Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy Sunday! This week we continue our series on Mini Cakes! Last week I mentioned that you can make mini cakes in two ways. One is to purchase a mini cake pan (which you may want to do after you make your first mini cake and get hooked on them!) or you can bake your cake in a sheet pan or other shallow baking dish and cut out the rounds or squares with metal cutters. 

Today I present a cake made with the latter method. I have this set of cutters made by Ateco that cost me about $15. I use them for everything from cutting out fondant to cutting out cookies to cutting out cake rounds. For today's cake I used the largest of these rounds which is almost 5 inches. 

The cake is lemon chiffon cake that was baked about an hour before I was going to serve my "shortcakes". I used my regular recipe and then sprayed my baking pan (I have the Pampered Chef Stonewar Bar Pan pictured above) and poured my batter into it, spreading it as evenly as possible. If I were using a baking sheet I would line it with parchment paper after spraying it for easy removal. You can just use a rectangular cake pan and just not fill it up as much as you normally would. You don't want your layers to be too thick. Remember that, since it is a thinner cake layer, you won't have to bake it very long so keep a watch on it!

Once the cake is baked just use your cutter to cut out rounds from your rectangular pan. You can save the left over cake for a trifle for later in the week so no need to waste the extra cake! Lift your rounds out with a spatula and set on a wire rack to cool for a few moments. While they are cooling you will have time to prepare the whipped cream and the strawberries!

If you have never made whipped cream from scratch you are in for a yummy surprise. Yes, canned whipped cream can be used...even Cool Whip can be used...make it as "semi-homemade" as you want it to be...but whipped cream from scratch is a real treat. 

Take 2 cups of whipping cream and place it in the mixer on medium speed. Add in 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring and let it whip until it starts to firm up. Now add in 3 tablespoons of white sugar. Once that is incorporated add 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. The powdered sugar will help sweeten your whipped cream but, more importantly, will help stabilize the whipped cream so it holds it's shape and doesn't melt on you after piping it. Now a tip on whipped cream. Sweeten it to YOUR taste. If this recipe doesn't have enough sugar for you then add more of the white sugar. If it is too sweet then add more cream. But once you see how easy it is to make you may never use the canned or tub version of it again.

Now the strawberries. This is the easiest part of this whole process. Wash and then slice up a whole carton of strawberries. Leave out a few to just cut in half for the toppers. Place those cut up slices into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of white sugar. Mix and then leave that to set up for 15 minutes. The sugar mixes with the juice of the strawberries to make a wonderful sauce!

While your strawberries are setting up take your whipped cream and place it in a piping bag fitted with a large tip. The tip I'm talking about is one of the big ones you just drop into the bag, you don't use a coupler with these tips. I used the large open star tip (Wilton tip 2110) for my cakes.

Now it's time to put it all together. Just set the cake on your pretty plate, layer with a few spoons of strawberries with the juice and then top with the whipped cream and half of a whole strawberry! SO easy, SO pretty and SOOOOO good!

Last tip. You can cut out your cake with smaller cutters and make LAYERS of strawberries and whipped cream! How pretty of a dessert would that be for your guests? Or, layer up the strawberries and whipped cream and then "frost" all of it with more whipped cream and top with a whole strawberry fan. 

There is SO much you can do with a mini cake and over the next two weeks we'll show you a bit more that you can do with these small treats! In the meantime you can get daily tips and tricks over at our Facebook Fan Site

See you there!


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