This past weekend I made a birthday cake for a friend of mine. She had asked if I would make the cake for her daughter's party and (of course) I said yes. Then came a week of wondering, "will it look okay? will it taste good?" I spend a lot of time going through my favorite blogs, printing recipes, and comparing them. I bought a bigger pan (11x15) so we'd have enough cake. I had never made a cake for someone besides close family before, and I wanted it to be perfect. Here are a few things that I learned from making this cake:
1. An 11x15 pan makes a lot of cake. Double a regular recipe. And when you make two of them to make a layer cake, it is very big. And very heavy.
2. That you should always buy two of the same sized pan, so you don't spend all day baking two cakes.
3. That you should always buy twice as many ingredients as you think you need, because, well, the cake is huge (see #1).
4. That, next time, I'm shopping at Costco for my ingredients. (See #3)
5. A flower nail is a perfect heat conductor for a large cake (if you don't have baking strips). Just butter and flour the nail and lay the base in the middle of your pan.
8. I need to do more wrist exercises to strengthen my muscles for that much piping.
9. Stencils are my new best friends.
10. Jill Fosters' "Write Way" of decorative piping (from her book Creative Cakes Anyone Can Make) is so easy and makes so much sense I'm astounded that I've never heard of it before.
11. 17 sticks of butter, 16 eggs, 5 cups of milk, 12 cups of powdered sugar, and hours of work to make the cake didn't matter once I saw the look on faces of my friend and her daughter.
12. It was hard work, but I loved it. And I want to do it again. Soon. And often!