To Cake or Not to Cake

I’m throwing a big anniversary dinner for my parents 30th anniversary next month.  I’ve been toying with the idea off and on about making their cake myself.  It would be a really special touch if I could make it cute.  It’s a month away so it’s getting to the point where I need to either find a nice cake place and order them a cake – or fully committ to making it myself. 

There will be 40-50 people there, and I want the cake to have at least 2 tiers not a big rectangle cake. 

Here’s the other thing.  I’ve never baked a cake that wasn’t out of a box.  So it may very well be quite an undertaking.  And I don’t want fondant on the cake, because although fondant = pretty, fondant also = gross.

I want the cake to look fancy and cute and somehow have something representative of their 30 years together.  I’m having a dinner party with some friends next weekend and I can practice my cake-making skills with them. 

I will have to share my parent’s love story soon, but until then – any advice on the cake-making?


4 responses to “To Cake or Not to Cake

  1. The only cake I ever made successfully was Nigella’s Chocolate Guiness cake. It is so dense and moist. I don’t even like cake and I love it. It was pretty easy to make too.

  2. Baking a cake from scratch is easy. It’s just butter, flour, sugar and flavoring. You have to use high-quality ingredients though. Real butter. Fresh eggs. Cake flour. Baking sugar — it’s super fine. Real vanilla. And, if you use chocolate, a fabulous chocolate. You could also buy a high-quality mix at Whole Foods or Williams-Sonoma that doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it.

    Next step. You have to buy good cake pans with straight sides. Then take some old towels and cut a strip the width of the pan. Before you bake the cake, soak the towel strip in water and wrap it around the pan and pin it with a straight pin. This will help distribute the heat so your cake bakes evenly and doesn’t “dome” on top.

    I would bake your cakes one day and they decorate the next day. That way you’re sure the cakes are totally cool. You also might want to bake one extra “back up” cake just in case you run into problems.

    Now to decorating. I think a simple border and fresh flowers would be lovely but that’s just me. I love butter cream frosting and it’s made with real stuff instead of Crisco or some awful, greasy substitute. I agree that fondant is gorgeous but barfy to eat. It would be fun if you could get ahold of your parent’s wedding cake topper to put on the cake.

    Happy baking! Kristi

  3. ditto on everything kristi said. I’ve made a number of special occasion cakes and the best by far were simple with fresh flowers. also less stress for you! definitely make a backup layer!!! good luck

  4. I always use cake mixes when I do cakes, though I have done one or two from scratch. As long as you can read the recipe, you’re fine. I agree witht he simple border and fresh flowers idea. While I do love the butter cream frosting, it does melt easier in heat and humidity, so I generally use the crisco variety (1 cup crisco, 2 lb. powdered sugar, 1/2 cup (give or take) milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla — dissovle salt in the milk before mixing it all together & you can get clear vanilla at cake decorating places so that your frosting is white, not off white &, btw, I discovered that generic Wal Mart crisco gives you off-white frosting regardless — barf). Anyway, this frosting is sturdy and locks in all the moisture in the cake.

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