Lookee, what I got.
I saw this pan months ago on Baking Bites (I searched her page forever under "Gear and Gadgets" and couldn't find the post but she has posted about other Williams Sonoma cake pans.) Of course, being the Cookie Club Sponsor at my school; I had to get it.
And it sat. Why you ask? Because I read W.S. site's mixed reviews about it. Hmmmm. How to accomplish this cake task without wasting my time and ingredients?
Step One: Purchased Wilton's Cake Release - many complained about the cake sticking. Well look at all that detail...of course you can expect sticking. Some said to use the recipe on the back of the box....others said 'don't use THAT recipe on the box...use a brownie mix....ugh!
Step Two: Williams Sonoma produced their own cake mix to use with the pan. Ok, will try it...but I really hate box mixes they all have the same chemical under-taste to me
Step Three: Bake the cake box mix according to their directions and it should look like this:
Here are my observations:
1. The box mix tells you to FLOUR the greased pan....ewwwww look at the 'ashy' residue to the cake on the right (above) yet the recipe on the box tells you to dust the greased pan with unsweetened cocoa (that looks better).
2. The box mix raised much like a cake (I should have leveled off the tops like you do when you make a layer cake....my sixth graders were too impatient for that step plus I forgot.
3. The homemade recipe off the box baked much like a brownie with a shiny, flat and crackly top.
4. The box mix came out of the pans with no problem at all....too bad they looked so ugly. Actually they looked worse but I dusted them with some cocoa with a basting brush and they still came out like above.
5. The homemade recipe took some 'banging' to get it out. The first pan came out eventually. The second one- half fell out, half remained in the pan. I had to do 'surgery' to get it out. All I can say is....thank god it was able to be hidden underneath the frosting as the bottom layer.
6. A LOT of butter was used to make both of these cakes. I'd say roughly a POUND of butter each. Two stick for the cake...and two sticks for the frosting. Speaking of which....the homemade frosting....no brainer....anything with two sticks of butter with powdered sugar...YUM. Yet the frosting from the box. It was vanilla flavored powdered sugar. For it called for the same amount of butter and milk added to the FAKE smelling vanilla powdered sugar. ACK....hated the taste.
7. Perhaps the frosting could have used less milk...although it was soft for both....as soon as you put the top 'cookie' on the frosting....the oozing started. QUICK....start cutting!!!!
8. Oh yeah THAT, the cutting. What a hot mess. The picture seen here was NOT how my cake sliced. If you remember one of the pictures above....I had 4 cracks working on one. And I took the picture pretty much after I placed it on top. All I can say is that thank gawd I wasn't serving this to impress a party....I would have been embarrassed. The sixth graders didn't care. They were drooling over the sugar fix they were about to satisfy at 8:30am....BREAKFAST of CHAMPIONS! Two got a piece of each to try for comparison sake.
9. The kids picked the homemade recipe from the box as a better tasting one! Phew!
10. Clean up with the pans....the cake mix stuck very little and clean up wasn't so bad with hot water, soap and good sponge. The homemade recipe...OMG...I soaked and scrubbed and soaked and scrubbed. I finally had to resort to a toothbrush for all those nooks and crannies.
It amazes me over the range of reviews from "horrible-the pans are going back" to "looks better than the picture" They all ranged from using the mix to a store box cake mix. ALL over the board. So what do I tell you? Buy it or not?
Well, I won't be making this anytime soon...I am still exhausted over it. 3 days of demonstration to my students. But since I see that there are people out there who are making this 'nicely' I feel challenged to get it right. I am hopeful to find the right combination. So if you are up to a challenge and looking for a fun thing to make with your kids get the pans....not the mix. Start with the recipe on the box and try other recipes....unless you are a box cake fan...ick. Not me.
Purebred Cookies Rock!