On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

WASC–two very different birthday cakes


Sometimes I’m a little baffled by all the attention certain recipes receive. This recipe is a White Almond Sour Cream Cake batter. There’s a lot of discussion about WASC on CakeCentral. People are trying to replicate a box mix cake with a “from scratch” recipe. Anyway, I stumbled across this recipe and thought, why not?

You can find the recipe on this blog.

I used my new favourite site that takes the size of the original cake pan and the ingredients and then converts the ingredients to the quantities needed for a different cake tin.

The original recipe is for a two layer 8” cake tin. And what do you know? A 4” round and 6” square takes the same amount of batter. The 6” square tin being 70% of the original recipe. Easy peasy. I made the recipe and then weighed the batter and then divided it 70/30.

cake batter

I also added Strawberry flavour by Lorann. I used the whole tiny bottle. I used frosting icing that I’d had in the freezer. It was vanilla bean which I added strawberry freeze dried powder.

Baked cakes

I had the 6” cake in first and put the 4” in when there was 15 minutes remaining. Thankfully the timer went off just as the 4” was about to spill over and I had just enough time to throw a baking tray underneath to catch the small spillage.


Usually I make two separate layers but this time I decided to use the 3” high tins and put the full mixture in. It worked out fine. I only had one “top” to trim. And I’m pretty happy torting a cake now so I wasn’t bothered about slicing through the middle of each cake and getting a straight cut. The 4” cake rose more, even with a little spillage. Both of them went in at 42mm deep batter.

Ready to decorate

I made the cakes on Thursday evening and put them in the fridge double wrapped in Gladwrap. Friday evening I took the frosting I’d had in the freezer, and then thawed, and added the strawberry powder and more icing sugar to make it stiffer. I didn’t want the frosting softening enough that it bulged the fondant. Been there, done that. I also melted more 70% chocolate to add to the frosting I had left from our wedding anniversary cake to combat the extra icing sugar I was adding.

Saturday I had no idea how I would decorate the cakes. In fact I didn’t even know what I was going to do at all with the 6” square cake. I knew the 4” round cake was being decorated for Louise’s birthday.

I used Bakel’s pink fondant with white fondant for my birthday cake and it was still quite bright. I took a small bit of that toned down fondant and added more white fondant. A much better shade.

During the week I played around with the gumpaste and made some multi layered daisies. I’m not sure if they’re daisies anymore or closer to gerberas. I decided one of those would be on the top, and then on Thursday I made a new batch of gumpaste and to test it out I made some more daisies, just single ones. I figured that these could go around the cake.

Sharp Edger

You might know that I’ve been a little obsessed about sharp edges. While a 4” cake is a doddle to flip and do the upside down method, I still went ahead and tested out the new Edger tool I ordered from Australia. It’s designed by a British couple and so far I’ve not been able to source them in NZ. However ….. there must be a knack to using this because I gouged out the fondant, as you can see. So I flipped the cake upside down and carried on trying to fix the edge but I couldn’t push the fondant down to the gouged out bit to make it all better. Oops.

Butterflies and flowers

I made up some yellow Royal Icing so that I could pipe the centres of some “filler” gumpaste flowers I made late (try 11pm!) Friday night, so I went all out and piped the little daisies I’d cut out. They look much better with centres.

Here’s a view of all sides of the cake since I went pretty random on the groupings of flowers.

All views

I was pretty pleased with the final look of Louise’s birthday cake. The butterfly I had wanted to attach broke on me. It was a patchwork cutter butterfly and a much more delicate looking one than what I ended up with.

Louise loved the cake. Today is Louise’s actual birthday, Happy Birthday!

for Louise

That left me with the 6” square cake which I didn’t have a clue about. On the Saturday morning when I was awake (after just 5 hours sleep) I looked at my calendar application and saw that it was Alastair’s birthday the same day as Louise’s. And I knew it was a significant number. But I was at a loss how to decorate a cake for a bloke. And being ex-Army, but despite wearing a pink salmon shirt with a white vest, I needed to make the decorating fairly generic. Alastair goes to the gym and I had this wild idea that I could use modelling chocolate to make a barbell. That sounded all well and good, but how on earth would I make the bar straight, suspended.

