I have to start off this post with the comment that I have never taken a cake decorating class and have often wished I could pull together something that looked pretty and tasted great. So, in some ways this post about creating a spring cake using Sweetworks candies is taking me a bit out of my comfort zone. And, you’ll see that my first foray into making a ‘pretty’ cake had somewhat mixed results. However, I have learned in the process and now have a newly lit passion to keep trying so that I can have the combination of looking good and tasting great.
Finding Inspiration in My Quest to Create a Spring Cake Using Sweetworks Candies
Like many of my friends, I spend a little bit of time on Pinterest looking for ideas. But, my personal preference has always been to find a great book that will walk you through the process of making something. Ideally, the book will have enough pictures to explain the process. Cake My Day! is one such resource soon to be published which is written to help novice bakers pull together something that looks wonderful. The book has wonderful photography of a wide variety of cakes along with those step by step instructions which many of us need to even dare attempt our hand at a new skill. The author also shares many tricks for making the baking and decorating process have a pleasing result. (Note ~ pre-orders of the book are entered into a separate giveaway for products useful for making cakes in the book!)
Many of the cakes in Cake My Day! use Sweetworks candies to help in the decorating process. With a large box of Sweetworks products (Sixlets, Ovation, and Celebration by Sweetworks) newly arrived in the house, I walked through the book looking for something I could either duplicate with the gorgeous Spring colors of the candies or use a technique shown in the book. There were cakes which you make using cake mix from the store as a base and cakes that use a store bought pound cake for a base. There are cakes which rely heavily upon the uses of candies in the decoration and some that needed a bit more attention to detail for the cake to be completed. However, there is definitely something for any skill level to attempt.
The Process of Creating a Spring Cake Using Sweetworks Candies
Given limited time to dedicate for baking and decorating the cake, I looked for which cakes in Cake My Day! would be relatively easy for a beginner as myself. Among the ones that caught by eye were the Argyle Cake and Rainbow Cake.
Both seemed relatively straight forward and could easily use the Sweetworks candies in the house. Initially, I thought about using the argyle pattern as shown, but then decided it would be fun to try a layered cake with a hint of that pattern on top. So, I gathered my ingredients (white cake mix, buttermilk to use instead of water in the cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla frosting, and green food coloring) and started the process.
We’ve all heard the expression that too many cooks can spoil the broth. Well, a potential downside to having too many ‘cooks’ in the house is that sometimes they offer suggestions which should be put off until a later time. Being a mother who tries to do things that her boys would like, I listened and did 2 things that made the process more challenging with a less than impressive visual result. The first misstep was trying to do an ice cream layer between the cake layers. And, the second was having more of a whipped frosting rather than the dense, more glue like traditional frosting.
As best as I can tell there were 2 contributing factors for the ice cream layer to fail. First, I had cooled the cake to a refrigerator temperature rather than in the freezer. And, secondly, I think the all natural ice cream failed to act as a ‘glue’ between the layers. After removing the layered cake (with ice cream in place), I found that everything had shifted and the ice cream had oozed out to form a puddle along the side. The next time I attempt that kind of middle layer, I’ll be freezing the trimmed cake and using a ‘cheaper’ ice cream that might hold better with long skewers helping hold it all together while it freezes.
Once the cake layers were salvaged, I elected to use toothpicks to hold the cake layers in place and got down to the business of icing the cake. I’d made a mint icing which tastes wonderful and isn’t too sweet. This more whipped icing tastes wonderful, but also has less of a ‘glue’ effect when adding decorations.
So, instead of a full argyle pattern on the cake or covering the entire sides with Sixlets, I ended up doing a simple diamond pattern in the center with Sixlets and Ovation mint dark chocolate covered sticks with a ring of Sixlets around the rim of the cake. A ring of large gumballs along the bottom of the cake where icing started to pool finished it off.
So, while the cake might not have been as ‘pretty’ as I’d envisioned, I did get 6 thumbs up for tasting fabulous. I’ve also decided that the icing I whipped together is addictive on its own.
Most importantly, I have found that the process of baking and decorating can be enjoyable. Even if my first attempt at being creative with inspiration from Cake My Day! had a result not quite like what I envisioned, I am feeling more inspired to try again. What I really want to make some day is the Test Tube Cake (shown below) which just calls out to the scientist in me.
Win a Package to Create Your Own Spring Cake Using Sweetworks Candies
One lucky blog reader will win their own bundle of Sweetworks products and a digital copy of Cake My Day! as listed below. Total prize value is $50. US addresses only. Entries are through the Gleam widget below and accepted through March 27th.
Sweetworks Cake My Day! Do you bake your own cakes for special occasions? What types of decorative cakes have you attempted at home? Don’t miss a chance to see the creations of other bloggers in this campaign and enter their own giveaways!