A cake recipe long ago in a galaxy far away...
June 28, 2014 5:19 AM   Subscribe

I have this amazing Star Wars ships silicone moulded cake pan. I have no idea what kind of cake works best with it. What cake recipes work best with fancy moulds? Help me eat the Death Star!
posted by Katemonkey to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Rose Levy Beranbaum (the undisputed queen of scientific cake-baking) made a PDF booklet of recipes adapted for Lékué's line of silicone cake pans; you'll have to check the capacity of your pans against her recommendations but those should be a good start.
posted by bcwinters at 6:12 AM on June 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

That's pretty cool. My sister does fancy cakes and cake decorating. She swears by boxed mixes. Find the one you like the best and you're in business.

Seriously, so many of the cake decorating folks use cake mix. They even did it on Top Chef for a wedding challenge, and it came out fine!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:16 AM on June 28, 2014

so many of the cake decorating folks use cake mix

(If the point is decoration, not taste, a cake mix is a much more reliable choice; less work, repeatable result, and cheaper. The manufacturers aren't putting in all those strangely named ingredients to mess with you, they're there because they make the product more consistent at scale.)
posted by effbot at 6:49 AM on June 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

My Wilton instructor also endorsed box mixes and instructed us to add an extra egg for stability, especially when using fancy/intricate pans.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:04 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would highly recommend Cook's Illustrated's yellow cake recipe, and here is why: it is pretty dense and has a nice tight, small crumb. No big air bubbles, no fluffy fragility. That'll likely lead to a decent, clean unmolding AND a good, solid finished cake.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:19 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would do something intended for a bundt cake pan - they tend to hold their shapes very well.
posted by something something at 8:34 AM on June 28, 2014

If you are not opposed to using a mix, you can see the Betty Crocker Bundt Cake Mix has been successfully used for complex mould. You may have a hard time getting the bundt version in the UK though. In that case, I would do a trial run with this (metric) recipe from Pink Whisk.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:02 AM on June 28, 2014

We always use a pound cake in our lamb pan (for Easter). The one we specifically use is the Old Dominion Pound Cake. You can leave out the nuts if you want to.
posted by kathrynm at 11:14 AM on June 28, 2014

The one bit of advice that I'd add: make sure you don't use cheap butter or margarine. Check the fat content if you can. Cheaper products may have extra water or liquid in them, which makes extra steam, which can make an otherwise okay cake recipe tend to stick, especially in tube pans or other shapes that have less area for the extra moisture to escape.

One way that I check for fat content--if it's not explicit on the label--is to check the calorie count. More calories means higher fat content which means better for baking. In the U.S., the typical "serving" on the nutrition label is one tablespoon, and seems to be pretty consistent across different products, so it's not hard to compare.

Being in a major U.S. midwestern city, we get mass-market butter, "European style" butter (expensive, but better for baking), local farmer butter (generally better for baking, too), and cheap no-name butter (usually lousy for baking). Margarine varies--sometimes cheap stick margarine may actually have a fairly good fat content, you just have to look and compare.
posted by gimonca at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2014

A surprising number of people are allergic to a common ingredient in cake mixes: propylene glycol. Just putting that out there to raise awareness. Maybe avoid that if you can.

(It's also common in flavorings, colorings, and frostings).

People with this allergy tend to focus on skin products -- lotions, concealers, hair products -- and wouldn't necessarily think to check on cake mixes.
posted by amtho at 8:44 PM on June 28, 2014

Response by poster: So I had a good look at bundt cake recipes, especially the photos, and decided that was the way to go. Cake mix is...weird over here. And I don't like plain vanilla cake, so I'm even more weird.

But I halved this maple bundt cake recipe (since I had all the ingredients in my house), and ta-da I can eat the Death Star.

In the future, I'll reduce the amount I put in each mould, because they rose up a bit too much, which means that half of that maple bundt recipe will totally give a Death Star, Millennium Falcon, Star Destroyer, and X-Wing. Which is AWESOME.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:30 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

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