I have a few things on my baking/cooking bucket list. They include making bread (need to gather the courage), perfecting the popover (check) and mastering the layer cake. To me, the layer cake is a baking achievement. Layers of cake and frosting precariously perched atop each other. There are so many things that can go wrong. How is the ratio of frosting to cake? Is the cake more like a leaning tower? Are the layers the right height? And on and on. So you can understand why I would be hesitant to start. But start I did, and I had the perfect excuse because it was my sister's birthday (just two days before mine!)
When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she told me Funfetti. I quietly breathed a sigh of relief because boxed cake was a good place to start for a cake beginner like me. So I went to Walgreens (where all good food purchases are made) and bought two boxes of good 'ole Pillsbury Funfetti and accompanying frosting. Who know's what is in this stuff but today we aren't thinking about that.
Then I marched over to Sur la Table and proceeded to buy an 8 in cake pan. A few things. First, make sure you buy a pan with straight up and down sides. Also, I got a tall one because I figured, in the future, I could just make a large cake and slice it in half to make a two layer cake. Lastly, they might try and convince you to buy two. I personally think that this isn't necessary unless you are a) always short on time and b) making a lot of cakes. So, I go up to the register and am going to buy my cake pan, and the guy asked me what kind of cake I am making. Afraid to speak the truth and admit I am making boxed cake, Funfetti nonetheless, I blurt out "Um, yeah I am making…vanilla…with coconut frosting." No idea where that came from, but my mission was clear to me: make Funfetti classy.
1 Box of Cake Mix (plus ingredients water, eggs, oil)
1-2 Cans of frosting (mine came with sprinkles!)
Step No. 1
Prepare mix based on instructions on box.
Step No. 2
Separate batter into three bowls.
Step No. 3
Color each bowl starting with the lightest and darken.
Step No. 4
My mom told me this trick after I made these cakes and it would have been great to know before. Trace parchment paper in a circle around the bottom of the pan. Place parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and pour one of the bowls of batter into the pan. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until top is light brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Repeat with all three bowls of batter.
Step No. 5
Wrap each layer in saran wrap and place in freezer overnight (or at least a few hours) This trick makes it much easier to handle.
Step No. 6
Trim each layer with a sharp knife so the top is even.
Step No. 7
Place on a plate and spread frosting evenly across the cake. Repeat with all three layers (making even and spreading frosting)
Step No. 8
Spread a thin layer around the cake. This is called a crumb coat. It keeps all of the crumbs in place so they dont make it into the outer layer of frosting. Once you have done this, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Step No. 9
Spread remaining frosting around the cake. I used these cute sprinkles that came with the frosting. I wanted to keep it minimalistic but with a little color. Love how it turned out.
I make this banner using water colored paper and my still-getting-better calligraphy skills.
A few cupcake friends.
Here is the cake with its friends.
Not bad for the first time.