Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birthday Cakes!

Each year over the May long weekend a group of friends spend the weekend at a beautiful cottage. There are at least 3 birthdays (this year there were four!) and for three years there have also been engagements to celebrate! Finding a one-cake-celebrates-all solution usually means a slab cake. Since I love practicing my baking and cake decorating, I've begun contributing a homemade cake.

Last year I made individual mini-cakes for the three birthday boys men:




This year for the long weekend I made my first two-tiered cake and divided it in four quarters, one for each of the birthdays:



I learned a few lessons in the process. Definitely a practice run. The first issue / lesson was transportation. Turns out a two tiered cake doesn't fit in any of my carriers. Instead, I used an Ikea box that had been hiding storing my junk treasures on our bookshelf:


I put things around it to try to keep it stabilized and placed it carefully in the car. Unfortunately, a 2 hours drive, 10 minute boat ride and steep climb uphill turned out to be too much for my poor cake. I need to invest in real cake boxes. The cake slid, ruining the buttercream edging, and the top tier slanted over awkwardly, sinking into the bottom layer.

Which brings me to issue / lesson #2: Use logic when baking a two-tiered cake. The bottom tier should be heavier than the top. DUH. Don't know what I was thinking on that one as Cam kindly pointed out. I think that seriously contributed to the sinking and slanting.

However, I was smart enough to use a reinforcement system of dowel rods (okay, they were lollipop sticks) and a cardboard sheet between layers. It obviously wasn't strong enough. I really need to look into the proper way of reinforcing a multi-tier cake before trying this again.

Nevertheless, the group seemed to enjoy it!

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