The example in the cake is a "5" but then if you were to use a 7 or a 4, it'd probably be a good idea to put the numbers in upside-down, then flip the cake to decorate it. I was thinking about musical notes and all of the other fun stuff you could hide in the cake, and I really wanted to try it.
Then reality struck:
1) I don't have any cookie cutters. I know; it's difficult to believe. But back when we downsized to move into the trailer, I got rid of EVERYTHING, including my collection of cookie cutters.
2) I don't have the Gigantor pan (which is a Wilton Long Loaf Pan, retailing for $15-20) in which she baked her cakes, nor was I particularly motivated to buy one. Or cookie cutters.
So I had a different idea, and here's what I did.
First of all, I did NOT put the batter in five bags and pipe it. I just blorped it down in spoonfuls, then used a knife to swirl each of the three layers. Also, I only used two cake mixes total, rather than the four called for in the original recipe.
After I trimmed the top off, I cut off the edges and then cut the cake in half lengthwise.
After I did this, I realized that instead of putting the insert in "right side up," I needed to lay it down. The batter only barely covered it, but once it was cooked, the cake had risen enough to cover it completely, though with no wiggle room (meaning, I couldn't keep an extra amount in the bowl to lick).
Crumb coating. Since I was using fondant, this wasn't a "must," but especially with white frosting, starting with a crumb coat makes the outer frosting look smoother and less muddy.
See? So clean and beautiful.
This rolled fondant recipe is the one I always use. It's super simple, and it tastes good. Well, that's a relative proposition. If you're one of those people who doesn't like things that are super sweet, you probably wouldn't like fondant. But homemade fondant is miles away better than store-bought, which a friend said tastes chemical-y. This stuff doesn't. It's just really sweet.
The good news is that even if you don't like fondant, using it helps seal in the moisture of the cake AND the frosting. You know how some frosting develops a slight "shell" when it's been exposed to the air? A cake covered with fondant won't do that.
Then, also, there is the benefit of having a smooth surface to the cake. You can do that with frosting, if you're super patient and/or talented, though. I mostly do it because it's fun.
Someone asked me if this was a King Cake. I thought of that as I was coloring it, but it also has orange in it, so it's not quite the right palette.
I made 4 colors of fondant, rolled it out, and sliced it with a pizza cutter.
Did this bundle thing.
I really do like the way this turned out. I used the extra fondant in some chocolate chip cookie things, thinking it'd make for a nice color. But instead, it just melted and made the cookies super chewy. That works, too. :)