So I'm making an Elmo cake for a friend. Originally it was for tomorrow, but he called yesterday and said they may be moving the party to Friday... I'm hoping!
I did a dry run yesterday because I've never used this pan before, wasn't sure how I want to pipe him and have wanted to try a scratch cake...
Here are my problems, if you have any suggestions i'd greatly appreciate it!
... The cake: I used this cake http://cakecentral.com/recipe/classic-yellow-cake from the recipe section. The flavor is great ,but it's a pretty heavy cake that seems on the dry side. I like the flavor because it balances the sweetness of the icing SO much better than the box cakes I've been using! Would a simple syrup help the dryness? I'm planning to torte and fill Elmo so I think that will break up the denseness.
... My frosting! ARGH! I made the same exact buttercream I make EVERYTIME! It's like the Wilton class recipe but I use coffee creamer for the liquid, usually I use the powdered creamer mixed w/ boiling water, yesterday I used the liquid creamer heated. After the cake sat, covered in my cake carrier overnight I cut a piece this morning and the icing just broke off. It's taken crusting buttercream to a new level! All I did was pipe onto Elmo's face w/ a grass tip, and some w/ a star trying to figure out which way I like and I'm wondering if I messed up my frosting? or is it the humidity since my A/C in the kitchen went bad Saturday morning? Or is it because I didn't cover Elmo in a layer of frosting first?
The best way to eliminate the dryness on the edges is to use a metal flower nail in the middle of the pan. (Turn it upside down and it will conduct heat to the middle of the cake to get it baked more evenly) Turn your oven down to 325 and bake it, if you see your edges getting too brown too quickly then put some foil around the edges. Usually though baking at 325 works perfectly.
As far as your icing, I use the flavored liquid coffee creamer a lot and I have never heated them prior to using them in my icing. I suggest not heating it as this could have caused more sugar to develop into a syrup of some sorts. I have iced cakes in a kitchen where the temp was way up and not had any problems.
Try these suggestions and see how they work for you.
If you are using a shaped cake pan, like a Wilton Elmo Pan, you are not supposed to put a layer of icing on the cake prior to decorating with the star/grass tip. If you put a layer of icing on the cake you won't be able to see the outline of the character properly. And yes the icing will crust like that. But once the entire cake is covered it will be fine. Or you could use 1/2 butter 1/2 shortening in your icing recipe instead of all shortening. I have found that all shortening crusts more than the half and half. But if you don't want it to crust too much then use a different icing. The whipped cream buttercream recipe in the icing section is nice too, and it won't crust as much, but still holds up well in heat and humidity.
Here is the recipe:
Thank you both! I definitely think the cake was a little overdone. I baked for the 45 min called for on the recipe and think next time I'm going to check it at 35 minutes.
Next time I use the liquid creamer I'll use it cold. I had a feeling that was going to be a problem the moment I poured it in... It started to melt the shortening, but since this was just for us I figured I'd give it a try and see what happened. Next time I know better! LOL
I will check out that whipped buttercream. I'm afraid to use a 1/2 and 1/2 butter shortening mixture. I know it should be fine, but I'm just afraid the person I'm doing the cake for may not have a/c and I just don't want to take that risk
I do tons of novelty cakes, and never use a flower nail in them. I bake at 325 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.
I always always put on a crumb coat before doing the character. By using the crumb coat that's the same color as most of the top coat, you don't see 'holes' in the top coating.
Crumb coating does tend to hide the outlines, but I always lay the cake pan next to the cake as I'm decorating to help guide me.
Lastly, good luck on the cake, and don't get caught if you are accepting money for a licensed character.
Just thought I'd come back and let you know, Elmo came out great! My icing worked, the cake wasn't overdone and I was lucky enough that it raised slightly above the pan so leveling was a breeze! LOL
I did crumb coat, but I iced the mouth, eyes and nose first so It didn't really interfere w/ the lines.
This wasn't a cake for $$. It was for one of our best friends and he supplied the ingredients. I just did all the work. LOL! I know he got the better end of that deal!
Oh wow, looks great