I'm very new to cake decorating ... as in I made and decorated my first real attempt over the weekend for my birthday. I saw an awesome polka dot cake on Once Upon a Pedestal and I just had to try it. The cake was really yummy, but quite a few things went wrong :( Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!
Here's a link to the polka dot cake I was trying to make http://once-upon-a-pedestal.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/polka-dot-cake-from-bake-pop-pan.html
(butter cream crumb coating, pink fondant, and really messy 5 minute piping ... just as I started piping my baby woke up and started crying so I had no just get it on there)
The polka dots aren't all evenly in the middle of the layers. Especially on the upper right of the cake you can see the purple polka dot is like half missing (must have gotten chopped off when I leveled the cake). The cake batter was very thick (Betty Crocker vanilla with choc marble but I left the choc out), maybe I should make from scratch next time.
You'll notice in the top picture that the star border around the base of the cake is only like 1/3 of the way around. For some unknown reason the piping bag got clogged or just stopped working. Is there any way to fix this? I didn't have time to start a new bag.
The buttercream frosting recipe that I used called for almond and vanilla extract. My husband is allergic to nuts so I just substituted more vanilla extract for the almond extract. Is there a better substitute?
I had a hard time getting the colour scheme that I wanted ... and went with different colours all together! Does anyone know of a tutorial for mixing up icing colours? I', using the Wilton gel colours.
Even though things didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, I'm still really excited to start the journey of learning how to decorate cakes :)
I think that your cake looks really cute. I'd say having uninterrupted time when you can concentrate may help with your piping and then unclogging the piping tip for your border. I typically substitute vanilla for almond extract, but you can also use other flavors...lemon, raspberry.....I also add some butter flavored vanilla sometimes. Your dots look different sizes which I also think looks good and I have no problem with the purple dot being cut off, I actually like that look. I think that you need a thick batter so that your dots don't all fall to the bottom.. maybe measure and poor even amount of batter in each pan...let it settle, tap it and then add your dots. Also use baking strips which allow the cake to bake evenly so you don't get a dome or distortion of the cake. I hope that helps...but I think you did a good job!
I've posted a few videos by others using my tutorial on my Facebook page if you're interested. https://www.facebook.com/deborahstauchauthor. You can find links from there to another Facebook page I created where others have shared their polka dot cakes and stories.
Pressing an uneven cake down with a damp paper towel when it first comes out of the oven and letting it cool with a level weight on top will press any pesky balls down while making a beautiful level top. No trimming involved so no danger of cutting off any dots. Using a pound cake recipe also helps. Did you put batter under the balls as well?
All of that being said, I think you're cake is marvelous. Especially for a first try and with a crying baby. When I first read your post, I thought it said YOU were crying. lol! It looks delicious which is the whole point of making cakes, don't you think?
AThanks for he suggestions Savannah! Next time I'll try substituting lemon for almond. That sounds so yummy! The baking strips are a great idea! I'll try those next time too. Thanks again :)
AWow Deborah, the polka dot cake for your avatar is AMAZING!!!! You are the polka dot cake queen!!!
Thank you for all of the suggestions and I'll definitely check out your videos! I baked the cakes in silicone cake pans which was great for getting the cakes out, but I think I need to get some normal ace pans so that I can use baking strips and use a weight if necessary.
Yes, I put some batter under the balls. The tater was really thick so I wonder if that was part f the problem. I had intended on weighing the cake pans to make sure the two levels would be the same height, but I got distracted by being mom (to 4 kids) and forgot to do this.
I'm not too disappointed, because you're right, it still tasted great! My husband's cousin used to own a fancy cake (I.e. novelty cake and wedding cake) business so I'd like my cakes to be a bit more presentable for our next family get together. I'm so excited about one of the presents I got for my birthday ... Money towards attending a class at Planet Cake (planet cake.com.au). I'm SOOOOO excited about it!!!!!
Thanks again for your help :)
AI think I need to get one of those elevated spinnny things for decorating too. Seems like it would make it easier!
For your first cake, I think you did a great job!!! Your piping is not that bad considering you did it in a hurry!!! It can only get better and better, the more that you practice!!! I for one like the way your cake looked!!! Polk a dots are neat looking!!!Great job!!!
Thanks Remnant :)
It looks great for a first time! Wish my first cake would have looked this good.
I also recommend the craftsy.com classes.
Here's the video tutorial for icing bullets.
Imageenthatnj, thanks so much for the tutorials and links!!! :)
The buttercream frosting recipe that I used called for almond and vanilla extract. My husband is allergic to nuts so I just substituted more vanilla extract for the almond extract. Is there a better substitute?"
McCormick brand of Almond flavoring is made from "oil of bitter almond" from apricot or peach pits and is completly safe for people with nut allergies. Their customer service is great about answering questions. Hope this helps in the future. I have a son with nut allergies as well.
Thanks Smallfrye! Good to know!
It is usually the imitation almond extracts that are made from peach pits. They contain no tree nuts. Always check to be sure.
Personally, I like yours better, fwiw.
Thanks how sweet :)
that looks so funky!! definitely well done!!!
Thanks BAKEDbyTristan :)