It was Rusty’s birthday on the 4th and we cooked up a plan for a really epic baseball-themed cake. The cake recipe itself came from Delish, because I needed a three layer cake in order to have enough batter to fill my 16″ pan. As it stands, the batter was so good that I’m keeping the page bookmarked so I can actually follow the recipe at another time.
First thing’s first: preheat your oven to 350°F and then butter your cake pan. This is my 16″ round pan. I got it at a cake store when I made the Ivy Vanilla Wedding Cake. Once you’ve buttered it, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter that, too.
Now, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup softened butter and 3 cups packed brown sugar until they’re as fluffy as humanly possible.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Add the eggs to the butter and beat until it’s all incorporated. Scrape the bowl down and give it a good beating for about a minute.
In yet another bowl, sift together 3/4 cups cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 3 cups flour. Or you could whisk it with a fork, which is obviously what I did. It’s all lies, what I tell you. All of it. LIES.
Grab 1 1/2 cups sour cream and alternate adding that with the flour to the batter until they’re all gone.
Finally, while mixing, slowly add in 1 1/2 cups hot water to the mix.
Smooth your batter into your cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. For some reason I don’t understand, a giant cake takes just as long to bake as three little ones. Let the cake cool almost all the way in the pan before tipping it out onto a cooling rack.
While that’s doing its thing, you can whip up some icing. Despite the ill-fated nature of Rusty’s birthday cake last year, we have found that the icing recipe for that thing is the best one out there. Because of the size of this cake, I doubled it, and only had a little left over.
So. In a bowl, cream together 2 250g packages plain cream cheese (room temperature — very important) and 2 cups butter.
Then, bit by bit, and using a flour shield if you’ve got one, add in 6 cups icing sugar.
Beat that until it’s all mixed and lovely. Add more sugar if necessary.
I scooped out a small amount of plain icing to use in drawing bases and baselines.
Another chunk I dyed astroturf green with some gel food colouring (this stuff will give you the bright colours that are lacking with traditional liquid food colouring, which you can see in the background of the first photo).
And then another hunk I coloured brown with some gel food colouring and a touch of red liquid stuff, to emulate the clay.
Then I took a look at my cake. I cut off two “corners” to form the shape traditionally associated with a baseball field.
Then I traced a bit of a design with the back of a knife to indicate where the infield went, and crumb coated the sides of the cake with brown icing. Later on, when I had extra icing, I piped more brown around the edges to finish it off.
I shoved the icing into Ziploc bags and cut off the corners to do my piping, because all my cake decorating stuff is still in storage. Here is the initial layout of the clay infield.
After smoothing it out (I “raked” it later with a fork), I started on the grass, which I wasn’t going to flatten. I wanted it to look like it had been groomed.
Continuing with the outfield.
Then the infield and pitcher’s mound, which is raised (by dint of extra icing).
Here I took a break to sample my wares.
With the Pie’s instruction, I drew on the bases and base lines. They’re not accurate (because I’m not good at listening and the Pie isn’t good at giving useful instructions), but it’s a cake. Sue me. This is the view from home plate.
The Pie insisted on adding that plastic baseball. Rusty loved (and ate) the whole thing. Except the baseball. I hope.