Step 1: Make cake batter and prepare pan
I only use Duncan Hines cake mix
Prepare batter as directed on box- with a few changes:
* If you want the height of the layer to fill the pan, add almost 1/2 cup more dry cake mix to the batter. (Duncan Hines decreased the size of their box mix and so now I keep an open box of each mix flavor in Tupperware containers so I can add a little each time I make a cake. It needs to be about 18 ounces, and they have decreased it to 15.25 ounces) Otherwise your cakes will be short.
*Bake at 325 instead of 350. This allows the cake to bake slower and raise more.
*Mix on high for at least 5 minutes until batter is smooth and thick
*Do not grease pans- instead, line the bottom with wax paper. (Put your empty pan on a sheet of wax paper and trace around the bottom. Then cut the paper and lay it in the pan.)
The pan in the picture is a Wilton 11 X 15 pan that holds two mixes.You can use 2 mixes of same flavor or 2 different flavors as shown above. If you are making your cake with two flavors, just cut a ruler to 11 inches and wrap it in wax paper. Place the divider in the middle of the pan until you pour both batters in. Then carefully lift out the divider and place cake in 325 oven and bake for at least 30 minutes.
I always use this pan because two mixes fill it perfectly and it makes a nice high layer (2 inches). If you just use one mix in a 9 x 13 pan, it will not be quite as high. The 11 x 15 easily serves 24 and if you don't need that much, send home left overs with your guests!
Step 1: Insulate the Sides
Before you put the pan in the oven, moisten a strip of cloth cut from a bath towel, wrap around the outside of the pan and pin it in place. This keeps the sides of the pan from getting too hot. Your edges will not get hard and the sides of the cake will bake at the same rate as the middle and the cake will be more level. (You can also buy insulating strips where you buy cake supplies).
Step 2: Check If Cake Is Done
After 30 minutes, test your cake. Check that toothpick comes out clean and the edges are just beginning to pull away from the pan.
Step 3: Flip the Cake Pan Onto a Cooling Rack.
Lay a clean dish towel onto a cooling rack. When the cake comes out of the oven, lay the towel and cooling rack on top of the cake pan. Carefully flip everything over so the pan is resting on the towel covered rack making sure you don't burn yourself. Allow to cool with pan covering it. Gently lift off pan and allow to cool completely.
Step 4: Put Your Cake on a Cake Board
When completely cool, put pan back on cake, Flip the pan over. Lift off the towel. Center cake board over cake pan, Flip pan again and lift the pan off of the cake. Gently lift off the wax paper and you are ready to ice with a crumb coat!
Step 5: Crumb Coat
2 pound bag of Domino powdered sugar
1 ½ cups of Crisco
¼ tsp clear vanilla
½ cup water
1/8 tsp butter flavor
1/8 tsp salt
Combine Crisco, clear vanilla, salt, butter flavor and some of the powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Then add water and the rest of the powdered sugar. Blend on low speed until mixed. Then set mixer on high speed for 5 minutes.
I only use Domino powdered sugar, and Crisco brand shortening.
Now put a small amount of icing into a bowl. Add a little water at a time and stir. Keep adding a little water until it is the consistency of cool whip. Then, spread a thin layer all over cake, making sure to seal it completely. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours. This will seal in moisture and keep crumbs out of your icing.
Store cake uncovered.
Step 6: Ice Cake and Roll It Smooth.
After at least 24 hours, (you can make it two days ahead if you want) spread a thin layer of icing on cake, trying to level any uneven areas and get it as smooth as you can with your icing spatula.
Let the cake sit for 20 minutes to allow a crust to begin to form. (if you wait longer that that, the crust will not let you smooth it).
Use a pizza roller and VERY GENTLY roll it over the top and sides of cake until it is as smooth as you want it.
Step 7: Transfer a Design
If you have a design you want to decorate your cake with, get a copy of it in the size you want.
Flip it over so you are working on the mirror image.
Cover it with a piece of wax paper and trace over your image with white icing using a No. 1 size tip.
Lift up the wax paper and gently lay it, icing side down, onto the cake. (Now the image is facing the right way).
Gently smooth all of your tracing lines with your finger.
Carefully pull off the wax paper and you will leave behind the design you traced!
Step 8: Finish Decorating
I usually use a star tip to fill in my designs (#14 or #16)
I use a #3 tip for writing
I use a #18 tip for the borders
Store cake uncovered until cut. The icing will keep it fresh, and if you cover it the moisture may cause the icing colors to run.