The beauty of the half sphere cake is that it can be baked in such a way that no carving is needed. Here is an owl cake, a fish cake, a beach ball cake, a Super Mario cake, and breast wishes cake, all made from simple half spheres:
The easiest way to bake a half sphere cake is in a bowl. A regular stainless steel prep bowl works but I use and recommend the following 8” stainless steel hemisphere pan (Fat Daddio’s brand), because it has the thick gauge of a good quality cake pan. The thickness of the metal helps buffer the heat so that the cake does not get over-baked on the outside.
- 8” hemisphere pan
- 8” round cake pan or ring (for nesting the bowl mold)
- cake batter
- oil & flour to grease & flour the baking pan
- plastic wrap
- cake filling
- small offset spatula
- buttercream (I use American buttercream. The recipe is in my book.)
- wood turntable or cake wheel
1. Bake the cake upside down in a bowl. No pan liner is needed; just be sure to grease & flour the bowl before pouring in the batter. I also use a heating core for this shape to prevent the outsides of the cake from browning too much, and I grease & flour that inside and out too.
2. Once the cake is baked, cooled, and sliced into layers (watch my cake slicing video), line the same bowl with plastic wrap and begin assembling the cake in the bowl using my cake filling method, which involves alternating layers of cake with layers of filling right inside the bowl.
3. Once the cake is filled to the top of the bowl, cover it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the cake is cold enough to release from the pan.
4. De-panning the cake should be relatively easy since the bowl is lined with plastic wrap. Follow this link for my tutorial on how to release cold cakes from a mold. With a blow-dryer, if you heat the outside of the pan just a little and tug on the plastic, the cake ought to release itself.
5. Using a small offset spatula, crumb coat the cake with buttercream. I use an all-butter American-style version (butter + confectioner’s sugar + milk + vanilla). The recipe is in my book. Transfer the cake onto a working platform of some sort (a flat platter, a larger cardboard circle, an old cake board, or in this case, a pizza pan) to support cake while it’s being moved in and out of the fridge to be frosted. Chill the cake in the refrigerator until the buttercream is cold and no longer sticky.
6. Add a second coat of buttercream in the same manner and chill the cake again until the buttercream is cold and hard (15 minutes or more).
7. While spinning the cake on a turntable, scrape the rough edges off the cake with the flat end of a plastic bowl scraper. This only works if the cake is well-chilled so that the buttercream is firm.
8. Buff spatula marks away by rubbing the surface of the cake with a piece of clean paper towel while spinning the turntable.
9. Chill the cake again before running an offset spatula around the bottom to release it from its working platform. Then, transfer the cake to a serving platter before decorating it.
To make a full sphere cake, bake two half spheres. Level off one of the half spheres (above left) and fit it with a piece of cardboard to serve as the cake’s bottom. Frost both halves upside down then fit them together and smooth over the seam.
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