Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mickey Mouse Cake Part 1

When I was younger, I didn't really love Mickey Mouse. I don't think I understood why he never wore a shirt, even when it was cold outside, and his laugh...seriously, what's up with his laugh? Anyway, I am making a Mickey Mouse cake for a baby shower (would've been nice if she wanted the Hungry Caterpillar). This is a trial run. I have never made a two-tiered cake before, so I figured that practice would be good. Necessary in fact. I'll be bringing the cake into work on Monday to show the recipient, see if she likes it. I was originally going to do Mickey Mouse head and then have ears being cupcakes (she wants some cupcakes), but the idea of trying to draw a face was a bit too much for me. So, two-tier cake it is (about 35 people need to be fed). I am also going to be making probably a dozen cupcakes with some cut outs that will match the cake. Coordination...I'm on top of things.

Today didn't exactly go as planned. Got up, ran a ton of errands, met with a friend for lunch, then car started smoking. Never good. Turns out I have a cracked reservoir tank. Awesome. Part should be in hopefully on Monday. Until then, I just hope my engine doesn't decide to blow...sadly a real possibility at this point. By the time I got the car looked at and home from the grocery store, it was about 4:00. Threw in some laundry (discovering after I put my money in that the dryers in my building don't work this week....had to bring over wet laundry to the next building over) and got started on baking. Below is pretty much what I've been working on since about that time...So, about five hours later and I can kick my feet up. Decorating comes tomorrow.
I prepared the fondant yesterday (see the caterpillar entry for recipe). Today, I used black and red coloring, while setting aside some to not be colored. (That part will be painted silver later.)

Using the black fondant, I cut out circles for ears and heads, and then also shaped 3-D mickey mouse heads.

Yellow Cake

7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter
5 cups white sugar
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 cups buttermilk**

**If you don't have buttermilk (and don't feel like paying lots for it), take regular milk and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. (About a teaspoon for every cup) Let sit for ten minutes and then you have buttermilk!

Sift in a medium sized bowl the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Then in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Then beat in one egg at a time.

Add some flour mixture to the egg mixture. Then add some buttermilk. Then the flour...and so on.

Then in greased 9 inch cake pans, add the mixture. Do the same for the six inch cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When you remove the cakes from the oven, place cakes on a cooling rack. You'll want to put the cakes in the fridge when cool.

This will make 3 9-inch layers, and 2 6-inch layers.

Strawberry Filling

1 package of fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon

Remove the stems from the strawberries and put in a food processor. Roughly chop, but do not liquefy. Then place in a small bowl. Add honey and lemon. Mix well. Set in fridge until ready to use.
Next steps!

Remove the chilled cakes from the fridge. Using a very sharp knife, level each layer (both the 9-inch and 6-inch cakes). Looking at the 9-inch layers, choose a base layer. Using buttercream frosting, put a thin layer on the top. Then using a piping bag, build a "wall" of icing around the edges. This will prevent the filling from oozing out through the sides. Add several spoonfulls of strawberry filling on top of the icing, within your "walls".

Then take the next layer and place it on top of your base layer. Do the same thing with the icing and filling. Take your third and last layer and place it on top. Using a thin layer of buttercream frosting, ice the sides and top, taking care to make the sides as even as possible. (Fill in any gaps with the icing.)

Do the same thing for your two 6-inch cakes, but do NOT place them on top of the 9-inch cake yet.

Even more steps!

Since it's a two-tiered cake, it is important to make sure that your bottom tier can support the top tier. Safest bet is to use dowels. You can find these at any craft store or hardware store. They don't need to be too large in diameter since it's only two tier. Mine was about 3-4 mm.

Measure the dowel next to the 9-inch cake and make a mark at the top of the cake on the dowel. Cut the dowel to this length. Do this to make five total dowels. Roughly measure on the 9-inch cake where the top tier will go (I used the pan I originally baked with). This gives you an estimate of where the dowels should be placed.

Insert one dowel in the middle of the cake. Then arrange the other four in a rough circle around it (closer to the edges of where the top tier will sit).

Put all the cakes back in the fridge until later.

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