Tutorial Tuesday: How to Stack a Tiered Cake

People ask me all the time what they need to do to ensure the integrity of their tiered cakes. I’ll show you how I do it.

First I cover my cakes with fondant. This is a bit more tricky with buttercream covered cakes… but I do most of my cakes in fondant.

The bottom cake is given a support system. Honestly, drinking straws work awesome. I find the center of my cake and come out a couple of inches in each direction and insert a straw. Be careful not to put the supports out further than the next cake with overlap.
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Pull the straws up a tiny bit and cut each one so that once you push it back into the cake, it’s level with the cake and rests on the bottom of the cake board. The concept here is that the next cake’s weight will be supported completely by these straws and it won’t crush this cake.
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Now, sometimes when I do a tiered cake, I’ll add a center support to keep the cake from falling over or sliding around, coming off center etc.
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I usually use a wooden skewer in this case. Be sure that your skewer is cut to the correct height, you don’t want it tearing through the top of your top tier. That would be bad!
This cake is going to be a three tier.
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This next part is very important… you have to have a board under your other cake as well. The board distributes the weight across the supports. I usually cut a piece of foam core board into a circle slightly smaller than the cake is and cover it in foil. Also important… if you’re using a center support… POKE A HOLE INTO THE CENTER OF THIS BOARD BEFORE YOU PUT THE CAKE ON IT. (See how serious I am? I resorted to capslock…)
If not, you won’t be able to properly do this.
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Yeah, that cake looks a little wonky. Don’t worry about that bottom, that’s what boarders are for ;)

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I added a third tier on top of this, putting supports in this second tier the same way as on the bottom. Once you get the cake on, it might look a little rough from the handling, but you just need to wiggle things around a little and smooth things down a little and hey, decorating cakes is all about covering up imperfections with awesome little things you create.

Here’s a photo of it with the top tier on.
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Happy stacking!

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Tutorial Tuesday: How to Make a Steak Cake

Okay, trying something new today. I’ve never done a video tutorial before. I’m also obsessed with this time lapse thing on my phone… so here you have it.

Alright, I start with one layer of red velvet cake. (duh), then I chill it in the freezer for a bit so that I can cut it without it falling apart. First I carve the shape of a steak, trying to trim off as little cake as possible. Next I iced the cake. After that, you’ll want to roll out your fondant. I used white because I hate making red fondant and I own an airbrush… lol
After covering, I sprayed the fondant red. Then roll out a small portion of white, cut out the “t-bone” shape and place it on the cake. Then roll out a long ribbon to wrap around the cake as the “fat”… roll the ribbon into a roll, brush the sides of the cake with piping gel or vodka and carefully adhere the ribbon to the side of the cake by unrolling it as you go.

And maybe… if you’re lucky, the guy at your local meat counter will be nice enough to give you a clean, un-used foam meat tray. :)
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There you have it… delicious t-bone steaks even your vegetarian friends will love!

Tutorial Tuesday: How to level a cake

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Lots of people ask me how I level my cakes. There are some fancy things you can buy that are supposed to do this job, but I’ve never had much luck with them. I’ll show you how I can level any size cake with just one bread knife. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a skill and takes some time. Don’t blame me if you wreck your cake! haha

Okay, so first, you’ll need a cake!
Like this one:
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Ok, it doesn’t have to be juuust like this one ;) But seriously, look how wonky this cake is!

You’re going to need a knife. A long serrated bread knife is best. Whatever knife you use, it MUST be serrated. And for goodness sake, let that cake cool first!

Now, you want to score the top. JUST SCORE IT, don’t cut any further than the highest post that is not domed. Does that make sense?
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See here? How I stop right at the edge? That’s as low as you want to score.

Now the other way, same thing. You’re scoring the dome top into four sections:
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Now, holding your knife steady as possible, you’re going to start on one section, Begin your cut right below where the dome stops being… domey. You want to get rid of that hard crusty part anyhow.
And then cut as straight as you can through that section.
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One down, three to go!
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Continue with the other sections, using the previous section as a guide for accuracy.
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Okay, you see how one section is raised higher there? You can see it in the center. It’s easy to spot.
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But don’t fret, it’s easy to just run the knife across that spot, hold your hand steady and shave that bit down.
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Ta-da!
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There you have it. A level cake. And some delicious leftovers…
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(That’s NOT waste… you eat that! or these scraps are great to save for cake pops or cake balls!)

