First Cake Ever. Need Help.

Decorating By justbyangela Updated 12 Oct 2009 , 5:54pm by snocilla

justbyangela Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 4:12pm
post #1 of 8

I am wanting to make my son's 1st Birthday cake. I am expecting to have about 30 people. I was interested in making a tiered cake and have looked up many websites but really have no idea where to start. I was thinking of a 2 tiered cake and then maybe a smash cake.

What are some important factors to take into consideration? His birthday is in 2 weeks and I wanted to find out the steps I am able to take before then. For instance, I don't want to have to do everything all at one time. I was thinking of baking the cake and freezing it without icing or decorations. Then making the butter cream and fondant and freezing them and then ice it and decorate it the day before. Would this work? Also the party is going to be outdoors and I wanted to do all butter cream. Am I setting myself up for a total disaster?

Also, what is crumb coating? Why is it done?

When making cakes what do most of you do in the step by step process? Do you make the cake, freeze it or decorate it.

Any beginner advice/help is MUCH appreciated!! Thanks in advance! Sorry this is so scrambled. I have been stressing about this and I'm not sure if I should just buy a cake instead!!

7 replies
melclark Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:02pm
post #2 of 8

First take a deep breathe.
Figure out your cake sizes by the number of guests. Probably a 4" or 6" cake for the smash cake. Maybe a 6" and 8" for the tiered, if you do round it would be estimated to feed about 35 people. This info came from Wilton's size chart. Even consider making them two different flavors.

Here are the steps I take to make a cake. First I bake them. Be careful to coat the pan well, you absolutely do not want them to stick. Once baked, I let them sit out and cool. Once they are cool, I mix up my buttercream. I make two 2" layers of each size cake. I fit a cakeboard to the bottom layer, use a little buttercream as an adhesive to the cakeboard. I put my filling in and stack the second layer on top. Then I crumb coat the cake by applying buttercream to the entire cake. This is the base for fondant. While my buttercream is sitting up, I make my fondant. When my fondant is cool, I roll it out and apply it. I apply it using piping gel around the edges of the cake.

To stack tiers, you need to fit 4 dowels making a small square in the center of the bottom tier. Think of a small square and put a dowel at each point. The dowels need to be cut to the heigth of the bottom tier. Once support dowels are in place, place the top tier on top and drive a dowel through the center of the top tier into the bottom for stabilization. Make sure the dowel is cut to the heighth of the stacked tiers, you dont want it protruding. I believe you can find these illustrated steps on Wilton's website.

I hope this helps! Good Luck!

cakebaker1957 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:10pm
post #3 of 8

Also if your going to use fondant for any detail pieces, make them ahead of time for instance , The # 2 can be done ahead of time, take a look at some of the cool pics here on CC

cownsj Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:15pm
post #4 of 8

When you have a cake board that you have to put a dowel through, I always sharpen the dowel using a pencil sharpener so it goes through the board in the middle without any problems.

just_for_fun Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:24pm
post #5 of 8

The outdoors problem depends on how long the cake will sit outside and the weather. To make sure, use indydebi's buttercream. it is very stable and its supposed to be delish (never tried it yet)

sadsmile Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:43pm
post #6 of 8

(this is from JanH-she is terrific about organizing links to stuff!. Thanks JanH!!!) THis is some great reading!!!I hope it helps youas much as it helped me!



You can bake and freeze the layers beforehand to make the assembly and decorating process less stressful.

Most frostings can also be made in advance. (American b/c's don't usually require refrigeration while stored.)

Fill and crumb coat or frost cake layers. Allow to settle. Spend next day assembling tiers and decorating.

How to make and decorate with MMF:

http://www.cakecentral.com/art.....t-MMF.html

MMF tips:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....1181-.html

How to cover your cake in fondant:

http://www.cakecentral.com/art.....ndant.html

http://www.pastrywiz.com/wedding/wedding19.htm

Fondant useage charts:

http://whatscookingamerica.net.....dantQA.htm
(Scroll down.)

Pettinice chart using size of cake & thickness of fondant:

http://www.pettinice.com/

Satin Ice:

http://www.satinfinefoods.com/ordering.shtml
(Info provided by MichelleM77.)

Most complete chart:

http://tinyurl.com/2dslk5
(Page 6.)

