Saturday, October 24, 2015

Birthday Cake On A Budget

I've become a pin addict.  Pinterest has become an almost daily activity. It's a brilliant forum for visual learners and puter-togetherers such as myself.

Sara and I had lots of fun looking through pins together, as we anticipated the putting together of her French-themed birthday party this past spring.

Most of our inspirations came from this cake.  She liked this cake.

She wanted lemon and so after seeing this pin, I wanted to try it with lemon cake mix. Typically we have a no box policy, but this saved time.
Basically you buy a box mix, and turn it into an amazingly moist cake by subbing the oil with real butter, adding an extra egg, and although it doesn't say it in the link above, subbing any water (if it calls for water) with milk and maybe even some heavy whipping cream.

We started with inexpensive lemon cake mixes from the Family Dollar...13 of them, but had extra, which I used to bake cupcakes for Sara's class.
After mixing, I baked the cake in thin layers, using a 9 inch cake pan, an 8 inch cake pan, and a
Instead of buying a small cake pan, I opted for the pyrex, knowing we would use it for many other things. We already had the 9 inch and 8 inch pans, so I used those, and then cut the middle and top layers to the size I had in mind.,,in the end the bottom layer circle was around 9 inches, middle probably around 7, and the top around 5.
Let the layers completely cool before cutting and stacking.

Here's a link to the Best Buttercream Frosting pin I used.
And here was my result...
I can't remember exactly, but I either doubled or tripled the recipe.
It is VERY good.
When everything cooled, the stacking began.  This is where it gets exciting.

I used these cake stacking dow rod sticks, also available at Walmart, and put a very thin layer of icing between layers to act as cake glue.
Time for the first icing layer...An important icing lesson I learned years ago (the hard way and pre-internet), is to put a few small globs of icing around the cake, and then smooth them out into one another, little by little, around the cake, trapping all those crumbs into the icing.

It will look like this. This is a very thin first layer. If you don't do this...well more-than-likely the final product will look like this.
When the entire cake was covered with that first thin layer of icing, I let it dry overnight.
I kept the extra icing in a sealed container, so it wouldn't dry out.
The next day...the first icing layer was dry.
Then I smothered it with a second layer of icing....thicker than the first...I still work in small sections, with little globs of icing put here and there, then smoothed out...but look, no crumbs...because they are stuck in the first layer...ah hah hah hah...take that lemon cake crumbs.
Then another fun part!  I dipped a spoon into hot water to warm the spoon, then made the design by pressing the back of the warm spoon into the new, thick layer of icing, while carefully turning the cake...the light pressure makes the pretty indents, and the dainty thin lines of icing around the cake.

On the middle layer of cake, you can see the second layer of icing before using the spoon.  On the top layer, you can see the icing design after. I began at the top, then worked down.
When finished with all the layers, I smoothed out the top edges with my little metal spatula (seen a few photos above), and let it be to dry again.
There are many fun ways to decorate a cake like are similar cake ideas from my pinterest party board...

The lines on a diagonal.

And here is ours.
Sara was amazed, and that makes a mom's heart happy.
(candles were 49 cents at our local discount them!)

The lavender wasn't blooming in May, so I used lavender stems and the blooms from our May Night Salvia.

How are you making your today world beautiful?

Please share your latest project photos and stories with us on our group fb page here!

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