I wasn't kidding yesterday when I said that I am not a baker. In general, I am just not all that great at following instructions and baking is ALL about being exact and following instructions. I personally prefer cooking and tossing in an assortment of ingredients, my sister on the other hand is all about baking. However, I do love how beautiful baked goods can be and all the ways they can be displayed so occasionally for special affairs, but I like it to be as simple and delicious as possible! I thought I would share a few quick tricks to baking a cake that will get rave reviews!
Tips & Tricks
Start with boxed bake goods. I know this seems a bit silly and backwards, but I have tried making home made brownies, cakes, pudding and none of them tasted all that great from scratch. Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines have mastered them so why bother?
Spend a little extra time and make the icing or add a few special toppings from scratch. On the red velvet cake, I made a home made cream cheese icing from scratch, recipe below!
If you are making a cake, shave across the tops to flatten out the cake. This evens out the typical bulging/bumps across the top and makes it look a bit more professional. Just go slow and use a bread knife.
Make sure to really let the dessert cool before you move, ice or cut the dessert. This part takes patience and time. So in general, don't rush the process! Again, not the easiest part for me.
Keep the decorations simple, unless you have serious skill. I often will add a themed cake topper, sprinkles or a gold dusting to the top. Don't go over board, it never looks good when you aren't a professional.
Have plenty of icing so you have enough to really work with, take your time and be as neat as possible. And I highly recommend doing all the decorating on the actual platter that you plan on using. Don't try to transfer once it is all iced and beautiful!
Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened (I prefer to leave sit out at room temperature)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups powered sugar (I think I used about 3 cups and it was plenty sweet!)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the cream cheese. Slowly blend in the powdered sugar and vanilla, then beat until smooth and well-combined.
Sorry, I don't have images of the actual process, but there really wasn't anything worth documenting. Just following the directions on the box, add your special touch and you will be good to go! Now all you need is a cake stand and an event! Do you have any quick tricks for baking?