Friday, March 22, 2013

Trio of cakes and baking secrets discovered

Blue Cake Trio

I have been doing a lot of baking and cake testing over the last couple of months. Let's just say my waist is not getting any smaller. Thank goodness for neighbors and coworkers who love baked goods! Over the course of these practice sessions, I've learned a few things, although, I still have so much to learn! Luckily, there is a wealth of information out there to help novice bakers like myself, so I thought I would share a few source links for the things that I have discovered.

In the past, I've always had problems with uneven layer cakes. The sides of the layers would not match up when stacked or there would be an uneven dome on the top of each layer, so the whole thing would look off-kilter when frosted. I would try and compensate by sawing off the dome on top and losing a lot of precious cake just trying to level it off. In some cases, it looked worse than if I'd just left things alone!

I recently discovered these Bake Even strips that helped a ton. You can find them here. You basically soak the fabric strips in water to moisten them and then velcro them around your cake pan. They help the cakes bake evenly. I've also heard that lowering the heat in the oven helps. Putting the cake pans in a water bath while baking (as you would do for a cheesecake) also yields similar results.

In my quest for a perfectly smooth cake, I searched online to see if I could find some frosting tutorials out there. I stumbled upon this one from Cup a Dee Cakes that was a huge help to me. I was mesmerized by her tutorial and how easy she made it look. She starts with a large batch of buttercream frosting and adds thin coats, chilling in between each coat of frosting. She uses a bench scraper to help get smooth edges. I put her method to the test and it worked great for me. Head on over to her blog for more great tips.

If you're looking for a fun cake with a more rustic/organic feel, head over to Sweetapolita blog for her "Swirl" method. I used the technique on this cake and I love how it turned out:
 Blue Swirls Cake

Sweetapolita's cakes are always unique and beautiful. You're sure to be inspired by her blog if you love baking as much as I do.

Happy baking!

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