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For my parties I always have mini tiered cakes.  I have found the children and parents both love them.  The parents love them because they don’t have to mess with cutting and serving.  The children love them because they have thier very own cake, which makes them feel really special.  They are much bigger than a cupcake, and much prettier to in my opinion. 

Here are a couple of pictures of mini cakes I have used.

I use a specialty pan made for making tiered cakes like this one here.  I have tried a couple different types of cake pans and this one definately has the best shape and bakes up to the nicest consistancy. 

Secondly, with these inparticular, I always use Wilton Cake Release. It is like greasing and flouring in one.  It is quite amazing actually.  I simply use my pastry brush and cover the cake pan with it before I pour in my batter.  The cakes pop right out when they are done without any stickage!  You can buy it on Wilton site.

Once the cakes are done, I put all of them on a tray and place them in the freezer for at least 24 hours.  This makes them nice and firm for the next step. 

Next I trim the bottoms of the cake, as alot of them will be rounded and they need to sit flat.  The freezing makes it easy to trim with a serrated knife.

Since these cakes are small and have small crevaces and surfaces to cover, it makes it a challenge to frost in a traditional way.  I like to make mine with poured fondant and a drizzle of icing. 

When I am ready to decorate them I first whip up a batch of buttercream frosting for the crumb coat.  As a shortcut if I am running out of time I will use the Wilton decorator icing store bought.  I prefer to make it myself,  I ussually use Martha Stewarts recipe.  It seems to be the best one I have found. 

I use the buttercream to crumb coat the cake.  If there are people out there who don’t know what crumb coating a cake is I will explain.  You know when you got to ice a cake and a tiny little crumb gets swept up into your frosting and ruins the whole thing?  If you crumb coat it, that will be much less likely to happen.  You simply take your spatula and do a thin layer of frosting over the cake.  This layer is not intended to cover the cake so don’t try to.  It is a glue of sorts, sticking all those little crumbs to the cake.  Just plaster some over the surfaces of the cake and let it sit for 20-30 minutes so it hardens a bit.  Some bakers actually recommend putting in the refrigerator for a few hours, I ussually don’t do this though.  For those of you who want to have a visual lesson, here is a YouTube video of how to crumb coat which I think gives the best description of how to do it.

Finally I am ready to use my Poured Fondant.  I use Wiltons recipe for this.  Since I am such a big fan of this recipe I will share it below. I ussually double the recipe for 8-10 mini tiered cakes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon no-color almond extract or vanilla extract (very important that it is no color)

Makes:

About 2 1/2 cups of icing.

Instructions:

Place sugar in saucepan. Combine water and corn syrup; add to sugar and stir until well-mixed. Cook over low heat. Don’t allow temperature of mixture to exceed 100°F. I place a candy thermometer in the pot while I am mixing to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.  Remove from heat; stir in extract and icing color.

Place cooled cupcakes or mini cakes on cooling grid positioned over cookie sheet or pan to catch excess icing. It will drip alot, don’t skip this step!  Pour icing on center of cupcake using pan or measuring cup. I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup and work in a circle.  Starting at the top of the cake I pour in a circular motion as the mixture runs down the sides of the cake coating it with color. You have to work fast while the icing is still hot.  Once it starts to cool it doesn’t really pour evenly.   Touch up any bare spots with spatula. Let set.

Excess icing may be reheated just to pouring consistency. Don’t overheat the icing as it will lose its shiny finish.

I ussually let my cakes set for about an hour so that the icing is hardened.  I then drizzle a thin icing over the cakes to give them an interesting design. 

I use round doilies on my serving platters and place one cake on each doilie.  This makes it easier for the parent to transfer them from the serving platter to the childs plate without disturbing the cake.

The last step is piping a ring of stars around the bottom of the cake to cover rough edges. 

Ta-dah.  Done.  The entire frosting process takes only a couple of hours and that includes the waiting.  Not to bad and they taste great. 

Another tip: I always bake two extra in case one gets damaged in transport or if by chance an extra child shows up to the event or a younger sibling of a guest.

Tomorrow I will share some more pictures of the princess party!  It turned out great.