Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Train Cake

When it was time to make the cake for Sam's 4th birthday this year, I pulled out the train cake pan I conveniently received for Mother's Day. I had only attempted a cake with this much detail on the pan once before and the results had not been very good. Thankfully, I learned a lot from that terrible castle cake and with a tip from Sassy, the train cake came out wonderfully. The greasing and flouring part of the process is critical. I sprayed the pan with Pam to get every nook and cranny, but then wiped out as much as possible with a paper towel. The grease is still there, but not in big droplets which leave pock marks on the exterior of your cake. Then, I used Wondra® flour, which is a special flour usually used for sauces and gravies. It is super fine and also helps the outside of the cake remain nice and smooth. Finally, Sassy warned me not to follow the instructions on the cake pan, which said to "spread the batter so it reaches the top edges of each well". Instead, I filled the cake wells 1/2 to 2/3rds like normal and then, using a small spatula, pulled the batter up to the edges on all sides. That worked perfectly! I wanted a nice color on the cakes without losing the detail behind the frosting. So, I used a simple recipe of powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and food gels to create a thick, runny glaze that coated beautifully. I wanted to go back with white piping and add more detail and little candies, but I ran out of time. Thankfully, Sam had no idea and the cake was a hit with the kids.

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