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Make a whimsical cake

whimsical cakes

“Whimsical” cakes are the kind that the Mad Hatter served at his tea party in Alice in Wonderland – or at least, the kind that he would have served if Lewis Carroll or Disney had come up with them. The name could apply to any creatively decorated cake, but it primarily refers to funky, tilting cakes that are constructed in such a way that they look as though they might topple over at any moment. Usually finished with bright colors and patterns, whimsical cakes are visually fun.

Professional cake bakers make them frequently for parties and weddings, but they’re not something that the average cake baker takes on at home on a regular basis. Evening up a regular layer cake can be a challenge, so it’s hard to imagine trying to get the balance for a whimsical cake down. It’s not impossible, though. Cake Journal has a fantastic guide on how to make a two-tiered whimsical cake at home. You just need some patience to carve through all that excess cake and a sturdy pound cake (baked in round pans) to work with.

I know what I’ll be trying the next time I’m due to make a birthday cake!


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  • LinC
    July 10, 2007

    It seems like such a shame to waste so much cake (especially pound cake). I wonder if it would be possible to bake in a series of Pyrex bowls proppped up by bunched aluminum foil. Then all you would have to do is to level the bottom and slice for layers. The sides would be curvy, but I think they would look fun, though maybe the sheet of fondant icing wouldn’t go on as easily.

    The Cake Journal site is fun! I liked the “chocolate transfers” decorating the cupcakes in the article above the one about the whimsical cakes.

  • Ruth
    July 19, 2007

    But when you’re finished carving, you get to make cake balls!

  • chronicler
    July 19, 2007

    heh, exactly Ruth! Or maybe shortbread! It is the perfect time of year for these. This is not the way I’ve done these cake Nic, but neat! Thanks.

  • Sharyn
    July 22, 2007

    I wonder if you could get a relatively similar result using a baking bowl, with less waste.

  • clew
    July 23, 2007

    Cake offcuts can always be used for trifle, too — my favorite old recipe describes itself as a good use for “spare cake”.

    Since you soak them in liqueur or jam, the offcuts can be a little crusty or even frozen without too much aesthetic damage.

  • Tina
    February 11, 2008

    I just wanted to say that you could always cut up the reamining pound cake and use it to dip into a delicous fondue if you didnt want to make trifle. Or you also use it to roll truffles in.

  • Brandy
    June 10, 2008

    i would like to make one of these cakes and i am wondering where you get the pans or do you just cut regular circles to make this…if so, is there an easy way to make it even? Or just patience.

  • Susana
    January 10, 2009

    I know that there are the whimsical cake pans already in the market. I would thank you if you can tell me where to by them. I have been looking for the whimsical cakes pans manufacture, ore al least the store where i can buy them.
    Thank you very much.

  • Gage
    January 22, 2009

    i love this stuff

  • phee
    May 26, 2009

    i’m thinking of using a poundcake recipe in a big muffin tray proped up with alfoil as linc suggested then for the second layer use normal sized muffin tin. funky mini cakes.

  • Joy
    August 29, 2009

    Susana, I found a website that has whimsical cake pans. They sell a set of 5 pans for about $119 (if I remember correctly). The website is http://www.suppliesforcakes.com. Hope it’s what you’re looking for.

  • Des
    June 19, 2010

    Hi. I am quite new to your blog, and wonder where it’s been all my life.
    Though this post is old, I figure I would put in my two-cents.
    I work at a bakery that makes whimsical cakes and we don’t cut the cake. We form the tilt via the filling in the cake. That is, the mousse or whipped cream (or what have you; though this does not work for all filling types such as fudge, less stable mousses, etc) is asymmetrically filled so that the cake layer is tilted without the cake being cut away or shaped. Admittedly this also means that when one cuts the cake into slices, different parts of the cake will have different amounts of filling. Just sharing our secret to ease and cost-effectiveness.
    By the way, thank you for all the recipes you’ve provided me, I find them wonderful AND easy to veganize/gluten-free-ize/dairy-free-ize (my sister’s husband is my constant amusing challenge).

  • Joy
    September 6, 2011

    I really like the way you chose to decorate the two cakes.

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