Have Your Cake (& Eat it Too!)

As a follow up to the post where I realized that I was not, in fact, the Cake Boss, I'd like to share my latest adventures in the wonderful world of cake baking. Actually, this particular adventure is from a couple of months back. But who's keeping track.

You might remember my big flop of a four layer cake. If not, feel free to take another glance. (If you haven't seen it, it's worth seeing- it might even inspire a laugh or two.) But my floppy cake making days are behind me! Thanks to the great advice of some faithful Modern Ranch readers/friends who told me about the leveler; perhaps the finest tool in the layer-cake-making-industry.

I bought mine from Walmart for a well-spent $6. And boy did it make all the difference! Here's a look at my second attempt at a four layer cake with my new leveler, as well as some icing bags and tips I picked up;

I've never made a cake from scratch (gasp!) and Betty Crocker's yellow butter cake is our favorite. Oh the simplicity...

Mind if I throw another little treat in? This is what I was making for dinner along with the cake;

A non-dairy meal with vegetables that even husbands will eat! Yes, you heard me right. There is no cheese, and lots of veggies, and Thane loved it. This was during my dairy free days. It's just Kielbasa sausage with fresh green peppers, tomatoes, and squash over whole wheat penne pasta. And since this was Thane's plate, I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top (okay, so his serving wasn't totally dairy free after all- but almost!)

Anyway, back to what you came for- the cake.

Check out this handy dandy leveler. Notice the man hand? It's Thane! If he can use this thing, anybody can!

And here we are with a perfectly flat cake top. The reason my first attempt was so floppy was because I didn't cut my cake tops off and thus they were too rounded to be a stable base for the layers above.

And now for the chocolate buttercream frosting (see the recipe here);

I don't own a cake icing knife, but this weird, long, and skinny spatula that came with my utensil set worked like a charm. 1...




And then (following the advice of a pro) I put my stacked cake into the fridge so that the icing could cool and set before finishing the sides.

I was supposed to leave it in for twenty or thirty minutes. I might have done that had this cake been off limits for Thane and I's immediate consumption. But with no such restriction, there was no way we were waiting the full amount of time. But all the same, this cooling technique plus the leveler did wonders for my second attempt at a four layer cake;

If only I had a prettier cake plate to display it on! (This was done our little hotel-room-kitchenette.)

And now to show off the next area in my cake-making-skills that needs a ton of work; the decorating part. I bought the cheapest Walmart variety of icing bags and tips that were available.

Let me tell you, getting my chocolate frosting into this bag was like feeding puree to a baby; a messy disaster. There must be a trick to this that I'm not aware of.

Then I stuffed the tip I wanted down into the bag, and to the bottom. I cut the end of the bag off so that the tip would actually slide all the way down.

And with that, I made this magnificent swirl on the top of the cake;

Ok, so "magnificent" is a generous description. My grand decor plans were foiled by 1) my utter lack of skill and 2) the fact that this cake needed to be in our belly twenty minutes ago.

And that's right where it went. 

Anybody else go on any baking adventures lately?

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P.S. Now that it's fall, I might just have to experiment with some new pumpkin recipes! Maybe even a homemade pumpkin spice latte...nothing like a hot cup of coffee on a brisk fall day.

P.S.S. Check me out on Pinterest! I finally got some pins up.

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