Now, some explanation… yes, you can just do this in two sections. I’d rather do it in four though because when you make one long cut across the surface of the cake, you have a bigger chance of cutting up or down on an angle.
If I do a square cake, sometimes I might just do two sections. It’s easier to keep a level eye on something with corners ;)
I like this method because most cakes I bake are wider across than my knife is long. I can’t just slice the top off in one sweep.
Also, NEVER BE AFRAID. People are afraid to correctly level their cakes because OMGBBQTHATSHALFTHECAKE. But listen, that cake is only holding you back. You stack that thing with a dome top and you’re whole cake is going to fall apart. It’s gravity. I promise. It’s bad news. Plus, who wants to eat those crunchy burnt edges? Not I!
Final note: when you go to frost this thing, whether it’s being frosted just as one layer or stacked with another… your top- is now your bottom. Flip that thing over and frost the “bottom”… otherwise you’ll be trying to frost crumbly, unseared in cake! lol
It would fall apart on you. Just sayin.

Sorry for being MIA. Still trying to work stuff out with my health. If you haven’t got your health… well, you haven’t go anything <3
Happy decorating!
Summer

Tutorial Tuesday: Smoothie Pops

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I’d like to start by apologizing for being MIA… I haven’t had the best week/month/year… life…

I excitedly announced my pregnancy to you all a while ago… and last Tuesday my whole world fell apart when we visited the doctor and found out things weren’t good.

We’re confident that we’ll get through this and become parents someday, but it’s not going to happen for us this year. This is the second time we’ve been through this. I have faith that our doctor will figure this out for us.

I haven’t had much strength this week and I’ve just been wanting something comforting. When I’m not feeling good, I always want popsicles. I’m a big fan of juice bars and smoothie pops. We found some Jamba Juice bars at the store and while I was eating one I realized how easy it would be to make them at home with whatever flavors I wanted. I know it’s not cake, but it’s still dessert.

I started with about 3/4 cup watermelon, 3/4 cup strawberries and a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt. I wanted to add a little bit of honey just for extra sweetness.
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I mixed them all in the food processor and blended well.
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I then filled my molds
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I froze mine overnight to be sure they were solid.
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Release them by running a bit of hot water over the outside of the mold so you don’t accidentally pull the sticks out.
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These turned out great…
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I can’t wait to try to organic chocolate swirl pops I’m attempting right now. Organic chocolate syrup drizzled in first and then I poured organic chocolate milk in. I don’t really know how well milk freezes? Or if it will be good. I assume it will be delicious though.
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Tutorial Tuesday: How to Build a Cupcake Tower for about $5

UPDATE: I HAVE CREATED A NEW VERSION OF THIS TUTORIAL! FIND IT HERE! For better laid out instructions!

So, my friend asked me to make her son a small cake and some cupcakes for his Nightmare Before Christmas themed birthday party. We were trying to find a cool cupcake tower for the cupcakes, but gosh they are expensive and kind of hard to find. I told her not to worry about it and that I would figure it out and make something…

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I knew what I WANTED it to look like. So I started sketching.
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Then I decided to do a small scale test… I cut out small pieces from paper. Basically, you need the center base. This needs to be made of to equally shaped tiered shelves, one with a slit half way up from the bottom and one with a slit halfway down from the top.
Then you’ll need your shelves. These need to have “x”s cut in them that fit over the tiered base. Each shelf needs to have these cuts made large enough to fit over the first few tiers and then rest on their spot.
I did three tiers. I went totally whimsical so that I could put my shelves off center.
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Assembly goes something like this:
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Once I saw this small scale working well, I went full scale. I LOVE foam core board and use it all the time. It’s what I make most of my cake boards from. It’s so sturdy and easy to work with. I lightly outlined my pieces using a measuring tape to get it all right. Then I cut them out with an exacto knife.

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I was really happy with how it turned out!

