cake in a can
My grandmother recently celebrated her 88th birthday. Since she lives in Kansas, I couldn't spend the day with her. However, I still wanted her to know I was thinking of her, so I made her one of my cakes in a can. I really wanted to do something special for her because she is not doing well. We have almost lost her several times in the last few months and the likelihood of her making it to her 89th year are slim.
I have always hoped I would be able to make my grandmother a "real" cake, but the distance between us makes that impossible. She has taught me a lot about cakes over the years and entertaining in general. During summer visits to my grandparents house, I would stay up late to look at all her cake magazines. I vividly remember thinking the people that made those cake creations were AMAZING! Isn't it funny how small things in our past shape who we are today?
So anyway, here's the cake I made her. She has always been a huge card player and is obviously the matriarch of our family, so a "Queen of Hearts" theme seemed appropriate.
During the process, I took a few tutorial shots so you guys can make one too. I buy the little tins from Michael's and fill with batter to about this level. You can't fill it too full or you won't have any room for the decorations.
When it's done baking, it looks like this.
Now for the fun part! I make a fondant "disk" the exact same size at the pan. I actually use the pan lid as a cookie cutter to make sure it fits. Sometimes I have to trim it down a bit - but just a LITTLE! The snugger it fits the better. Then I decorate away.
I did something new this time. Because I knew I wouldn't be patient enough to pipe on pictures of queen cards and I worried the fragile piping wouldn't make the trip (have you seen how those postman throw packages around!?!), I had sugar paper prints made a my local grocery store. You know, like the ones they do of pictures of people on cakes? I just took in a copy of what I wanted and they printed it on sugar paper for me. You then glue it onto the fondant with a little water and Viola! As you can see, I used the same technique for my daughter's recent birthday cake. Just so you guys can see what it looks like, I took a picture of the print I brought in and the sugar paper is what's behind it. Pretty cool huh!?
After you have your cake baked and your fondant disk ready, frost the cake with buttercream like this. Make sure to do it right when you're ready to stick on your disk of decorations. Otherwise, the buttercream will crust and the fondant won't stick properly.
I always send these cakes Priority Mail so it gets there as soon as possible. I guess you could do overnight, but that's too expensive for me. I use the Medium Flat Rate Box and that size is perfect for the small tin. I fill the bottom of the box with newspaper, put the tin in and then fill more newspaper all around it. The tighter the better to insure the tin doesn't move all over the place. It is also imperative that the cake and fondant disk fill the WHOLE tin so it's not floppin' around within the tin. I did learn something new with this delivery. I should have put a piece of wax paper on the top. The "OF" word apparently stuck a little to the top since it was so much closer to the top than the rest of the decorations. I usually have the decorations all about the same height in the can - just barely below the lid when it's all closed. But this cake was a little different since I had the disk, then the cards and then the word OF. Basically, I think cutting a circle of wax paper to lay on top would be a good idea on all I do in the future. This will help it not to stick. Fortunately, my aunt was able to just use a knife and get it to come off without too much trouble, but the wax paper would have been so much better.
I wrapped it with pretty bow and mailed away!
Happy Birthday, Grandma Riedel!
You can see the other cakes in a can I've done here.