Bad As A Mother

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Killer Birthday Cakes for Dummies

If you don’t know by now, I am a baking junkie. Baking cakes has become one of my favorite things to do since my daughter was born.  I’m not a professional baker, but I am living proof that anyone can bake a killer cake! With a few tips and tricks, you can get an awesome cake on the table for your next event! Here’s how…

Start With a Great Cake:

Some might tell you that you can just go with a boxed cake to make your life easier. I am going to tell you that there’s nothing like a homemade cake! Now, I have used boxed cakes in a pinch, but I am always disappointed in them. I consistently use cake recipes from Add a Pinch and I have never been disappointed. The cakes are moist and can be prepared and frozen ahead of time. I have made chocolate cakes, vanilla cakes, yellow cakes and even red velvet and pound cakes for different events. I am always able to freeze them without the cakes drying out or tasting funny. With a great cake as a base, nobody will notice your less than perfect decorating techniques.

rainbow drip cake
Our Rainbow Drip Cake

Why Freeze?

When making a cake that you plan to spend a little more time decorating, freezing is the way to go. Why? I suggest freezing the cakes for two reasons. The first is so you have enough time before the party to get everything organized. I never cater, so the week before my daughter’s birthday is usually filled with a laundry list of things to do. If I prepare the cakes the weekend before, that is one less thing I have to worry about. The second reason is because the crumb coat goes on so much easier when a cake is frozen or refrigerated! I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than getting crumbs all over your frosting. Trust me, I’ve learned from the very first Pinterest fail cake I made for my daughter’s birthday.

pinterest fail

Get the Right Tools:

A few years back I was using some crappy decorating tips that ended up breaking right in the middle of decorating. So not worth it. If you know you are going to be making lots of cakes and cupcakes, invest in the right tools. I’m a huge fan of the KitchenAid  mixer  to help with making buttercream. Buttercream is one of those things that has to be mixed for awhile and it’s awesome to not have to hold a mixer for any extended period of time. I also really enjoy using the Wilton system for decorating. The hubs gifted me this huge set for Christmas a few years back, but you can start with just a few and work your way up. As for the pans, I use Wilton as well, but I have used all kinds in the past and never really had an issue.

Oscar the grouch cake
The Hubs Birthday Cake

Cake Cooling is Key:

If you have ever had an issue getting a cake out of the pan, I have some good news. You can easily fix this problem. Once you take a cae out of the oven, set the timer for 10 minutes and let the cake sit in the pan until then. This works like magic. Too soon and your cake is so hot it will likely break apart. Too late and your cake will stick to the pan like glue, no matter how much cooking spray you used. This 10 minute deal has made all the difference in the world. Once the cakes are out of the pan you must let them cool completely before you do anything with them. That means if you want to freeze, refrigerate or ice them you mjust let them cool completely.

Use Pinterest:

Since I am not a professional baker, I am constantly looking for ideas and tutorials on Pinterest. There are so many ideas, even for the most novice baker. If something looks too complicated, I might only use part of the design and modify it to suit my skill level. The more practice you get, the easier it is! There are also a lot of tutorials about specific shapes and designs. If you are a brand newbie, these are super helpful.

People love to eat a great cake! Even if your first try isn’t as perfect as you might want, I guarantee everyone will still enjoy a homemade dessert. My cakes have come a long way over the years, but everyone has to start somewhere.

What are some of your favorite cake designs that you have tried over the years? I would love to see some photos!


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