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First real big cake HELP!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ladies, Im braving myself to make a big cake for my sons birthday on the 13th, thats next week. I have a million questions so PLEASE help a gal out. Ill address my pre-decorating questions and start a separate thread for the decoration questions.

I bought the following dummy cakes to get the heights on the cake without having to bake them since the party is only for 50 people. Bought them in sizes; 7.5, 9.5 & 11.5...so I will be making the real cake at the bottom and bought a 14pan.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VT7FLY/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i02

I plan to follow this recipe for the cake: http://cakecentral.com/recipe/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe
1.  Firstly what should be the height of the cake before carving it on a angle? 6?
2.  What size will the cake be with this recipe for a 14pan? Can I just double the recipe and bake two 3cakes instead of three 2 cakes? Any downside to doing this?
3.  Since itll be more than 6 should I add any support? If so what, and how? A cheap method is welcome.
4.  Im not sure if baking times are different for such large cake?
5.  Any other tips for the cake part of the baking?

Now onto the buttercream, I plan to use this recipe; http://cakecentral.com/recipe/the-best-buttercream-ever
1.   This was a good recipe but quite hard to spread it on the cake for crumb coat and the actual frosting...what could I be doing wrong? I didnt use a KA mixer...can that be it?
2.  Is there any way to cut the sweetness off? The cake will be covered in fondant so its a lot of sweetness.
3.  Also Im never sure how much of frosting to add between the layers? What should the thickness be?

Cover the MMF fondant:
1.   To cover the height and width of the 14 cake, how big should I roll the fondant?
2.  Is using a mat the best method?

Assembling the cake:
1.   Should I just stack the 3 dummy tiers with buttercream? What can I add to make sure they will stay together?
2.  How can I add them to the real cake securely?
post #2 of 14
I am by no means an expert. I do this strictly as a hobby and give my cakes as gifts. But I will try to answer your questions if I can

My 1st suggestion is try this recipeI use it for all my carved cakes and have gotten RAVE reviews alwayshttp://cakecentral.com/recipe/durable-cake-for-3d-and-wedding-cakes

1. Firstly what should be the height of the cake before carving it on a angle? 6?

It looks like the duumys are 6 on the high side carved down to 4 on the low sideyou could measure the dummys as your guide.

2. What size will the cake be with this recipe for a 14pan? Can I just double the recipe and bake
two 3cakes instead of three 2 cakes? Any downside to doing this?

Ive done a 14 square pan and tripled the recipe I suggested
You can multiply the recipe as needed. Just adjust the cooking time.

3. Since itll be more than 6 should I add any support? If so what, and how? A cheap method is welcome.

Definitely use support! You could just put a round cake board between the layers with a couple of dowels. You arent transporting this cake right?

4. Im not sure if baking times are different for such large cake?

You will definitely need to adjust the cooking time and for a 14 pan I always add a couple of decorating nails as core heaters to help cook evenly.

5. Any other tips for the cake part of the baking?
See above ?? Using the nails and adjusting the cooking time.

Now onto the butter cream, I plan to use this recipe; http://cakecentral.com/recipe/the-best-buttercream-ever
That is a great recipeI use it often
1. This was a good recipe but quite hard to spread it on the cake for crumb coat and the actual frosting...what could I be doing wrong? I didnt use a KA mixer...can that be it?
You really have to mix it WELL so it could be the mixer you are using. KA are the best. You could also try separating the amount you are using for the crumb coat and diluting VERY LITTLE with a little extra milk and definitely chill it before you frost it.
2. Is there any way to cut the sweetness off? The cake will be covered in fondant so its a lot of sweetness. I dont know about thisI have never had that complaint with that butter cream. I have read the you can cut down on the sweetness by adding a little salt, however, I have never tried that.
3. Also Im never sure how much of frosting to add between the layers? What should the thickness be?
You dont want to go to thick where the frosting is bulgingYou can always add some more powdered sugar to some of the butter cream to make it really thick and make a dam around the edges, the thickness that you would like. I never go more that about 1/4 .


I have not done the topsy turvy cake myself yet so I think I will let someone else handle the rest of your questions.
HTH and would LOVE to see pics of your creation when it is complete! Have fun!!!
post #3 of 14
....I plan to follow this recipe for the cake: http://cakecentral.com/recipe/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe

1. Firstly what should be the height of the cake before carving it on a angle? 6?
It depends on what look you are going for. Do you have a pic you are trying to follow? What design? Can you give us a link to the pic .......it's impossible to advise you fully w/o knowing what we are talking about.
Are you baking in a 14"x2" round pan? then each cake should bake up to 2" tall. If you want a taller cake you need to bake more layers.

