November 6, 2011

Slanted Stripe Cake Tutorial

I’ve gotten lots of great feedback for my construction site cake.  Thank you so much for the nice things you’ve had to say!!  I’ve also had some more questions on how exactly I cut those slanted layers.  So, I’m doing a tutorial.  I hope it helps!!

I decided not to do the black and yellow again, because I wanted to see what it would look like in other colors!  But it is perfect with black and yellow stripes for a construction cake.

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First things first, we gotta start with the recipe.  When I made the construction cake, I had 4 layers total (2 chocolate, 2 vanilla), enough to make 2 double layer cakes.  I cut slanted layers in them all, and picked which ones I thought would look best.  If you don’t want 2 full cakes, either cut both recipes in half, or just make this white cake recipe, and dye it 2 different colors.

White Cake (makes 2 8” layers)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated recipe I found at Crumbly Cookies

1 C milk, room temperature

3/4 C eggs whites (about 4), room temperature

1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 C cake flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1 3/4 C sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

12 T (1 1/2 cubes butter), softened

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare 2 8” pans with spray and wax paper.
  • In a bowl, combine milk, egg whites and extracts and whisk together with a fork.  Set aside.
  • Sift both flours together, and add sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix together on low speed with a standing or hand mixer.
  • Add the butter a little bit at a time, and mix together until it’s all moist crumbs*
  • Reserve 1/2 C of the egg/milk mixture, and add the rest to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix on medium speed with a standing mixer, using a paddle (or high speed with a hand mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Scrape sides of bowl, then add the rest of the milk mixture, and mix to combine, for at least 30 seconds.

**if you are adding color, be sure to add it before you start baking.  I use gel colorings

  • Divide evenly into 2 prepared pans, and cook for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cakes sit in pans for about 3 minutes, then invert onto wire racks, remove wax paper, then invert again to let cool completely.

*I don’t really understand what ‘moist crumbs’ are, but this is what mine looked like:

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Now that your layers are cooled all the way, they need to get frozen. 

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Loosely wrap each layer individually with plastic wrap, then place in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.  I think mine were in the freezer for 4-5 hours before I took them out.

*I made this tutorial at night, so I apologize for all the harsh flash lighting*

The first step is to level the cakes, for 2 reasons: 1. so the cake is flat* across the top 2. so both layers are equal in height.

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I have a cake leveler, but if you don’t, you can definitely use a serrated knife. Just be careful to hold the knife level.

*I didn’t make my cake exactly flat across the top.  Because they sunk a bit in the middle, I decided I would rather have a small dip in the middle than taking more cake off:

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Now we can start making those slanted cuts!

I used our bread knife, because it is serrated, and I seem to have better luck cutting cakes with a bread knife.

I put my cakes on plates, because the plate turns easily on my counter.

Place the tip of your knife about this far away from the edge of your cake: (don’t start cutting yet, just get the distance)

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now, tilt your knife to your desired angle, I believe mine was about 45 degrees, and then stick the knife into the cake at your angle, getting all the way through the cake

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Cut the cake in a circle: staying as equal distance to the edge of the cake, and keeping the angle the same as best as you can around the whole cake.  I do a couple of saw motions, then rotate the plate, saw, rotate etc. until you’ve gone all the way around.

Once you make it all the way around the cake, lift up and edge of the cake from the plate:

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Then slip the inside circle out:

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It should come easily since the cakes are frozen, and they should be sturdy enough to not break.  But be careful anyway.

the inside ring should look like this:

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and the outside ring should look like this:

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**wow, I REALLY need to get some white plates….  I hope you can see it ok**

After I cut them, I move the outside ring to another plate off to the side.

Repeat the outer cut with the other color layer

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Now onto the smaller circles.  For measuring, the first time around I used cardboard, but I don’t think that’s necessary.  This time I just used parchment paper.  I used my 6” pan to trace a circle on the parchment paper, cut it out just inside the line (so it was a little smaller than 6”), then placed it on top of the cake:

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then I took a small knife, traced around the parchment paper making a shallow line, so that I knew where I should be cutting:

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I tried to take a picture to show you the traced line, but it wasn’t showing up in the pictures.  as long as you can see it, and know where you should cut, then you’re good to go.

and then you cut again, this time following the line you just traced, holding the knife at an angle just like last time:

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When you make the full circle, it should come out easily:

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move the outside circle to another plate:

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then cut the other colored layer the same way, with the same 6” parchment paper circle, and move the outside ring to another plate.

