Monday, April 23, 2012

Vroom Vroom! Racing To The Party!

My nephew's birthday was last week, and my sister had him a little family party over the weekend to celebrate. She asked me (on quite short notice) to bake him a cake. I hit Google for some ideas on how i could pull it off almost immediately. I came up with a vision in my head, and hit the internet for some new cake recipes. My BH&G cook book doesn't have a pound cake recipe, can you imagine? I knew the cake i made would have to be sturdy, and i worried that regular cake wouldn't take the abuse.

I found some promising looking pound cake recipes on this website. When i scrolled down and saw there was a chocolate variation, i was sold! Same recipe, just add chocolate? Score!

One of the best parts of this recipe it it called for two 9" cake cans, and i didn't have to convert a tube or loaf pan recipe into round pans. I'm not lazy or anything, i just didn't have time for all that nonsense.

I made it exactly as stated in the recipe in the original vanilla flavor. It's also important to use the wax paper or parchment paper circles in the bottoms of your cake pans and grease the bottoms and sides well. I use shortening on a paper towel to grease my pans. It's cheaper than using spray and vegetable oil spray leaves a nasty sticky residue on my pans no matter how many times i wash them which really tweaks me off.

I was impressed that these cakes came out so perfectly even that i didn't have to trim the tops or anything. I always have to trim the tops of my regular cakes, plus my oven sort of leans forward a bit. My husband hasn't gotten around to adjusting the legs on it. These cakes didn't even have that forward 'slide' to them which shows my oven does lean a few degrees forward.

I wanted to do another layer, and i had 12" round pans to use. I finally decided to double the cake recipe, and fill the pans evenly, and bake the same amount of time to the 30 minute mark and keep checking every 10 minutes, as in the original recipe.

I REALLY tested the limits of my 5 qt. stand mixer with this one. As i mixed the batter, and the level kept rising, my husband and i were debating on whether or not it was all going to fit in there and mix or not.

In the end, my mixer looked like this:

Then it was time to add the chocolate.

I divided up the batter and slid them into the oven and once again, they came out PERFECT. I am totally in love with this recipe now. Check it out.

Once all 4 cakes were cooled, it was time to wrap them and put them in the fridge. The recipe says cling wrap, but i didn't have cling wrap. I have aluminum foil.

See how studded the chocolate cakes are with bits of dark chocolate? Yum!

I use family birthday cakes as a way of having an excuse to do new things. Previously i had only made fondant to use for cutting out small decorative pieces on cupcakes, and once i did 24 cupcakes with 100% fondant tops. But that was easy peasy compared to what i was about to attempt. My goal was to cover the bottom 12" layer cake with fondant.

First i had to do a crumb coat or 'dirty ice' it as Buddy Valastro calls it. I slide pieces of wax paper under all my cake edges so i don't get icing all over my cake plate.

Then i added a nice thick layer of frosting that will go between the layers and finish off the top layer with a crumb coat.

I made a batch of fondant and added color and rolled it out large enough to cover the whole bottom of the cake. 

And then i realized i had a problem. My rolling pin is only a regular sized rolling pin and i do not have a large fondant roller. On my favorite cake show, Cake Boss, they roll their fondant around a large pin and then unroll it over the cake.

So now what was i going to do? I had over 20 inches round(ish) of fondant.

It was my son who came up with a solution. We laid sections of waxed paper over the top of the fondant and rolled the wax paper and fondant together around my rolling pin. And then we unrolled it over the cake.... backwards. That's right. Wax paper side down.

This is where i wanted to bang my head against the wall.

So we lifted it all back up off the cake and i smoothed out the frosting, and i took the fondant off the paper and rolled it out again. New wax paper over the fondant. Roll it back up.

We managed to get the fondant onto the cake this time, properly, but not without some tearing. I had to patch it all up and smooth it out the best i could. I was dismayed. And a little peeved. And i might have wanted to cry a little bit.

Hey, i never said i was perfect. But i took a deep breath and i thought... i will cover all that crap up with icing.

I also decided that the top layer would NOT be covered in fondant. It might look a little strange, half in fondant and half in frosting, but my sanity would remain intact, and that's really what's important.

My next challenge was trying to figure out how to frost the top layers and then transfer them to the top of the first cake.

My son is the one who came up with a solution once again! What would i do without him?

We decided to use an 8" cake pan as our icing base. Putting the 9" cake on top of it, i had just enough overhang that i would be able to lift it off of the pan and onto the cake when i was finished.

In the cake recipe, it says to take the thicker cake (we poured 1/3 of the batter into one pan and 2/3 batter into the second pan) and cut it in half with dental floss. Yea, i tried doing it with dental floss, but that was going to take a coon's age. My husband took a bread knife and sawed it in half for me while i was doing some frosting.


One layer of white frosting, and a second layer of frosting in blue, and we're ready to assemble a cake!

I had to get serious from here on out. I bought some Disney's Cars toys to put on this cake, so instead of putting the top cake in the very center of the bottom cakes, i slid the top cake back to the edge of the top of the bottom cake, so it kind of made a "mountain".

I wanted the cars to be racing up to the top of my mountain. So i had to devise a road or highway.

I used a Wilton's #47 tip, flat side up, to make the asphalt. I was stressing over the road coloring because it came out kind of uneven. That's when i realized i'd been using milk in my buttercream, which i never used to do. I omitted milk from the rest of my frosting, and i made a LOT of frosting with this cake. To make the yellow lines, i simply put some yellow icing in a Ziploc type bag and nipped the tip off with scissors.

In my previous blog for the Easter Basket cookies, i mentioned how much of a pain the grass tip was. Well, i bought a new one. The first one was crappily stamped, and some of the holes have bits of metal partially covering them. I used my new grass tip and some green icing and put shrubby grass around the highway on both side, and around the seam of the two cakes. It was a LOT easier this time.

I used a brown icing in a sort of desert-y color that fairly matched the color on the Cars toy boxes and i piped rock formations and hills and buttes all around the bottom layer of the cake.

Then i took a nice white buttercream and piped a bunch of clouds all around the cake. Some of them were in formations. I thought it was a nice touch. I also took the same icing i made the yellow dotted line on the road with and i piped in a couple road signs. I just took a bit of frosting and colored it black and piped the sign decorations on. I also put a finish line on top of the cake.

Then i added some rocks and grass to the top of the cake. And a cool Cars logo with his name on it. My writing could still use some work.

All that was left was to put the Cars on.

And it was DELICIOUS!!!

I was very happy with this cake, and everyone loved it! I have like 7 more requests for cake soon. I'm going to be getting a LOT of practice! =)

As a sidenote, you can of course substitute milk chocolate or chocolate chips in this recipe for the chocolate bits in the chocolate cake. Don't be afraid to try something slightly different if dark chocolate isn't to your taste!


  1. oh my gosh Tracey its AWESOME!!! I am in awe! I love it! :)

  2. !!!!! It turned out so awesome!! love the road going up the mountain!

    1. Thank you! I love that he's still so young and i can pull off something so cute for him! =)

  3. Tracey, the cake is awesome! Great job!!