Someone really needs to open a vegan bakery in Boston and hire me. I’d love to decorate cakes and cupcakes all day long. In case all you were waiting for was an employee, I give you the go head to set up shop. I’ll wait.
I’m sure many people are inspired by pictures of food, or something they ordered in a restaurant, or by those gorgeous, full-color coffee table cookbooks. I am too, to some extent. Sometimes, though, I feel most inspired by gadgets, pans, and obscure kitchen tools. I have the most adorable little kitchen store near me, and I often go in there needing cupcake liners and leave with something else entirely. The last time I went I brought home two 4.5″ spring form pans, and this is the tiny, sugary result.
Layer cakes are something I often crave but rarely have the initiative to get up and make. In fact, I talk about cake often enough that my husband invented “bowl of cake” for me – he mixes some ingredients together in a cereal bowl and microwaves it until baked, then voila! Bowl of cake!
I don’t really have a recipe to share with you since both the cake and the icing is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I do have some random tips and ideas, though, so maybe those will inspire you.
This, first of all, wasn’t my idea originally. I can’t remember where I saw it, but it’s so brilliant, you should know about it if you don’t already. Go into your closet, find a pants hanger, attach to cookbook, and hang from your cabinets while cooking. I could kiss whoever thought of this. My cookbooks stay clean (when I remember to hang them), the recipe sits at eye level, and I don’t have to use up precious counter space!
It won’t work too well with thick, hardcover books, but most of my paperback cookbooks hang without a problem.
I baked two separate layers, though it’s possible to bake one and split it in half. I was worried about doing this for two reasons. Not only was I not sure that one layer would rise enough to make a decently tall cake, but I also don’t trust my slicing skills that much.Â I’m glad I baked two separate layers.
Speaking of slicing, you’ll need to level off the cake to make it pretty. I used a long serrated bread knife, held my breath, and started cutting at the lowest edge of each layer. Little imperfections don’t matter so much, since the frosting will hide them. Definitely use a sharp knife for this, though, or you’re tear your pretty little cake to shreds.
You can pre-pipe your decorations! This is a wonderful idea for so many reasons, not the least of which is automatic stress reduction. You don’t need to pipe directly onto the cake, you can pick only the most perfect flowers and stars to use, and you can even remove them if you change your mind about their location. I covered a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and a thin (THIN) layer of cooking spray and piped right on that. Let air dry overnight. You can also freeze them if you only have an hour or two. If you freeze them, remove each one with the tip of a butter knife and work quickly, they’ll soften up fast!
I didn’t realize until this morning that I had failed to take a picture that truly shows the scale of this cake. Here’s two of the leftover, half eaten, saran wrap dented and smooshed cake: