. . . but have you seen a stretched cake?
We had two granddaughters with birthday’s recently and I wanted to make a cake for each of them. But, since they are sisters, I didn’t want to overwhelm their household with two birthday cakes! So, I bought a strawberry cake mix, and had planned to make two layers and make a birthday cake out of each layer.
But, when I started preparing the mix, I remembered a specialty cake pan that I had bought at some point and never used, so I decided to make mini-cakes. I figured once I got them made, and found out how many the one cake mix would make, I would decide what to do with them.
The pan makes six heart-shaped mini-cakes. The mix filled the pan twice —
and there was enough batter left over to make two more, so I ended up with 14 mini-layers.
For half of the layers, when they came out of the oven I turned them upside-down on a wire rack to cool, and smooshed each one a little so that they would be a little flatter to use for the bottom tier of the cakes.
I decided that I would group three two-layer mini-cakes for each of the birthday cakes, which meant I would have one mini-cake left. Perfect! The little sister of the birthday girls could have a little not-your-birthday-yet cake of her own.
When all the layers were cooled and half of them had been smooshed, I started assembly.
I had bought frosting to go with the cake mix that included little sprinkles.
But, making all these little cakes took alot more frosting than a single cake would have. So, I had to run back to the store and buy another container of frosting. I used almost all of the two containers.
Frosting little bitty cakes was a surprising challenge. I finally got out the only cake pedestal I own so that I could have them elevated in order to see what the heck I was doing.
As I frosted the mini-cakes,
I assembled them into two birthday cakes, and a mini for little sister.
Then I put the sprinkles on them. Easier said than done. I found out by trial and mostly error, I had to let the frosting harden a little and then press the sprinkles into it. Messy. And, a little surprising when I look back that I didn’t use a pastry brush to brush the extras off the plates.
Okay. Now I needed to “finish” them. This is the hard part for me. I’m NOT a cake decorator. I am only the DAUGHTER of a cake decorator. Mama for many, many years made decorated birthday cakes for all of us. And, when Mama got old enough that she couldn’t decorate cakes any longer, she gave me her decorating kit. I’m assuming she thought I could do it if I would just try. (That’s what Mama’s secretly think about alot of things, isn’t it?) And I have tried over the years, but I just don’t have a talent for it!
But, these cakes needed something so I gave it a shot.
I got out the cake decorating kit Mama gave me. The box shows that it was used alot!
It is at least 50 years old, but is made of stainless steel, so is still in very good shape.
I decided I wanted to decorate the first cake with lavender frosting. Luckily, I remember what colors combine to make what colors, because I didn’t have an lavender coloring. I combined blue and red.
And got my lavender!
Next, I assembled the pump thing, using a tip that I remembered Mama using to make little ruffly flower-like thingies. Then I put the frosting in the pump and started “decorating.”
The flower things on top didn’t turn out too bad, but when I changed tips and tried to do a ruffle kind of edge around the bottom, I realized why Mama always made the frosting so stiff — it holds its shape!
I had made it runny enough that I wouldn’t have trouble pushing it through the tip. Easier, but not as pretty results.
Okay, I would think about what I could do with that “blah” bottom trim on that cake while I worked on the other one.
So, I made darker pink frosting to use on the second cake. And, having learned from my mistakes, I made it stiffer, and the flower thingies came out better, more defined on it. And I just used some more of them around the bottom. I think it looks better.
So, my solution for the other cake was that I used the left-over pink to put some flower things over the “blah” bottom trim.
Better. Not great. But, better.
There certainly wasn’t room on top of those little cakes to write names and Happy Birthday (thankfully, because I’m not good at writing with frosting either), so I used the Happy Birthday Candles.
I was pleased that the girls seemed to genuinely appreciate the cakes, and also that I had found a way to make several cakes out of one mix.
p.s. As I read back through this post I am reminded of working with Marie at the Jail. I would write a long, complicated explanation to a prisoner about why we wouldn’t/couldn’t do what he was asking. Then I would ask Marie to read it, to make sure I’d covered everything. She would read it and then say, “That sounds fine. But I would have just said, ‘No!'”
So, if Marie were doing this post, I imagine she would just post a picture of the finished products and say, “I made these cakes for my granddaughters!”
Sorry, Marie. That was one lesson you tried to teach me that obviously just didn’t “take.” But I love you for trying!