Introduction: Cream Soda Cake W/ Vanilla Buttercream
What you are about to read is completely true. The story is, unfortunately, not embellished or exaggerated at all!!
When I was a little girl my mom was always in the kitchen. She was a stay-at-home mom, cooked every meal and did all of the clean up. We had a small acreage and a large garden so she would can and jar a lot of the foods we grew which was time consuming work - done in the kitchen. I could eat all the garden grown food; green beans, asparagus and peas that I wanted, but I didn't want vegetables. I wanted BUTTER! Yes, butter!
When my mom would ask me what I wanted for a snack I would very sweetly say, "Butter please!". She would, of course, say something along the lines of NO, you can't eat just butter or absolutely not or what would you really like? I would settle for crackers or cereal instead, but butter was on my mind all of the time and I would eventually find a way to get it.
My first attempt at getting the butter failed miserably. I sneaked into the kitchen (because I thought I was stealthy like a ninja and could not be heard) and quietly (yeah, right) opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a stick of butter. I quietly closed the fridge, turned around and saw my mom standing there glaring down at me. Then she stole that butter right out of my hand. My smile turned to a frown, my shoulders slumped and I glumly dragged my feet into the other room.
A few days later I was still thinking about butter and when it was lunch time that particular day my mom was making butter sandwiches with ham (seriously I ate that). We always had sticks of butter and the tubs of butter. I spied the tub on the counter. I looked at my hand and then at the butter, then back at my hand and back at the butter. I decided, with my 5 year old brain, that my hand would be a perfect tool to get that butter. When my mom's back was turned I scooped my fingers as deep into the butter tub as possible and got a handful. I turned and ran as fast as I could to my room and started nibbling. My mom, being the intelligent person she is, saw the finger scoops in the butter tub, put two and two together, started screaming and came running into my room. I got to eat some of the butter, but most of it was rudely grabbed off of my innocent little hand and thrown in the garbage. Boo. :(
I let another few days pass and thought about my next plan of attack. How was I going to get that butter? I certainly couldn't scoop it out with my fingers again and I didn't get away with opening the fridge. Ah ha! I would wait until my mom went to the bathroom, sneak into the fridge and get a stick of butter. Can you believe this took several attempts to come to this conclusion??!!
So, the next time my mom was in the bathroom I ran speedy quick to the refrigerator, got a stick of butter and screamed, "I'm going outside to play." and I heard my mom say from the bathroom, "Okay"! She didn't know what I had done! Pure joy came over me as I ran outside with pride, excitement, a drooling mouth and a stick of butter that I ate in the warmth of the sunshine under our majestic oak tree. I ate every last bite of that entire stick of butter like it was a candy bar. And guess what, I kept doing that same thing for a long time. Finally, my mom wised up and I had to overcome my addiction.
So when I tell you that I LOVE buttercream frosting more than anyone else in the whole world you should probably think about believing me. I don't eat sticks of butter anymore but every time I get a chance to make anything with huge amounts of butter it makes me really happy!
Okay, are you ready to get to the Cream Soda Cake and Buttercream recipes?? Let's do it!
Step 1: Cream Soda Cake
This will be the easiest cake you have ever made. Even easier than a box cake in my opinion. Basically because you don't have to go to the store and buy that box mix that has tons of yuck ingredients that we shouldn't be eating anyway.
Cream Soda Cake
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
3 T. + 1 t. baking powder
1 12oz can cream soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two cake pans. I used one six-inch pan and one eight-inch pan since I am making a tiered cake.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment add flour, sugar and baking soda. Mix briefly on low to blend dry ingredients together. Slowly add soda while the mixer is running. Once everything is wet (so flour doesn't fly up into your face!) turn the mixer on medium-high and let it run for 2 minutes scraping down sides as necessary. I know this seems like a long time but you want to make sure everything is mixed well. Mixture will be very soupy.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. My oven took 26 minutes.
Let cakes rest in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn cakes out of pans onto the cooling rack and let cool completely.
