I figured the best way to start would be to make a cake I wanted to eat. Then I stumbled across the craziest cake: a tree stump with an axe balanced on the blade. I knew there was NO WAY I could attempt anything like that, but it did point me in a direction for finding a cake recipe.
And that’s how I found the Artisan Cake Company, owned by Liz Marek. She also has the Sugar Geek Show, and I signed up for the free lessons, so I could see how to properly frost a cake. Her videos helped a lot, so I used her vanilla cake recipe, and her easy buttercream recipe to make my cake.
The end result?
It looked much better than my last cake. And it tasted good! There was a problem, but I’ll explain it below.
It was even flat on top! Granted, it wasn’t perfect. You could see where my bench scraper moved along the frosting unevenly, leaving lines. But, an improvement over the cake of 2014.
At the time, I only had a few small tips to decorate with. I’d purchased them for Christmas cookies, so their openings were small. I thought I’d do a dot pattern on the cake, but once I finished the top row of dots, I was so done. It was boring. It was hard to make the dots uniform in size, shape, and spacing. So I decided I’d do the random pattern.
One thing I did wrong with this was mess up the recipe for the cake. Liz says use cake flour. I didn’t have any, so I did a substitution I found online: a bit of cornstarch in place of the flour makes “cake flour.”
Turns out that’s not true. The cake came out tasting good, but having a consistency like cornbread. Big crumbs, sort of coarse. Not bad tasting, just an unusual texture. However, I wouldn’t know the difference until I attempted my birthday cake in late February.