Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mini Two-layer Cake

Okay, as promised, something useful (maybe). You know when you want to give someone a cake, but a two-layer cake seems daunting and a cupcake seems trendy and like the other 11 parts are missing? This is the solution, mini two-layer cakes.

I arrived at this brilliance through a long drawn out process and without taking you through the intricacies of my though process, the problem was what I mentioned in the previous paragraph and the solution came as this.

A can of chicken is metal, so it will survive the temperatures of the oven. Also, unlike cupcake tins, even over-sized tins, the sides are straight, not slanted, so one can achieve the look of a mini cake rather than just a large cupcake.

The beautiful part is this non-stick pan comes free with the purchase of canned chicken. Just make sure you remove the lid fully and run the can opener around the rim several times to flatten down any sharp edges.

One cake mix will make 4 mini cakes with a nice rounded muffin top. Grease and flour the pan just as you would for any cake you want to serve outside the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool and sit out so that when you cut into it it doesn't fall apart. Cake mixes are crumbly, so a cake from scratch would probably be better, but this is what I did today. When it has cooled, slice it into two parts. If you want it nice and flat, cut off the muffin top. If you like mounded cakes, leave it.

Put a layer of frosting on top of the bottom half of the cake and position the top half over it to create your two layers. If you don't like the ridges showing, put them on the bottom or frost it. They won't show through the frosting.

Or, if you don't want to do it today, it is the perfect size to fit inside an inverted 16 oz. cottage cheese carton for airtight storage (if you're into that reduce, reuse, recycle thing).

Then dip it in candy melts or frost it just as you would any other cake. Now you have the perfect mini two-layer cake for giving someone you love, or depending on your baking skills, someone you are not so fond of. (Okay, so I will probably never be a renowned cake artist and the flower looks somewhat venemous).

However, imagine if you were to host a birthday party and each guest were able to decorate his or her own individual birthday cake. If you can handle the chaos and mess, it would be one less activity for you to think of and one less cake you would have to buy or decorate yourself.

Or, the seem the perfect size and shape to replace the huge muffins one can purchase in bulk, you know the ones where there are chocolate, poppy seed, and blueberry and the chocolate always goes first, then the poppy seed and you're left to force down the blueberry because you didn't want to have wasted your money. This way you can make the number you want and the flavor you want. I imagine you could also purchase big muffin papers or use parchment paper to line the containers for easy removal and clean up.

It also is a great way to use up excess frosting. If you are one of those people who can precisely determine the exact amount of frosting necessary to cover a cake, you don't have excess. I don't have that gift, so I can put together different colors on separate cakes. The similar colors unite the cakes even though there wouldn't really be enough of one color for a full cake. Sometimes when you make cub scout cakes, you end up with random colors left over.

Here are a couple other examples. I'll admit the cake itself isn't anything amazing and the flying pig looks as though it may have perched on one to many power lines. Even so, I think you'll have to agree the sugar-cookie pigeon is pretty life-like. It took quite a bit of mixing to get the perfect cookie crumb/frosting combination to make authentic looking pigeon excrement and those red-orange candy melt eyes are pretty realistic.
I also have a fondness for the Texas sheep-cake. (Side note: if you use chocolate frosting and then tint it with black food coloring, it goes black with less coloring than white frosting because it's already dark. Probably someone else realized that, but if not, there's the pointer).

The original version of this cake was not my idea obviously, but as far as I know, the mini-version was. The hamburger bun is a white cake mix baked in the can pan and the burger is a baked brownie cut out using the can as a cookie cutter. I used frosting rather than fondant for the fixings and the fries ended up being more steak fries than shoestring. Even so, I went to a fast food place to pick up the fry baskets (probably paid more than I should have) and the sauce cups. In this region of the world many fry consumers care for a concoction called fry sauce. the real fry sauce is ketchup (or BBQ sauce) mixed with mayonnaise. For the sugar cookie fries featured here, the fry sauce is pureed strawberries mixed with Greek yogurt.


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  2. Cute! I'll give it a try when I accumulate more chicken cans.