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Old 06-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #11
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If you use bake even strips there will be little or no dome to your layers. More cake, less trimming. 2 Pc. Bake-Even Strip Set - Wilton
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:01 PM   #12
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GG, now you're in my world! I have several tips to offer - some may seem overly fussy, but take what you want and leave the rest.

* Use straight-sided pans. Pans that nest into one another are not straight-sided, and will create an uneven side to your finished cake, which you'll have to fill in with frosting. It can be done. but it's never perfect, and it show up when you cut the cake.

* 3 layers is always more impressive looking than 2. Don't increase the batter, just divide it into 3 pans instead of 2.

* Make the layers all the same size. Weigh your empty mixing bowl. Once the batter is made, weigh the full bowl. Subtract the 2 numbers and divide by the number of layers. Set each pan on the scale and pour in that much batter. Even layers look stunning when you cut into it.

* Insulate the sides of the pan with magic strips or strips of wet towels. By wrapping the pan in insulation, you prevent the sides from setting before the entire cake has risen. This will ensure a level top. Cutting a dome off with a knife after baking never works nicely, and you won't get 3 even layers. Insulate!

* Use 2 different sizes of cake cardboards (available at Michael's, Walmart, kitchen shops, etc). One should be the size of the cake itself. Use this on to work on while you are building, filling & frosting. No need for the wax paper strip trick, which sometimes creates its own mess. When you're done, set the finished cake/cardboard on one that is 2 inches larger. This one can be decorated or covered for appearance. Secure it! Now pipe your final row of frosting around the bottom edge.

* When you fill the layers, weigh or measure the filling so that they look even when you cut it.

* It's much easier to make pretty swirls on top of a cake than it is to make the sides look nice. Use that to your advantage. Roll nuts, coconut, candies, chips, cake crumbs, anything appropriate, on the sides of the cake as your primary 'decoration'. Then concentrate on pretty swirls on top. Just make sure the frosting is THICK on top so you can make nice deep swirls.

* The only tip work you should need is a nice border with a star tip around the bottom to hide the first cardboard after you put them together.
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:22 PM   #13
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Thanks very much, SilverSage! I really appreciate all the tips
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:05 AM   #14
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We used to make chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler and a bar of chocolate. They come out thinner than what Pioneer Woman's did but they looked fine on our cakes.
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:53 AM   #15
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Regarding the cinnamon sticks... I would not put any inedible things on a competition cake. You may be penalised for this but... You could try "making" cinnamon sticks from large white chocolate curls that have been dredged in cinnamon. Note this is just an idea - I've never actually tried this - but it could be a fabulous addition to a cake and a pretty on top.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
GG, now you're in my world! I have several tips to offer - some may seem overly fussy, but take what you want and leave the rest.

* Insulate the sides of the pan with magic strips or strips of wet towels. By wrapping the pan in insulation, you prevent the sides from setting before the entire cake has risen. This will ensure a level top. Cutting a dome off with a knife after baking never works nicely, and you won't get 3 even layers. Insulate!

Never thought about insulation. Instead of putting wet towels could I
put the cake pan into a bigger pan with water to bake?
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:03 PM   #17
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I have always found frosting a frozen trimmed off dome to be the best way to frost a layer cake.
Once cool and the dome trimmed off, freeze layers until ready to frost.
No crumbs no mess.

Also, an offset frosting knife is a requirement, not a suggestion. Do you have a rotating cake table? To frost and decorate on? Not sure what its called.
Good luck on the competition.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:42 PM   #18
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Thanks. I have an offset spatula that was part of the knife/tool kit I got when I went to culinary school. I also borrowed a set of cake decorating items from a friend that includes pastry bags, several tips and a couple of smaller spatulas. She's a chef; she also suggested I could make some inexpensive frosting with Crisco to practice with. I don't have a lazy Susan for rotating the cake, but I can pick one up at the dollar store. I do have a cake stand on a pedestal for practicing with.

Before I saw the post from Silversage, DH bought nesting cake pans. I'm on my way out to exchange them for straight-sided pans and to get some Crisco.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:45 PM   #19
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Regarding the cinnamon sticks... I would not put any inedible things on a competition cake. You may be penalised for this but... You could try "making" cinnamon sticks from large white chocolate curls that have been dredged in cinnamon. Note this is just an idea - I've never actually tried this - but it could be a fabulous addition to a cake and a pretty on top.
That's a possibility. My chef friend suggested Red Hot candies.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
We used to make chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler and a bar of chocolate. They come out thinner than what Pioneer Woman's did but they looked fine on our cakes.
That sounds much easier, not to mention that my freezers are pretty full! Maybe a little nest of sorts with chocolate curls and Red Hot candies.
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