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Old 06-21-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
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Need tips on baking a layer cake

Hi, all. So. I have never made a layer cake in my life, but I have entered a contest where the top finisher's cake will be entered in the State Fair of Virginia baking competition I'm entering the "Chocolate-iced layer cake - white or yellow batter" category and I've decided to make Mexican chocolate frosting and a three-layer yellow cake recipe from Paula Deen (buttah!).

I'd love any tips and tricks for making a beautiful, delicious cake. It needs to be on a non-returnable plate - I'm thinking of getting something from the Dollar Store. Entries are due by 1 p.m. on the day of judging; I was thinking I'd make the cake the day before and refrigerate it, then take it out of the fridge in the morning, make the frosting and ice it, and it should be room temp by judging time. Does this sound reasonable?

Ideas for decorating it would be great. The frosting recipe I'm using calls for candied red serrano peppers and cinnamon sticks. I'm not sure about the cinnamon sticks - kind of expensive for a garnish that will be thrown away. I might have red jalapenos in the garden by August, but don't know for sure.

I'm doing a practice run today to see how it goes.

Thanks
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:19 PM   #2
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WalMart carries cardboard cake base blanks for a minimal price.
Use two 1"x2" boards placed on either side of a baked and cool cake layer, to use as a guide to rest a long knife (preferably a bread knife) and trim the domed top of the layer into a flat disk.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:42 PM   #3
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Could you maybe do chocolate curls instead of the cinnamon sticks? The Pioneer Woman did a cake for her husband's B-day on a show recently where she melted the chocolate, poured it out on the bottom (upside down) of a sheet cake/jelly roll pan, then used a thin spatula to make the curls. The Food Network channel probably has it on video on their site to get her technique. Looked pretty easy but you might want to practice, you can always remelt the chocolate and try, try again. You could even use Mexican chocolate, which has a slight cinnamon flavor, or just simply add some cinnamon to the melted chocolate. A Latin market will carry the chocolate and may also carry the Badia line of spices, which are significantly cheaper than traditional American brands, and they have packages with 3-4 sticks of cinnamon in them.

I always cover the cardboard cake bases Selkie mentioned with aluminum foil and tape it to the bottom so you don't get a greasy looking spot and/or have just plain white cardboard showing. Smear a bit of frosting on the foil before you place the bottom layer on and it won't slide off.

What kind of finish are you looking for on the icing, smooth, swirled, ?? Regardless, I would crumb coat ice it the evening before and let it sit in fridge uncovered to let it crust so it will hold onto the crumbs. Wilton.com will have a lot of ideas on frosting and explanation about crumb coat icing. http://www.wilton.com/blog/index.php...h-cake-finish/
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Old 06-21-2015, 01:18 PM   #4
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I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa once where Ina was frosting a layer cake - she cut up 4 or 5 pieces of parchment paper and put them around the outside edges of her cake stand.
She put the unfrosted layers on top of the parchment, frosted her cake, then pulled the parchment out from under it.. Nice clean frosting edge and none on her plate.

Good luck GG, it sounds delicious!
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Old 06-21-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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Thanks, Selkie and medtran! I found the Pioneer Woman page: How To…Make Chocolate Curls | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond Now that you mention it, I remember that episode. Great idea. And I just watched a couple of videos on the Wilton site re: torting and crumb coating.

re: the finish, something that's easy and forgiving I think a swirl would be easier than trying to make it perfectly smooth, yes?
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:12 PM   #6
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This is all very interesting GG. I only made one layer cake in my life for my 20 year old husband. lol
Don't want to mention how many years ago that was. I sure hope yours turns out better than mine.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:32 PM   #7
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Heh. You have me beat by one layer cake, Kay.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
...re: the finish, something that's easy and forgiving I think a swirl would be easier than trying to make it perfectly smooth, yes?

SO is decorating challenged. I saw a tip on Good Eats one time and she loved it. most of her cakes are now done this way.

Frost the cake reasonably smooth. Then take a table knife and touch the tip to the frosting and pull away. You get a small peak with each tap. Continue tapping all over the cake. Here's the only picture I have of that effect.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:37 PM   #9
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I like the idea of the chocolate curls though Dawg. We could put them on ice cream or sumpin.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
SO is decorating challenged. I saw a tip on Good Eats one time and she loved it. most of her cakes are now done this way.

Frost the cake reasonably smooth. Then take a table knife and touch the tip to the frosting and pull away. You get a small peak with each tap. Continue tapping all over the cake. Here's the only picture I have of that effect.
Ooh, I like that, Andy! Thanks!
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