Birthday Cake!

There isn’t much to tell in the way of recipe, which is why this is simply a kitchen note. I used boxed chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting that Logan’s mom made a while ago (it froze and thawed perfectly). What can I say, I’m not an avid baker.

There are some tips that I picked up from various magazines and web sites that I utilized, and hopefully they can help you when you make a multi-layered cake.

I made a small cake, so I used one box of chocolate cake mix and baked it in a 9×13 pan. I buttered and floured the bottom of the pan to ensure it wouldn’t stick: nothing ruins a layered cake quicker than cake that doesn’t come out of the pan. Once finished baking, I let the cake cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then inverted it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

I cut out a 5-6 inch round and another 6-7 inch round of cardboard (just an old pizza box) and covered them with foil. I used the smaller round as a template and the larger round as a base for the cake. I was able to get two layers as whole circles and one more layer out of separate pieces. When making a layered cake, only the top and bottom need to be single pieces: the middle layers can be multiple pieces, since they will be glued together with icing/filling.

To prevent any dried crusty stuff in the middle of my cake, I carefully cut off the top and bottom crust of each piece of cake. To add extra flavor/sweetness and moisture, I made a simple syrup, put it in a squirt bottle, and lightly soaked both sides of each piece of cake.

To assemble the cake, I put some icing in a baggie and cut off one corner, to serve as a cheap piping bag. I piped a few rings of icing on the bottom layer of the cake and spread it around evenly, coming all the way out to the edges, before adding the second layer of cake. Just like before, pipe, spread, layer. I finished the “crumb coat” of icing by piping some icing on the top and sides of the cake and spreading it evenly around, making sure to fill any holes or gaps in the cake. This thin layer of icing acts as a barrier between the cake and the final coat of icing. If you skip this step, you will invariably end up with crumbs visible in your icing (but it will still taste just as good). I stuck the cake in the fridge for a few hours (just wait at least 30 minutes, or until the icing is cold), and finished the final layer of icing by piping as completely as possible, then using a spatula to smooth the icing as best I could. The finishing touch was the number “2” in sprinkles; I used a spoon for better control, since they came spilling out of the bottom within reckless abandon.

To slice nice and clean pieces, I recommend wiping the knife clean every time you use it. Now if only I can figure out how to transfer the cake off the cardboard without destroying it…

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