lobster cakeOther posts from this class: My Cake Decorating Class Has Begun!, Cake Decorating Class Pt. 2.

This is a super-sized post because I’ve got 2 recipes to share as well as photos of icing this cake.

This week in cake decorating class we learned to make hearts and dots, but most of the class was spent on making scary clowns out of frosting. I tuned out almost this entire lesson, as I have a FEAR of CLOWNS.

But I was rewarded when we learned how to transfer designs on to our cakes. I’m going to a lobster bake this weekend, and I’m bringing a dessert. So I found a clip art picture of a lobster in MS Word and used that as an outline for this crustacean on my cake. I’m kind of in love with it, I’m this close to naming the lobster. I just have to add the lettering and it’s set for Saturday.

As for the cake itself, I used the All-Purpose Buttery Yellow Cake and Dark Chocolate Frosting recipes from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Before I share the recipe, here are some photos of me finally frosting a cake nicely.

dollop of frosting on bottom

A dollop of frosting to stick it to the plate. I actually took this photo then decided to use the base of my cake caddy instead, so it looks different in the rest of the photos. Also, I forgot to put pieces of parchment paper under the cake to keep the plate it’s on from getting dirty. So now my cake caddy looks very chocolatey.

first lobster layer

First layer down with probably 1-2 cups of frosting in the middle by the time I was done.

lobster cake filling

Nice and even.

trimming the dome

I bough this great tool for cutting the “dome” off layer cakes so they’re level and easy to frost evenly.

layer 2 lobster cake

Layer two is now on. I arranged the layers so the top of the 2 cakes actually face each other in the middle. That’s the bottom of the 2nd layer you see on the very top. This is probably perfectly logical, but I never thought to do these kinds of things before.

frosted lobster cake

I got kind of swept up in the fun of frosting a cake without all the fuss I’m used to, and I forgot to take photos as I went. But here it is, all frosted.

 All-Purpose Buttery Yellow Cake
Makes: 2 8- or 9-inch layers or one 9×13 sheet cake
Serves: 8-12

2-1/4cups cake flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose and 1 1/4 cups pastry flour, I can never find “cake flour.” Not convinced by the texture in this mix, but the cake is yummy.)
2.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups whole milk, at room temperature

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat your cake pan(s) with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit.

Whisk (or in my case, sift) the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

sifting flour lobster cake

Beat the butter and sugar together in your stand mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, on medium speed for 3-6 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

lobster cake butter creaming

Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. **NOTE: To get the eggs room temperature quickly, the book suggests putting them in a bowl with hot tap water for 10 minutes. This worked perfectly for me.

eggs in lobster cake

Reduce the speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then beat in half the milk. Then beat in half the remaining flour, the last of the milk, then the last of the flour mixture.

batter for lobster cake

Give the batter another stir with a spatula, then divide it up into the prepared pans.

lobster cake batter in pans

Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, 20-25 minutes for 2 rounds and 25-30 minutes for sheet cake. **NOTE: It actually took my cakes 35 minutes to bake completely, not sure if this was due to the flour mixture I used.

lobster cake baked

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then flip the cakes out of the pans and leave them to cool upright on the wire rack for 1-2 hours before frosting.

Now it’s time for frosting!!

Dark Chocolate Frosting

One thing I learned in this cake class is that to properly frost a cake I need to use basically TWICE as much frosting as I think I do. So I DOUBLED the original recipe from the book and put those amounts below. I had 2 or so cups of frosting leftover which I will save for next week’s class (maybe cupcakes next time).

Also, I had trouble getting this to turn into frosting with the amount of confectioners’ sugar in the recipe. The original calls for 2 cups, but even doubled to 4 my frosting was still liquid. I ended up adding nearly 6 cups of sugar to get a nice frosting. This cake is not for the faint of heart.

1 lb semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 pinches of salt
5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (I use a small saucepan of simmering water and put a metal mixing bowl on top of it and melt the chocolate in that). I added a stick of the butter, cut up, to the chocolate because it makes it nice and melty. Add the vanilla and salt to the chocolate mixture until the salt dissolves.

melted chocolate for lobster cake

Beat the remaining butter on medium-high speed until smooth, 30-60 seconds.

creamed butter for lobster cake frosting

Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the confectioners’s sugar. Add the cocoa powder. Beat until smooth, 2-5 minutes.

Slowly pour in the melted chocolate mixture.

add chocolate to lobster cake frosting

Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4-8 minutes.