Today was my daughter's last day of 1st grade...and her teacher's birthday! Her teacher has been incredible this year! Very in tune to the kiddos, open with the parents and especially sweet to my princess! It was a special day that called for a cake!!
However, this cake almost didn't come to be. A few days ago we had my son's birthday and I made him his construction cake, in two days I'm making 4 dozen special cupcakes for a sweet friend's baby shower, and my husband is in his last week of school...so, it's a little crazy around here! I needed this cake to be easy, quick and yet stylish for my daughter's teacher. I also knew I couldn't use fondant because I just didn't have the time to cover and decorate a cake (I still take way too long doing fondant cakes!). SO, buttercream ruffles it was!
Funny side story...when my husband saw these pictures he said, "Hey, it looks like a whole bunch of fig newtons stacked on top of each other!" LOL! Nice honey! ;) But, then, it does! :)
Anyhoo, moving on! :)
There are lots of pics of these cakes out and about now. It's not a new technique and you can see THIS video for a simple how-to. One thing that really helped me keep things straight was to go around the cake with a ruler and make a vertical line in the crumb coat every inch so I had guides when moving back and forth with the petal icing tip. I also found that if I sat eye level with the cake I could watch the ruffles and know when to keep moving the icing tip up so the ruffles wouldn't squish too much. Oh, and one more tip...if you get your cake with the crumb coat nice and cold, then you can put the fat tip of the icing tip right on the cake and slide it up the side of the cake as you move back and forth creating the ruffles.
For the top I did a back and forth motion to make a large flower looking design. I started from the outside and worked my way in.
Here's where you can see my "lesson learned"! In the pic above, if you zoom in/click on it you can see some streaking in the buttercream. I used my Swiss-meringue buttercream recipe for the cake and began adding Wilton gel colors to try and get this purple-periwinkle color (what I believed was her favorite color). This was the first time I'd colored buttercream for the outside of a cake. What was unexpected was as the buttercream sat (inside the piping bag or inside the mixing bowl) the color started separating. It was THEN I remembered reading something on Cake Central a few years ago about when you color a meringue based buttercream, it's highly recommended to use candy colors. The reason is because the color attaches to sugar crystals and when you make a meringue based buttercream, you are dissolving the sugar crystals into a syrup so there aren't any sugar crystals. And, because it's water based, it doesn't emulsify well with all the butter in it. So, when you want to color meringue based buttercreams, use candy colors to be sure you won't get streaking!- otherwise you risk having to throw out a big batch of buttercream. In order to "save" this one, I let the frosting firm up in the fridge, then took a slightly damp brush and brushed in some of the streaking so it wasn't so obvious...although, it didn't fix it all the way...but enough! It's the thought that counts right?! :)
I don't see too many of these cakes with flowers on them, but that's what I wanted to do. I decided to make a magnolia fantasy flower with my ruffle flower center. I LOVE modeling chocolate! I made this flower 2 hours before I put it on the cake and took it over to the school. I cut out the petals and shaped them in my egg carton then set it in the fridge. After about 15 min, I took them out, and formed them into the flower shape using melted chocolate to attach the petals to each other. I then put it back in the fridge for a half hour to set up...and voila, a flower! Same thing with the center. It's black modeling chocolate. You can use THIS post for the how to. Of course for this center, I used little circle cutters so the ending flower would be small. To speed up the hardening of it, put it in the fridge. Go with modeling chocolate whenever possible - no waiting for gumpaste to dry!!
I guess that's it for now! :) Thanks for looking!