Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cakexperiment: Oh My Stars

I was trying to think of some special cake to make for July 4th.  I follow a lot of baking blogs, and the bloggers have wonderful, creative food styling and gorgeous photographs.  Until I'm able to shell out some cash for a fancy camera, I'm stuck with a Canon PowerShot that takes photos of dubious quality.

Still, I am relatively creative.  I'm a cake decorating instructor, so I certainly have all the tools I need.  I'm pretty handy with a piping bag.  I was sure I could come up with something interesting for Independence Day.

I had looked at some photos of cupcakes with hearts baked inside them, by baking one color of cake (pink), cutting out hearts from it, and placing those hearts inside another color of batter (white) so that when the cupcake was sliced correctly or bitten into from the correct side, you'd see a pink heart inside the white cupcake.  Cute, but I wasn't going to do that for my cake.  I'm also familiar with cakes made with specialty pans to create a special shape inside the cake when using two different colors of batter.  Also cute, but I didn't have such a pan to create a star inside my cake, and I definitely wanted to do something with stars for the 4th.

A little exploring in my basement (where I keep all my non-essential baking pans, cake decorating tools, etc.) uncovered the Wilton Star Pan I'd purchased a while back and never used.  I also found several different bottles of star/patriotic sprinkles.  I decided to make a special 3 color (red, white, and blue, of course) star cake for July 4th.  I whipped up some French Vanilla cake mix and then got my colors out.  I baked three thin layers of cake, one at a time, in my star pan after dividing the cake batter into thirds and coloring one with Americolor Super Red and the other with Royal Blue, and leaving the other white.

Then I used two different sizes of star cookie cutters to make some cut-outs in each cake.

I used a jelly roll pan as my cake platter and started assembling my cake.  I picked the red layer of cake as the bottom, and filled in the empty star spaces with the cake stars in the other two colors.
Then I slathered it with frosting and added the white layer,

more frosting, then the blue layer.

When assembled, the cake looked like this from the side:

How was I going to frost this cake?  With star tips, of course!  I used Wilton large star tip #1M for the white frosting on the top, and Wilton star tip #21 for the blue and red.  I also used tip #1M and white, red, and blue frosting in the same bag to do the sides of the cake.  I added jumbo stars in red and blue from Wilton Jumbo Stars Sprinkles and finished it off with a sprinkling of Wilton Silver Stars Edible Glitter.

When we sliced into the cake, it looked pretty cool.  I knew the star pattern/cut-outs wouldn't be visible, but I just wanted the multi-color effect.

As you can see, some of the pieces end up looking like a haphazard checkerboard pattern.  It was fun to play with cake and frosting today.  Usually I'm so burned out with making cakes for my classes that I don't like to do anything more than using sprinkles on cupcakes or cakes at home.  This was a fun change of pace.  And I didn't stain anything!!!

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