My friends know that I simply love baking, especially cakes and other sweet treats. I became more interested in the art of cake decorating about a year back. But I did not have any venues to try out my skills, other than my family, unaware of the times to come. I was sure that nothing could go wrong with the preparation of the frosting by itself, but knew that my hus JM would not approve the heavy intake of the high-calorie fluffy creamy stuff a.k.a the heavenly frosting!! I was equally impressed by the smooth finish of fondant and the versatility of buttercream. My first attempt was a smooth fondant present cake which turned out pretty good regardless of any decorating experience or knowledge (not even a Wilton class). The next attempt was to do a basket-weave cake with buttercream flowers on top. That too was not a complete disaster considering my inexperience. But I couldnt complete the basket because I hadnt made enough icing for the entire cake. I wanted to perfect my skills, but JM was not too happy about his "pleasantly-plump" wife becoming "more pleasantly-plump"!! (pleasant or not, thats what I am!). After that eventhough I made a lot of cakes, big and small, I didnt experiment the elaborate decorating techniques on them. I did do simple stars and rosettes and swirls.
After a long wait, I took upon the task of decorating another cake. The basket idea was adapted from "Cakes and cake decorating by Angela Nilson & Sarah Maxwell". This time, I made enough frosting for my needs and thought that I had my grounds covered. But I didnt count on the sudden culinary interest of my toddler, who sometimes dont care much about my activities in the kitchen. It is very difficult to decorate a cake with a toddler who descends on the icing like a small fly on picnic food ! (Swatting away the fly is easier!!). With several sneaky finger-dippings in the icing bowl and a lot of oohs and aahs, she cheered me on, but my impatience got the best of me, so I quickly finished the basket-weave. I did not do any buttercream flowers, but instead put some strawberries on top to form a basket-of-berries cake! The buttercream had gone a bit soft, so at places, it did not stick to the cake. (Put the decorator bag in the freezer for a few seconds for the icing to stiffen). I know its not perfect, but maybe next time! SIGH!! Anyways, I wish you the best for your attempt!! Happy baking!
Easy two-egg cake recipe (Makes a single 8" round cake):
All-purpose flour - 2 1/4 cups
Butter - 1/2 cup, softened
Granulated sugar - 1 cup
Eggs - 2
Milk - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 3 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Prepare an 8" round cake pan either by lining with parchment paper or by applying butter on the bottom and sides of the pan, sprinkling flour in the pan, turning the pan to coat the bottom and sides and then shaking off the excess.
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and eggs to the sugar-butter mixture and beat well with the mixer.
Spoon the sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk to the above mixture and incorporate well using the mixer.
Pour into the 8" cake pan and smooth the top.
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.
- I took a bit of the batter to make about 5 cupcakes, and poured the rest of the batter into an 8" round cake pan.
- Always check the done-ness of the cake before the estimated cooking time. The pictured cake was done in about 22 minutes. (This could be beacuse I took some batter for cupcakes. The cupcakes were done in about 18 minutes).
- Click here to know how to assemble a basket-of-berries cake.