After that, we need 1 smaller circle.  I decided to eye ball cutting the circle to be about 4”, and placed it on top of the cake:

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trace around it with a knife, to make a shallow line to follow, and then cut with the bread knife just as on the others

so after this cut, the outside circle should look like this:

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and the very inside should look like this:

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Now cut the other color layer the same way! then you will have 2 insides:

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Now we’re going to put it all together!!

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See the little gaps?  It will be ok.  Since we’re just judging the angles, I think that it would seriously be impossible to make this cake perfect. So, we’ll just run with imperfect!

At this tutorial where I got my idea from, she pours a simple syrup on top of the cake, wraps wax paper around it to get it to stick, and puts it back into the freezer.  I don’t think this is a bad idea, but I didn’t do it.  I just wrapped mine fairly tightly (not enough to distort the cake shape) in plastic wrap and threw it back into the freezer.  This way the layers start to freeze together.

Once they’re frozen again (a couple hours) you can start to decorate!

(for this tutorial, I decided not to frost it, sorry! But you’ll get the idea how awesome it would look frosted, right??)

Place the bottom layer on your serving platter and cover with frosting

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Place the next layer on top:

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frost entire cake how desired!!

Then….  when you cut into it, it will look like this:

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(with frosting, it will look even better! and stay together better too)

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cut in half:

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and believe me when I say that no one is going to notice gaps, or that the lines aren’t perfectly matched, or any imperfection when they see a piece of cake that looks like this sitting on their plate!!

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So, was this helpful? I’d love feedback!  and, if you make a slanted stripes cake, I would LOVE to see it!!  post a picture on my Facebook wall, or email me a picture!

48 comments:

Carmen said...

Hey, with these directions it looks like even I can do it! Cool colors, too!

Autumn said...

Can't wait to get started! Great tutorial!

ballerina girl said...

Wow, I was wondering how you made the stripes. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

Love it, you are so creative! Im going to try this tonight, got a 2 year old birthday tomorrow!

Jenna said...

This is an awesome tutorial...now, if I were to have a chocolate and yellow 13 X 9 cake....would I follow the same basic principles, just...angled?

Kara k said...

@Jenna- I used 13x9 cake for black and yellow and froze them. I'm going to start the cutting/layering process today. I think I will start by cutting the full cakes in half so there are 2 squares. In the end I will have 4 square cakes but I will frost and stack them to look like the 13x9 again. I just think it will be easier to transfer the cut outs as a smaller size. But I am far from being a pro so I'm taking extra measurements to not ruin the cakes! Lol I'm sure you could do this with the cakes their full size....I'm just paranoid that I will break one!...frozen or not!

Lauren said...

Kara, how did it turn out?? I'd love to see a picture!

Jenna, I think that you could make it work with 9x13, same basic principles, in a rectangle shape instead of round. I think the corners would be the hardest because it wouldn't be one continuous motion like a round cake. I also would recommend Not a box cake, because they are so fluffy and not as stable.
Let me know how it turns out!

Robyn Rasmussen said...

I saw your construction cake months ago and thought it would be perfect for my sons 2nd b-day but I could not find it anywhere! I was so excited when a 30 minute search on Google your named popped up and there it was!!! (it's now been pinned) Can't wait to try and I will blog about the results, linking back to this of course! :)
Thanks!
-Robyn from http://tipsfromtheheart.blogspot.com

Sewing-Chick said...

Wow, this is awesome. Too bad I'm probably not good enough in the kitchen to pull it off :) My son sure would love it for his third birthday though! He loves all construction vehicles!d

Dalila said...

Wow,just came across your constuction cake on pinterest,your tutorial is fantastic and i cant wait to make the cake for my little boys 1st birthday! Thank you for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! I am so going to try this! My son's 2nd birthday is in 5 months... but I think I might try this just for fun sometime... I am sure my family will eat it! Thanks so much for the amazing idea!

Ali said...

Wow! I saw your construction cake and immediately thought 'wow that is absolutely awesome and I so wana make that for my son's birthday in September'! It was funny cos I was already thinking how amazing it was, and then I scrolled down to see the inside and kinda gasped out loud!! It was the icing on the cake... except it was the middle of the cake!! I couldn't get my head around how you did the middle, but then I saw you had done a photo tutorial, so the main reason for me commenting is to say thank you sooooooo much for taking the time to show us how to do this so clearly, its so kind of you to share your trade secrets!! I may have to try out a practise run soon just to make sure I'm up to the job before September comes around! Thanks :-)

Rios said...

