Alright cake fans! This is by far the biggest project I have ever tackled. The goal, a two tiered birthday cake, lemon on top and chocolate on bottom with raspberry filling in both. The final designs were inspired by cakes seen on the charm city cakes website (credit where credit is due).
For the chocolate cakes I used the following recipe
For the Cake:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (natural)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (can use light)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round piece of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture; beat on medium speed for one minute (or combine by hand to prevent over-mixing). Whisk in the boiling water (the batter will become thin). Pour into prepared pans.
5. Bake 17-22 minutes, or until a cake tester (or a wooden toothpick) inserted into the center of each cake, comes out clean.
6. Once the cakes are out of the oven, with a [dry] clean oven mitt (preferably a cloth one), gently press down onto the cakes, to make them level (this will allow you to skip a whole step in trimming the cakes).
7. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in the freezer.
8. Remove cakes from pans, and place on wire racks.
(http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2010/06/chocolate-strawberry-layer-cake/)--> There are also directions for frosting and filling on the original recipe but i just used the one for the cake part.
Next, I made the lemon cakes--
- Cooking Spray
- Flour for dusting
- 1 (1/2 pint) raspberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Dust lightly with flour and shake out the excess.
2. Reserve half of the raspberries, and combine the other half with 1 tablespoon sugar and crush with a fork. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stir with a fork to evenly combine the ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
4. Whisk together eggs, egg whites and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until it holds ribbons, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir together by hand until evenly combined and no lumps remain.
5. Pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake in the center of the oven until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
(Notes: I did set aside the raspberries at the beginning like it said, but ended up integrating the mixture into a different filling recipe later on. I only had one small pan so I had to bake the two cakes separately. I also bought a defective lemon zester that just caused lemon juice to squirt into my eye, needless to say I went forward with no lemon zest but it all worked out OK.)
|Lemon cake #1, Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Sauce|
- 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best, but...)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- In a small sauce pan, combined all of the ingredients and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat (keep stirring until thickened for best results).
- Let cool completely before spreading onto cake.
Once both of my lemon cakes were finished I used my cake leveler to flatten the tops and separate them into halves to fill them. I also prepared the icing I was going to use as the reservoir to keep the filling in and to frost the outside of the cake.
White Icing Recipe-- (I don't usually like to use shortening, however it doesn't melt as quickly as butter icing and is a little easier to work with)
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, water and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for a full five minutes. It won't look like Icing at first, but keep the mixer going for a full five minutes, and then you're done!
- Note: If you're not using this for decorating, but just for icing the cake, thin the icing by adding 3 tbs. of corn syrup, or water to the icing.
|Building the lemon cake, you can see the other layers in the background ready to be added|
THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
I realized quickly that these cakes were far too moist to hold up the weight of the full lemon cake so I abandoned the tiered cake idea. After a few frosting mishaps and a trip to the store to get more powdered sugar I was finally able to get a thin frosting that spread well around the whole cake.
|The frosting at this point was a bit melty|
|mended frosting, super looking cake|
To decorate my lemon cake I wanted to cover it in fondant flowers. I made white, blue and yellow fondant/gum paste mixtures and cut out medium flowers and small flowers from stencils to mix and match the colors. I created their shapes by pressing them with the ball tool into a thick sponge and then cooling them in the fridge to dry them out and help them hold their shape. Small flowers were attached to the centers using a gum paste glue (a little bit of gum paste dissolved in water and applied with a paintbrush). Flowers were then attached to the lemon cake with dots of frosting applied to the bottom of the flower and then pressed gently to the cake.
I stored both cakes in the fridge over night and the chocolate cake icing wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it so I used my leftover homemade chocolate frosting (and yes, a little store bought) to smooth out the edges, Then I taught myself how to make ribbons of fondant into flowers.
|combined two colors of blue ribbons and used gum paste adhesive|
|Pretty darn close!|
15 hours of work--> some excellent looking cakes. What do you think?
Do they look like Duff's cakes?
|Happy Birthday to Us!|
|Happy Eating to You!|