Newbie Deperately Needs Help

Decorating By makandmatsmom Updated 20 Aug 2008 , 4:48pm by MacsMom

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makandmatsmom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:20pm
post #1 of 19

You may think I am crazy for wanting to make this cake, seeing as I am relatively new to cake decorating. My daughter's 4th birthday is coming up and I wanted to make her a Hannah Montana (she is crazy about her) guitar cake. I just have so many questions, as I am clueless icon_sad.gif I was planning on buying the Wilton guitar pan. Do I use two of these cakes to make a double layer, I don't want the cake to be too small. Also, is it better to use traditional icing or fondant? What is the best cake recipe to make a shaped cake? Sorry for all the questions.

18 replies
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lesyorkwolf Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:32pm
post #2 of 19

I always make my cakes with three layers...personal preference. The choice is up to you. You can also torte your cake to make it two layers. You dont have to buy the wilton pan. I make a lot of templates out of brown paper bags and then cut cake out of appropriate sized pan....9x13 in your case? If new, I would use buttercream and then maybe use fondant to accent (guitar strings, etc)? Just dont use wilton fondant...yucky taste! The white almond sour cream cake here makes a great cake! Good luck! icon_biggrin.gif

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biancas_mommy Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:37pm
post #3 of 19

you're not crazy! my first cakes were for my daughter's birthdays, too. what better place to start? luckily the wilton shaped pans are really made for beginners so you should have no problem. when you buy it, it'll come with a really detailed instruction booklet with baking instructions and decorating instructions for several different designs, and you should be able to get ideas from that and go from there with your hannah montana theme. were you thinking of putting the hannah logo on it or something?

as for buttercream vs. fondant it really depends on what you want to do. have you used fondant before? if not i'd practice first. all the wilton shaped pan instructions tell you to use buttercream with a star tip to fill in your designs, and this is a great way for a newbie to do a good-looking cake, i think. it's a simple technique, easy to do, and it comes out looking pretty good.

you came to the right place for help! keep us posted and ask away, the people here are endlessly helpful. welcome to CC!

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akgirl10 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:38pm
post #4 of 19

A very easy way to make a firmer cake is to add an extra egg and a small box of pudding mix to your cake mix. Make the cake two layers if you want more servings, how many people are you expecting for her party?

I agree with buttercream on the cake, and use fondant for accents. If you have access to Satin Ice, I would buy a small bucket of that, much easier than making your own.

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biancas_mommy Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:39pm
post #5 of 19

oh, one other thing--the wilton pans ARE pretty small. if you need to serve more than like 10 people, you'll either want additional cake, or you'll want to go in another direction like lesyorkwolf suggested and carve the shape out of a sheet pan. if you do carve, i'll second her opinion that the white almond sour cream is a great bet.

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tenleysmommy Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:50pm
post #6 of 19

I usaully only do two layers,and I like my cakes to be 4 inches.That is what I think looks best.jmpo!

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jacquie575 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 7:57pm
post #7 of 19

You could also do the Wilton pan for the guitar and put it on top of a sheet cake. That would give you more space for decoration (logo, picture etc) and also feed more people. I have never split a character pan, because it scares me icon_redface.gif The one Winnie the Pooh I did was difficult to bake evenly and was not tall enough, in my opinion, to split in two. Good luck and keep us posted.

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stephaniescakenj Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:02pm
post #8 of 19

I don't know if you could use the guitar pan to make a double layer, meaning baking two cakes in the pan and stacking them. I think they usually have some sort of indentation to show the differnent angles and curves of a guitar, don't they? I have a bunch of character pans and I can't stack any of them. I would suggest making the guitar and if you need additional servings, make a sheet cake and then put the guitar on top of the sheet cake or maybe make a second cake and see if you can find an edible image of Hannah Montana and display them side by side. WASC is a great recipe, just tried it for the first time a few weeks ago and I love it. Hershey's also has a really good recipe for chocolate cake on the back of their can of cocoa, I replace water with coffee though, it's not good for carving so beware. as mentioned earlier, stay away from Wilton fondant, I don't care for their buttercream either.

good luck! I think that's how most of us started... "you want how much for that cake?!? Well I'll just do it myself then!" : )

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janelwaters Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:14pm
post #9 of 19

I used the guitar pan for my hannah montana cake. I torted it and it turned out really well. I also added a small loaf pan to the neck of the guitar to make it longer (I think it looked too short and very child like). I used buttercream and fondant accents.

Good luck and post pics when you get done

btw - if you like my cake feel free to pm me with any questions.