This may be insulting to ask you this. Is it possible to make this cake with box cake mix and add the coloring? I am not the best cook, and I am a fan of the semi homemade recipies.

Lauren said...

Rios- definitely not insulting! I love me a box mix, keep lots in my cupboard! However, I think for this it might be too fluffy. Homemade are much more dense and would probably hold up better. But if you try a box, let me know how it turns out! Be sure they are all the way frozen before you cut, would be my tip.

Garretts said...

Lauren, thanks for posting these step by step instructions. I did my best to replicate your construction cake for my 2 year-old's party this past weekend. Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'll post a link on the original post, but wanted to go ahead and mention here that I used box cake mixes and then added gel coloring to tint the batter. I froze the layers overnight before cutting. I had it fall apart in a few areas, but then froze them again overnight before assembling. I would tell someone if not using a box mix is the only thing stopping you from trying this, don't. That being said, Lauren is most likely on the money here that a from scratch cake will be a bit more dense and less likely to have breakage. the other thing I would have done differently is measured my cake batter to ensure that my layers would be more even. I did level after cooling, but I had one black layer that was a taller than the other so when I put the cut yellow layers in it, it was a bit uneven. Frosting hid it, so it was no biggie.

Lynda said...

This looks fantastic! After all the layers are frozen together, do you ice the cake when it's frozen or after it has thawed out?

Lauren said...

Garretts, thank you so much for your insight and tips! I really appreciate it! I also found the cake, and I think it turned out awesome. I love the 2 cake look.

Lynda, I like to frost a chilled cake. Not necessarily straight from the freezer, but cold. I think they hold up better. I think a lot of it is personal preference.I hope this helps!

Jill said...

So much easier than I thought it would be. Thank you for the tutorial.

Kimmyk5771 said...

This is awesome! Wish I had seen it last year. I made a construction cake for my son's 2nd birthday last summer I created a board tonight with it but I can't find it - new to this pinterest thing!( and would have loved to have done the layered cake. Will have to do it this year - if I can decide on a theme. Think it's going to be planes - don't know how I'd do a layered one for that! Anyway - thanks for the tutorial with pictures. It's perfect!!!

Carol Vaughan said...

That is genius! I saw your construction cake on Pinterest which is how I ended up here.
Thank you so much for the tutorial, I hope I get to use it some day.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone every tried this with a rectangular cake? I have no idea how it would turn out or if possible with the angles. I want to do this but need to feed 50 people.

melba said...

love this idea, i will make my son’s cake like this. love it. thanks for the tutorial

Anonymous said...

Help! I made this cake for my 2 year old's party tomorrow but I can't find the milk chocolate rocks anywhere! I tried Walmart, Target, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Scheels, Hy-vee. Anyone know where I an get them
? Also if the party's @ 3 tomorrow can i take it iut of the freezer in the am to frost it & it will be thawed by 3?

MargeryB said...

Trouble finding the rocks too, to the most recent Anon, if you come back, did you find them? Tomorrow I'm going to check a candy store we have that's not too far, but if they don't have them, the closest place I have found is 2hrs away. :( Might have to improvise, but for sure going to give this a try. :)

Stacey Mahan said...

Great instructions! Thank you so much! I did it with rectangle pans and box mix cake and it worked so easily. Thanks again for posting this great info. My four year old son is thrilled! Now on to the cool decorating part. :)

Rachelle said...

Hey! I want to make this for my son's birthday. If the party is Sunday afternoon- how do you I suggest I go about making the cake? Make the cake portion Friday night and freeze.. Cut the cake into layers on Saturday and freeze...Frost and decorate the cake Sunday morning and leave out until party?? Any other suggestions? How long do you think it will take the frozen cake to defrost? Do you store it in an airtight container while defrosting?

Thanks for the help!!

L'Albicocca said...

Hi Lauren! My name is Miriam and I'm from Italy! In this days I want to try this recipe!!!! Thank you for sharing it with us! Ciao ciao

Anonymous said...

I'm about to make our "practice cake" in preparation for our son's third birthday this weekend! I'm doing a trial run with a box cake dyed blue and red. Thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions! I'm excited to get started!

allsparkledup.com said...

