Do you know any Star Trek super fans? I sure do, and if I understand correctly there are two main groups of fans: the fans of the Next Generation Star Trek, and the original Captain Kirk series from the 60’s. I am the latter, as well as the most recent movies–and BTW if you love William Shatner and you haven’t already seen the series Boston Legal, I HIGHLY recommend it. I knew I would be making a cake for a super fan of the Next Generation Star Trek series for a few months, and I knew I wanted a design that is classic that I would be able to put my heart and soul into, but also appeal to any Star Trek fan…especially since I regret I do not know much about the Next Generation except from a co-worker I knew years ago would rave about Patrick Stewart, who is the captain of that series and he is a classically trained actor! I always think of that when I see him acting in anything now!
Aren’t these photos stunning! These were taken by a student in photography at my school.
For a while now, I’ve been dying to do a galaxy cake, and I have seen various techniques from pouring mirror cake effects, to a watercolor frosting effect essentially marbling colored frosting such as black, purple, and blues. I have also seen using thinned food coloring gel to paint on fondant or a chilled buttercream. Being that I am not a fan of fondant taste wise, I opted for the marbling colored frosting effect.
I used black (see recipe below), navy blue, red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and plain white frosting to get a marbling effect with the final coat of frosting after chilling the crumb coat. Of all the galaxy cakes I’ve seen, the colors used are predominantly black, blues, and purples. I get easily board from redundancy, and crave unique and artistic designs; this is why I opted for the colors I have seen in stunning photos of nebulas from satellites in space.
For the watercolor frosting effect, I applied splotches of the various colors in a random pattern onto the chilled crumb coat. Then I used my XL metal bench scraper and icing smoother with the cake on a cake turn table to get a smooth frosted finish, that also marbled the colors. It took a number of passes to get the colors to come out since the black is very overpowering and I put the frosting splotches on too thick…but it was my first time. Once I got it to my liking, I still felt the overall effect was lackluster. I needed more punch, more color pop to satisfy the image I had in my head.
I have this luster dust kit that popped in my head to get the color pop I’m looking for. I typically use luster dust for gum paste flowers to get a pearl sheen in various colors. I had never seen nor heard of the technique I used used to finish this cakes. Using my experience dusting gum paste flowers combined with techniques I’ve seen where people have “painted” with food coloring on fondant or chilled buttercream, I came up with the idea to “dust” the chilled buttercream frosting. I matched up colors of luster dust with the areas that corresponding colors of frosting showed threw from what I previously described for the outside coat of frosting. I also added some metallic colors like gunmetal and copper. I also used light pink and light blue to add the depth and color pop as if I was painting. Now, you might laugh, but I did not use a brush to do the luster dust effect. I used paper towels I tore off pieces to make a “powder puff” I dipped into the various luster dust containers, using clean “puffs” for each color.
I was OBSESSED!!! I was so in love with the overall effect, and it matched what I had in my head from all the gorgeous nebula photos I love to oooooh and aaawwww over. The colors popped, and were vibrant, and had the depth and breadth to add dimension and interest so the finish of the cake was not flat or uninteresting. There was just one thing missing…the masses of tiny stars you see in nebula photos. I took the white pearl luster dust, mixed in some cheap vodka to get a “painting liquid” similar to how I add gold details, but instead of using a brush, I used my finger dipped in, and flicked the white pearl liquid to create the star effect I was looking for…AND I didn’t need to clean another tool! Win-WIn!!! This literally brought the cake to life! It was so realistic, I was in awe and so ridiculously excited that this new technique worked out so well!!!
The last detail I knew I needed was the Starfleet Insignia. Again, I was going for a clean, elegant, stunning design so I didn’t want anything complicated. I used my trusty gum paste, rolled out a thick even layer, and free-hand cut the shape using my exacto knife I use for gum paste flowers. I recommend letting thick gum paste dry for at least 24-48 hours to be completely hard. I did not have that time, so I placed it on my finished cake with a little sugar glue I use for my gum paste flowers on the back of the insignia, and put the whole cake in the fridge to chill overnight before delivery. It worked out marvelously!
I also wanted to post what this cake looked like after I filled and stacked it, and before I added the crumb coat. I used 3–6″ round cake layers I cut in half; two were white chocolate vanilla sponge (recipe below), and one was a dark chocolate sponge (recipe here). This is where the 6 layers you see came from. The cake layers are filled with my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese frosting (recipe at the bottom), which I also use to pipe my designs on previous cakes, and my Razzleberry fruit filling (below).
I cannot tell you how THRILLED the surprise cake was for this super Star Trek Next Generation fan!!! The squeals of pure joy and excitement I got from her was so gratifying!!! I LOVE over-delivering on a design, and taste of my cakes!!! The funniest part is that this surprise happened to be on the perfect Star Trek fan day, First Contact Day. It just added to the overall bliss this custom cake brought. I love the pics the super fan sent me!
You can also see how I stack a tall double barrel cake, with a cake board in the center, and supports in the first three layers underneath. I do this to make serving the cake easier so that the servings are cut from each half of the barrel cake. This way of stacking not only creates an extra sturdy cake structure, but it is easier to cut manageable cake slices to serve without a huge mess or the tall cake slice tumbling as you pull it out. No one needs that mess. With 6″ rounds, I cut the top layer in half, then cut perpendicular sliced to the first cut I made for each serving. It is similar to how a large cake layer is cute, except for cake larger than 8″ inch rounds, it is best to cut the cake in thirds (3 big even sections), and then cut perpendicularly to cut each serving. It makes for a clean, neat, and even service.