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malishka Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:17pm
post #10 of 19

I have 2 Hannah Montana cakes in my pics. I didn't make the guitar because i had to have more servings than the guita pan could give me. If you want any other ideas than a guitar, then look see what I came up with.
My daughter loved her cake and then her friend ordered one for her birthday as well. One of them is in butter cream with fondant accents and the other is entirly covered in fondant.
I hope you can use it for some inspiration.

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makandmatsmom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:32pm
post #11 of 19

Thanks everyone for your replies, all of your photos are gorgeous. I am in awe!!! I will definitely need to feed more than ten, so I am thinking of going with putting the guitar on a sheet cake. As for the cake recipe, this is going to sound weird but my sister is allergic to nuts, so I believe the almond cake is probably out of the questions. Any other suggestions for that? Also, I have never used fondant before so I will probably stick to buttercream. Any suggestions on which kind, the kind I am used to using seems like it would be too thick. Thanks for all your help, it is great to know that I am going to have a support group for this. icon_biggrin.gif

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janelwaters Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:36pm
post #12 of 19

The almond cake only has almond extract in it - which i understand (AND COULD BE COMPLETELY WRONG) doesn't actually have any nuts in it.

If your buttercream is too thick you can just add some milk or heavy cream to thin it out.

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makandmatsmom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:43pm
post #13 of 19

Unfortunately I looked it up and it said it should be avoided if you have nut allergies, but I can't wait to try it for my family. I just don't want to exclude her from my daughters Birthday cake, that would make her sad icon_cry.gif

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MacsMom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:04pm
post #14 of 19

The WASC is the only recipe I use anymore--I get so many raves about the texture and moistness I don't want to mess with a good thing.

You can use any extract or other flavoring, like LoRann oils. If you want the almod flavor minus the nuts, try using cherry extract. I add one pkg of pudding and I use liquid flavored coffee creamer in place of 2 cups of the water called for in the recipe. (I do add the other 2/3 c water).

For chocolate, I replace 2/3 c of the flour with cocoa powder, skip the salt, and use 2 cups chocolate milk and 2/3 c coffee in place of water. (And use chocolate pudding). The recipe says to use 6 whole eggs, but I still make mine with 8 whites.

That recipe holds up well for all carved cakes I've made, but don't use Duncan Hines cake mix. I stick with Betty Crocker. Oh, and butter recipe mixes also act a bit differently.

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lainalee Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:05pm
post #15 of 19

I just made a WASC cake for my grandaughters B-Day, but I used lemon and vanilla instead of the almond. It came out great. HTH

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makandmatsmom Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 12:27pm
post #16 of 19

All your help is overwhelming, I am so tickled. I can't wait to start the cake. I think I will use the cake recipe with a different extract. Does anyone know which tastes best. Also, do you use colored frosting or do you use a white frosting and color it yourself? I hope that isn't a goofy questions, you can definitely tell I am new icon_redface.gif

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malishka Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 1:25pm
post #17 of 19

i make a white buttercream frosting and then color it any color i want. A little bit of color goes a long way and remember that after a while the colored frosting gets a shade darker. so don't use too much.

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makandmatsmom Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 3:36pm
post #18 of 19

Thanks everyone. I have yet another question. I was just reading the post on making your own mmf. It seems fairly easy, as I know I will need loads of practice. Would this be practical for this cake, and if so does it taste good enough for a bunch of kids? They are the worst critics icon_sad.gif

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MacsMom Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 4:48pm
post #19 of 19

I've played around with MMF and finally found came up with an amazing recipe:

Stacie's MMF:
16 oz mini-marshmallows (NOT Jet-Puffed. I use Wal Mart brand)
2 T water
**Grease micro-safe bowl, sprinkle water over MMs, melt 1 min, stir**
1 T glycerine
1 t popcorn salt (or grind regular salt in a coffee grinder - crystals will develop if you don't)
1 dram of LoRann butter flavor or 2 t butter extract
food color, if desired
2 lbs powdered sugar added gradually

Start by stirring in 1/2 c of PS to absorb moisture before dumping in more to help avoid clumps. Each time you add PS make you you stir it well so that it's well absorbed before adding more. When you are down to the last 1/3 of the bag, dump it in and knead with your greased hands.

Form a ball and wrap with plastic wrap to rest at least 4 hours so it isn't too soft to work with. To re-soften, place it in the micro a few seconds at a time and knead, being careful not to get too soft because then it is harder to work with.

If you accidentally do get it too soft or sticky, knead in some cornstarch a little at a time.

I also like Nielsen Massey's chocolate extract to flavor it (it's the best chocolate flavoring I've found).

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