Mr Fussy had dutifully bagged up all the extra strips of modelling chocolate I used with Cameron’s 21st cake so the plan was to use some of that to make the barbell and the numbering.

Before I committed myself to decorating the cake I sent a quick text Saturday evening to Alastair asking if he’d be at work on Monday. He’s one of the Account Managers (and brought me back the liquid egg whites during a trip to clients in Wellington) so not necessarily working from the office.  Yes came back the text (as well as an offer to help me then and there). I had to pretend whatever it was I needed him for on Monday could wait until Monday. So I got cracking. Until I stopped to contemplate how I’d get the bar to hold straight.

Fondant on the square cake

Brain wave. I had florist wire. Surely that would work. At this point I’d kneaded the modelling chocolate until it had gone a little greasy and it was starting to crumble. Although I had managed to figure out how to get it perfectly smooth and even thickness by rolling it under my fondant roller. It took a lot of patience to get the chocolate to hold around the piece of florist wire I’d threaded through the middle. Also trying to find the right sized circles for the weights was causing me a delay. I used my smallest circle cutter from the set, the large and small nozzles from the piping tips but I needed another one. The end of the funnel worked.

And this is what I ended up with.

for Alastair

Ahh yes. The lettering. I’m not very good with the patchwork cutters. In fact I suck. Lindy had shown me how to use the butterfly cutter while I was out there for the Peony Rose lesson on Saturday and then showed me again when I popped out again on the Sunday to discuss the consistency of the gumpastes I had made. I decided to give the alphabet cutters another chance. It was painstaking work. I’d made up some Mexican Paste on Saturday night and was hoping it would be the answer to my problems. It worked better on some letters than others. As and Ss were the hardest. Could Alastair have a few more As in it?

Having satisfied myself that I could string together the letters I was then stuck with how to fix them to the cake. I haven’t seen or read anywhere what others do. And the letters are so flimsy that I didn’t want to handle them any more than necessary. I pretty much threw them on the cake by sliding them off the paper to avoid touching them. I resorted to piping gel. I’d never used it before but had ordered it in for Cameron’s cake, thinking I would use it to attach the black sugar pearls (which I didn’t use in the end). You might be able to see that the gel leaves a shiney trail where I brushed it to the cake and then slid the letters over the top. Keeping the letters evenly spaced and straight was yet another thing I hadn’t thought about until now. I looked around the kitchen and couldn’t figure out what to use. In the end I used the ruler that was pretty much right under my nose.


There are 31 of us on our floor and I figured if Alastair decided to share the cake amongst his work collegues the cake would need to be cut into 36 (6 x 6). And Alastair did decided to share the cake. But he chickened out at cutting it up, despite being a chef in the army.  I had the honour (as I so often do at work). I was pleased to get a slice, albeit small. I got to taste the cake, to check the texture and figure out whether I was right to worry it may not be that fresh now. Thursday to Monday are a few days!

2013-08-12 10.05.20

The cake still felt fresh and it held the strawberry flavour. Alastair was very appreciative. I got a hug and the title of “work wife”.

The recipe is a keeper.


6 thoughts on “WASC–two very different birthday cakes

  1. I was re-reading this post and thought about you having bother with using the letter moulds. I have a lovely set of JEM alphabet cutters and struggled with them for a while, until I learnt to roll out my gumpaste thinly and leave it on the bench to harden a bit before cutring out the letter. Woo hoo! Cut like a breeze and dropped out beautifully. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the “hardening up” time right, but definitely worth a go.

  2. cn u share the cake recpe plzzzz

  3. Can’t find your recipe…even followed the link??

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