Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Challenge of 15 Layers

Good morning HLA! It was so much fun yesterday watching the Foodie Blogs round up votes so they could compete in the Second Annual Super Bowl Snack Throw Down with us. Thanks so much to all of you for your participation. Be sure to check in tomorrow to find out who will be competing this year.

It's Cheryl here (or should I change my name to Bakeryl) giving Claudia a much deserved break.

A couple Friday's ago I declared the whole month of August my birthday and decided I would bake the cake that I have been drooling over for months. If you're a long time reader you know that I'm a fan of Bakerella- she's a cake-pop-brownie-baking-photo-taking-goddess! And just below is the photo of her 14 layer cake that I just had to see if I could make. She makes it look so easy! I won't repeat all of her great instructions- you can read that here. Hopefully, if you've been drooling over this cake you can learn from my experience and do it better.

Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it grand? Can't you just imagine it with a cold glass of milk? Don't you just want a piece of cake?

I got to prepping- making sure I had all the ingredients. Butter- lots of butter. And being the competitive snot that I am, I had to push it to 15 layers. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb, I tell you. Let me be completely honest. You need a partner in crime (or two) if you want to bake this cake. One person can get busy preparing the pans and the other preparing the mix. Below are my prepared pans- they're all lined with parchment, greased and floured. This was my lease favorite task.
Bakerella thanked her mom for her Kitchen Aide mixer. I can't remember which wonderful person(s) fulfilled my wedding shower request but whoever you are- thank you! I can't imagine mixing up this much batter without one.

Another important step is to make sure you spread the batter all the way out to the edges of the pans. I skipped this step. I don't' know why. Baking all the layers wasn't that big of a deal. It went pretty quick.

Below is where it went very wrong for me. I don't know if I cooked this frosting too long, not long enough, and I know I added the vanilla in too early. It tasted wonderful off the spoon but it wasn't drippy like Bakerella's.

See how hers drips below.

Mine does not drip. And look at this layer. We'll just hide that one in the middle. It's looking a little Dr. Seuss like.
Hers below after she was finished putting on the layers and adding all the frosting.

Mine below. OH NO!!Not good, folks. Not good. See why it's important for you to spread the batter all the way out to the edge of the pans? It just kept going wrong from there. I mixed up the butter cream frosting and it didn't look all dark and creamy like hers. So, at this point it is never going to be a pretty as hers and frankly, I'm starting to be really over this cake. I mean really. Just because hers looks beautiful with 14 layers it doesn't mean it is going to taste any better than a single layer cake. I decided I would spice it up with these sprinkles.
I will be forever sweeping up these sprinkles from my kitchen floor because the only way I could get them on the side of the cake was to throw pinchfuls at the cake and hope they stuck.

So, what does the inside look like? Here it is. 15 layers. When you slice a piece it really equals 2 to 3 slices. And since that frosting thing went wrong, it didn't taste quite right. Kind of crunchy.

Would I - with my obviously limited baking skills - ever bake this cake again? Uh, no. I will not be changing my name to Bakeryl! Not unless I had a pitcher of margarita's and at least two friends to help, would I bake this cake again. One to prepare the pans and the other to clean the mess. This mess.
So, I will be staying with my go to Thank You Betty Brownies that I bake often in cupcake form and fondly re-named Cupbrowookies. Easy and Tasty. I suggest those any day of the week.

Would you, could you bake this cake? Do you have a favorite short cut or tip in the kitchen that would help me and others? Inquiring bakers want to know.

Signing off until tomorrow...


Danko Family said...

I think you did a fabulous job! One thing I would try would be to cut down on the number of pans you use, put a little more in each pan, and use the cake leveler to slice each cake into smaller layers. That would cut down on the bake time AND the number of dishes to wash. I would definitely eat a piece!!!!!

Chaotic said...

Cheryl, I'd eat your cake... looks are not important. The fact that YOU made it is. But I would NOT bake it. I don't wanna work that hard!

Claudia said...

