Monday, March 13, 2017
Almost as Convenient as a Bakery Cake
My two daughters will have a birthday later this week. I have always baked my children's birthday cakes, even when time was short. There are a few ways to make a homemade cake more convenient for the cook. One can make an cake that is intended to be kept in the freezer, such as an ice cream cake. One can use a mix and canned frosting. Or, as I do, one can bake the layers, wrap in plastic film and keep in the freezer, well in advance, then thaw and ice on the big day.
The last couple of months have seen me struggling under a tightly-packed schedule. This hasn't changed. I am trying to fit everything in, yet also trying to make a big day, a special one. This is how I manage the cake.
About a week or two before their birthday, I bake the cake layers, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze until the day that I'm ready to frost. I cannot express just how convenient it really is to have the cake baked and ready to go. I bake the layers on a day when I do have spare time, and then it sits in the freezer, like convenience food, to be pulled out at the last minute. Frozen cake layers thaw in about 1 hour. All that is needed is some icing and candles.
One afternoon last week, I baked a couple of cakes. I was making a quick pumpkin snack cake for dessert that night, so I reused the mixing bowl to make the batter for the birthday cake. I had all of the cake-baking ingredients out and ready to use, anyway. It felt like no chore at all to be baking the extra cakes.
After the layers cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and they now sit in the freezer, waiting for Friday. I'll use a can of clearance frosting (37 cents) to ice the cake, sticking to a tight budget on a tight schedule. Not only will my cake save us money, but it really won't take much time to get it frosted on their birthday.
The same freezer stash cooking that I use with casseroles and soups for busy upcoming days is applied to baking birthday cakes.
On another, related note, I bought plastic cling wrap in the large, commercial size for the first time. I've only bought plastic wrap in the small grocery store boxes, so buying in this very large size is a change for me. The standard grocery store box has 200 feet of film, and will last about 1 year in our household. This box has 2000 feet of film, so it should last for 10 years. That feels like such a long time. I sometimes have uneasy feelings about a purchase so far in advance. I'll get over it, and at some point, I will be grateful to have bought this. Price-wise, the last grocery store box of film cost $1.19 for 200 feet, on markdown for a damaged box. This box cost $7.95 for 2000 feet. A 200-foot amount of this box cost about 79 cents, so I saved about 1/3 of the cost of buying my plastic wrap at the grocery store.