Yes, folks you too can amaze your friends and neighbors and show up to the gathering with a beautiful cake -and they will all say “Wow, it’s so Martha! It’s too pretty to eat! You made this?”
You can just smile and say “Tee-hee!”
Cake making can be challenging. I have had many lopsided, crummy frosted, dry,icky, bland cakes in my day.
Use a mix. It’s okay,really. But….let’s say you really want to measure flour…..
If you keep reading I will share my favorite recipe.
1) preheat your oven, and be familiar if it has hot spots. To do this line a baking sheet with bread, and place it in you preheated oven, watch carefully to see which ones toast first. Then you will know where and how to rotate your pans as needed. (My instructor taught me that!;) )
2) Grease your pans.
3) follow recipe directions.
4) allow the cake to cool 10 minutes, slide a knife around the edges, allow it to completely cool, then remove it from the pan.
5) make sure cake is completely cool before frosting with a “thin consistency” icing.*thin consistency=knife won’t stand up in it when it is placed in 3″ of icing in a cup that’s 2″wide.
6) for fondant covered cakes make sure the frosting is still moist.
….wait there’s more…
To hold the filling in, make a dam with frosting.
To split levels of cake (“torte” it ) use a cake divider. It also works great to cut off that “dome” on top. Yes, you need to cut that off (level) it.
Domes on cakes are so “not Martha”
Pastry brushes work great for this.
Now, I was so busy rolling out my fondant, that I didn’t get pictures. But, two years ago, I got some here. Key point-roll fondant out waaaay bigger than your cake, you can use homemade or prepackaged fondant. Advice: if you go for the store bought: taste it- it the flavor isn’t that great, add a teaspoon or so of your favorite clear extract, if it becomes too sticky, knead in some confectioners sugar, if it’s too dry, knead in some shortening. (the white kind). I tinted my fondant with a gel color, plain white is nice, too.
Now, your local cake supply or craft store sells all sorts of cutters for fondant for fancy flowers and borders. You can buy them yourself, and read the instructions…or sign up for a class and buy the “student kit”. To really learn the technique, it’s nice to take the class- because you see how it’s done in person. With some things, you can figure it out by illustrations, others are more tricky.
Now, let’s say you have the cake and fondant part down, but you don’t want to go buy all the cutters and such?
Think of fondant as Play-Doh®-
get out your cookie cutter collection- got a flower? Go for it!
It will look great .
The centers of the flower are just deeper colored gum paste, fondant will do the same.
As far as the center lilies go, they were done with gum paste also, along with the green leaves.
One nice thing, if you decide to try the gum paste-after your formations have dried, they keep forever. Or, until you decide to stick em on a baked good. So-let’s say football is on, and you’re fidgety-you can play with gum paste and make flowers and such, let em dry and you are all ready to be all “Martha” at the drop of a hat.
As far as cake recipes go,
an awesome-easy-no-fail cake comes from Fannie Farmer, a super old school cookbook I inherited from my mom. It’s a classic, right up there with “Joy of Cooking”
Boston Favorite Cake
adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
makes 2- 8inch
6 tbs butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
*1 tsp almond extract-(my addition)
1 3/4 c cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c milk
grease cake pans, set aside
ream the butter and sugar, add extracts.
Add egg yolks and beat well.
Now, in another bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda,salt)
Alternately add the dry mixture to the butter mixture with the milk. (milk, dry,milk,dry)
Mix well in between each.
Now, in another bowl, (I know- more dishes…)
beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.
Fold into batter gently
Place in cake pans, and bake as follows:
20-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.