Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Thanksgiving Cake

I just want to show off my Thanksgiving cake. I do not celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional way, I mostly just celebrate the life of Michael Hutchence. Well, this was the cake I made to celebrate his life with.

I know I am not the best cake decorator, but I just wanted to add this message to him. It's a simple devil's food cake and I admit I did cheat this time. The cake is from a box mix. Duncan Hines makes the best cake mixes. But I always make my own frosting. In this case, it's a dark chocolate frosting. I saved a bit out of the mixture to create the white frosting I used to write the words. I also decorated it with some vertical stripes along the side of the cake.

Anyone can make a cake as good as homemade using a box mix, with a little tweaking, it can even be as good as it would be from a professional bakery. This is the trick I learned:

1 box cake mix (any flavor or variety)
4 eggs (5 eggs for a really rich cake)
1 cup of milk

More eggs make for more volume in your cake, and note the water called for in the mix's directions is replaced with milk. This makes a softer, more flavorful cake. After you mix those ingredients, take the amount of oil from the directions on the box, and instead of oil, use melted butter, and double the volume. For example...

  • The cake mix calls for 1/3 cup of oil, you would melt 2/3 cup of butter and add that to the mix instead.
  • The cake mix calls for 1/2 cup of oil, you would melt 1 full cup of butter and put that in the mixture instead.

I like to combine the eggs and milk with the mix first, and beat in my mixer on medium-high speed until it's thoroughly combined. Then while the mixer is going, add the melted butter. This is important, because the mix will be cold. Adding the butter with the mixer off can cause the eggs to curdle and the butter to solidify on contact. You don't want that. So, make sure your mixer is turned on high when adding the melted butter. I keep the mixer going for about 10 minutes, which adds the little bubbles needed to make the cake light and fluffy. This will give the cake that "as good as a bakery" taste and texture. It always works for me! My cakes always come out as good as those made in big bakeries.

The icing I made is my simple buttercream icing, and I added about 1/4 cup of Hershey's Dark Unsweetened Cocoa.