Prepping your pans and my Quick-Release Cake Pan Prep Mx.
Now let’s talk prepping your cake pans before we get to the recipe. I cannot stress how vital this is…vital to NOT losing all your time, effort, and gorgeous, high quality ingredients to a mass of torn cake because a good chunk of it is sticking to the pan. SO NOT PRETTY AND SO AGGRAVATING! Growing up, it was the “grease and flour” step of making a cake. Now I just keep a pre-made mix of flour, lard, and oil in a 1:1:1 ratio to make my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (yes, yes it’s long winded, but that’s Bloomy’s Dictionary sometimes). It is important to use a vegetable oil, or any oil that has a high smoke temperature. Olive oils have a lower smoke temperature which means it will start to smoke or burn at lower temperatures than other oils; since you are baking cakes at high temperatures, you do not want smoke ruining the high quality flavors you worked so hard to put in your cakes. I will keep a mix of 1 c. flour, 1 c. oil, and 1 c. lard in an airtight container in my refrigerator. Being it works in this ratio, you can use the same measurements of all three ingredients in any amount. There have been times I have been in a pinch, and needed to whip up 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup mixes of this if I am out of my pre-made mix in the fridge. You will prep your cake pans and bunt cake pans with this mix. Or use the traditional grease and flour method to prep your pans before you add any batter, however, if you take my word for it, this old-school method is a lot more time consuming and can be a lot messier! I use a baster to slater on my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix; BUT you don’t want it pooling or gobbing on your pan. A nice even coat is sufficient. I also ALWAYS use parchment paper on the bottom of my pans, and for time sake I prefer the precut ones. I will use my quick geometry teacher skillz and can cut out a free-handed circle of any size pretty quickly by folding a section of parchment paper into quarters, and then eighths, and again if not too thick, and essentially cut half the length of my circle pan (half the diameter, or half the radius for y’all who remember your geometry).
White Chocolate Cake
Nothing Bunt Cake…I don’t think so. This is White Chocolate Raspberry done right…aka White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake! Love those well-known bunt cakes but not the price? Or wished they looked more elegant? This recipe not only taste BETTER than those bunt cakes, but you can CUSTOM design your own masterpiece with a few simple steps. You are not limited to making this cake in a bunt cake pan, but have the flexibility to do so if you would like. Check out the Perfect Ratio Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe that is easy to decorate with AND tastes amazing with this cake. NOTE: I always use wet (but wrung out) cake baking straps on all my pans, and I wrap up the baked and cooled cake layers I am not immediately using in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Freezing cakes like this keeps them moist when thawed and ready to use.
1 white box cake mix
1 package white chocolate instant pudding
1/2 c sour cream
1 c milk
1/2 c melted butter
1 to 1 1/2 c white chocolate chips, optional
1) Pre-heat the over to 325 degrees F; bake your cakes low and slow (may need to add to baking times–use a toothpick or cake tester to see if done in the middle).
2) Prepare your layer cake pans AND bunt cake with my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix(see recipe in post) mix or grease your pan with lard (or butter) and dust with flour, and a parchment liner on the bottom(optional but i do not risk all my efforts to possibly having the cake stick to the pan). **Even if you have a non-stick pan, it is worth greasing your pans with lard/butter and dusting with flour, or just having a batch of the Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (see recipe in post).
3) Mix all the ingredients except the white chocolate chips and fruit filling in a stand mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer until smooth. It will be thick. Do not over mix.
4) Stir in the white chocolate chips and mix by hand with a spatula or spoon.
5) Divide your batter between your prepared cake pans. Level your batter in the pan (I knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking.
*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.
*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.
*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.
*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.
*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan.
BAKING TIP: If you are baking 3″ layers with an 8″ pan or larger, use a metal rose piping pin inverted in the middle of the pan to get heat and bake the center of the cake evenly with the outside; or use a baking core. I do this with 2″ layers for pan 10″ or larger as well.
To get flat cake layers, use these baking belts. I stand behind these and always use them!!! It saves me from having to cut the cake layer for a flat top. I wet and wring out the baking belts before I put them on the cake pans, and then put them in the oven to bake.
Razzleberry Fruit Filling
3 c fresh or frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
1/2 c lemon juice
1 c sugar
4 T corn starch, mixed in 1 c cold water
1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat.
2) Mash all the berries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve.
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even.
4) Strain the juice back into the rinsed pan through a metal sieve using a metal spoon to circulate the seeds to get all the juice through. Discard the seeds.
5) Bring the seedless berry mix to a boil.
6) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
7) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled.
8) To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.
Note: Let’s get real. I love to cook once and use multiple times. This recipe is modified from using a full 48 oz. bag of organic mixed berries consisting of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from my local bulk store.
Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix
In a 1:1:1 ratio, mix flour, lard or shortening, and vegetable oil. Mix until evenly incorporated, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For example, I use 1 cup of each ingredient to mix up and have on hand to prepare all my cake pans before adding batter, and then baking. Cakes will come out clean and easily, with no sticking. I coat my pans with this mix using a silicone baster brush. I also add a cut parchment paper to the bottom of any flat bottomed cake pan I use.