I feel weird posting about cake because this is about as far from a food blog as you can possibly get. I know that no one in the world who decided to make a cake would think, "I bet Sadie has some awesome cake making tips, I'll go check out her blog." I also know that the people who do read this blog aren't looking to find baking tips. But it's my blog, and I made this cake over the course of a week, so I will share my infinite knowledge if for no other reason than future reference. (Cake recipe found here, Italian meringue buttercream recipe found here, lemon curd recipe found here. I adjusted the cake recipe by folding in raspberries before baking.)
Here is what I learned about making Italian Meringue Buttercream:
- The first three times you make it, it will go terribly wrong. The first time you will end up with a bowl of what looks exactly like whipped butter, and you will make your husband try it because it looks too disgusting to be consumed. You will throw it away. The second time you will cut the butter in half because that must have been the issue the first time, and you will end up with clumpy butter soup. It will be thrown away. The third time you will think the recipe is flawed, so you will start adding random ingredients. This will give you something not totally disgusting, but it will not give you Italian Meringue Buttercream. You will store it in the fridge until you decide what to do with it.
- Use brand name butter. When you are
poorfrugal, you buy the 89¢ butter. You don't think that there could be a significant difference between butter brands, it's just butter. But, on your fourth attempt at the Italian Meringue Buttercream, you will go out on a limb and spend $6.00 on the fancy Land O' Lakes butter, and you will not believe the difference. Using the expensive butter will even keep your frosting from turing an unappetizing yellow color. However, if the yellow disaster does happen to you:
- Use blue food coloring to turn yellow frosting white. I know what you're thinking: Sadie, putting blue in my yellow will make my food green. I know because that's what I thought, and while the train of thought seems logical, it turns out that adding the itty bitty smallest amount of blue will have your frosting turing white right before your eyes. But I really mean the most itty bitty amount possible. Like, dip the tip of a toothpick in the coloring, and then dip the toothpick in the frosting. Whip whip whip and you will be amazed.
- Make sure your butter isn't too warm. I know it says to have room temperature butter, but I would recommend slightly chilled butter. If your butter is too warm, your frosting will curdle and you will cry. If this does happen to you, just keep whipping while adding a few more slices of cold butter. If necessary, put the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes until cold and whip again.
- It really is OK to store your frosting in the fridge and re-whip it when you're ready for it. Everything you read will tell you that this is ok, but what they will not tell you is that, when you start re-whipping after brining it back to room temperature, it will start turning into a liquid yellowy mess. At this point you will go sit on the couch in the fetal position because, for the love, you have already made this frosting four times and it's Sunday and you don't have enough butter in the fridge to make it again. After about 5 minutes of this you will return to your mixer to find that your frosting has miraculously returned to its beautiful creamy white state.
This was not my first layered cake, and it is far from my last. I have read a number of tutorials on making layered cakes, this one being my favorite, and these are the tips that I find most useful:
- Parchment paper is not necessary. I am sure it couldn't hurt, but for those of us who are
poorfrugal, making sure you get enough butter (or pam) and flour on the bottom of the pan will work just fine.
- Do a crumb layer of frosting. Seriously. I wish I had taken a picture before my second layer because the cake was in a sad, sad state of ugliness. The second layer will go on so smoothly and it will hide all of the crumbs and imperfections.
- You so do not need a turn table. I simply put my cake directly onto my cake stand and frost from there. After I'm done I wipe the base with a paper towel to get rid of the ugly excess frosting, and adding some sort of fruit or frosting decoration around the bottom of the cake will cover anything you cant get with the towel.
- A butter knife followed by a spatula works great for smooth frosting.
What I learned about making lemon curd:
- It's easy. Seriously easy. Make your husband whip the yolks and sugar as your pour in your lemon mix and you are good to go.