Thursday, December 30, 2010

Layered Alumni Shaped Cake

For my Dad's birthday I made him a University of Washington Cake. And for my brother's birthday a month latter the same cake was requested again. The second time around it turned out even more beautiful than the first time.

Here is how I did it. You can do this with just about any simple shape

  1. mix your cakes. I made 2 cake mixes, each one baked separately in a 13"x 9" pan.
  2. When you fill the cake pans with batter, put some wax paper down on the bottom of the pan to help you get the cake out when it is done and to minimize crumbs when decorating.


  1. Find the school's logo in google images (one of my favorite places to find simple pictures)
  2. Copy and paste it into a word document.
  3. Move the margins out on the document to go as wide as the program will allow. (a sheet of paper is about the same size as a large rectangular cake pan.)
  4. Enlarge the image to be as big as possible on the page while keeping the proportions the same as the original (Just hold down the shift key while dragging out the corner of the picture.) Don't worry if the image gets blurry, you just need the basic shapes.
  5. Cut out the outline of the shape as a block. This is going to be the shape of your cake. (If there are going to be some crevices that could be difficult to decorate, don't cut them out. If you look at my photo, I left a triangle at the bottom and 2 sections at the top that I could have cut out, but left them in for easy decorating and structural support.)


  1. Remove the cakes from the oven when they are done cooking and let the cakes rest for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack.
  2. Remove cakes from pans and place on cooling racks with the top up.
  3. With a long bread knife cut the curved top off of the cakes making a flat surface.
  4. Allow cakes to cool completely


  1. If getting the right color for your logo is tricky you might not want to color it all at once. It took about one batch of frosting to do my crumb coat and about 1/2 a batch of frosting to do my top coat. So I suggest that you make only 1 batch at a time. that way if you mess up with your crumb coat of frosting you can try again from scratch for your top coat.
  2. To make my UW purple I used my Wilton gel tub food coloring. a huge toothpick full of violet, a fair size amount of royal blue on a tooth pick and a small amount of burgundy on a toothpick.
  3. For the golden yellow i used mostly yellow with a small amount of brown.


  1. Once the cakes are cooled, place one cake in the center of your cake plate (I just covered one of those cookie sheets without sides with foil for my cake plate.)
  2. cover the top of the cake with Nutella, Jam, or pudding. Just anything you think is yummy as a filling in cake.
  3. Place the other cake, crumb side down, on top of the nutella. Placing the crumb side, or the side I cut the top off of, down always helps to reduce the crumb problem while decorating. I needed a second set of hands to help me for this step. If the cake breaks, don't worry. Just put the pieces where they belong and the filling should help it stay in place.
  4. Put the cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Take out of freezer and place template on top of cake. Using your bread knife. cut off all the extra cake, not covered by the template.


  1. Tear off strips of wax paper and tuck under the edges of the cake on all sides. This will keep your cake plate clean until you are ready to present the cake.
  2. Do your crumb coat of frosting, spreading the base color of frosting over the whole cake. cover every single piece of cake with frosting. don't worry if crumbs start to come up.
  3. Put cake back in freezer for 20 minutes
  4. Apply your top coat of frosting. This is the one you want to have looking very smooth and without crumbs. Don't worry too much about the corners where the sides meet the top and where the sides meet the cake plate because those will be covered with the piping
  5. Go back to your template and cut out all of the details that might have been missed the first time.
  6. Place the template on the cake and trace with a toothpick the design you want to have on the cake.
  7. Prepare a piping bag with a star tip for the edging and a contrasting color of icing inside.
  8. Pipe along the top and bottom edges and any other places that you traced on with your toothpick.

some other things I learned from my 2 different attempts with this cake.

  • I'd rather make 2 cakes and put a lot of the un-needed cake in the garbage than try to save it and piece the top layer out of leftovers from the bottom. That might work good with a different shape of cake, but when I tried it on this one the top layer just kept drooping over the edges and pulling away from the center.
  • Next time I will be more patient when I finally get to piping and have my seashell edging look more uniform.
  • Maybe find some sprinkles or something to put in the void spaces on the top of the cake.

1 comment:

  1. You do such a wonderful job with desserts!! It turned out awesome!