Who’d have ever thought I’d actually make good on my promise to myself to actually attempt cake-making??!? Certainly not me. I’m having so much fun playing around with cakes. I’m still a little hung up on finding a great white cake recipe, though. Figuring out if I really like cakes from scratch or not is another big one. Whenever I visit a cake or baking forum, there’s a lot of heat about whether or not you should ever use a boxed cake mix. It seems to border on treason…
For my first few cakes, though (number 3 under my belt, woo hoo!!), I decided to keep it simple and stick with the boxed stuff. I did follow a recipe to doctor it up and add a little volume. As it is, this one is sorely lacking in height. I was a little lazy and didn’t bake up another batch to fill in. Truthfully, the cake and I were having a spat before I even started icing it. Go figure… I found this incredibly cute tutorial for a black cat cake and knew I wanted to do something similar. A quick q&a with the girls landed me on a Hello Kitty version.
What I Did
I followed the tutorial almost exactly. The technique for getting your candy shapes and attaching to the cake is what I did. I decided to keep the cartoon aspect of HK and outline some of the shapes in black. Then, instead of a two-toned ear, I used all white on each. The ear and bow are all one piece. A little trial and error with the bow shape/size is needed here. I wish I had a template, but I was so happy to just be done tracing that I tossed everything before giving it a second thought! Won’t happen again.
The recipe I used for the cake is for white wedding cake cupcakes. I baked my 3 layers all at once and cooked them for closer to 30 minutes. Once I start smelling the cake, I go check on it. This cake is perfect for me. There’s little I have to do as far as measuring and the cake is always moist. For the color, I actually used a Duncan Hines pink velvet and added 2 drops of a fuchsia gel food coloring. Instead of cooling them in the freezer, I actually let them cool on the wire racks and then wrapped them and stored them in the fridge overnight. Shocking, I know. The cake’s moisture was still there and I didn’t have to worry about a too-cold cake freezing my icing before I had a chance to get it as smooth as I wanted.
I seem to keep landing on not having to do much with my posts. The tutorial for the cake is so easy to follow and leaves nothing out. All that’s left for me to do is share my results and whatever tips I may have found useful along the way. So, here they are:
- When buying your supplies, RUN don’t walk, away from the Wilton brand candy melts!!! I have had nothing but trouble with these. The black was a special kind of hateful and I ended up wasting most of the bag. I was fortunate to get enough out for outlines and the whiskers.
- If you choose to heat your melts in the microwave, be certain to use half power. They will scorch otherwise.
- I made the mistake of making my bow on the parchment paper facing the way I wanted the final piece. Don’t do this!! Your drawings should be reverse/mirrored. It completely escaped my mind that I had to flip the paper over and trace with the candy.
- After all of your pieces are traced onto your paper, place in the freezer or refrigerator to chill. This will harden them up nicely. I was fighting with humidity (FL has a twisted sense of humor) and my A.C. was in the process of being fixed.
- For my whiskers, I squeezed the melted candy onto parchment paper and rolled the lollipop sticks in it. I burned myself trying to spread it across with my fingers and wouldn’t recommend it. 🙂 After that, I sprinkled my sparkles on and did the same. Once they set a little, I was able to move them around and even out a few spots that needed some attention. The whiskers were not perfect, but, in the end, I don’t think they seriously offended anyone.
- Be patient!!
I almost quit a few times during the candy process. I can’t imagine working with them for cake pops (although I plan to, hopefully, next week). Again, a better brand is highly recommended. When I melted the Ghirardelli for the ears, it was a dream!! In the end, I broke an ear, scrapped it, and made another. The second ear was off white since I had no more pure white, but it’s not incredibly noticeable once it’s on the cake. I also broke the bow and ended up “gluing” it when I added the lollipop sticks to the back of the ears.
All told, just have fun with this one. I got my girls involved and Lani made a pink glitter heart to adorn the side of the cake. The O.C.D. and control freak inside of me wanted to leave it off, but it’s much more enjoyable to share the decorating responsibility. Now I’m off to watch Matilda! I found a chocolate cake recipe that looks exactly like the one Miss Trunchbull served poor Bruce. But! I promise to practice better sanitation than Cookie
*I’m still learning, so sorry if my icing leaves much to be desired. Buttercream isn’t as simple as I’d thought, but I’m loving it so far. I plan to learn lots, so feel free to share your tips!