I’ll start off by saying this, this cake is not for the faint of heart. I’ll also say this, I apologize in advance because I did not document my process the way that I normally do.
I KNOWWWWW! I’M SORRRRRRY!! What was it that Jesus said…”Ye who is without sin may cast the first stone…” I’m kiddddddding.
Anyway, recently, a dear friend of mine hosted her son’s 1st birthday party, and because he was born in the Fall, she decided to make it a Lumberjack themed party [adorable].
So, about a month ago, she came to me with a picture of a cake she was hoping to do as his “smash cake.” It looked like a giant stack of pancakes [again, adorable.]
Prior to this cake, I was a fondant virgin y’all, and the long and the short of it is that I was just plain scared. So, I did what any scared woman does, I turned to Pinterest. I was even more scared…
I did end up finding a link to a very good idea for the decorating process, and if you follow the directions, this cake (and it’s process) were pretty straight forward. This is going to be a pretty no-nonsense post as it has a lot of moving parts, and I have a lot of ground to cover. Ok, here we go!
- 1 box of Pillsbury white cake mix
- 6 Tbsp of all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix (I did sugar free as that was the request of the mother)
The Buttercream Frosting:
- 4 cups powder sugar
- 2 full sticks of softened butter
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
The “Syrup” (Double Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce):
- 1 can refrigerated coconut milk (only the cream) 13.5oz
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 box of white fondant (you can also make your own. Try this recipe HERE)
- 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- 1 thin paint brush
- bananas, strawberries, blueberries
Begin by preheating your oven to 325*F and spraying two 8-9″ round cake pans with cooking spray. Next, throughly mix all ingredients together in your stand alone mixer or by using a hand mixer. Evenly distribute the batter into both cake pans, and place into the oven 30-35 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Place both cake pans aside to cool completely and begin working on your Buttercream frosting.
The Buttercream Frosting:
This is the frosting that will be going between the two layers of cake, as well as being used for the “crumb coating” around the outside and on top.
In your mixer, add your 4 cups of powder sugar. Next, add your 2 sticks of softened butter, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of milk to the powder sugar. Keep your milk on hand in order to thing out the frosting if need be. Start mixing the ingredients together on the low setting TIP: I tied a kitchen towel around my stand mixture because the powder sugar tends to go everywhere even on the lowest setting. Keep your mixer on low until the butter and sugar are completely blended, and then kick your mixer up to high. If your frosting is too dry, continue to add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it is silky.
Set your frosting aside.
Open your can of coconut milk and skin the hardened coconut cream from the top of the refrigerated can. Combine the coconut cream, coconut sugar, and sea salt together in a small-medium sized sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and lower the temperature until the caramel is at a rolling simmer (meaning it is bubbling across the entire surface.) Simmer, stirring every couple of minutes until it begins to thicken and darken slightly. about 8 minutes. One the sauce takes on the caramel flavor, remove it from the heat. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes before whisking in the vanilla.
TIP: Because you will being using this Double Coconut Sea Salt Caramel as a “syrup” in the decorating process, my suggestion would be to transfer it to a squeeze bottle once it has cooled. WELL, I happened to be doing the decorating for this cake at midnight last night and I did not have a squeeze bottle on hand….however….I did have an old baby bottle of my son’s….and the parts to my breast pump. I literally cannot believe I did this, but I guess at midnight you’ll do anything. I cut the nipple of the bottle to be a bit larger and used a part of my breast pump as a homemade funnel….shameful… (and YES, those parts are clean! sickos..) 😉
At this point, you have all the moving parts in place. Now all you need to do is assemble them.
Begin with the cooled cake rounds. It is important that your cakes be even along the top and bottom. Take a large (sharp) knife to the rounded part of each cake and cut away the excess mound until each of the layers is fully leveled. Next, with a decorating knife, spread a thick amount of buttercream on top of one of the laters and even it out. Place the second layer of cake on top of the first layer. You will now be doing what is called a “crumb coat”. Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting, smoothing the sides and the top with your knife, this messy layer of frosting is called a crumb coat as it is locking in the cake’s crumbs and allowing for a later layer of frosting to be applied smoothly. Once the crumb coat is complete, place your cake in the refrigerator in order to harden the layer of crumb coat.
While the cake is in the fridge, begin to work with your fondant. If you bought your fondant, it will come with directions, or if you make your own, follow the directions I attached above in the recipe section. This is what I used…
After your fondant has been worked, it is ready to be applied. Remove your cake from the fridge. Begin cutting your fondant (I used a pizza cutter) into long strips. Much like you did as a child when playing with playdoh, roll those strips into long ropes, and begin to wrap each individual rope around the entire cake, stacking one rope on top of the other creating the “stack of pancakes.” You will do this until the side of the cake is completely covered.
With your remaining fondant, roll it into a ball, and then roll it flat to the size of the top of the cake. Place your rolled out fondant on top of the cake and manipulate it until it “fits,” this is the top of your stack of “pancakes.”
For the pancake coloring, I mixed some vanilla extract with a tiny bit of water. I used a small thin paintbrush and began to paint the top and in between each layer of the ropes of fondant. I realize that it sounds tedious, but the best part about this is that it doesn’t have to be perfect! NOTE: It will take a couple of layers of painting on top to get the color right.
To put the finishing touches on the cake, I took my “squeeze”
baby bottle of caramel sauce and squeeze a large circle in the center of the top of my cake. I then squeezed a line of caramel in 4 different directions allowing it to run down the sides of my cake to create the poured syrup effect.
With left over buttercream, I piped a mound of “whip cream” on the top and placed fresh strawberries, blueberries, and cut bananas.
AND THAT IS IT!! YOU ARE DONE!!! Wipe the sweat from your brow, pour yourself a glass of wine, and celebrate, because you’re a boss! A cake boss!