When I signed up for my cake design class, I was pretty excited. It’s summer term and I figured this would be easy. In some ways I was right. There’s no homework, no studying, no big tests. However, this class is definitely challenging. Cake design requires a lot of practice and even more patience. The work can be tedious but when you get it right, it’s incredibly satisfying. It’s a great creative outlet and the more I get into it, the more I like it.
This week we worked with fondant and gum paste. I must say, I think I have a knack for gum paste roses. I loved the ones I made. They are so pretty. They aren’t finished yet but as soon as they are, I’ll be sure to post them here.
I didn’t take to the fondant quite so well. I rolled it out and it got too dry so when I put it on my cake, it cracked. When I took it off, it fell apart. I won’t even talk about all the icing and crumbs. Luckily my teacher is a genius. She helped me salvage my mess and I tried again. I covered the cake and this time had success. I used royal icing to make the designs.
I think the design turned out really nice. It was a simple, clean design, not too busy. It’s just the kind of style I like. I was really quite pleased with it. And surprised too. I wasn’t sure that cake decorating and design was my thing, but, hey, I may just change my mind.
I would like to say a word about the actual cake before I sign off.
I went to the craft store the other day. I went for something that cost $2 and left after spending $40. I don’t know how this happens to me. One thing I picked up was a little cookbook called “Baking Day”. It looked like it had some good recipes to try (like I need any more). For only $5, I figured it was worth it.
It turns out this little book had a little gem. The cake recipe I used was based on one of the recipes. I say based because I did
make a few additions to the recipe and changed the way it was put together. I also used all purpose flour instead of the self-rising flour that the recipe called for. This was not deliberate. It was a mistake on my part. Didn’t seem to matter though. The cake came out perfectly.
The recipe below is as I altered it — not the original. The original recipe makes two thin 8-inch layer cakes. I used two 6-inch pans which made the perfect height to cut in half to make four layers. I didn’t choose to do that, but you could.
Oh…by the way, I know “fondant-ed” is not really a word.
Vanilla Sponge Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 6-inch cake pans.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is a small enough recipe that you can use a hand held mixer if you want.
Beat in the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time.
Add in the milk.
Pour half the batter into each of the cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.