I wanted to make a relatively long cake to best represent a typical cruise ship, and have multiple decks. I figured the simplest way to get this shape would be to make 3 9x13 cakes, and cut them down the middle, giving me several 4 1/2" wide cakes which I could cut and stack. I've only worked with fondant once before, and I wasn't that impressed with it, so I wanted to focus on a better tasting cake and use regular frosting instead. This would make it a bit more difficult to make the necessary details to make it look enough like a cruise ship. So I set out to make some good windows...
In the end I made a couple hundred little blue windows and kept them in the freezer to prevent any melting or sticking together.
I took the cheap and easy route for the cake itself... boxed cake mix and jar frosting. Both of which came from Aldi at a great price and were much tastier than I had originally expected. I went off of Wilton's cake batter recommendations, which said a 9x13 wedding cake should be made with 7 cups of batter (about 1.5 boxes of mix for each). Each cake was baked at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. The biggest thing I learned was how to properly flour a pan. I came across a youtube instructional video that recommended putting a sheet of parchment paper (also greased & floured) in the bottom of the pan. This makes it MUCH easier to remove from the pan. I tried once without this parchment paper bottom layer, and ruined a cake trying to get it out of the pan.
When I started the assembly my cakes were nearly frozen, but eventually warmed up. This made frosting a bit difficult toward the end. I got most of the outside done with a frosting spreader, but had to finish up by piping it on, otherwise the blade would pull off bits of cake and it wouldn't stick.
Last but not least I stuck on the windows, which really made the cake look like a cruise ship, and added a fun chocolate touch to each piece. This was fun to build, and even better to eat.
Best of all, it tasted great, and looked good surrounded by more of our fancy buffet.
Happy Birthday Mom & Dad!