2. What size will the cake be with this recipe for a 14pan? Can I just double the recipe and bake two 3cakes instead of three 2 cakes? Any downside to doing this?
This recipe does not do well in 3" deep pansicon_sad.gif
a 14"x2" pan needs 2 mixes. I suggest you make the recipe 3 times and split the batter between 2 pans. Unless you have a BIG KA or other commercial mixer you will not be able to mix up that much batter at one time but have to make one recipe at a time.
If you need the cake to be 6" tall, then yes, you need to bake 3 layers.
3. Since itll be more than 6 should I add any support? If so what, and how? A cheap method is welcome.
How will the cake be more than 6" tall? Are you meaning total heigth of the whole cake? You are using styro on top of real cake - so all you need are 3 straws placed in a triangle fashion in the 14" cake to support the very light weight of the styro pieces above it.
4. Im not sure if baking times are different for such large cake?
Yes, the bigger the cake the longer it takes to bake. A 14"er probably will take an hour per layer. I do suggest you use 1 flower nail in the center of each layer you bake to help distribute the heat better though I have bakes 100s of that size w/o even oneicon_smile.gif
5. Any other tips for the cake part of the baking?
Just be sure you have read the entire post of my *original* WASC recipe as there are many helpful tips in the replies. OR you can PM me. I only have access to a computer for a couple of hrs per day but will get back to as soon as I can.
post #4 of 14
buttercream, I plan to use this recipe; http://cakecentral.com/recipe/the-best-buttercream-ever
1. This was a good recipe but quite hard to spread it on the cake for crumb coat and the actual frosting...what could I be doing wrong? I didnt use a KA mixer...can that be it?
.........If it's hard to spread it's not a good recipe icon_smile.gif I have not used nor even seen the recipe in ? but maybe you just need to add a bit more fat (butter or shortening) or liquid to thin it a bit so it's easiter to use. The fact of not having a KA should not matter that much. Many a decorator uses a hand held mixericon_smile.gif Maybe you need to mix the icing longer. Most icings do much better if mixed at low speed for up to 10 minutes!
2. Is there any way to cut the sweetness off? The cake will be covered in fondant so its a lot of sweetness.
.......There are a couple of ways to cut down on the sweetness. Is salt added to the recipe? If not add about 1/2 tsp. Is butter used? If not, sub up to 1/2 cup butter for the other fat used in the recipe. Add 1 Tablespoon flavoring total - that will greately improve the taste of the icing.
3. Also Im never sure how much of frosting to add between the layers? What should the thickness be?
.......When using icing between layers one should pipe a dam line using tip 12 then fill in so the filling is the same height as the line piped.

Cover the MMF fondant:
1. To cover the height and width of the 14 cake, how big should I roll the fondant?
.......If the 14" cake is 6" tall then you need to roll the fondant 26" -28" around!! Not an easy feate(sp?)!

2. Is using a mat the best method?
.......Sure isicon_smile.gif Makes handling the rolled piece much easier.
Assembling the cake:
1. Should I just stack the 3 dummy tiers with buttercream? What can I add to make sure they will stay together?
.......Yes, use b'cream. They will stay togethericon_smile.gif Just plop a nice healthy blob of icing between the styro layers.
2. How can I add them to the real cake securely?
........Put the one that is going directly on the cake on a cake board the same size as the styro - again just a dab of b'cream will hold it. With fresh icing under the board the dummy cake will stay put - easpecially after borders are piped and it has had time to dry. The pieces of styro (dummmies) not touching the cake, but stacked together do not need a board between them.
post #5 of 14
Most of your questions where already answered but I do topsy turvy cakes all time time so I thought I would add my two cents. If you have never done a topsy turvy cake before I have to warn you they arent easy especially since you are doing it in a large size. You only need to bake 2 2" pans. When you start cutting the cake to get the slanted look do it in one clean slice so you can flip the cut piece over to give you a higher slant (hope thats understandable) that way you will get the 6" height without baking 3 pans. On the buttercream, I totally agree with adding salt. My recipe calls for salt, it tastes great and I get compliments all the time about it not being too sweet.HTH
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies, firstly THANK you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and helping me out. Really REALLY appreciate it.
1.   I dont have the cakes with me now, but looking at the description on the amazon site it says: Dimensions: 8¼"Dia(base) × 9½"Dia(top) × 2" - 4"H
The cake heights measurements look like its 2 and the lower part and 4 on the higher part? So will making a 4 height should be ok? So to make 2 different 2 cake on a 14 pan would a combined 10 cups of cake batter be enough? Im concerned about not having enough batter and the cakes not being atleast 2 high.
2.   I rather not use support if I dont have to. Since it looks like its 4 inch at the high point, should be ok with the added dummy cakes on top?
3.   I will be transporting the cake to the party hall, any suggestion how the whole thing can be taken? Its a 40 min ride from our house. Or should I put them together at the hall?
4.  What is a decorating nail or a flower nail? And where can I find them? Price? Thanks
5.  Now Im not sure which way to carve the cake so the dummys can sit on the cake securely? The dummy cakes are cut on a slant...dont think the real one should be?

