- Becka's blog - http://beckasblog.ivman.com -

Some cake tips and a birthday boy

Our grandson Ryan turned three last week. His parents had a party for him at a nearby park on Saturday. Ryan's favorite aspect of the party was playing on the playground equipment. He played so hard that that afternoon he actually put himself to bed for his nap!

Here's a picture of Ryan driving his little sister, Avery on the tractor he got for his birthday:

Since he loves large machines and farm equipment there was a John Deere theme at the party. Aunt Nora provided some John Deere cookies and I made a tractor cake.

It had been a while since I decorated a birthday cake so I had to dust off my decorating supplies. I discovered that Hobby Lobby no longer carries Wilton paste colors but now has gel colors which come in little bottles. The gel colors worked well and the dark colors tasted good--with some of the paste colors I have used in the past the darker colors often had an unpleasant taste.

I usually purchase Duncan Hines cake mixes and have had good success using them over the years. Many years ago the inside of the cake mix box had some tips for cake baking. One tip that is especially helpful if you are making large layer cakes that are going to be stacked or for making cakes in a character pan is to use less oil to make a firmer cake. It will still be tender and flavorful. They suggest using just 1 Tablespoon of oil for each cake mix along with the 1 1/4 cup water and three eggs. Another good idea is to spray your pan liberally with Baker's Joy, which is a combination of oil and flour in a spray can. I have found that this is really helpful if you are using a shaped character pan.

Some of you also enjoy baking. Do you have any cake baking or decorating tips you would like to share?

Becka