Dad’s Birthday Cake
Today is my dad’s birthday!!!! Happy Birthday DAD!!!! My father is an artist of many mediums. When he first saw some of my work (the Monet cake specifically) he told me “I paint with frosting.” Its a big compliment coming from my dad, who can actually paint . I actually employed him on one particular occasion to start piping on cakes when I was running behind on a project, and though my great aunt on my mom’s side was once a wedding cake decorator, I’m fairly certain most of my artist edible endeavours comes from my dad’s side.
My dad doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, but he’ll indulge on a slice of his favorite find of cake. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Seems simple enough. It was a signature cake of my great grandmother. I however do not have my hands on her famous recipe, mostly because she kept it in her head rather than recording it. Instead of posting another scratch yellow cake I’m going to go through a little short cut.
I’ll be honest even if it sounds snobby, I haven’t made a cake from a box in years at this point, delicious as they are. Time saving and cost saving for sure. You can grab a box of cake for about a dollar. If you want to pass off that Betty Crocker confection as your own hours- spent- slaving- over- a- stove confection you might want to try this spin on that good ole stand by.
Better Betty Crocker Cake
2 boxes yellow cake, your favorite brand
1 c sour cream
1/2 c + 2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp mayo
3/4 c milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Mix milk and vinegar and set aside for 3-5 minutes, or use a comparable amount of buttermilk. Combine the rest of the ingredients with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer then add milk mixture.
Pour into 2 greased 8 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Cool on wracks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely.
Another little tip about baking your cakes. If you find while you experiment with different recipes that the outside of your cake is cooling a little too fast, meanwhile the inside is still wobbly, place a cookie sheet on the rack below the cakes, or carefully place the cakes on the cookie sheet and place back in the oven. The extra insulation slows the cooking on the outside of the cake.
Below you’ll find some tricks for assembling a picture perfect cake.
After allowing cake to cool, level layers. That means slicing off that round hump that forms during baking. If your cake layers are at least 2 inches thick slice in have lateral forming 2 layers, for a four layer cake.
Place the first layer on your CAKE BOARD– its time to graduate from putting your cakes on too-small dinner plates! Do yourself a favor and get some cake boards at least 2 inches wider than the diameter of your cake. The first layer you place down should be crumby side up– the side up that you sliced. The sealed side– the side that was against the pan should be touching the cake board. Adhere your cake to the board with a schmere of frosting so your cake stays put as you frost.
Pipe a tube of icing, called a “dam”around the edge. If you are using a filling spread 1/2 cup (if you are decorating a 8” cake. NOT anymore than 1/2 c or you run the risk of leakage) If your not using a filling just use frosting. Place you next layer on. If this is your last layer it should be sealed side up– this way you have less crumbs to deal with when icing. If this is only your second layer continue to build –piping a dam, adding filling. You final layer should be sealed side up as I mentioned.
If your cake is really soft, refridgerate to settle the cake. When your ready add your frosting. Start with the top of the cake, “working” frosting out to the edges. I use the word “work” here to signify that you gradually cover the cake. Work slowly side to side. Work with the frosting . No large heavy swipes. Your spatula should never touch the actual cake. There should always be frosting between the cake and the spatula. The frosting on the top of the cake should slightly hang over the edge.
Start to add frosting to the sides of the cake. Bend your torso over the cake (you should always stand when icing, the cake at waist height) your elbo should be pointing up toward the ceiling, your spatula at a right angle to the cake board, parallel to the side of the cake.
Once your cake is covered you can utilize your turn table to smooth the edge of your Frosting.