Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My YW Values Cake + a butter cream frosting recipe

 The Young Women's Presidency in my Ward asked me to make a cake for New Beginnings.  (translation:  the women who oversee the teen girls youth group at church asked me to make a cake for a special meeting that introduces the new girls into the program.)   They wanted little mini torches for everyone.  Since they are expecting 50 people to the meeting, I decided to do a two layer half sheet cake instead.  They were ok with that.

Only I thought the meeting was last week.  So over the course of Monday and Tuesday last week I baked, filled, stacked and frosted cake for 50 people . . . . who wouldn't be there until this Wednesday.  I didn't figure this one out until my daughter's Laurel Leader (aka the lady in charge of the 16-18 year old group) called to discuss their Wednesday night activity plans for the next two weeks.   And she mentioned the cake.  The cake sitting on my counter.  The cake they didn't want until next week.

I had cake for 50 and no one to eat it.  Since I had frosted it, I couldn't even freeze it to save for the next week.

We had quite the time sharing that baby around in order to get it eaten.  The last bit went to my mother's house for the Super Bowl party. My children wouldn't even look at it.  They were a bit sick of cake by that time.

It was a good thing, though, that I had an extra week.  The fail cake (my oldest son's words) was a plain white cake.   This one is much cooler.

Here's the outside.  Please keep in mind that I haven't really done much drawing since my freshman year of college (many, many years ago.)  Drawing with a frosting tube is much harder, especially when the biggest example of the logo I could find was 2" high.   It's not spectacular.  The best I can say for my lettering is that I spelled everything correctly.   I did draw the torch on the cake with a toothpick first and then I went over it with the frosting.  This way I could redo it several times until I was happy with it.  I just smoothed the frosting out with a damp offset spatula to fix my errors.   The torch is done with an outline and filled in with an upside down basket weave tip (smooth side up), then I smoothed it out with the afore mentioned damp offset spatula.

I was using my 50mm lens, so I had to stand on the counter with my head up at the ceiling to get the picture.  You can probably see that I stood to the right of the cake.  The funky perspective is kind of cracking me up. 

The very best part of this cake, though, is inside.   I call it a "Values" cake.

The Young Women's program developed by our church includes eight values the girls are to focus on and learn as they go through their teen years.  (Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue.)  Each value is associated with a color.  I used the directions for a rainbow tie dye cake but put the different colors of batter down in value order instead of rainbow order. I asked my girls not to tell their friends about the brightly colored cake because I want it to be a surprise this evening when they cut it.

Rainbow cakes are super easy to make.   There are a lot of recipes all over the internet. (I used the directions from Omomicon for dying and dumping the batter but I did not use her diet cake recipe.  I would not recommend using a diet cake for one so large.  it would fall apart without the eggs in it.) I have a few tips if you want to make a big one like this.   For each layer I did eight colors, including one left white for Faith.  Each portion of batter measured a little over 1 cup, or 8.3 oz if you've got a new kitchen scale you like to play with like I do.   Each layer uses two boxes of white cake mix, and yes I'm assuming you're using a box.  There are times when it's fine to not do homemade. Making cake for 50 is one of those times.

When mixing the cake, do not mix the batter like the directions say on the box.  Run your mixer just long enough to bring everything together.  You may have to mix the last of the egg into it with a spatula.   All the beating you would normally do at this point with the mixer is done when you mix in the gel color.   Your cake may even be over mixed by the time all the food color is fully mixed in.  As you can see from the above photo, mine was.  If you are doing a values cake and need to make gold (for virtue), first make a pale peach then add just a tiny little smear of blue to brown it up a bit.  Instead of doing bright colors you could also do the pastels the church is currently using in the Young Women materials.  That would be very pretty.  I grew up with bright value colors so that's where I went with my cake.

When making a cake this size you must freeze the layers before handling them.   Be very careful when getting your layers out of the pan and definitely use parchment paper in the bottom of the pan!   I had to rebake one layer because it fell apart on me during this process.  In order to freeze my cake layers, I carefully slipped them into my half sheet baking sheets, then leveled the tops with a bread knife, wrapped the pan in foil, and put them both in my deep freeze.   The next day, the cake was super easy to handle when I assembled it.

By the way, I measured out my butter cream frosting recipe.

American butter cream frosting
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 cup salted butter
1/2 c whipping cream
1 T vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix on medium speed for over 5 minutes.  Sometimes I like to let mine go for up to ten minutes.   You may need to add up to 1T of whipping cream at the end to loosen the frosting up a bit to make it easy to spread.  I find that with all that fat in the recipe I don't have to get the frosting as stiff for the piping work.  It's much easier on my hands, thank goodness.   This should be enough to frost and fill a two layer 9x13 cake.  You might need more for piping or if you like your frosting extra thick.