Monday, June 29, 2009

Gluten Free Lazy Town Topsy-Turvy Cake

My son’s 3rd birthday party was on Saturday and I always over-do myself on birthdays, especially the cakes. I think it’s because when I remember back to my birthdays my favorite memories were the cakes my mom would make. Knowing she’d let me pick out the one I wanted and would then make it for me was such a nice treat. My son loves Lazy Town, if you don’t have young children and don’t watch Noggin you probably have no idea what I’m talking about so Goggle it, and we decided to go with that for the theme. The Lazy Town themed cake had me stumped for awhile and then I thought of the Swiped Sweets episode. The kids make a cake for Bessie’s birthday and it gets swiped by Robbie Rotten, how perfect if I could make a cake like Bessie’s for my son. It’s not exact of course but its close enough and to add to the fun it’s a topsy-turvy cake. It was actually easier than I expected so you should give it a try some day.

I followed the instructions at Cakes by Rosa for making my two tiered cake adjusting a few things here and there. I first made three 8 inch, two 6 inch, and one 4 inch cake. I made these a few nights before the party and put them in the freezer until I was ready to “build” the cake. I think working with them while they were slightly frozen was helpful and didn’t make it feel flimsy. I used the Chocolate Cake recipe from Jill at Hey, that tastes good! and it turned out fantastic, so delicious and not crumbly at all.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

2 C gluten free flour mix (I used Gluten Free Mama’s Coconut Mix)
1 t xanthan gum
2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ t baking soda
½ t salt
12 T softened butter
2 C brown sugar
4 eggs
4 T vanilla
1 C milk

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour two 8” round pans or one 9”x13” pan, that’s if you aren’t going for a topsy-turvy cake. Sift together the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Cream the butter and brown sugar until a little fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mix and milk alternately starting and ending with the flour. Pour into your pan(s) and bake 40-45 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow it to cool before putting it in the freezer or frosting it.

For my three 8” cakes I made 1.5 of this batter and for the two 6” and one 4” I also made 1.5 of this batter, it worked fine for me.

To build the cake take the three small cakes and stack them with the two 6” cakes on the bottom. Take a serrated knife and trim/carve the sides down to give them a tapered look. I placed the stack on wax paper and used that to turn my cake easily while I was carving. Once things are tapered turn the whole stack upside down (or upside backwards as my son likes to say). Take the now top cake, which should be the largest cake in this stack, and carefully slice it diagonally. You will slice from the top of one side diagonally down to the bottom of the other side. Take the sliced top and turn its thicker portion so it is on top of the thicker portion of the bottom piece. Make sense? I sure hope so! Take some delicious butter cream frosting and put it between each layer to help hold them together. Do any additional carving needed to clean it up. For the bottom stack you will repeat what you did with the top stack but use the three 8” cakes.

If you’re going to use fondant you want to look at the directions that Rosa has on her page, I chose not to use fondant so I differed here. You will need to cut out a shelf in the bottom layer for the top layer to sit on. I took the 4” cake pan and put it on top of the bottom layer and used my knife to cut around the pan. I then cut out a wedge of cake so my top layer could sit flat. I put butter cream frosting on the bottom and up the side of the shelf then placed my top layer on the shelf.

Butter Cream Frosting (from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book)

1/3 C softened butter
4 C powdered sugar
¼ C milk
1 ½ t vanilla

Beat the butter until its fluffy then gradually add 2 cups of the sugar beating well. Slowly beat in the milk and vanilla then add the remaining sugar and beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until its fluffy. If needed you can add more milk to reach a better spreading consistency. This amount will frost the tops and sides of two 8”-9” layers.

Before frosting my cake I took my basting brush and swept the extra bits of loose cake off the cake surface. This helped with frosting so those crumbs don’t get caught up and show through (I hate that). I made the frosting a light blue and covered the entire cake then I made another batch of frosting leaving that white for the edging. I was so happy to finally use my new Pampered Chef Decorator. Dum Dums were used for the lollipop decorations. A few notes because this was not perfect. As I was frosting the cake my top piece decided to start falling. I luckily caught it (and a handful of frosting) and had to put two kabob skewers through the cake from the top down making an X. This held it together really well and no one had any idea, until I told them. My second note of advice is about the Dum Dums. I didn’t realize that as they sit out of their wrapper they will absorb the moisture in the air and start to drip so I had a few drips on my cake. Just be sure to put those on right before you’re ready to show the cake so you don’t have any issues.

The cake was really delicious and everyone seemed to like it a lot, I was very happy with the results.