I am new to this site and am a novice. By no means do I classify myself as anywhere near well-versed in the art of cake-making, however I did purchase a large spatula, cake leveler, cake lifter and 3 different size pans tonight... well on my way! A little background (if you don't care, skip the rest of this paragraph) - I work full-time, love to scrapbook, do anything crafty and try new cooking and baking projects in the kitchen. I am a wife and mother of 2 wonderful boys (ages 9 and 4)... my husband is my 3rd boy, and I would truly do anything for them all - even attempt a Topsy Turvy cake for my son with only 2 weeks lead-time!
I love making different things, and like to challenge myself. However, I tend to take on a huge challenge about 2 weeks before I need the cake for a party. This one happens to be a TT cake for my son's 5th birthday party. I have read a tutorial on it, and the basics of it seem pretty easy. My questions are as follows (remember, I am new, so be gentle):
- What is the best thing to dirty ice a cake with? Will the buttercream frosting I am using for the actual frosting be ok, or will that not get hard enough? How long should it be cooled before being iced/decorated? And finally (on the dirty icing subject), how long CAN it be in the fridge/cooler before it gets yucky? Basically how far in advance should I, and can I, start this cake? Don't want to run out of time, nor do I want a cake that tastes like you-know-what.
- Do you add extracts to buttercream by taste or is there a certain "ratio" of frosting to extract that I should use?
- I have a recipe for buttercream frosting and I have the Wilton box mixes for the buttercream frosting - anyone have a preference? I am sure there's nothing like home-made, but wondering if the box mixes are way too easy to pass up, or taste close enough to the real deal... anything else that will make me use the box mixes over my recipe??
- Due to time, I am using *gasp* boxed cake mix, but I have read that you can make the following changes to make it more like a bakery cake taste: add 1-2 extra eggs (the more, the richer), substitute milk for the water & substitute melted butter for the oil and double the amount. Has anyone tried this and/or have any opinions on it?
Sorry for the super long post, but due to lack of time (as I have mentioned numerous times) I just don't have time to practice all of these different techniques. I think this will help me get my newest little "project" started. THANK YOU!!!