Wednesday, June 6, 2012

lip-smacking good: st louis cardinal's yellow cake with buttercream frosting

Cardinal's cake
Last month I made a mini yellow cake with buttercream frosting.  I wanted to decorate it with the St. Louis Cardinals logo, as those who would be eating it are mega fans.  The cake was for a small gathering and there was a larger get-together later in the week.  So, making a smaller cake allowed leftover batter, which I used to make cupcakes for the larger gathering.

In my search for the perfect yellow cake recipe, I came across Smitten Kitchen's tried and true recipe, which she swears by.  Having used her recipes before with much success, it was clear this was the recipe I would use.  She also had a recipe for buttercream frosting, which I'm sure is amazing, but looked a little too involved for this baking novice.  So I opted for a much simpler recipe that was tasty to boot.

red kiss-like stars surrounded the base and the top of the cake

I tried several strategies to put a Cardinal on top of the cake.  I had read about the royal icing transfer method of getting images onto desserts and thought I would tweak that method using chocolate instead of icing, since I like the taste better.  I printed out a picture of the Cardinal's logo and covered it with parchment paper.  Then I traced the cardinal with melted chocolate in a piping bag, and filled the Cardinal in with the remaining chocolate.  I then placed the chocolate bird in the freezer to harden overnight.  Unfortunately, the bird came off in pieces and was unusable. 

I also experimented with free-handing on a piece of paper, thinking that if I could produce a  good enough likeness, I could freehand the Cardinal onto the cake.  That didn't work so well either. 

after several attempts, I get the logo on the cake
I remembered I had a cookie cutter with the cardinal logo on it.  The cookie cutter was circular and left a raised logo in each cookie.  I first tried filling it with melted chocolate in hopes I would get a chocolate medallion out that I could trace over with colored frosting or dyed chocolate.  The chocolate also came off in pieces once frozen.  Bummer!

So, I finally decided I would frost the cake, and when the icing had hardened a bit, I pressed the cookie cutter into the cake and held in in place for about a minute.  Then I carefully lifted the cookie cutter off the icing.  The cookie cutter made an impression of the logo on the icing, which I was able to trace with colored frosting. Then I used a small, star-shaped nozzle to decorate the cake with red frosting stars.

making a smaller cake means you can make cupcakes from the extra batter
The cake was moist and had a great frosting to cake ratio.  I would recommend doubling the frosting recipe if you want enough frosting for the cake and cupcakes.  I used two 6" round pans to make the cake and was able to make 16 additional full-size cupcakes.

Happy baking!

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