Years ago I decorated cakes as a hobby. I've been asked lately to do cakes for family and friends and I love doing it, but it seems I am rusty. My cakes are too unstable for tiers. I made my parents 50th anniversary cake - no problem. The 60th? Totally fell apart. do
Now my niece wants a tiered cake for her daughters birthday. How make the batter stable enough so the cake doesn't fall over or fall apart...and still taste good?
Fall over? Your support system is what's holding up a tiered cake. The tiers aren't simply stacked on top on one another. As far as falling apart, I've never had that happen. Maybe start with a doctored mix. Those are pretty forgiving.
JA mom we really would need more info to help you better but as leah_s said it's your support system that hold up a cake NOT the cake it's self. How did you put the 60th anniv cake together? What support(s) did you use?
And tell us more about the size, shape of the cake your niece wants.
AOn the 60th anniv cake I used dowels to support the layers including one down the middle of all 4 tiers. I used boxed cake mix. The cake was light and tasted good but the buttercream icing seemed too heavy for it. The icing would slide off pulling cake with it. Also it was a VERY hot day....108 degrees.
I'm making a 3 tier cake - 14" 10" and 6" for my niece. Someone mentioned a "doctored" mix. What is that? Am I better off trying scratch? Thanks for your help
What kind of cake boards did you use between the tiers?
108 degrees is too hot for any icing, really.
I used cake circles I got at a cake decorating store.
Well, I suspect that the heat was a major issue. The buttercream in, and on, the cake likely just melted.
It never hurts to put 2 cake circles together with double sided tap between them, orienting them so that the corrugation goes "ll" on one and "=" on the other. This adds strength.
Make sure that all of the dowels [I use wide bore straws---bubble tea straws] are cut to the same length. Put one in at the highest point of the cake and cut all others the same length
As for the cake, if the support is right and it's not too hot, any recipe should hold up fine.
I use this recipe for a doctored mix: http://www.cakecentral.com/a/white-almond-sour-cream-cake-wasc
Any flavor of mix will work. For cakes other than one that must be very white, I use 6 whole eggs. Also the recipe is for larger mixes than are currently available. To make up for this, I buy a 3rd box and weigh out an additional 6 oz. of mix to add to the batter. Works perfectly for me.
If traveling with a cake in a car, the cake should be on a flat area of the floor [but never in a fully enclosed trunk], the car should be cool, and I place every cake on 2+ inches of memory foam to dampen the vibrations of the vehicle. It's very easy to vibrate a cake to crumbs.
Holy Smokes - that's it! I baked the cake rounds and then drove them 325 miles to the event destination.
I wondered if that had an impact. Between that and the heat, no wonder it was a massive failure.
Thank you for your excellent and helpful advice and the recipe - I'll give it a try!
One more question....I do maybe a dozen cakes a year....I'd like to get a stand mixer. Would the Kitchenaid Artisan meet my needs or do I need something bigger/stronger?
Holy Smokes - that's it! I baked the cake rounds and then drove them 325 miles to the event destination. Yup. That would do it. But it was probably the 108 degrees.
Here is a video by Bronwen Weber called "Melting Wedding Cake". This may bring back bittersweet memories...
You can purchase both styles as refurbished models from the factory, or barely used from Craigslist, or on sale for about $100 less. There are all sorts of reviews on youtube. The sales just before Mother's Day are usually the best in the year and will include rebates and/or extra attachments as part of the sale.
(Never, ever pay "suggested retail"!)
I'm really glad our back & forth helped to sort it for you.
I have to agree with Apti. If you can get the 6 quart KA Pro, it will be really worth your while. I, too had a 5 qt. Artisan, but doubling an icing recipe in it was disaster.
With the 6qt., I never worry anymore and I prefer the lift bowl over the lift head. I bought a scraper blade for it and every so often, I just slow the mixer to 1 and gently lower the bowl to scrape it.
maybenot~~So it's not just me! I feel like a traitor to my darling Artisan, but that's that way it goes...
I also have the KA Flex Edge Beaters for both of my KA's.