When Bill and I got married, we had his best friend’s mother, Janice, make our wedding cake and we loved it! So now, just about 2 years later, I was thrilled to be asked to make a birthday cake for Janice’s surprise 60th birthday party.
Valerie was making the arrangements for the cake and the design was going to be a full sheet cake, carved into the shape of an open book. Half of the cake would be chocolate and half yellow and it all would be covered in cream cheese icing.
I’ve made a full sheet cake once before so this time I knew to allow plenty of time and as much space as I could. I also picked up this tiered cooling rack that really saved my life. Best $10 ever. For this size cake, I was going to make four 9×13 cakes that would then be stacked and pushed together to make one huge cake. The major issue I had last time was handling the cakes – flipping them out, cooling them, moving them, etc. But this rack really helped me!
I made this cake over the course of 3 days. On the first night, I baked the cakes. I made 2 yellow cakes and 2 chocolate cakes. Each cake was a 1.5 recipe, so a total of 6 batches of cake. This is the first time I ever wished for 2 KA mixers! I did the chocolate cakes first and had one`batch in the mixer and one batch in a mixing bowl with my hand mixer. After they were baked and cooled, I did the yellow cakes. Five and a half hours later, it was 1:30am and I was done for the night.
The next evening, I made a double batch of cream cheese frosting. I filled the cakes, stacked them, and pushed them together to make a 12×18 sheet. Next up was carving this into the shape of an open book. I found a few inspiration pictures on the web and I even grabbed a large book off my shelf and opened it up to get a good idea. I was nervous about the carving because I didn’t want to over-carve and be left with a too-small cake! After I got it into a good shape, I covered it with a crumb coat of icing and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I made a triple batch of cream cheese frosting and covered the cake. I used an icing comb like this one [credit] around the edges of the book to make the “pages”. It was a little tricky because I had to have the icing thick enough so that the comb wouldn’t scrape too much and show the cake, but I only had a half inch edge on my cake board to work with.
After the cake was iced, I tinted some fondant using Teal gel and rolled out some thin strips. I put these around the edges of the cake directly on the board – they were the “cover” of the book. Finally I tinted some of the left over icing using Teal, and some using Golden Yellow. I used a stencil to do the decorative swirls and then added the inscription.
I was told that the cake went over well and it was delicious – which I’m always happy to hear!!