Kitchen

Birthday Cake Disaster

January 24, 2019

AKA I don’t follow any of my own common sense.

As pictured above, my birthday cake was a big ol mess this year. I had made this homemade funfetti cake recipe┬álast year and loved it. It was just a light vanilla rainbow confection – whimsical enough for a birthday, but when you make it yourself, it’s more impressive and flavourful then the box mix.

Here’s where I went wrong:

Timing

Most actual bakers will recommend baking the cake the night before. I started mixing my cake at 1 PM on Saturday, 6 hours before people were supposed to come over to eat said cake. This meant I didn’t really have any time to correct my course or prep accordingly. Which leads me to…

Hot and Cold Ingredients

I’ve literally already written a post about easy tips to bake better homemade cakes. Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature so they combine nicely!

I didn’t have any room temperature butter so I stuck a stick in the microwave for 30 seconds – big mistake. It half-softened, half-melted and was overall too warm compared to cold milk straight from the fridge. My wet ingredients got way too clumpy almost immediately and my beaters did nothing to fix the situation.

The Wrong Sprinkles

This is the main takeaway from homemade funfetti cake. Rainbow jimmies are the long sprinkles on the tops of ice cream, whereas nonpareils are the little pearls that were originally white, but now come in multicolours. Rainbow jimmies don’t melt very quickly and have colour all the way through. The little round pearls just have the colour coating and that melts off pretty much instantly.

Unlike when I was little and was very into the idea of mixing the whole rainbow together, I can now confirm that all the colours mixed together results in grey. Which is the least appealing colour to eat.

There were still a couple faint dots of rainbow, but it turned grey instantly and I knew I couldn’t serve an ugly cake. This is a visual aesthetic society!

Relying on Food Dye

Is blue food better than grey food? Marginally. I added a dash of gel food colouring, which I prefer over liquid because you need a lot less. My cake ended up bright blue, with a few tiny rainbow dots throughout.

Too Thick Frosting

I don’t even want to share the frosting recipe I used because I will never use it again. It was just your standard vanilla buttercream but it turned out so thick, even though I used less icing sugar than the recipe called for? It had more of a playdough consistency, and did not spread well on my delicate, cooled-in-a-hurry cake.

I never succeeded in a clean crumb coat because cake kept lifting against my offset spatula and I ended up pressing many areas of frosting down and smoothing out. What a mess.

The cake still tasted delicious and served its purpose, but it all goes to show. People never take their own advice.

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