Trying to achieve a cake similar to this: Image

I want to decorate one tier as the quilting, and have this pen: http://www.goldaskitchen.com/merchant.ihtml?pid=1633&step=4
Any tips on how to get the quilt look without buying anymore tools?

Thanks again, I will definitely add some salt to the buttercream to see how it tastes.
post #7 of 14
I would assemble the cake when you get there that way nothing can happen to the cake in route. If I understand you correctly you are wanting to do the top 3 tiers topsy turvy style and the bottom tier with no slant with the quilting look right? I am not entirely sure how that would look, it may look somewhat strange but who knows it may look fine. The tool you have for quilting is just fine, just measure out the area between each line you want and you may need to use a straight edge.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

I would assemble the cake when you get there that way nothing can happen to the cake in route. If I understand you correctly you are wanting to do the top 3 tiers topsy turvy style and the bottom tier with no slant with the quilting look right? I am not entirely sure how that would look, it may look somewhat strange but who knows it may look fine. The tool you have for quilting is just fine, just measure out the area between each line you want and you may need to use a straight edge.



No I want to make the bottom (real cake) layer topsy turvy too....And then quilt it. So basically it'll be a 4 teir topsy turvy but only the bottom will be a real cake. Im wondering how to carve it so the dummy cake sit on it securely? The dummys are slanted and dont think if I do the same for the real cake it would keep the dummys in place?
post #9 of 14
......4. What is a decorating nail or a flower nail? And where can I find them? Price? ......

It is a small metal object with a flat round head and nail protrusion....think 'nail' and hammer only bigger icon_smile.gif
It is used as a mini turntable to make icing flowers. They can be found at places like Michael's Crafts, and cake decorating supply stores - cost is under $3.

All 3 of the tiers pictured are 4" tall each before the slant is carved. The top owl can be either cake (baked in an egg shaped mold/pan), rice treats, or styro.
To someone who have not transported cakes before a 40 minute drive can be very stressfull even with most of the design in styro icon_smile.gif You could probably put together the styro layers then add those to the base at the venue. I would suggest transporting the parts in seperate boxes - the real cake in one, the styro in another. Get tall boxes from places like a grocery store , places like $ stores, or purchace from WalMart, Office Depot etc. Cut one side so you can slip the cake in (not have to put it down into) and tape it in place to hold.
Using support/dowels in the bottom tier of regular, plastic, drink straws is all you need. Maybe if you don't put the cake together until at the venue you could get away w/o them.
post #10 of 14
there are a couple of methods for cutting slanted cakes so they sit level but look slanted. I can't explain it well but you can find many YouTube videos to help you. I'm sure someone will post a link for you. It is very much an optical illusion icon_smile.gif
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Found this video...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM8AKswcVHU

Looks pretty straight forward...any other tips? But on the video the bottom layer looks just like a regular circle cake....is that the normal way to make topsy turvy??? I thought all tiers had to be topsy turvy???
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Also wondering how many batches of the buttercream from the above recipe should I make for the entire cake? Same with MMF fondant?
post #13 of 14
On the topsy turvy method, the video is exactly how you do it. You start off with a round tier then cut your slant and flip it over. I am not sure what you mean when you say you thought all tiers had to be topsy turvy unless you mean to use the topsy turvy cake pans? If you are using the topsy turvy pans then you don't have to cut anything off. On the buttercream, I haven't used that recipe before and don't know how much it will yield but the recipe I use also calls for 2 pounds of powered sugar (but everything else is different amounts) and I normally double it and can use it for 5-8 cakes. On the fondant, I don't know what recipe you are using so I can't help you with that one but it never hurts to double the recipe.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just a quick question how many flower nail should I insert into the cake to even baking? Also say if I go by just doubling the cake recipe...should I just double the baking time? Really not too sure about the baking time icon_confused.gif
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