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Monday, May 30, 2011

Simple Elegant Cake

Do you have one of those figural cake pans and wonder what to do with it?  Or have you avoided buying one because you didn't know when you would use it?  I have a set of silicone pans, and so I came up with this idea.  It has gone over well every time I have served it.  On Mother's Day, there weren't even any crumbs left.

Besides a pan, you will need:

A white cake mix and the ingredients to make the cake, confectioner's sugar, food coloring, and the flavoring of your choice.

A note about cake mix:  I do not think that any cake mix is better than another.  I used the Pillsbury brand this time because it was the cheapest. 

Preheat your oven and prepare the cake mix as the box directs.  I like to use the "egg-whites only" version.

I have included a brief video demonstration for separating eggs, just in case you have never done that before.  
If you have, please scroll past it!

Once you have separated the yolks and the whites, you can discard the yolks.

Mix the batter according to the directions on the box.  I usually try a higher speed on the mixer for about 20 seconds at the end to make the batter more frothy.

Make sure to spray your pan very well.  I use olive oil, but any cooking spray should work.  It is important to coat the entire pan, though.  My oil usually puddles in the petals of the flower, but I really don't want my cake to stick in the pan.

Pour the cake batter in your pan.  I fill mine about 3/4 of the way to the top.

My pan is not big enough to hold the entire batter, so I put the rest in a loaf pan and bake it alongside my flower cake.  This makes a nice snack while you wait for your guests.

A note about baking times:  The suggested baking times do not usually mention a silicone pan, or the odd ratio of sizes that I use.  I usually pick the least amount of time and check with a toothpick to see if they are done.

They're finished!

You will find that the cake rises over the top of the pan as it cooks.  You can fix this in one of two ways.  You could use a bread knife and slice off the excess.  This would work well if you have limited time and must serve your cake warm (which does taste good).  I choose to take more time and flatten mine.

While the cake is still hot, cover it with a clean dishtowel.  (A non-terry cloth one would be best.)  Then, put a plate with a flat bottom on top of the towel, and finally, something heavy, like a large glass mixing bowl.  Let the cake cool with the weight on top.

After the cake is cool and the top is flat, you could go ahead and put it on a plate.  However, I find that the cake comes out of the pan more easily if it has been refrigerated.  Cover your cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a few hours.

Then, turn it over onto your serving dish.

Carefully remove the pan.  I must confess that this is the first time mine has ever come out with nothing stuck to the pan.  That is why I think the extra oil and refrigeration are important.  Each time I tried it that way, my cake looked nicer than my previous attempts.  If some of your petals do stick to the pan, gently pull them off and place them where they should have gone on the cake.  No one will notice, and your cake will still taste fantastic.

Now, for the best part.  The glaze will change a simple cake mix into a special dessert.  

You will need 1 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar, and 1/3 cup of water to start.

Mix the water and sugar together until all of the sugar is dissolved.  The glaze should have a very watery consistency.  If you would like, you could add flavoring at this point.  I use almond extract, but you could try orange, strawberry, peppermint or anything else that you like.  With the almond flavoring, you need 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of flavoring, depending on how strong a taste you prefer.

Once you have stirred in your flavoring, separate three tablespoons of the glaze into a small bowl, and mix in 1 drop of yellow food coloring.

Add three drops of red to the remaining glaze and stir.

Now, spoon the yellow glaze over the center of the flower.  You will want your glaze to puddle in the indentations of the top of the cake.

Next, spoon the pink glaze over the rest of the flower.  Be careful not to get it in the yellow glaze.

If you let your cake sit for 30 minutes to an hour, the glaze will soak into the cake a little bit, and the sugar will crystalize a little bit on the top.  I prefer my cakes to look that way, but you could glaze them at the last minute if you want them to look like the picture above.

This is a view after sitting for about 40 minutes.

Of course, the best part of a cake is eating it.  ENJOY!

Editor's note:  This cake is just a suggestion.  You could experiment with any shape pan, any flavoring, and other colors.  Happy Eating!


  1. Love this idea. Now I have to dig in my pans to see if I have anything like this. LOL

  2. I have had this cake made by Leslie before and it was AWESOME!!!

  3. By the way, Publix has Pillsbury cake mixes on sale for 99 cents for a summer deal! I got one and I don't even have a reason :)