I figure you could cover the pieces with contact paper, scrapbook paper or wallpaper, line the edges with ribbon etc…

I’ll tell you what I don’t suggest doing lol
Painting it… with acrylic paint. Haha. Now don’t get me wrong, this turned out pretty well, but there were some rough times in between lol. I didn’t know that when you paint something like that, when it dries, it curls up. So I painted one side, left the house a while and came back to it all curled up! Yikes! I painted the other sides and that evened them out pretty well haha.

I also doubt acrylic paint is food safe, but I’m not placing any food directly in contact with it. So it will be fine.
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My phone doesn’t photograph purple very well. Sorry about that, but yeah, it’s black and purple. These cupcakes are going to look great on it.
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But seriously, this was so easy to make. I get foam core boards at the Dollar Tree for $1 each. I used three sheets for this and I used two $1 bottles of paint. So, yeah, this cost me $5 to make! Can’t wait to fill it up with cup cakes!

You could easily make one of these with simple circle shelves, crazy star shelves, whatever really! So simple that I can’t believe I never tried this before!

I have been asked a LOT of questions. I decided to try to make an illustration that MIGHT be helpful. God knows I’m not architect. Hopefully ANY of this makes sense. Try to make each step at least 3 inches tall to leave room for the cupcakes!!
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Tutorial Tuesday: How to mail a cake

UPDATE: I have now mailed a fondant decorated cake… so check that out here, it’s a bit more involved than mailing a pound cake: https://gemcitytiffany.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/reddit-secret-santa/

Alright, let’s say you’re known for baking and a certain friend of yours is always bugging you to send them baked goods because they live too far away from you to get to try your treats like everyone else! Maybe that friend is pretty alright and you’ve known them for like ten years so you’re like okay, fine. I’m going to send you a cake for your birthday.

I thought about this for a while. An iced cake… I couldn’t think of a way to send and technically, I could send a fondant cake, but well, I just didn’t have time for that haha. I would say these instructions could be used to mail a small all fondant covered cake or a loaf cake like this.

I made a chocolate pound cake with chocolate chips. Then I set up the trap. You have to be stealthy and not raise any red flags.

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See, like that. No way he knows something is up.

Alright, now first I wrapped my cake in wax paper. I taped it and then put it in a large plastic zip lock bag to try to get it as air tight as possible.
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Now… don’t be alarmed that it looks sort of like you have a brick of illegal narcotics in your kitchen lol. You and I both know it’s just cake.

The key here, in my opinion, is packing peanuts. You’ll want to suspend the cake in peanuts, basically, you want them below, above and on all sides of the cake. Fill the box all the way up! Nothing can hurt this cake now!

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Then plop a cute card in to let your friend know how lucky they are to be your friend ;)

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Now pack it up tight!
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What do you mean not everyone has personalized packing tape? Well, I guess you don’t HAVE to have that…

I wanted to make my package all cute so the mail man would want to puke when he saw it.
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We’re not going to discuss the potential mail fraud or something that I’m committing by covering up that priority mail box. Sorry USPS! I wanted it to be cuuuute!

Then I popped it into the package locker downstairs!
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Bon voyage!

By the time this is posted my pal will have received this birthday cake :)

Happy early birthday!

Tutorial Tuesday: Chocolate Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons cocoa (this is what the recipe calls for, but hey, I used 6 because I love chocolate!)
1 cup milk

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Do yourself a favor and set out all of your ingredients ahead of time. And set your oven to 325. And just know you’re going to need some time to make this cake. It takes 80 minutes just to bake!

Start by creaming your butter and shortening.
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Next, add your sugar a bit at a time.
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Now after that, you’ll be plopping your eggs in one at a time. Mix well after each one.
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Next add your vanilla.
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Now mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
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Start alternating your dry mix and milk into the mixer…
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Combine well.
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Grease a nice big bunt cake pan and start filling it.
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You’ll want to pop this baby in the oven and bake it for 80-90 minutes. I think I left mine in for about 85 minutes. Might vary depending on your oven.

Let it cool throughly and then it’s time to om nom nom!!
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Oh… well, I guess we could garnish it with some lovely powdered sugar as well…
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Happy baking!

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