Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wedding Cake Part 3 - decorating

So we've baked the cakes, made our frostings, and now we're ready to decorate!  This is my favorite part of the whole process.  This decoration style is so easy but it looks very nice too.  You don't need any fancy tools at all.  Just a ziploc bag (I used a piping bag but this is not necessary), spatula, and a butter knife.  How simple is that?  Shhhhhhh, don't tell anyone that it's a piece of cake ;) (oh geez, sorry for that one)
To start, you will need some sort of cake stand, board, or even plate.  I knew I wanted to use a cake board because I wanted to use the pretty cake stand at home, but then transfer it to a portable one after that.  Unfortunately I only had 10 inch boards, so there is an unsightly 1 inch rim around the entire cake.  If I were making this for real I would have made sure I had the correct size.  
Cake board - check
Then you want to spread a small amount of frosting in the middle of the board so the cake doesn't slip around.  Then put your first layer down.
shadow cake

In order to have a cake that does not crack and is flat on top you need to trim your layers so they are flat.  Fortunately, 2 of my 3 layers came out flat after they cooled so I only had to trim one.  Take a large knife (I used a bread knife) and start to trim very thin layers off the top of the cake.  Only do small layers at a time.  You can always take more off, it's harder to add them back.
Flat cake
Next, I took the coffee buttercream and spread half of it in the middle of this layer with a spatula.  The layer ended up being about 1/2 inch thick.  The frosting was pretty thick, but if it wasn't I would recommend using a piping bag and piping a "rim" of frosting around the outside and then filling the middle.  This prevents the frosting from oozing out the sides from the weight of the cake.
It doesn't have to be perfect
Now add your next layer.  Because I laid the first cake with the flat side down, I put this one on flat side up.  This helps create a flat cake at the end.
Spread another layer of coffee buttercream.

And place the final cake layer on top, flat side up.
Because I didn't pipe the rings around the outside of the layers there are some gaps.  I took the remaining coffee buttercream and roughly filled in those spots.  I also spread a thin layer of the coffee buttercream all around the edges.  This is your "crumb coat".  It's easiest to work with cold cakes to precent crumbs from getting in the frosting, but this is another trick.  You want to spread a thin layer of the frosting all over the cake.  
roughly fill the edges, then crumb coat
Crumb coat the entire cake
Now put this in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.  This hardens the buttercream and creates a sort of barrier against crumbs while you decorate the rest.

After 30 minutes, take your cake out and use your vanilla buttercream to spread a thick layer of frosting over the entire cake.  I started with the top, and then did the sides.
I had to use a few layers of buttercream, especially on the sides.  You can see in the above picture that it's very thin and you can see the cake through it.  Just add another layer of frosting to the sides and you're good to go.  You want this to be kind of thick so you can do the next part.

Take a butter knife or a bent spatula like I used and drag it vertical up the sides to create a "painted" look. This looks ends up looking kind of rustic.  Work your way around the cake until you've done the whole thing.
Now take your spatula and smooth the top as best as you can.

Next you're going to pipe the bottom border.  I chose to do simple dots.  This fills in any holes you might have at the bottom and helps create a finished edge.  Tip - to fill your piping bag/ziploc you can put it inside a large glass and use a knife or spatula to put the frosting inside.
This keeps your hands clean and ensures that you don't overfill your piping bag.  I would recommend only filling it 1/2 way or it can get messy and hard to work with.  Take your bag out of the glass, use a scissors to snip the end off (about 1/4 inch), and twist the bag to force the frosting down to the bottom.  

Now, take your piping bag and pipe small dots all along the bottom edge.  You shouldn't need to squeeze the bag too hard.  To prevent the little "spikes" that you can get when you pull up on the dots place the bag next to the cake, squeeze a little dot, pull up slightly as you stop squeezing, and move to the side for your next dot.  If you want, practice on some plastic wrap or tin foil before you start to get the hang of it.  
You're almost done!  I had some silk flowers that I wanted to play with so I just trimmed a few of the flowers off and placed them around the cake to give it a "weddingy" look.
Now all you have to do is cut and serve!  Easy peasy!!!!
After it was all said and done, it turned out delicious.  Martha says the cake should have a ganache layer and simple syrup.  I didn't do either of these due to lack of time and it was still wonderful.  The cake was tender, yet sturdy enough to trim and decorate.  The coffee flavored buttercream was sensational!  I'm not completely sold on the italian buttercream for decorating yet.  I have to give this some more thought but I'm a little worried that if it's warm outside, the delicate frosting will completely melt.  I'm going to do some looking into this one to see if there's anything I can do to keep the silkiness of the frosting, but make it hold up a little better.  Overall, this was amazing.  I plan on using this cake again for sure, even if it's not "the one".


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At March 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM , Blogger Joshua Smith said...

Everyone at work loves it!!!


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What's Annie Making?: Wedding Cake Part 3 - decorating

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Wedding Cake Part 3 - decorating