How much sleeved pastry filling to use by cake size:

http://tinyurl.com/2gay6n

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....62527.html

Sleeved pastry fillings:

http://www.countrykitchensa.co.....bCatId=798

http://www.thebakerskitchen.co.....llings.htm

How to stack/tier cakes:

http://tinyurl.com/y22z72
(Has complete and accurate directions.)

More on SPS:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....1846-.html
(See Leahs post.)

(Illustrated) How to cut level dowels by indydebi:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....4013-.html

Wilton's tiered cake help links:

http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/

Wilton's cake making help links:
(Includes cake preparation charts which give batter requirements by pan size, as well as servings charts.)

http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/

Wilton's cake decorating help links:

http://www.wilton.com/cakes/decorating-cakes/

How to prevent bulging layers:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....3188-.html

Faux Fondant (Viva paper towel method):

http://www.cakecentral.com/art.....-Viva.html

Melvira (foam roller method):

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....7753-.html

How to professionally ice a cake:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....2411-.html

Everything you ever wanted to know about ganache:
(Includes master as well as other recipes, how-to-glaze, stack, smooth and more.)

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....7433-.html

Chocolate 101:

http://tinyurl.com/ytby97

Recommend using the bake-even strips and flower nails/heating cores in cakes 10" diameter or more, and 3" deep pans.

Nail/Heating Core Threads:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....6493-.html

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....1351-.html

Make Your Own Cake/Pan Release:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....4367-.html

The WASC cake is a doctored cake mix recipe that is very moist and tasty and very reliable.

Heres' the expanded flavors recipe:

http://tinyurl.com/2cu8s4
(Using DH white cake mixes, a full recipe makes a tad over 14 cups of batter.)

Original WASC cake recipe by kakeladi:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....4319-.html

A chocolate WASC variation:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....7744-.html

My favorite b/c is cakemanOH's hi-ratio Brite White recipe:
(Lost my source for icing base, but puzzlegut makes it without all the time.)

http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....Icing.html

Sugarshack's hi-ratio icing recipe and Tips:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....-Tips.html

Everything you ever wanted to know about hi-ratio shortening:

Popular Crisco based b/c recipes:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....cream.html
(High humidity b/c.)

http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....Icing.html
(Indydebi's recipe.)

http://www.cakecentral.com/cak.....cream.html
(Luby's recipe.)

Everything you ever wanted to know about meringue b/c's:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/c.....1626-.html

Fondant and MMF recipes:

http://www.cakecentral.com/mod.....0&x=31&y=4

http://www.cakecentral.com/mod.....1&x=30&y=7

Illustrated how-to on cutting neat slices of tiered cake:
(Indydebi's method is so much better and easier than Wilton's.)

http://cateritsimple.com/_wsn/page10.html

butterfly831915 Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:48pm
post #7 of 8

I am pretty much a begginer as to my talent, Indy deb's buttercream--ROCKS!! icon_lol.gif

If I were you and wanted to start in advance on the cakes, bake, level the layers (remove any domes, etc.), fill with bc or whatever you choose, let rest so it can settle and then crumb coat and freeze. Crumb coat is to help keep the crumbs out of the icing. Remove from freezer and do final icing. I would also suggest that you color your icing the day before you decorate as it tends to darken later.

I hope you have fun with it all and post a pic afterword. Best of luck!!

}i{

snocilla Posted 12 Oct 2009 , 5:54pm
post #8 of 8

The outside thing also depends on the weather. If it's going to be super hot and humid, it's not a good idea, but comfortable or mild temps are ok.

Here's how I do my cakes:

Bake the cakes the first night. Wrap them in saran wrap, put back in the pan (after it's been cleaned of course). Then cover the pans with more plastic wrap and freeze at least overnight. Freezing really does help lock in the moisture. Also, putting them back in the pan protects them from anything else poking into them.

I make fondant ahead of time, because it needs to sit at least an hour before using it.

When I'm ready to decorate, I pull the cakes out of the freezer and let them thaw a bit while I get the icing ready (usually a half hour or so). I then fill them and crumb coat.

When you fill them, put a ring of icing about a half inch in to build a dam. This keeps the icing from bulging out of the sides.

Crumb coating is just a thin layer of icing to catch all the crumbs. After crumbcoating, let the cake sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or so to crust. Then either cover in fondant or add a thicker layer of buttercream.


Just let us know if you have more questions! Cake Central is a great place to get all the advice you need!

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