Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. (Yes, I am that cheesy. You might as well know that about me now.)
So let’s jump into it. Square one. You can’t decorate a cake without baking a cake. (Unless you’re lucky like me and have an awesome mom/business partner who does most of the baking.) I know for a lot of people baking a cake from scratch is stressful and daunting. Especially when you need the cake to be dense enough to hold up for decorating and still be moist and delicious. So I’m going to share my version of a recipe that I ran across years ago. I’ve had this recipe so long, I don’t have a clue where I found it. Whoever came up with the original version is my hero!
This recipe starts with a cake mix, and then we add some extra ingredients to give it that made from scratch taste. One of the greatest things about this recipe is easy flavor variation. Just grab a different flavor cake mix. I’ve tried it with devil’s food, classic white, strawberry, lemon, orange, dark chocolate fudge, red velvet, etc. You won’t have to have a completely different recipe for every flavor you want to make. Helps streamline your baking process as well.
When it comes to cake mix, I use Duncan Hines. You will consistently get great results. There’s a reason Duncan Hines has the little Wilton logo on the box now.
So let’s start our cake. Always sift your dry ingredients! You will be amazed at the number of little chunks that you will be breaking up. But don’t worry! You don’t have to use one of those little hand-held crank units that would take FOREVER to get stuff through. We use a mesh strainer and a whisk. Quick and easy! So sift your cake mix, flour, salt, and sugar into a bowl. Another great thing about this recipe is the fact that you have four wet ingredients and four dry ingredients. Makes it easier to remember and make sure you get everything in.
Now get out your handy, dandy mixer. I do love my Kitchen Aid!!!!! (This beauty can hold a double batch of this recipe. Woohoo!!!) But any stand or handheld mixer will work. In your mixer bowl, add your sour cream, water, and eggs. (I love to weigh my sour cream with a digital kitchen scale. One cup is eight ounces. This doesn’t work for everything, but it is accurate for sour cream, butter, shortening, and peanut butter. And weighing is a LOT easier than measuring. Ever tried to scoop something like these out of a measuring cup? Yuck!)
Mix these well. I know, I know! I said FOUR wet ingredients. We’ll get there!
Once these are mixed, gradually add in your dry ingredients. Now comes the good part. BUTTER! Makes everything better, right!? Melt a stick of butter and gradually add into your cake batter. You should have a bowl full of silky delicious looking cake batter. No spoon licking yet!
Pour your batter into prepared pans. (Go here to see how to prepare your pans to make sure they come out of the pan perfectly!) Bake at 350. Times are going to vary depending on cake pan size as well as how much batter you put in your pans. Our 6 and 8 inch round pans take an hour to bake.
Once your yummy cakes are done, put the pans on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. After that, flip those beauties out onto the cooling rack and let them cool. Congratulations! You just baked some delicious cake that will be perfect for stacking and decorating!!!! Go you!
See you soon!