Has everyone recovered from the mad dash of voters yesterday? Great fun, I know. You can guess what the four of us will spend a portion of today doing... counting votes!

Tucked away in yesterday's votes was a comment from Stacie! Nice to see you again Stacie. We love when you join us. Your wit makes our blog more fun.

Kate... thanks for rejoining us today and especially for sharing some real cooking expertise on how one might really make that cake ... even if she isn't Bakerella.

I don't know that I am qualified to give a kitchen shortcut, but I'll share this. Up until I married Richard, I always made rice by the instructions on the back of the box. Twice as much water as rice, I think. Richard, on the other hand, just fills a pot with water, boils it, puts in the rice, and gets it almost finished cooking. Then he strains it, fills the pot with water, puts the strainer on top of the pot with a little bit of boiling water, covers the strainer with a towel to keep in the moisture, and lets it finish cooking.

Come to think of it... here it sounds more complicated, but really it is easier.

I will cross my fingers that some more of our foodies will check in today and fill us with all kinds of other cooking short cuts.

Heather said...

Would i try to do it the old fashioned way like you Cheryl? Heck no! If I attempted it would be with box cake mix and pre packaged frosting =)!

Welcome back Kate! Glad to have another gal from the NKY on the board!

BeeKayRoot said...

Cheryl, I applaud you for your efforts. I've only ever done a two-layer cake... I couldn't imagine 5 layers let alone 15 layers!

I myself have always wanted to try to make my own ice cream cake. I doubt that it is easy at all.

Kat said...

Whew Cheryl! That looks exhausting! I think I still want to try making it though. I can see myself and my sisters doing it next time we all get together.

We bought a rice cooker and it makes perfect rice every time. Usually I don't like too many kitchen gadgets, but this is one that we use all the time.

I have started making huge batches of bread dough and portioning it out to put in the freezer. Now all I have to go for fresh bread is let it thaw, rise, and bake! People are impressed, and it takes very little work.

Katie K said...

Way to go , Cheryl!!! I would totally take a bite out of that. And I was thinking along the lines of what Kate was talking about with the cake leveler. Maybe I'll have to think more seriously about trying to make this. I'll run it by my friends today at training and report back!

Happy Day, HLA!

Cristine said...

Yummy cake Cheryl.
I agree with the first comment on using a cake leveler to cut the layers instead of tons of pans. It would probably help with icing the cake too.
A great shortcut for icing is Wilton Meringue powder. I use that when I don't want to get out all the crisco, butter, etc. There's instructions on the container. It covers well, without clumping.
A little side note for anyone in the Chicago area in June - Wilton (which is based in Woodridge - near Naperville) has it's annual tent sale. Everything is about 50% off or more. I went this year and got tons of cake pans, decorating tips, icing supplies, cookie sheets and more. Plus they were also selling scrap booking stuff. Well worth going if you're in the area.
All this talk about cake is making me hungry. Time to go run.
Have a great day everyone!

Anonymous said...

I think it looks great! Impressive feat.

My favorite kitchen tip is to marry a spouse that loves to cook. Then, things magically appear in your kitchen. It is the best short cut I every discovered!

Hope you have a good week...looks like it has been busy times at HLA lately!

-Sporadic Spy

Peggy said...

Cheryl- congrats on your attempt to make the cake. I also loved your pictures... I was almost ROFLMAOPIMP (is that right?) when you posted your picture of the cake... I can just hear you saying your discription, with your soft Texas (Utah) accent!!! Perfecto!

I agree with tips posted... doesn't Bakerella talk about her cake leveler? Maybe I saw it on Cake Boss too... they get at least 3 layers sliced from one cake.

Also agree with Kat.... got a rice cooker for $24 at Wal-Mart... it is great... no boiling over on the stove top, perfect rice each time!!

lindsaymarie said...

i vote for a regular cheryl's-adventures-in-the-kitchen post because this was hilarious and so much fun to read! i would eat that cake! i would not bake that cake, though.
all this talk about rice cookers makes me think i should probably buy one for my mom, she really wants one.

Cheryl said...

