mini lemon curd tarts with a raspberry in the center, but, Sally requested that I make "Fairy Cakes",too, which are wee little cakes that "fairies" are supposed to make.

Huh?

I spent hours researching them, only to find out that U.K. fairy cakes are.....U.S. cupcakes! Oy vay! Such a charming name for such a boring confection.

But, apparently Fairy Cakes are decorated with sprinkles and flowers and other such things, making them look magical (or so I've been told.)

So, doing MORE research (which is a passion I love!), I followed link after link after link....leading me to.....sign up for a 4 week course in professional cake decorating, complete with frosting, piping and any other "-ing"!

So, I've gone from not making a single cake in my life, to two cakes in 1 week, to cake decorating classes, all in the course of two weeks! I called up a local shop in Michigan, that was listed on the Wilton site, where the woman was so sweet. She's been baking cakes for over 40 years and ran a professional bakery until she switched to floral design. She teaches the classes in the back room of the flower shop, and they start April 4th, running for 4 weeks.

The classes are 3 hours long, totaling 12 hours total class time....and the cost is $25.00!!!! That includes materials, supplies and class time! I can believe how cheap they are!

So, by time the High Tea is served, in late May, I'll be baking cakes and decorating them, like a pro!

You are so right, David! The people at C & Z have been a HUGE inspiration for me to venture into an area that I never...EVER...thought that I'd go! Little did I think, that a mere month ago, this part of my life would be happening. It just proves, that if you keep your 'life door' open, you never know what blessings walk in!
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ejm



Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 51
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen wrote:
never do anything "half-way". [...] leading me to.....sign up for a 4 week course in professional cake decorating, complete with frosting, piping and any other "-ing"!


Dairy_Queen, that is hilarious! Once again, I'm really glad you were so pleased with the results of your first try at cake making (and second try at eating). One of the first times I made that carrot cake, I had the same sort of stunning experience. I took it to a neighbourhood "potluck" party. There were several cakes there that looked just a little more professionally made. But for some reason, that carrot cake disappeared first and I overheard comments like "have you tried that rectangular cake? Get some before it's all gone. It's fabulous." Smile (I was so proud!) I think its success is due to the butter and the cream cheese in the icing and the moistness and number of spices in the actual cake. Some people are just too cheese-paring when it comes to how much icing to put on a cake. I suspect that the carrot cake could be a zucchini cake as well. Just substitute zucchini for the carrots.... (I'm anticipating that your garden is going to produce several zucchinis - so many that you won't know what to do with them. Very Happy)

When you make your fairy cakes, maybe you should try making BlackForest fairy cakes.... (did you notice the link to black forest cake on the carrot cake recipe page?)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bee-

How lovely that you're getting into this! Wink

Tell you what also might work for your garden party themed fairly cakes: look for really tiny one- or two-bite size pans. Just pipe out a bit of white buttercream with a star tip on each and top with a pesticide-free violet. You'll get nice color punch, some sweet romance along with your garden theme and you can get a lot of these puppies knocked out super fast.
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Cupcake Carrie



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Nebraska, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey wrote:
Just pipe out a bit of white buttercream with a star tip on each and top with a pesticide-free violet.


Oh, that sounds just lovely! You all are making me want to bust out my cake decorating supplies! Smile I took some "lessons" from my grandmother when I was younger. She decorated wedding cakes for years. My favorite part was eating my misshaped roses from the rose nail. I could never get those to look quite right... Wink
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm hoping that my botanical background will have me making a virtual garden of frosting on my cakes! Fingers crossed, I only have one week to wait for the classes.
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