I’ve always loved baking but I’ve never been adventurous with it. For years, my sister has asked for my secret to baking great cookies. Honestly, I don’t have one - I just make them and do my best to not overcook them. I love making birthday cakes for my family and I’ve always wanted to elevate my decorating game. I see all these beautiful cakes that look simple to create, but they never turn out the way I want. I started exploring a little bit and through Instagram, I found that my hairdresser George dabbled in baking and cake decorating - I saw his Sprinkle Cake and immediately wanted to try it! Last week George came over to Cassandra’s Kitchen to bake and decorate with me. It was a game changer. We had so much fun and now I am super excited to try new things with my baking and decorating!
I made the round white cakes before George arrived and I used this easy recipe from The Perfect Cake Cookbook. We made Ina’s Cream Cheese icing – creamy and so good. Before we got started on icing the cake, George walked me through the process – it was fairly straightforward but what I didn’t realize was all the little tricks that make everything so much easier and really have an effect on the end product.
Rather than putting the first layer of cake directly on the cake stand, we used a Round Cake Base and added a smear of icing to stick them together. We used icing to secure the next layer and used the flat spatula to spread the icing around the top and sides. I was trying to make it so perfect, but George encouraged me to just try to keep it pretty even - not perfect.
We let it sit for a bit then added a bit more icing to the top and used a Cake Smoother Comb (find it here) to get the sides even. Who knew the difference this tool could make? I would have just continued to goop on icing - but instead there was just the right thickness of smooth, pretty icing.
Then it was time for the sprinkles – my favorite part. George had me pick up the cake (on the cake round) in the palm of my hand then I took handfuls of colorful sprinkles and packed them on all around the cake. So much easier than trying to do it on the stand because I could get it even all the way to the bottom. It was so much fun, and the beautiful Hotel Silver Cake Stand made it perfect.
If you’re a baker, you’re probably reading this and rolling your eyes at the simplicity, but I have always doubted my ability to make a pretty cake. I just made the same things over and over with very little variety or creativity. And I wasn't confident in my abilities. With a few tips, some good pep talks from George, and the right tools it was so much fun that I actually feel a little silly for being so apprehensive!
Give me all your baking and cake decorating tips and favorites!
Ina Garten's Cream Cheese Icing
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
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