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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cake Decorating Lesson 1 Cake Boss Vanilla Buttercream

I will say upfront that this post is much longer than usual.  I'm sorry about that, but I want to document how I made this cake. I hope you will try this at home.  

I was pleased with how well this cake turned out.  It was pretty but it also tasted good.
I bought these three little 6 inch cake pans.  A 6 inch cake is just perfect.  You don't have a lot of cake to eat but it will give you a nice size to practice decorating on.
First step is to grease the pans well.  Use shortening to grease them.  Make sure you get that seam coated really well.
Now to flour.  Dump a little flour inside, move the pan around to move the flour to coat the pan.  Don't forget the sides.  I couldn't take pictures of this step because I didn't have any help in the kitchen this day.
See the pans are coated well.  No cakes to stick in these pans.
Now this was another experiment I tried.  I bought these cake pan baking strips.  They are suppose to make your cakes bake more evenly and not have the domed tops.  We shall see.
This is what they look like.  You wet them and then run your fingers down them to remove the excess water.  Again I couldn't take a picture of that step.
Then you wrap them around the pans.  They come with little hat pin type pins to secure the end.  These are much smaller pans than they were designed for so they were wrapped around the pan a couple of time.
I prepared a cake batter using a cake mix.  I followed the directions.  Then I divided the batter evenly between the three pans.
Then I dropped the pan on the countertop to get rid of any air bubbles.  The first time I saw someone do that I was confused.  Growing up I was always told to not slam doors or make any kind of disturbance while my mother was baking a cake because we didn't want it to fall.  Then to drop it on the countertop.  That just didn't make sense to me.  But it works. I placed them in the preheated oven. Follow the directions on the box.  I did just watch the cakes because there is not a cooking time for 6 inch cakes.  I think I started with the cupcake time and added a little to that and then just watched and tested it.
I get my cake rack ready while they were baking.  I put some parchment paper on top so that the cake will not stick to the rack.
They are out of the oven.  Let them stand for about 5 minutes.  I also ran a knife around the edges.
Turn them out on the rack.  I let them cool for about 20 minutes.
Then I wrapped them well and put in the freezer for about 2 hours.  I want them lightly frozen before I ice them.
Ready for the freezer.
Now for the buttercream icing.  This is one of the Cake Boss's buttercream recipes.  I have been trying different buttercream in search of the perfect one.  Yes that is 5 sticks of butter.  Not sure how often I will use this recipe.  Not when my butter is so expensive.
Whip the butter until light and fluffy.  Then add 5 cups of confectioner's sugar to the butter.  Add one cup at a time and mix well between each cup.
Doesn't that look really good?
The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt.  Mine was coarse sea salt.  So...
I put the 1/4 teaspoon in a measuring cup and smashed it.
Now it is fine sea salt
Add 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract.  If you are using the icing white you will want to use clear vanilla.
Then 3 Tablespoons lukewarm water.  Now you know my problems with the terms warm and lukewarm water.  How warm?  So I ran water until it was warm to the touch, then measured it and by the time it went into the mixer it was probably lukewarm but not cold.
Beat this for about another 2 to 3 minutes.  It is so nice and fluffy.
I got the cakes out of the freezer.
I unwrapped one.  I need to cut just a little from the top.
Use a seriated knife to even it up.
It looks about level.
This is another new tool I have found to help ice cakes.
Put it inside a pastry bag.
Pipe icing around the top of the cake.  I need one that is about half the size for these small cakes.
Trim the second layer.  This one I think I got leveled better.
I put the cut side down.
More icing.
I run the icing around the sides too.  Looks rough now.
Now I use my off set spatula to smooth the icing.  Looking better.  And it helps even out the icing and I removed a lot of icing too.
I think it is about smooth.  I set it back in the fridge while I work on decorations.
Now I am going to roll out some fondant to make some decorations.  I need to cornstarch my counter so it won't stick.  Yes that is a knee high I am using.  I bought new knee highs to use for this project.  I placed some cornstarch inside (you can use powdered sugar if you do not have cornstarch) and then knot the end.
It works really well to dust the surface.  You don't get too much on the counter.  I might try this at Christmas when I make my gingerbread cookies and put flour in one.
Now I planned on making an Alabama cake to practice for football season.  But Pat Summitt died this day so I altered my plans a little.
I did try using this cookie cutter to cut the fondant.
I think the A turned out really well.  I think it will look great on top this fall.  I am seeing some ideas for football season.
I also did a little shell border around the bottom.  You can do anything around the bottom you like.
So I cut out some flowers.  You can use cookie cutters or you can find some fondant cutters at Walmart and your craft stores and they are not expensive.
I have this cake "glue" to glue the fondant pieces.
You can use just about anything as a cutter.  This is the one of my decorating pieces that I am using the bottom of.  Makes a great center of a flower.
The flowers had a little cornstarch around the edges.  I got one of my kitchen paintbrushes and used a little water some and dry brush some to remove the cornstarch.
You can see a little bit of the glue shining around the edges of the flower centers.
Another look at the cake.

This is the inside of the cake.  Yes I only used one layer.  The third layer is still in the freezer for another day.  I will keep practicing and trying new things.  I already have an idea for my next cake.  I hope you enjoyed this lesson.  I watch a lot of baking shows and read a lot of directions.  I still have a lot to learn but it mainly takes practice.

Cake Boss Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

5 sticks softened butter
5 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 Tablespoon lukewarm water

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