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When Life Hands You Lemon Cake…

Finished Easter Cake

When Life Hands You Lemon Cake…

Hope it turns out better than this.

Lemon “garbage” cake

It wasn’t a total loss. It will be reborn as cake pops someday.

The day got off to a rough start, but it ended pretty great.

The big day was finally here! Baking with my niece for Easter day!

We had grand plans and big dreams.

Her first fondant cake. She has baked with me several times before, so it’s just the fondant that was new.

We’ve got this.

All the ingredients at room temperature?

Check.

All the correct measurements?

Check.

Butter and sugar creamed together?

Whoops. We mixed the sugar in with the dry ingredients.

Instead of the creaming method, we converted this recipe to the high ratio mixing method.

Ninety percent of my cakes are made this way, so it will be fine.

Adding the eggs, lemon, vanilla, and some of the water in the final mixing stage.

The batter looked perfectly normal, so we put it in our pans, and into the oven it went.

Thirty minutes later, we checked the oven, and… huh?

Why did they fall in the middle??????

The cake centers were about ½ inch high, while the edges were about 1 ¾ inches high…

Um…yeah…

Okay, let’s try this again.

This time I read the directions thoroughly and used the creaming method to mix the batter.

It looked slightly thicker than the last batch and completely combined (as before, but slightly thicker this time), so into the oven it went.

Twenty minutes later the cakes looked great. Ten more minutes and they had fallen again. (I did not open the oven. We just left the light on and checked on them through the window. I guess they were very shy?)

After intense discussion, we decided to see if they could still be used.

If not, we were going to go to the store, buy a cake, scrape off the decorations, and cover it in fondant.

No one would ever have to know.

While the cakes were in the oven for round two, we returned to some of our other ongoing projects.

We finished making the magnets we had started the night before and worked on her baking journal.

We have been chronicling our baking adventures since 2016. Unfortunately, we are always behind, so this trip we were working on her 9th birthday in 2017. Hopefully we’ll catch up before she graduates high school.

Ghost Cake
Her cake from 2017, a ghost with spiderweb hair.

Once out of the oven, we let them sit in the pans for 10 minutes. Then we flipped them over and crossed our fingers…

Yes! Both cakes came out of the pans!
Thumbs up with cakes
We took a lot of celebratory pictures…

Luckily, the cakes were still usable, as they had not fallen nearly as much as the first ones.

The crumb was a bit coarser than I would have preferred, but this cake was more about the presentation than the inside.

And we had 3 hours before we had to leave.

Though under less than ideal conditions, we struggled on.

We leveled the cakes, filled with incident-free Swiss Meringue Buttercream (you can find the recipe here), and added fresh blueberries.

Then my niece crumb-coated the cake, and into the fridge it went.

She had picked out a cake design that had blue speckled eggs on it, and of course, we had to make those as well. So, while the cake was chilling, we melted our candy coating and molded our eggs.

She insisted on melting the coating shots.

Back to our cake, I trimmed the edges, and we tasted the trimmings. Turns out, the vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream was too sweet for the cake.

Luckily, I had some plain ole white decorator icing just sitting around. We tasted it with our trimmings, and it was much better.

Got the super thick coat of icing on!
Smoothing it out.

My niece gave the cake its final coat of icing, and then it was back to the fridge to chill before we put on the fondant.

Out came the molded eggs that were in the fridge while the cake was on the counter.

Speckling them was our next priority.

Flinging edible paint onto the eggs.

Once satisfied with the results, we moved on to coloring fondant.

Fondant colored; it was time to cover the cake!

Coloring the fondant

If you know anything about me from previous posts (here), I am a big fan of Bluprint.

Yep. I got my niece hooked as well.

She has been watching cake classes, photography classes, and I know once she gets back to England, she plans to watch some Embroidery classes.

In preparation for making this cake, she watched a basic fondant class.

As she rolled out the fondant, she explained to me how the teacher said to do each step.

Rolling the fondant
Poking the bubbles with a pin

Other than reaching over to help turn the cake, and showing her how hold the smoother to press the sides, she did the whole thing herself.

From smoothing the top…
To the finished product.

I am so proud of her! (happy heart face emoji)

Of course, the cake had to be speckled too, and even with the gigantic box it was contained in, she still managed to make a mess.

Starting to speckle the cake
I think she likes it.

The “nests” were rolled and baked from sliced phyllo dough, the eggs were arranged on top, and the best Easter cake ever was complete.

Finished Easter Cake
The finished cake!

I admit to being more than a little biased. 😉

At ten, I feel she did a really good job for her first fondant cake.

I am not sure if anyone actually ended up trying the cake or not. It was still intact when I left.

In the end, it wasn’t about how the cake turned out, it was about quality time with one of the sweetest kids I’ll ever know, and some memories to laugh at in the future.

She really needs to hurry up and move back from England.

–Angie


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