Recently I shared about my decision to make and decorate cakes for my children's birthdays despite the fact that I have absolutely no training in cake decorating. I deemed these creations Kitchen Cakes. Here is the saga of one of my Kitchen Cakes, the Cars birthday race track. . .
I was 3 hours into the Cars cake baking process when I fully realized why parents purchase sorta cute but tasteless cakes for large sums of money at grocery stores. Dirty mixing bowls, spatulas, and icing tips were flung all around my counter, the kitchen floor was sticky, and my attempt at sprinkling cookie crumbs for a race track was failing.
It was at this point that sane Heidi said, "Just go to the Kroger and buy a dangblam car cake." But slightly crazy Heidi countered, "You can do this! DECORATE!" I covered the flawed bits of cookie track with a brilliant shade of blue buttercream, added the McQueen and Mator toppers, and piped "Happy Birthday!" with . . . (gasp!) a pre-packaged tube of red icing that was left over from Christmas. Two hours later the kitchen was spotless,the birthday boy was thrilled, the party guests were amazed, and Kitchen Cakes prevailed.
Cars Birthday Cake Steps
(inspired by lots of Cars cake posted on Flickr)
- Prepare chocolate cake. Use your favorite scratch recipe or a Devil's Food box mix. Bake in two 9 inch cake pans. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely.
- Cover a large piece of sturdy cardboard with foil.
- Cut off about 2 inches from one edge of each circle. Place cakes with cut sides touching on foil covered cardboard.
- Prepare a double batch of Buttercream Frosting. Frost entire cake with white. Divide remaining frosting. Tint half blue and half green. If desired, print about 1/2 cup red for piping the birthday message.
- Pipe a thick blue line around the bottom and top edges of the cake. Lightly trace a circle in the center of each cake with a skewer or toothpick to create the track. Pipe over line with blue frosting.
- Using a star tip, pipe green icing in the center of each circle.
- Finely crush about 2 dozen oreos. Gently sprinkle the crushed oreos into the center of each track. With a skewer or popsicle stick, spread the cookie crumbs to cover the track.
- Pipe the Happy Birthday message onto the foil covered cardboard.
- Top cake with Cars cake toppers or clean matchbox cars.
(from The Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn)
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar (also called powdered or 10x sugar)
3 to 4 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.
- Blend in 1 or more tablespoon more milk if frosting seems too stiff. You want a spreadable/pipable consistency.
- Divide and color icing as needed for specific cake.
- Use to decorate the cake of your choice. This is enough to cover one 9 x 13 cake or a 2 layer cake. Double the recipe if you want extra icing to embellish and decorate the cake.