Baking a cake in a pyrex bowl

(9 Posts)
duckdodgers Thu 29-Mar-12 10:30:54

Well as the title says I need to do this as my DS wants a volcano cake for his forthcoming birthday. After some hours research Ive decided to bake 2 cakes in 2 pyrex bowls for the actual volcano. Im quite good at baking but have never done this before. It looks like the main things I have to remember to do is grease and flour (well I will use cocoa as it wil be a chocolate cake) the bowls well and use a slightly lower temperature and make sure the middle is cooked.

Was thinking of using a 1 and 2 litre bowl plus a cupcake on the top - I really dont know how much cake mixture to use - help! Was going to use a Nigella chocolate cake recipe which is a 200g flour/sugar combination - I dont know whether to double or treble the amounts to ensure I have enough. Plus what I really need to know is how much mixture to pour into the bowls - do you fill it right up or not??

I would think not as it will rise but really not sure.

Fillybuster Thu 29-Mar-12 10:53:30

Um....a few questions....

Why do you need 3 cakes for the volcano? Are you feeding hundreds of children?

Why do you want to bake in a pyrex bowl specifically?

I recently baked my DD's bday cake (needed the 'dress' part for a barbie cake) in a pyrex bowl. Like you, I'm an experienced competent baker, but this was all new.

To summarise my findings:

1. Do not bake a cake in a 2L pyrex bowl. It takes a stupendous amount of cake mixture (far more than Nigella suggests), takes hours to cook as the middle doesn't set even after the outsides are very very crunchy, doesn't rise sufficiently, except in the middle, and is basically a waste of time, money and ingredients.
NB A 2L pyrex bowl will produce a cake that looks a lot like a volcano on top, but I suspect that is not quite what you're after.

2. 1L pyrex bowl - will bake, but take a while. Fill it a lot higher than you think (ie more than 2/3rds the way up) - the middle will 'volcano' again, but overall you should achieve some decent height once you trim it. Do not tip it out of the bowl to cool - the weight of the top part will press down and it will sink (although it will lose some height anyway)

3. Instead of 3 bowl cakes, bake 2 or 3 9" sandwich tin cakes and use them to create the height at the bottom. Or, if you really want angled sides all the way, use a deep 10" cake tin, then add the 1L pyrex cake to the top.

4. Recipes: although I'm a nigella fan, I didn't think her 'birthday cake' (not chocolate) recipe worked well, despite her recommending it for this. If you search my thread history (or look in food) you'll see that I was given some great recipe advice by Stealthsquiggle and Marjory, who both bake cake professionally.

5. Finally, remember that applying lots of icing to the final result will enable you to hide any baking errors....so don't panic!

Good luck - and post pics when you're done.

duckdodgers Thu 29-Mar-12 12:10:09

Filly - thank you for such a good reply and you may have just saved me a lot of time and money as my planned efforts would probably turn out badly!!!!!!! No only feeding 12 children and a quite few greedy adults!

The 3 bowl thing was on one of the many many sites Ive checked out (I didnt want to buy an expensive cake tin just for this 1 cake, plus the Wilton dome one seems quite hard of to get hold off in the UK,) i.e big bowl cake at the bottom, smaller bowl cake on top of that and then cupcake at the very top, and as you said slap on the icing. But youre right, I was worried about it cooking in the middle.

Im going to go with your suggestion of the sandwich tin cakes for added height and the 1 litre bowl for the curve at the top. Re the 10 inch tin do you mean making a cake in it, and trimming it to make it a bit sloped?

I will have a look at your threads later at home (am at work) [embarassed]smile

How did your DDs cake turn out eventually?

Will definitely post a pic no matter what it turns out like, party is on 22 April.

Fillybuster Thu 29-Mar-12 12:15:37

My pleasure. Even the 1L cake on its own will be quite a lot for that many, but I appreciate it might look a bit small....for impact I'd do a 10" sandwich tin or deep cake underneath, and then yes, a bit of trimming to get the angle right.

Or (deep breath) don't both with the trimming and just build up the icing at the right points to create the impression of an angle....smile

Mine turned out brilliantly, thanks <boasts> although for technology-related reasons I still haven't got pics up.

Best other bits of advice were:

1. Freeze the cake before you trim or ice it. It makes it much easier to handle.

2. Do a 'crumb' layer of butter icing first, let it set, then do a second layer of decorative icing. It sounds like a faff, but is actually brilliant and makes the whole thing look so much better.

3. Cut the bowl cake in half, and ice it across the middle as well (in addition to icing between the 10" cake and bowl cake) - it's a lot easier to cut the cake without the whole structure collapsing and it tastes nicer, as otherwise you're offering people a very solid bit of cake with nothing to break it up.

Good luck smile

duckdodgers Fri 30-Mar-12 09:40:16

Yep Im going for height!grin

Freeze the cake? Never heard of that - so (stupid question alert) do I defrost it before icing or ice the frozen cake?

Whats a "crumb" layer? confused Planning on using chocolate ganache type icing mixed with crushed cookies to get a "rock" type effect.

Thats true as well about icing in the cake, I might have forgotten! Going to try and bake a protoype soon grin

Fillybuster Fri 30-Mar-12 16:08:56

Freezing the cake does 3 things
a) means you can bake it well in advance (spot the WOHM!)
b) makes it easier to cut/shape...but use a large, sharp knife and be patient
c) makes it easier/faster to ice if you're using butter icing, as the icing sets very quickly on the cold/frozen cake.

I tend to bake my various cakes up to 2 weeks in advance, then do the cutting a day or two in advance (putting everything straight back in the freezer), then make the icing up the day before and do an assembly job the night before. It turns into more of a colour-by-numbers activity with limited mess or room for error that way, which I find less worrying safer.

Crumb layer: this is like a first layer of buttercream icing you apply to give a smooth finish (and avoid getting cake crumbs everywhere) underneath either a second layer of buttercream or a layer of fondant. Basically, it seals in the cake and gives you a smooth finish to then build your icing on. That may be less important if you're going for the lumpy bumpy look anyway!!

Anything else I can help with? smile

duckdodgers Sat 31-Mar-12 09:29:02

Crumb layer, thats so obvious now grin

Youve been a great help so thanks again!! My DS is getting really excited now as Ive booked his party, hes 10 and never had a party before.

duckdodgers Sat 28-Apr-12 19:38:06

fillybuster it was a roaring success, thanks for all your help!

Check out picture Ive uploaded to my profile. smile

Flakita Fri 12-Oct-12 15:32:00

Wow, impressive Duckdodger! I must admit I had very little time and went for an easier option when my son wanted one for his 5th birthday. I baked a chocolate sponge in a roasting tray, covered it in green buttercream icing, put a shop-bought chocolate muffin (artfully shaped with a knife) on top slathered in strawberry jam, and then decorated with son's plastic toy dinosaurs and trees. Kids loved it!

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