Shamrock Cake

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
–Irish Blessing

Finally.  It’s cake time.  I found the inspiration for this cake on Pinterest, and the original link is here.  She doesn’t give a tutorial, and I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll give some pictures and tips.  You can do this with any color scheme – rainbow is very popular these days, too!

I thought this would be a great thing to do with Ellie and Adam when they came up to DC for the circus.  When they got here, I mixed up the cake batter (I used one box of white cake mix, but homemade is certainly great, too) and separated it into  6 small bowls and mugs, 1/2 cup of batter per container.  I had some batter left; probably enough to make at least two more layers, but that would have made for a disastrously tall cake!  Then I dropped varying amounts of green food coloring into each of them to get deeper and darker greens and let Ellie and Adam mix them up.  (I took the original blogger’s suggestion to leave one layer white, but I don’t think I will next time.  It’s just a matter of preference.)

I can’t tell you the precise number of drops of food coloring per bowl, except for the lightest green, which has only one drop.  I do wish I could have gotten darker greens at the end for more contrast, but this turned out just fine.  I suspect food gel would give you a more customizable array.

Next, I poured each bowl into a greased 5-inch cake pan.  The original blogger used 6-inch pans, and I can’t say really why I bought 5-inch, but either would be ok.  I only had two, so I started with the darkest two batters, since they would be the bottom layers.  I baked them at whatever temperature the box said, but for much less time.  I started with 10 minutes, and when they weren’t done, I kept checking every two minutes or so.  I think I found 14 minutes to be the perfect amount of time.  However hot your oven runs, they’re done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

Once they’re done, they have to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.  This is where the patience comes in (the kids were long in bed by this time).  After 10 minutes, turn them out on a wire rack to cool completely, and then regrease and refill the cake pans with the next lightest batters.

The cake on the right had a slight dome to it, and since it was the base layer and I wanted it to be flat, I just took a serrated knife and cut the dome off.

Repeat until all your layers are done.

Next is frosting.  I used canned vanilla frosting, and it took about a can and a half.  I cannot emphasize enough the cardinal rule of frosting cakes: make sure the layers are completely cool before frosting.  Otherwise, you’ll have crumby frosting, and no one likes crumby frosting.

Start with the darkest layer and cover the flat top with a thin coating of frosting.  Build up, from darkest to lightest.

When you frost the top layer, you can let the frosting fall over the sides and smooth it out.  I found that it was easiest to sort of do a thin “base coat” of frosting on the sides and then go back over it with more frosting to make it look pretty.  For decoration, I used the aerosol frosting from Wilton; I found it at Target in the baking aisle, but I’ve seen it in the grocery store, too.  It’s like EZ Cheese, but frosting.  Awesome.  It comes with four different frosting tips.  For the base, I used the star tip, and for the shamrock, I used the thin piping tip.  It was hard to get used to the pressure it took to make the frosting come out, so I ended up with more green on top than I would have liked.  But it worked out perfectly, because I just took a toothpick and swirled the edges of the shamrock into the white of the frosting underneath and got this neat textured look on top!

After the circus and the museum and the butterflies on Saturday, we had dinner at Red Robin and then came home for dessert.  The kids were super excited and, I’m not going to lie, so was I.  I couldn’t wait to cut into it, and I wasn’t disappointed:

I was so in love.  The kids were thrilled, and they gobbled it up, along with a little vanilla ice cream!  It was delicious!

You guys, this is so easy, you can do it for any holiday or color scheme you can think of.  I’d love to see pics if you attempt this!

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