Celebrated my wife's birthday this weekend. All she wanted was some time with the girls, grilling tools and a yellow cake birthday cake! Simple enough! Right?
When I pictured making this cake for some reason, I immediately determined that it had to be a round cake that at least attempts to resemble what was on the box. Surely I could make a round cake out of a box?
I have made muffins before and I have at least 1 or maybe even 2 seasons of "Nailed It" contributing to my credentials. But I have never baked a cake!
I had planned the week before to make sure I could meet all of my commitments and free up my calendar enough so that my wife could enjoy a girls weekend and have some yellow cake.
In my mind, a flat pancake was saying you are not worth a little bit of extra effort! So it was a round cake or bust!
Just pouring the batter into square pan didn't feel like the right option. I was already taking the easy route. So in my mind, a flat pancake was saying you are not worth a little bit of extra effort! So it was a round cake or bust!
Now if you know me, you know that I did consider going all in and making this cake from scratch! For just a little bit I was also wondering how much "extra" I could put into this cake. However, I have never make a cake before! Not a single one. To the best of my memory, the closest I have come to making a cake is a few batches of brownies. I have made muffins. I also have at least 1 or maybe even 2 seasons of "Nailed It" contributing to my credentials. But I can not recall ever making a cake.
So I started with a round cake from a box!
We all have to start somewhere! The plan was a round cake from the box and all of "moms" boys was going to pitch in. All of us were going to contribute to making this cake! A half of a dozen YouTube videos later that is exactly what we did!
A half of a dozen YouTube videos later that is exactly what we did!
Every one of "moms" boys contributed to making her birthday cake. We had a ton of fun doing it. We had our moments! Actually, we had a lot of moments! Managing three excited boys while trying to capture our day on the GoPro all the while striving to bake this three-ingredient cake was quite entertaining…in retrospect!
Some of the highlights….
1. I didn't realize you could make a two layer cake from one box of cake mix. We started with two boxes.
2. After a YouTube video or two it seemed like using non stick spray was absolutely shunned. So we went with the butter the pan and flower method. It worked amazingly well expect for one pan. See next point.
3. It seems like a pro tip or maybe just common sense but you should get all of your layers out of the pans before you start layering your cake. My final layer ended up sticking to the pan! Which resulted in cosmetic cake surgery with frosting and cake pieces.
3a. For the girls! They know who they are! After point number three I absolutely wanted to flush this cake and start over! My inner perfectionist was already dying on the inside and this about broke me!
4. After being inspired by a few YouTube videos I decided I needed a cake stand, a round piece of cardboard, a fancy frosting spatula and a lazy Susan cake stand. So I immediately headed to Walmart and found none of these items. I was later then informed that I probably looked in the wrong place. Considering that my interaction with Walmart is limited to ice cream, electronics and breakfast food its very likely I just missed them.
5. Later I realized I also "needed" a food scale! Apparently, the pros weigh out the cake mix and divide it evenly between cake pans.
6. "Don't overfill the cake pans!" That turned into a major concern for me while I was trying to figure out how to get even cake layers. What I failed to notice is that these people seem to be using fancy tall cake pans. So I ended up with some very thin layers for a few reasons, but one being that I didn't fill the pans up enough!
7. Inspired by another YouTube video I decided to go the extra mile and handmade some cake strips. I had never heard of cakes strips before, which is not surprising. But according to the YouTube video comments I was not alone! If you make cakes, get some cake strips! They appear to be fantastic! However…see next point.
8. After constructing my homemade cake strips and applying them to the pans I did not take enough time to make sure the cakes sat level. In the end this created some very lop sided cake layers due to the homemade cake strips causing the pans not to be level.
8. I was not a boy scout for long, but I generally always have batteries charged and my GoPro, Insta360 and Nikon ready to go at all times. However, this time I was not prepared. Misplacing two GoPro batteries and only having half a charge on two different cameras!
9. I documented as much of the process as possible, but towards the end I was just picking and choosing my battles. I will always be a little disappointed that I did not capture the cake layering processes. I am not sure how the thoughts that were going threw my head played out physically, but I am fairly certain for those that love me would have been priceless!