Our family is kind of crazy. You hadn’t figured that out, yet, right? 🙂 We have all these silly inside jokes that come to mind or are used in what seem like unrelated circumstances, to most people. A few years ago, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was a homeschool reading assignment at our house. When handed the book, a silly conversation between two students ensued, that went something like, “To Kill a Mockingbird!!???!!! How could you kill a mockingbird?” To which the reply was, “Step One…catch the mockingbird.” See, I told you we were nuts. -lol- Anyway, that line has become a catch phrase of sorts, whenever we are starting a new project that we aren’t sure how to tackle. One daughter in particular, uses it liberally. Essentially, it just means, “Get out there and take the first step! Do the next thing.” We had a “Step One…catch the mockingbird” moment a few days ago. So, guess why I’m sharing the Perfect White Wedding Cake Recipe?
Another of our beautiful daughters will be married on April 2. I love these times — the excitement, the planning, the anticipation. The past couple of years have been a bit of a financial strain, however, and the current state of the economy isn’t really making that any easier. The national average of $22,000, for a wedding, is going to be radically skewed by OUR family, but I also want this to be an amazing day for our daughter and son-in-law. We’re spending money, frugally, where it is necessary and investing time to save money, where it can be. So, I am tackling something I have never done before, for this exciting celebration. I’m making the wedding cake. Okay, get up off the floor and fetch an ice pack for the bump on your head. Let’s talk about this for a minute. 🙂
I have decorated many, many cakes, over the years, for birthdays and family gatherings, but something as large and as “needs to be perfect” as a wedding cake, has not been on my list of projects tackled. After a time of procrastination and lots of discussion, our middle daughter reminded me, “Step One…catch the mockingbird.” Okay, okay. Just do it. So, that’s how I’ve been spending a lot of my free time, the past week. We researched recipes, (Our family is not filled with white cake fans, so it had to be awesome!), we learned all about fondant and how to use it, we learned that we’re not particularly fond of fondant, we tried making homemade rolled buttercream to replace fondant, and we learned that we will definitely be using fondant, just rolling it thinner. We also made the most adorable little fondant flowers. All the practice is in hopes of making a perfect final product. I’m going to keep practicing and sharing what we learn along the way, so get ready for several upcoming wedding cake experiments. And lastly, I’m going to be sharing some of the tools that are making this SO much easier.
Thanks to the fantastic Wilton company, we have the perfect kitchen tools and decorating supplies to be successful wedding cake creators. And Wilton is generously providing one Busy-at-Home reader with some wedding cake baking supplies of their own. Yes! An exciting giveaway is part of this post, but first I want to share some pictures and a few of the things we’ve been doing this week, as well as the yummy recipe we selected for the perfect wedding cake.
The Perfect White Wedding Cake
Yield: I got exactly 14 cups of cake batter from this recipe.(This recipe popped up in so many places around the Internet, it is not possible to cite it’s original author. The recipe I worked from can be found here, at Food.com. 276 five-star reviews seemed like a safe bet. We weren’t disappointed. 🙂 ) … … Ingredients:
- 2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (we used Pillsbury)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 2/3 cups water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cups sour cream
- 8 large egg whites
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. (This makes a large amount of batter, 14 cups; so be sure the bowl you select will accommodate it.)
Add the wet ingredients.
Mix ingredients, thoroughly, and then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Grease and flour baking pans. I used regular pan spray and then dusted with all purpose flour.
I used the largest (14″) of the Performance Pans™ Round Pan Set, 3 in. Deep, that I received to test and review from Wilton. You all know how much I love this company and their products when it comes to baking. The cake pans are extraordinary. They are heavy and sturdy aluminum, plus an incredible three inches deep, making beautifully tall layers. I didn’t have to guess about how much batter to use. The package insert, included, showed exactly how much each pan size could hold.
I also received the Decorator Preferred® Bakeware Heating Core. I always learn so much when visiting the Wilton website or reading one of their publications. When I was researching pans for baking the wedding cake, I learned how important the heating core is for anyone baking cakes 10″ in diameter or larger. It helps to insure even baking, making certain that the cake is baked all the way to the center — no crunchy outsides and gooey centers! When you see how beautifully my cake baked using these fabulous kitchen tools, you’ll be as excited as me to see how simple it is to bake perfect cakes for special occasions.
Pour the batter into greased and floured pans. Note that I first placed the heat core in the center of the Performance Pan and then added the batter. I also filled the heat core to the same level as the pan. I used all 14 cups of batter for this largest pan of the set.
Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then bake the cake at 325° for the time recommended for your cake pan size. In this instance. the cake baked 1 hour and 15 minutes.
I was so excited when I removed this cake from the oven! It was evenly baked and just as important, smooth on top. I don’t think I have ever made a round cake that didn’t have a slight “mound” rising in the center. I don’t know if it is the recipe or the pans and heat core or a combination of both, but now that I have the secret formula, I’m going to stick to it!
The heat core slid right out, thanks to the earlier greasing and flouring. And the little cake plug released easily from inside it, though it did bake a little taller than the cake, probably due to my “eyeball it” method of filling it to the same height as the pan. I removed the heat core and then laid my pizza stone over the top of the cake pan, flipped it and then lifted the pan. Perfection! The cake didn’t stick in even one small spot. It released beautifully! I put the cake “plug” from the heat core into the hole in the center of the cake and cut it level with the cake top.
Now, all that’s left is the decorating!!! We did run through some decorating techniques and ideas with this practice layer, but I want to do that in a separate post, so I can really showcase some of the decorating tools that Wilton sent for us to test and review. For now, I want you to bask in the perfection of this lovely cake and the simplicity with which I was able to achieve it by using the correct tools for the job. Wilton’s Performance Pans and Bakeware Heating Core made my finished product look as though a professional baker had completed it. And coming from die-hard “if it isn’t chocolate, it isn’t cake” kind of people, it is amazing that the simple cake recipe, above, gets 5 stars for flavor, texture and moistness! I anticipate that there will be many more of these white cakes in our future.
To kick off this series on making your own wedding cake, Wilton has graciously agreed to give one lucky Busy-at-Home reader three products to help them create a dream cake of their own:
- Performance Pans™ Round Pan Set, 3 in. Deep
- Decorator Preferred® Bakeware Heating Core
- Wilton Wedding Cakes – A Romantic Portfolio
Isn’t that fantastic!!??!!! What a generous prize set. Would you love for it to be yours? Then read the rules and enter below!
You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed for any optional entries to be counted. Deadline for entry is midnight, Sunday March 27, 2011.
Visit the Wilton website and pick a cake design you would like to try on your own. Leave the title of the design you pick and a link to the page, in a comment below.
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I received Performance Pans™ Round Pan Set, 3 in. Deep; Decorator Preferred® Bakeware Heating Core; Wilton Wedding Cakes – A Romantic Portfolio; and the Ultimate Decorating Set in order to test them and conduct this wedding cake review series. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the opinions and views expressed are true and wholly my own.