- The original cake was much too rounded to look like a stack of pages. I wanted this one to look more rectangular. That was an easy fix. I changed the pan I baked it in.
- I also had problems with the icing drying too quickly before I could get it smoothed. That cake was made using buttercream icing. With this new one, I would use canned Pillsbury icing. Canned icing takes longer to dry out.
- The black decorator gel on the original cake bugged me. The color tended to "run" on the snowy white icing. This time I would use black colored icing.
To begin, I prepared one box of Pillsbury Yellow cake mix. The only adjustment I made was to use the high altitude directions (I am in Colorado). I baked it in a 13x9 AirBake pan since it was the one 13x9 pan that had the least rounded corners.
Once the cake cooled for about 10 minutes, I turned it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. I actually turn the cake out onto the rack and then flipped to make the rounded top face up. I've found that the easiest way to flip cake is to sandwich it between 2 baking racks, hold the racks together and then flip quickly.
Using a long length of dental floss (un-flavored), I leveled the top of the cake. My kids love to munch on cake crust (as do I) so I save those pieces for them whenever I can.
|Trim the rounded top off the cake|
I covered the base of my cake carrier with foil and flipped the cake onto it so the bottom of the cake was now facing up (It keeps you from having to deal with all those crumbs from the trimmed side).
|The bottom of the cake is now facing up|
At this point the cake can be completely covered in white icing. I used Pillsbury Classic White since the vanilla has an off-white color. The sides should be generously iced and the top should be smoothed out as much as possible.
I used an Icing Sculptor to make the sides look more like pages. I would not recommend an icing sculptor. I had nothing but problems with it. I would instead recommend using a much more inexpensive tool such as a decorating comb. You could also just wait for the icing to dry slightly and make grooves on the side with a knife or the side of your metal spatula.
I let the white icing dry a bit before moving on to the black text. Because this is canned icing, the area in which you live can make a big difference in drying time. When I was in North Carolina, the higher humidity would make icing take longer to form a crust. In the summer, the icing never would crust. But here in Colorado with the air so dry, the canned icing formed a sufficient crust within ten minutes.
Once a crust has formed, gently press in any irregular areas around the top edges. You can also VERY LIGHTLY brush your hand across the top of the cake in sweeping motions from edge to edge to smooth the surface of the cake. Be careful doing this. Too much pressure will damage the crust and you'll have to play the waiting game again while your crust re-forms before you can continue. If you live in an area where the crust just doesn't seem to form, smooth the top of the icing as best you can with a spatula or other long straight edged tool. I have yet to achieve a perfectly smoothed iced cake top. It bugs me, but then, I don't sell my cakes so I don't fret too much over it :)
For the text, use a toothpick to trace out where you want the letters to go (I should have done this with the smaller letters as well, but I didn't). This will help you keep the piped letters straight and even.
To create the black icing for the text, I started with Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge icing and added black color gel.. You can use whatever brand or flavor icing you want, but I start with some variation of chocolate icing to achieve a black color more quickly using less color gel.
Mix the icing thoroughly and place into your decorating bag. I chose to use a decorating bag with a coupler. I was going to make text in 2 sizes so by using the coupler, I could easily change out the icing tips from the larger round tip for the large text to the smaller round tip for the small text. If you don't have decorating bags or icing tips or couplers, you can always place the black icing in two Ziploc bags. Cut a small hole in the bottom corner of one bag and cut an even smaller hole in the bottom corner of the other bag. Instant piping bags!
|Using a coupler with your icing tips lets you quickly and easily change out decorating tips so you can continue to use the same bag of icing.|
For the gold brads, I cut a miniature marshmallow in half and pressed them into rounded discs. Using a dampened decorating brush, I painted on gold colored Pearl Dust.
The painted brads were placed along one side of the cake top (see the main cake image for placement).
All done! Display, slice, serve and enjoy!
Will took the cake to the club function the next day. Apparently, it was very well received. Most of the cake was gone when it came back home and I hear the brownies they had available (supplied by the school) were hardly touched. Maybe they just weren't a brownie crowd...I like to think it was a very tasty cake.
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