If you are planning to make a tiered cake like shown in the intro repeat this process again so you have 2 six-inch cakes and 2 eight-inch cakes. If you have 2 six-inch pans and 2 eight-inch pans just double the recipe above and bake all cakes at the same time. I did not have this luxury.
Step 2: Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
While the second set of cakes are in the oven make frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - Large Batch (can you see me smiling?!!)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 1/4 c. butter (2 1/2 sticks) divided
1/2 c. water
2 t. vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment add powdered sugar, one cup butter, water and vanilla. Mix on low speed to moisten all ingredients. Turn mixer to medium-high and whisk for 2 minutes scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary.
In a microwave safe bowl melt remaining 1/4 cup of butter. While mixer is still running drizzle melted butter into frosting. Whisk another two minutes and voila you have buttery, buttery deliciousness!
Step 3: Layer Cakes and Crumb Coat
On a cake stand or cake board spread a minimal amount of buttercream just to keep the cake from sliding around while frosting it. I like to add a few pieces of waxed paper just in case I'm sloppy with the buttercream. It's easier to remove the waxed paper than try and clean a cake board with a cake on it!
Add first eight inch cake and cover the top with frosting. Add the second eight inch cake upside down.
****I forgot to tell you the best part of the cream soda cake recipe. They bake flat so there is no need to level anything! Yay!****
Cover the entire eight inch tier with frosting. You can be pretty sparse since we are going to add tons of buttercream later.
Repeat process with the six inch cakes until you have a buttercream covered tiered cake as in the last photo. These cakes are dense enough that dowels and cake boards aren't necessary in between tiers.
Step 4: Color Buttercream and Fondant
Equally divide remaining buttercream into three separate bowls. Color the frosting with Wilton Icing Colors - what ever colors your heart desires. I chose an analogous color scheme simply because I thought it would look nice. If you aren't sure what analogous means you should google 'color wheel' and look at any three colors directly next to each other. That's analogous!
Prepare three disposable (or not) piping bags with couplers and piping tips. Fill each bag with a color making sure the tip matches what color you want for that tip.
You will need a very small amount of fondant for this cake. Color the fondant the same three colors as the buttercream.
Step 5: Pipe the Buttercream
Now the fun part! I love buttercream piped cakes. I think they have character and texture that fondant covered cakes are missing. There is definitely an art to them both but there is something about buttercream piping that is so elegant and definitely more appetizing than fondant, in my opinion. I chose different piping tips so I would get even more variation in texture.
Start with your large star tip and pipe one large star. Using the back of something small and rounded (I used the handle end of a spoon) smear the frosting (from the middle of the star) to the side. Pipe another star relatively close to the first star and repeat the smearing. Continue around the entire cake. When you get to the end you will have to fill the remaining space with one complete star. I like to try and smear that one too to blend it but you can't go all the way without ruining the very first one you piped. This is optional.
You will need to wipe off the end the spoon periodically.
Repeat with remaining colors in any order you wish.
I used the same process to fill in the crack between the two tiers.
Step 6: Add Fondant Pennants
Roll out each color of fondant and cut pennant shaped triangles with a butter (smile) knife. Mine are about one inch long. Using a small dab of buttercream stick the pennants on the cake in a banner like curve.
Step 7: More Piping
After the pennants are placed add a buttercream border around the edge of the top tier using the same technique as on the eight inch tier.
Step 8: Put a Birdie on It!
After the cake is done an embellishment on the top adds a lot of character. With the remaining fondant shape a very simple bird and give it a flower wing!
Roll yellow fondant around two toothpicks to make legs for the bird to stand on. You can make them however long or short you want them. For my bird legs 1/3 of the toothpick was inserted into the bird, 1/3 was yellow fondant for the legs, and 1/3 was to stick into the cake to hold up the bird.
Eat and enjoy. The cream soda cake is so moist, and spongy and paired with the buttercream I'm not sure what could be better!
This cake could be made for a baby shower, a little girl birthday or just for fun!