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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jack Skellington and Cow Cakes!

This past week or so, there have been a LOT of birthdays, including mine! I had a joint birthday party with my good friend, Jessica, and I made us a cake (of course). We are huge fans of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, so I decided to make a simple little cake that pays homage to the film.

The cake was strawberry cake with cream cheese filling on the bottom tier and vanilla buttercream filling on the top tier. It tasted great, and Jessica liked it, so my mission was accomplished. :) And based on the amount of cell phone cameras that snapped my cake as well as the amount of empty plates, I think the partygoers liked my cake inside and out!

The next cake was for one of my oldest friends, Ainsley. We go way back to 7th grade! And her love for cows hadn't changed, so I decided to make her a cute cow cake. She is also a fan of almond pound cake, so I found a recipe from Paula Deen for Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake. Yum!

In order to make two 6" layers and two 8' layers, I multiplied the recipe by 1.5
  • 3/4 pound butter (3 sticks)
  • 4 cups sugar (** I changed this from 4.5 because I didn't want the cake overwhelmingly sweet)
  • 1 1/2 c sour cream
  • 4 1/2 c AP flour, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 9 eggs (I made sure they were room temp)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract (I changed this from the orange in the original recipe)
  • 1 tsp almond emulsion (I liked the almond flavor from the emulsion rather than extract)
Preheat the oven to 325, and butter (or shortening) the pans then flour them.
In the mixer, cream together the sugar and butter then add sour cream.
Sift the flour and baking soda together in a separate bowl then add alternately, 1 at a time, with the eggs (yes all 9 of them!)
Add extracts then stir to combine them. Pour the batter evenly into the pans then bake! For me, the 6" cakes took about 50 minutes, and the 8" cakes took 1 hour. But ovens vary, so check your cakes!
Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks.

As for the buttercream, I used my usual vanilla buttercream recipe and added almond emulsion to it (I added enough to taste). I wanted to accentuate the almond-y-ness, since it seems the flavor got a bit lost in the baking of the cakes. But then again, I love almond cake, so add almond flavor to where you can stand it.

I filled and covered the cakes in the white buttercream, then cut out thin asymmetrical shapes out of black fondant to represent cow spots.
I then made a little cow to go on top. *Note: I have no clue what the specifics of a dairy cow are, so I ended up making a male-female  hybrid. It had horns and an udder!
Still cute though, right?
I added some blue borders and writing (Ainsley's favorite color is blue--that had not changed, either)
Then lastly, I added white chocolate numbers that I spotted with black buttercream. There was no doubt this was a definite cow cake!

Unfortunately, the numbers didn't make the ride over to her house because of the horrible heat, but the cake was still loved. :) And it tasted awesome! Yay for scratch baking!

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