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Let’s All Make a Cake!

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I’ve been decorating cakes for family and friends for a couple years now and just this past month decided to call it quits!  Just not a fan of the “cake schedule”!  But, I’ll still do some here and there for close friends & family and especially for barters!  I decided to document the making of this one to show you some tips so that you all can try it out (because, YES, I have faith that you all can do this! It’s that easy!)!

Let’s start by saying that I have never taken a cake decorating class and have no real expertise on this subject (I think I need to put a disclaimer on my blog, because, truth be told… I don’t really have any expertise on any subjects!!).  My mom always had decorated cakes for us, and I remember vividly watching her make a Rugrats cake for my cousin with just a toothpick and a butter knife and it was perfect!  I could never be that good… so I use tools and try my best!

This cake was for one of my biggest fans!  He calls me “Matalie, the Cake Boss” and I just adore him!  He was so into picking out the design and was just bouncing off the walls for the whole process!  He’s the big 5 now!!!  When I went to deliver the cake, I was barely out the door of the car, when he came running out screaming, “Thank you, Matalie, I love it!!!”  The goof hadn’t even seen it yet!

But here it is, for my little buddy!!

First step is to bake your cakes!  I used a 10″ square pan for this one, but you could use any square pan you have for this design.  Feel free to use a box mix to make it easier on yourself for your first time!  And if you want to doctor up that cake mix to make it taste more like homemade, try this tip from Tidy Mom!

After, they’re done baking and you followed the directions for cooling, you need to level your cake.  I have a cake leveler from Wilton that I use or you could just use a long, serrated knife to level off the top. I see so many people skip this step, though, and it really is important! Your cakes will not sit level and your icing will slide if you don’t level it!

Next plop some icing on this first layer and spread it around.  Don’t overspread it!  You should be able to take a quick swipe of the spatula and just spread it to about 1/2″ of every edge.

Place your next layer on top (it should already be leveled off).

Put more icing on top and spread outwards.

I know a lot of people swear by crumb coats, so feel free to add that step in if you prefer. For those not familiar with a crumb coat, you spread a very thin layer of icing all over the tops and sides.  You don’t worry about crumbs at all and, yes, your cake will not be looking too good at this point. You let your crumb coat sit for 30 minutes or so to harden up.  This seals in the crumbs (hence the name), so when you go to put your final layer of icing on, you won’t have to worry about crumbs poking through! I do use this method when I’m doing wedding cakes or other high-end fancy cakes.

But, honestly, I don’t have much of a problem with crumbs anyways, so on cakes like this that will be covered by lots of decoration, I just skip that step!

I put a lot of dollops of icing on the top and carefully spread them outwards and then down the sides.  If you can manage to do this in one stroke, you won’t have to worry about crumbs too much. The more you go back and forth over your icing, the more you’re going to lift it up and carry crumbs with you.

After you have the whole thing iced, I take a flat metal icing spatula and angle it and go around the whole thing to smooth it out.

On these square cakes, it’s hard to get nice sharp corners.  I take one metal spatula and hold it flat against that side (don’t press into the icing, just hold it lightly up against it). Then take another metal spatula and bring it down the connecting side and past that first spatula. This will help give you that sharp edge at the corner.

Now for the fun, part (and what I really meant this tutorial to be about!)… the decorating!

I’m not a fan of the taste of fondant, so I very rarely cover an entire cake in it!  For decorating, though, it’s hard to beat the way it looks!

The first thing I did for this cake, was color some fondant black.  then I rolled it out to about 1/4″ thick and just used a pizza cutter to cut out rectangles and other shapes for the buildings in my skyline.  I didn’t measure anything, just cut out various size rectangles.  Then I let these sit on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper for about a few days!  My little birthday boy wanted some of the buildings to be taller than the cake, so I knew they would need to sit for awhile to get hard.

Next I found a Batman logo on the computer and printed it out to the size I wanted.

I forgot to take a picture before I cut it, so just pretend that the above picture is whole.  Then I just cut it all out into separate pieces!

See! You really don’t need to be an artist! I just lay each piece on the colored fondant and use a paring knife to carefully cut it out!

When you have it cut out, your edges will probably be a little rough.  You can use the paring knife to cut off some of the obvious rough edges and just use your fingertip to smooth out the rest.

Then you  just stack those pieces on top of each other and set them aside to dry for a few days.
I forgot to take pics of the next step (bad, bad blogger!), but I just rolled out some white and yellow fondant and cut out little squares and rectangles for windows. I used the pizza cutter again.  After these had sat for a couple hours to firm up, I used a very small paintbrush with the teensiest bit of water and just attached them to the buildings in a random pattern.  The water acts as a glue between the fondant, just be careful not to get too much water (and don’t get water on any part of the fondant that you want to see!).
On the morning of the delivery, I attach my fondant pieces to the actual cake.  If you attach them too soon, the buttercream starts breaking down the fondant and it makes it look all melty (technical term, there).  I just laid the Batman logo right on top. For the side buildings, I smeared a little bit of extra buttercream on them and then pressed them right into the sides.

So this post got a little bit wordier than I thought it would (and I’m sure none of my friends or family are surprised!!), but it really is easy!  Once you have your frosted cake, you really can just use a “stencil” to make the rest of the design!

And soon maybe you can be called “Matalie, the Cake Boss”!!

 

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Narceron

Friday 17th of February 2012

Great...now I'm gonna want to try this, :)

Anonymous

Saturday 25th of June 2011

this cake is awesome and looks delicious! just a tip from an anonymous now part-time but once semi-professional baker: if you flip that top cake upside down, you'll get a perfectly flat top.

cheers!

Pamela

Thursday 16th of June 2011

My grandsons would love this. Thank you for breaking down the steps. You certainly made it easy for us.

I'm here (and following) from Strut Your Stuff.

May your day be joyful,Pamela

Allison @ House of Hepworths

Wednesday 15th of June 2011

Love it so much I featured it today at my Hookin Up with HoH Party!

xoxo

Allison

Jamie

Monday 13th of June 2011

this is awesome! and I love the title of your blog ;) thanks for taking some of the guesswork out of attempting a cool cake like that!