L showed us how to make two normal, 8″ round box-cakes into something really special by making filled layers– a technique called “torting,”– and finishing the outside with buttercream frosting and all sorts of delicious accoutrements like chocolate chips and ground hazelnuts. It’s the kind of thing that takes a little practice, but the technique itself is only a mystery till you see someone who knows what they’re doing in action. And once you now how to do it, it’s not more complicated than making the cake itself– plus, it looks really fancy.
But never let it be said that I can’t make anything more difficult than it needs to be. Because I’m over-ambitious when it comes to baked goods, I did not opt to decorate my cake simply with some piped buttercream or crushed nuts. Nope! Instead, I had the insane idea to re-create an adorable cupcake design I saw in a Martha Stewart magazine from a couple years ago:
You’d think it would have occurred to me that I was dealing with a cake approximately TEN times bigger than a cupcake, and that maybe I should hold off on METICULOUSLY STICKING SLICED ALMONDS all over the thing in order to make little hedgehog spikes. But no. I forged ahead, and stuck a bajillion almonds in–one at a time– for oh..an hour? It was worth it, though:
And this is what it looked like when we cut into it to serve:
The only thing that could have made this more hilarious is if I had used a red velvet cake so that it looked a bit more like cutting into an actual hedgehog.*** Oh man. I’m totally doing that the next time!
*Yeah. My friends are all cooler than me. Are you even surprised?
**Disclaimer: No bakery secrets were harmed during this tutorial; all cakes were box cakes and techniques imparted were basic…even though my execution suggested some were more kin to coordinating a space-shuttle launch…
***Does anyone else remember that scene from Steel Magnolias? With the red-velvet, armadillo Groom’s Cake?