Thank you for your terrific tutorial, Lauren! My son followed your instructions to make a cake for his nephew. It turned out great! I posted about it on my blog. :) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

After cutting the cakes, before frosting, could you leave the cakes in the freezer for 2-3 days before frosting? I need to make my cakes ahead of time so I am just wondering if this might pose a problem?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone done this with 2, 9" pans? Its just not as thick so im hoping it would work. Also, you can find the chocolate rocks on amazon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving all this info. It helped out so much. Im in the process of making mine right now. You broke it down so well i think its going to turn out prefect.

Alexis said...

This was a great tutorial. I was going to make a construction cake for my son and got so excited when I saw the inside of yours! Your tutorial worked perfectly. I had 9" pans and there was no problem. I made my cakes (and cut them) two or three days before I was ready to frost them and it was fine to leave them frozen for a couple days. Thank you! Thank you!

Kim H. said...

Thank you SOOO much for making this tutorial! It was surprisingly easy to do. I made the construction cake for my son who turned 3 today. I was looking for something cute, but mostly simply and this was perfect. HE LOVED IT! Such a creative cake.

Kim H. said...

PS: I love that you made this cake a year and a half ago and it's still being circulated and used for other parties!

Ellen-Marie said...

Fantastic post! I am totally giving this a go. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the ideas and the steps that you shared! I was very nervous about trying this, but everything came out great with your directions. FYI for anyone who is trying this while working around a milk allergy: this white cake recipe also works great when you substitute shortening for the butter and soy milk for regular milk.

Anonymous said...

This is the most amazing thing! I am seriously so impressed! For anyone else who is considering making this with a box mix and worried about the fluffiness, do a Google search for "White Almond Sour Cream Cake" or WASC cake. It is a doctored cake mix recipe that comes out much denser. And you can use the basic recipe with any flavor box mix, it doesn't have to be white and you can add vanilla instead of almond extract.

Anonymous said...

I love this. My 21 year old autistic daughter bakes and decorates birthday cake for children living in homeless shelters. We are going to try this.

Anonymous said...

I love this. My 21 year old autistic daughter bakes and decorates birthday cake for children living in homeless shelters. We are going to try this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!
My 23 y.o.son will be so happy for hos contruction cake!! (soon done with his education to be a driver)
//Susanne - Sweden

Flora Paredes said...

I made your construction cake yesterday for my engineer friend, and I made it vegan! It was a hit. ����
Thank you sooooo much for coming up with the idea and for the really detailed tutorial! Here are pics of the cake;
http://instagram.com/p/pq7M2XCco4/
http://instagram.com/p/prGuhHCcrm/

Melissa Morasco-Housel said...

I made this cake as a trial for my son's birthday cake but every time we cut into it, it fell apart. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Kirsten said...

Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I just used it to make a construction cake for my little man. So helpful! I'm so excited to see how it turns out tomorrow when we cut into it. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I just made my son's construction cake and I'm super excited to see how it turns out tomorrow! He LOVED helping me put it together and decorate it! Thanks again for the great tutorial - it was very easy to follow.

Nefeli said...

I loved this cake from the moment I saw it, but I had some problems with the instructions. The only amount of the recipes that was enough was the frosting. Both cake recipes made only one layer cake!!!! Also I think you should have mention that we should note the way each cake goes on top of the other as mine was definitely not stripes but squares... :-(
Also the chocolate cake did not turn out so good. Maybe I did something wrong...
After all, the result was impressive so thank you for the tutorial!

Natalie said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I made a caution-tape cake for my son's 2nd birthday (very similar to yours!! Pinterest is amazing), and your tutorial was great. My stripes aren't nearly as even as yours, but we all loved the effect!!
https://vegetablog.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/bs-second-birthday-cake/
~Natalie from vegetablog

Ashley said...

Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I've never made a cake - ever! I was just in love with your construction cake though and wanted to try it. I followed your recipe for the chocolate cake and the original Cooks Illustrated white cake recipe and your directions to a T - except that I scaled up for a 14" cake pan. My cake was phenomenal. Friends who are serious bakers were asking me for my recipes! I couldn't have loved it more. My little one has a milk allergy (baked milk goods are ok), so for the frosting I made a chocolate frosting from coconut cream, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and unsweetened cocoa powder. And it was so cute! Thank you very much for taking the time to share this in such phenomenal detail that a first-time baker could follow it and be so successful :)