Don’t those homemade cakes just taste so much better than the one that you picked up at the grocery store last minute? I’m sure most people out there will say yes to that, time after time. Maybe the frosting tastes a little creamier, maybe the cake is a little bit more moist…or maybe it’s the love put into it. Regardless, making cakes at home not only create delicious desserts, but also priceless memories. Baking a delicious cake with my mom is something I used to love to do…and I still do! The only difference is that now, I like to impress her with professional looking-and tasting-cakes, that don’t take as much work as it looks like!
So, it’s your aunt/mom/sister’s birthday, and you’re in charge of the cake. Heck, maybe you even wanted to make the cake! Surely, after you learn these tips, you’ll be eager to impress family and friends with your skills.
Today, I’m going to show you how to make an easy cake with homemade fondant (this gives it a very professional look, and the homemade stuff tastes way better than store-bought, and it’s much cheaper), delicious homemade buttercream frosting (really easy!), Betty Crocker cake mix, and some simple decorating tools.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 now!
First, we’re going to make the fondant.
You will need:
A 1 lb. bag of marshmallows
2 lb bag of powdered sugar
4 tablespoons of water
Now, this will probably be a bit too much fondant for your cake, but you can even double it if you’d like because since it’s a bit sticky to make this, it’s a good thing to make in bulk because it stays good wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge for awhile.
First, melt your marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl in your microwave. Go at 30 second increments, stirring in between.
Now, it gets messy.
Take a cookie sheet and use your shortening to grease that sucker! Scrape the marshmallow goo onto it, then dump about half of your powdered sugar on top. Now, grease your hands well. Keep this on hand because you’re going to be doing a lot more greasing! Start to knead the powdered sugar into the marshmallow, like dough. I know….it’s very sticky, but it will start to work! Just be patient. Slowly add in the rest of the powdered sugar. If your fondant is ripping apart a lot, add in a little water and adjust it until it is firm but flexible. Form a ball with this, then coat it in the shortening. Wrap it in saran wrap, then double-bag it in Ziploc bags. If you made a double-recipe of this, make 2 separate balls because this should be enough for 2 separate cakes. Now stick it in the fridge.
Step 2: The cake!
I find that the Betty Crocker cake mixes are very delicious and easy to make, and are a lot easier and faster than homemade. With vanilla frosting and fondant (which is what this cake will be), the dark chocolate cake mix tastes amazing. Pour in your water and oil and blend this (follow the simple box directions…it just takes a few minutes). Now, take two circular 8″X8″ cake pans and pour the cake mix even amounts into these. Be sure to grease them first! Now pop them into the oven, which should be preheated, and set your kitchen timer for the time indicated on the box.
Pretty easy, huh?
Step 3: Frosting!
Time for some delicious vanilla buttercream frosting!
What you will need:
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of softened shortening
1 ½ tablespoons of half and half
1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
First, beat the shortening in a bowl until it is light and fluffy. Then add in about half of your powdered sugar. Continue to beat this on low speed. Add in the half and half and vanilla extract and beat this in, then add your remaining powdered sugar. Once it is all blended, beat for a few more minutes on medium-high to make it fluffy. Cover this and put it in the fridge.
Step 4: Finishing!
Once your cake is done baking, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Also, take your fondant out of the fridge. This would be a good time to go do some other stuff, like pick the kids up from the bus stop, walk your dog, read a book, go grocery shopping…etc. Once it’s cooled, you can take the cakes out of the pans and place the first one on a board. Put a gob of frosting down beneath it so it won’t slide all over the place. Then, spread a nice thick layer of frosting on top of the first cake and place the next one on top of it. Then, frost the top and the sides with about a ¼ inch thick layer of frosting. Don’t worry about making it look too nice…this is just a base for the fondant, and nobody will see it. Now, spread some corn starch onto a cookie sheet and place the fondant onto it. Gently knead your fondant to warm it up, and shape it to a basic disc shape since we have a round cake. Now, sprinkle some corn starch onto your fondant and coat your rolling pin. Start to gently roll it out, keeping the basic disc shape, until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Now, get some corn starch on your hands and gently pick up one end of the fondant. It should slide right off the cookie sheet! This is why we put corn starch down…if you didn’t the fondant will stick and tear.
Now, place one end of the fondant on the side of the cake. Hold the sheet of fondant over it evenly and drop it… it should fall into place. With corn starch on your hands, gently press it onto the cake and smooth it out, but don’t handle it too much. Use a knife of pizza cutter to slice off the excess fondant around the edges.
Now, for decorating! Take some of your buttercream frosting and put in food dye…I chose a soft blue that looked really nice. Stir this up and then put it into a bag, cut off the top and put on the decorating tip. Now, use your creativity and do whatever you want! You can make shells around the base of the cake, stars, or even flowers. Just have patience and use a steady hand! Practicing on a paper towel is a good way to experiment and eliminate mistakes on your cake.