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Thread: first time making birthday cake help!

  1. #1

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    Default first time making birthday cake help!

    It's Moo's 2nd birthday very soon and this time I am determined to make his cake myself



    Any tips for a novice like me? It's got a little bit of cutting involved and lots of icing/decorating. Is it better to freeze ahead? When would I actually ice it, on the day or night before? Is it better to use a cake mix or make from scratch?

    I'll be doing a practice one some time in the next week so appreciate any hints!

  2. #2

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    I just want to firstly say I am by no means a cake expert just a beginner.
    I usually use a cake mix to make my cakes. Mainly because I like the taste of it. I usually make it the day before and stick it in the fridge. I ice it later at night the day before (mainly because DD is in bed and I can do it without her help). I have heard you can freeze it but haven't tried it myself.

    The best advice I got was "It doesn't matter what your cake looks like as long as the person you are making it for likes it" Just relax and have fun doing it.

  3. #3

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    How fun. I made my first real decorated myself cake for DD1 2nd birthday. It was a cow and the theme was MOO MOO guess who's TWO
    I made it all the night before and used both Fondant and butter icing and found that Fondant is really easy to work with.
    I had white fondant and coloured it myself. I would not freeze anything and I would do it the night before as you don't want to be rushing it on the day and if you need to fix anything then you have the next day to do it.
    I would say make sure you are not disturbed so you don't lose focus.

    I used packet mixes for this cake, I love the Greens packets. I usually make cakes myself but just thought I would go easy on the actual cake making and focus on decorating.

    Goodluck. It is the best feeling when you finish after so much work has been put into it and it looks great.

  4. #4

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    You can freeze the cake beforehand if you want to save yourself a job but you have to make sure that it is fully thawed to room temp before you ice it because the condesation will ruin your icing and make it really hard to ice it.

    I usually find a pic of the cake I want to do and then watch Youtube videos of the things I think I need to learn to do and then give it a go.

    I made a Thomas cake for my DS1's 3rd birthday. It worked out okay. This was my first go with fondant and I just learned it all from watching Youtube videos (thank goodness for youtube) ... https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...0fdb888&type=1

    I also modelled it off a Thomas train that DS2 has. It is in one of the picture so we could see the scale of the cake to the train.

    What cake are you making?

  5. #5

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    I would cook it in the morning the day before and ice it that night.

    As JM said, it really helps to have photos for reference.

  6. #6

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    JM - just had a look at your Thomas cake. Fantasic What a great job.

  7. #7

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    I have made my DS 1st (no 1 cake) and 2nd birthday cake (train cake). I used a Betty Crocker cake mix for both (so yummy) and made a rather thick buttercream icing. I made the cake the night before and iced it on the morning of his party. I put 2 layers if icing on. One held it all together and hid all the joins etc and the other was the decorative one. I used fondant shapes on his 1st bday cake and lollies to decorate his 2nd.
    If you have a cake decorating shop close by, drop in and ask them for tips. Mine also have premade buttercream icing.
    I found them quite easy to make, it just takes a little patience. Also knowing I made them myself is a great feeling.
    Good luck.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk

  8. #8

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    Sometimes it is a useful process to freeze the cake. For example if you have a chocolate cake with light coloured buttercream icing, when you spread the icing crumbs come off the cake (especially the cut edges) and get all mixed up with the icing. If you freeze the cake before icing it can stop this problem. Depends a bit of what cake and what icing you are using.
    I personally don't use packet cakes, I don't use them for anything so haven't started for birthday cakes. Having said that lots of people use packet mixes because the give a very consistent even result, which is especially useful if you are making a shape out of 2 or more separate cakes and you want all the cakes to have the same colour and texture.

  9. #9

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    i used homebrand cake mix and everyone commented how great it was
    i made the cake 2 days before. if u need to do cutting pop in the freezer before cutting for a few hours - makes it easier to cut.
    i was also told to let the cake come to room temperature before icing or else you will get moisture....

  10. #10

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    I was going to also mention that if you don't have a cake tin that you need, don't buy it until you have looked at hiring it. When I did the cake for DS's birthday, I hired a large 30cm x 30cm tin for $3.

    Also if you line the base of your tin and the brush the sides with a bit of melted copha and dust it with rice flour, the cake comes away from the sides really really well. The cake tin was so clean doing it that way that I almost didn't need to clean it (I did clean it before I returned it )

    I used a marbel of white and dark chocolate mudcake made without a packet and the recipe from The Crabapple Cupcake Bakery Cookbook for both. The dark chocolate marbel cake had coffee in it which I just substituted for milk instead and it worked fine. It did take over 4 hours to cook though and didn't burn. I then cut the large cake in half, put one half on top of the other and joined them together with chocolate ganache (that's how I got it so tall). Then I carved it and did a crumb coat (crumb coats seal in all the crumbs and make cakes much easier to ice - look it up on youtube).

  11. #11

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    Thanks everyone for all your ideas! Much appreciated Someone I know made a cake recently and it was 'too fresh' apparently so when they went to ice it, all the icing went crumbly. Which is what started me worrying!

    Just Me - that Thomas cake is amazing! You did a fantastic job! I'm just making a Hickory ****ory Dock cake as that is Moo's fav nursery rhyme at the moment. So it will be flat but lots of decos on top. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to attempt a masterpiece like Thomas

  12. #12

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    Is that the one from the Women's Weekly cake book?

    Cake decorating can be a lot of fun

  13. #13

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    Yeah I think so! But I'm not happy with dates for the mice so will be making them out of something else, changing another thing but can't lay my hands on the picture to remember It was either that or the number 2 which DH preferred but I'm afraid that's above me. Maybe the next bub can have a 2! Would love to make the train that's in that cookbook.

    Yeah I'm looking forward to it! I refused to make Moo's 1st birthday cake and had it made instead, so am pretty proud to be attempting it this time.

  14. #14

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    You'll be fine! I think the other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes they can be a bit fiddly so if possible give yourself time to do it. I find the more stressed I get, the harder it is to do it. So if you leave plenty of time (like the day before you need it) and if you can get someone to entertain your kids while you do it, it will be so much easier.

    Have fun with it! And make sure you post some pics! I love seeing other people's cakes

  15. #15

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    You can hire the number cake tins. That's what we did.

    Gotta love womans weekly cookbooks.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk

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