My favorite tip so far is Sporadic Spy's... get a husband that cooks. HA! Can I magically disappear when it's cleaning time, too? :)

Yesterday was a lot of fun! The votes just rolling in. These ladies have some serious friends.

The boys and I ate out last night after we got them registered for school. We discussed eating out and not only did I not have to go to the store and purchase the ingredients, mix them up and cook it, I also did not have to clean up any messes! It was a good night. :)

Cheryl said...

HA HA Lindsay! You're funny. You're a funny, funny girl!!!

Claudia said...

Lindsaymarie... I like your idea. Let me think on this and lets see if we can come up with a fun "Cheryl's Kitchen Adventures" series.

Or, maybe we can somehow partner with all our new foodie friends for some fun food feature to be periodically featured!

But, it is Cristine whose post has me most interested so far today! What do you mean a Wilton Tent Sale?!?!?!

How could there be such an event and you not tell us? We would have sent you shopping on our behalf! Did they have the dinosaur pan? Say it isn't so! Is this an annual sale? If so, I might have to time a trip to visit in time for next year's.

Cheryl said...

BTW- thanks for all your kind words. Y'all are all too nice.

Bakerella discussed the cake slicing thing... but she didn't do it that way and I'm an instructions girl. Follow the instructions.

And, I didn't keep those pans. I told myself- what are you going to do with those pans? You're not baking this again. Just toss 'em. I'm sure I could have come up with some creative idea but really they were like a $1- so not worth cleaning. :)

No Lookey More Eaty Struble said...

As a cook and eater, I have to say who cares how the cake looked. Did it taste good? If so, be proud. The question should be why is everyone caught up in "presentation"? Does the look change the taste? I say NO. Is the government voting on $2 billion bailout of food presentation?


Cheryl said...

You're right No Lookey. If it had tasted wonderfully good I would have said screw the way it looks but that first layer of icing was a bit granular. Now, if you don't mind your cake a little crunchy then it would be okay.

Now, I will say the boys didn't seem to mind. So, if the 7 & 8 year old critics liked it then I can live with that but I didn't care too much for it.

Chaotic said...

I HAD 2 "gadgets"... quesadilla maker & rice cooker. I only kept one- the RICE COOKER!! Love it!

heather said...

All this talk about a rice cooker makes me want one...I LOVE steamed rice...yummy!

I want to try the 15 layer cake as a 15 layer pancake...think it would work?

Cheryl said...

Heather- it absolutely would!

Diana Leilani said...

To BeeKayRoot, Wilton makes a Fanci-Fill Cake Pan set to easily fill a cake!

I'd love to try this with something homemade myself.

Perhaps Bakerella's Matcha Cake ( with Matcha Ice Cream (


Cristine said...

the Wilton tent sale is mid-June every year. They have almost everything in the cataloger plus some that you can't get anymore. I don't remember the dinosaur pan but I did get a golf pan and a pirate ship pan for about $6 a pan. Next year when I find out when it is I'll send out a note and we can make a shopping list. But you'll have to help me with a cookie lesson.

Diana Leilani said...

I gave the cake a try this evening.

No where near Bakerella standards of course. Fun nonetheless though! I suggest everyone try it at least once if you are so inclined.


Cheryl said...

Diana! You SO ROCK! I will post another comment in tomorrows section to make sure everyone checks it out!! A+++, Gold Star and all that jazz!!

Jen said...

Nice work. I love Bakerella as well and have been eyeing that cake. I'm not sure if I have the guts to make it...

I'm intrigued by the idea of making those Brookies (that's what I call them) into cupcakes. Sounds like a great idea! I love cupcakes so I'm going to have to try that next time. I love that Bakerella put ganache on them - they're awesome.

I appreciate the tip about the homemade bread. I've been tackling my yeast fear this year but never seem to have time to make homemade bread, although if I did it on the weekend I could just freeze it as someone said.

My best baking tip - spend the $3 to get an oven thermometer. My new gas stove is 30 degrees hot and I never would have known without my thermometer.