Originally Posted by Saphellae
I want to make a cake tonight or tomorrow afternoon for Nick's sister coming home, but I have never made one before - is there anything I need, like a special baking pan or something?
If you have never made a cake before, then making one for someone`s homecoming is not the time to learn about different methods, cake pans etc.
Go to your local store and buy a good quality packet mix - in the UK, one of the best is a Jane Asher cake mix. Unfortunately, I don`t know if these are available where you are. Anyway, choose a cake mix and BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE STORE, check what other ingredients you may need, e.g., eggs. IIRC, cake mixes in the UK also contain a container in which you can cook the cake so check for this also - it should be listed in the contents of the packet. Follow the instructions and bake. Before you leave the store...
Buy cake trimmings to suit the flavour of the cake (they should be located in the same aisle as the cake mix) and use these to decorate the cake rather than piping a decoration. You should be able to buy letters which you simply stick on to any icing. These will enable you to spell out any greeting you wish to put on the cake. again, these should be located in the baking aisle of your local superstore/supermarket.
If the packet does not have any icing contained within it, then you should be able to buy tubs of icing (same aisle) which you can use to fill the cake and use to top the cake.
Even if the finsihed article is packet mix, I`m quite sure that Nick`s sister will be happy that you have gone to the trouble of making a cake and had a successful result. Learning how to make a cake is for another day, IMHO.
Hope this heps,
p.s. If I were Nick`s sister, the important thing would be the effort you have gone to for me. The fact that it is packet mix would be totally and utterly irrelevant.