I’ve always LOVED to eat cake. I will eat any kind of cake, and the more frosting the better! But I’ve never actually made a cake. So I’m starting out with zero experience, and my end goal is this: next summer, I want to make my own wedding cake. I haven’t told my boyfriend (fiance, I should say!) this yet, and I think I’m going to wait until I get better at this before I deliver that news. (Especially after the results of this Very First Cake…)
That said, My Goal with The Very First Cake: Make a cake! Any kind of cake! Just make one.
Easy enough, right? Saturday morning I sat down with my coffee and watched a quick 10 minute video of Martha Stewart showing me how to frost a cake. Wow, this was going to be breezy! All I needed was a few new tools, like actual cake pans for starters, so I got ready & headed out. Here’s what I bought:
- A cake dome (because at this point, I was thinking I would definitely need to display this wonderous cake in the making)
- An icing spatula
- 2 – 9inch circular cake pans
- A pink cupcake apron, just because
I already had appropriate frosting tips and freezer ziplock bags to act as pastry tubes. Good to go! Here I am, pre-cake making, and a sidenote, my very first official selfie too:
Flavor Choices: I can’t tell you exactly how I got to make the cake I did. I started out thinking I was going to make a Boston Cream Pie cake because my fiance loves those, and it basically devolved from there. While walking to the grocery store, I made the mistake of Googling “fancy boston creme pie” and what I learned was that I couldn’t possibly make this cake with vanilla Jello-brand pudding. This was some type of travesty against the true Boston Cream Pie, so I was going to need to make real official pastry cream, for the recipe I used, click here. This was the first of many questionable choices I made as a novice, that ultimately led me to the following cake:
Triple layer yellow cake with pastry cream custard filling, rich cocoa chocolate butter cream frosting topped with random fall colored sprinkles.
Things I learned:
- Frosting a cake to look PRETTY is extremely hard! It is going to require lots of practice.
- Be careful with sprinkles on cake: if your frosting is too thick, they will roll to the edges of the cake, especially if you are guilty of #6, below. I definitely was. :)
- Read the pastry cream recipe all the way to the END, as it could say it needs 24 hours to chill, and if it does say this, you make have to go to pastry-chilling-extremes if you do not have 24 hours to wait or if you just have a case of impatience like me.
- Making a multi-layer cake, even an ugly one, takes a long time. I am talking 5 hours or more.
- It’s very easy to skim the top of the layers of cake off with a serrated knife to make them level. I thought this would be hard, but it wasn’t.
- If the cake is even slightly tilted, frosting will exaggerate this, especially if you then frost unevenly. Lol.
- If you want to make cake-life easier, we both need to invest in one of these right now: frosting scraper.
- It is nerve-wracking & absolutely wonderful to slice into your freshly made cake masterpiece!!
So by this time you are probably dying to see what it looked like. Well okay already…
I will admit, it was not very pretty. But it did taste good! The greatest strength of this cake was the pastry cream by far. It was worth it to go through the troubles of making that. The weaknesses, hands down, my frosting ability.
Stay tuned for the Cake Chronicles #2. I promise more pictures next time, and once I find a recipe that blows my mind, I’ll post that too. If you have any tips from your own experience on making cakes, post in the comments!
One week closer to making my own wedding cake…off to Google fondant recipes…
Happy baking & cake-making!