Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Pins from the Past: The Cake of Freedom

I am at a COMPLETE loss as to what to write tonight...I have spent the last 40 minutes looking for things to write and nothing was sticking out to me! It's summer and I am looking for great summer pins to write about! If you have some fun summer pins you have been trying out, send them our way whether they turned out great or if they were duds, we would love to share them with the masses!!
 In the mean time, the 4th of July is coming up and this has always been one of my favorite Pinstrosities! Check it out!! Happy Tuesday!

This post was originally written by Marquette last year, enjoy!!
The 4th of July is coming up! YEA! I really love the 4th of July. Fireworks, family, good food, America! We had a Pinstrosity submitted to us today just in time for a jump into Independence Day. Check out this awesome cake!
The Original Pin
I'm not supposed to be eating sugar right now, but that picture's making it a little difficult. MMmm. Pinner Taylor saw this cake and knew she had to make it. "When I saw this cake I instantly thought of my brother. He loves being American. I know, I know... we all do. But he REALLY is proud. When he went to study abroad this summer I wanted to make it for him as a welcome home surprise. The night before his return my mom and i decided to make the cake. We started at about 8 p.m. (that was the first mistake of many) By the time all of the cakes were made and cooled it was about 1 am. I then made the icing. (only to be interrupted by my drunk friend who needed a ride home from the bars) At about 3 oclock the icing and layering began. the cake kept shifting and the layers began to break. by 430 a.m. i decided it was the thought that counted and called in a night. i threw it in the fridge in hopes of solidifying the icing before it fell over. not so simple i guess."
The Pinstrosity

Taylor continues her story, "Anyhow, when he got home I gave him the cake and he loved the thought behind it. :) He also said I'll have to practice before I make it for his celebration when he becomes President of the United States. I don't think I'll be making this pinstrosity ever again..."

It may not look exactly like Ol' Glory, but it still looks tasty to me! Now, I'm not a cake guru...making a good cake is on my list of thing to learn, so I don't know any specific tips to give here other than what I know I would try if I were to attempt this right now and what I am finding on Google. Here's what I've got: 

1. First off, the thin red layers. I didn't have any clue about how to even start cutting layers, so I googled "Cutting Thin Cake Layers" and came across this genius idea: Toothpicks and dental floss. Check it out!

2. Then, how to frost it so it's smooth. Again...I haven't had great luck with this, so I just now googled "How to Frost a Cake" and this great article popped up (which also sports the toothpick and dental floss method for slicing):

But most of all I'd have to agree with Taylor...maybe the late night was what did it in. I know that'd do it for me! 

I know we have some bakers who follow along, do any of you have some little pearls of wisdom you'd like to share here?


  1. I think the main issue was it looks like they just baked several cakes and used them as they were, rather than slicing thin, flat layers. The bottom layer of the cake especially does not look flat.

  2. Cutting the cake into thinner layers is called torting the cake, and you want to level the cake before you start torting it. If the cake is soft and potentially prone to crumbling, a short time in the freezer or fridge beforehand can give you a little more substance to work with. A wide spatula (wilton makes a large square spatula for cake moving that I LOVE) helps, and you want to set the layer down directly on top of the layer below it, without moving or wiggling it around too much after you've set it down.

    With the frosting, you want to make sure it's a reasonably stiff frosting, to hold up to the weight of the layers (so whipped cream might not be a good choice for this frosting, and canned frosting tends to slide apart, in my experience.) BUT even a good fairly firm buttercream may start sliding apart if the room is really hot. Once the fat in the frosting starts to melt, it's slide-city all over the place. Chilling in between layers can help if you can't help the room temp, this cake isn't so big that you need to think about placing dowels, although that's certainly an option. I think one of the tricky bits is lining up the top part too, you need to make sure that the stripes around the blue + the frosting between them = the height of the blue layer, to avoid ending up with a weird sliding hump when you're done.

    As to a smooth surface? Crumb coat, chill, frost the outside. Or frost, a little unevenly, chill, then use a warm metal spatula to smooth the surface once it's chilled (I'm most successful with that when I'm using a swiss meringue buttercream, where you're just smoothing out small air pockets inherent to the frosting.)

  3. Don't give up if your cake "fails." The original poster already knew her major mistake: the time element! The best looking cakes are made over a few days. Bake your cakes one day and give them plenty of time to cool. The next day make your frosting and give it time to see what it needs. As the previous commenter said you need a stiffer frosting for layers. Let it sit a good 15-30 mins to come back to temperature, the mixing heats up the fats used in frosting, if you need more sugar to stiffen add it after the resting period (or you will end up too stiff and can cause more crumbs). While waiting on your frosting, layer and level your cake use a ruler if you need to. Frost your layers and assemble, then add a crumb coat and refrigerate to help it set up. Now frost your entire cake. Hopefully these hints and the previous comments help make it easier to end up with a beautiful frosted cake.


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