Hello, fellow Hungry people! This post is a bit different from what I have been doing so far. Yep in this post, I admit I am not perfect, but hell who really is!? Last Sunday was my sisters’ baby Sprinkle. I was so excited about this because it was the perfect excuse for me to make another cake. Yay! I made a Lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream. It tasted good, I’ll completely admit that. No. It was delicious and I was so happy with how it turned out. BUT it was not smooth sailing all the way. It was through blood sweat and many tears that I got that cake finished, and yes, in the end, I was very happy with it. So now you’re wondering ‘Jesus Lauren what the heck happen to you and this cake!?’ Ok, it wasn’t that bad! Let’s just say if anyone has some great tips on how to make a perfect (or semi-perfect) drip or drizzle cake. I would love to hear because I definitely need the practice!
Step One – Pile up the layers with Lemon curd and Lemon Buttercream. Three beautiful layers, they look so pretty, don’t they? I got so excited seeing it all piled up and layered like this. Chuffed with myself and this doorstep of a cake!
Step Two – Frost outside of cake. Here’s is our first road block. Buttercream is too thick. Thick buttercream is perfect for the frosting in between the cake layers. However, for outside of the cake, I recommend having thinner and very smooth frosting. If your buttercream for all of outside of the cake is too thick it can be too hard to spread, even with a pallet knife. The layers will tend to move because of the force you need to put on the buttercream in order to spread it and make it smooth. You don’t want a crooked cake! The other issue I had here was that I needed to be a bit more patient and properly do a crumb coat. A crumb coat is the first coat you make with your buttercream, it seals in the crumbs from the cake. I’ve also heard the crumb coat called the ‘dirty icing’ (kinky!). Once you do this layer leave it to set for a little while, to let everything start to get firm into place. Your next layer will now go on much smoother without the crumbs and look a lot cleaner in the end. So yes, I missed this step because I’m an impatient person and I need to practise what I preach.
Step Three – The Gold Mist. I forgot to mention the other fail. (How could I!) My sister loves gold, so I wanted to make the whole cake gold. I bought a can of ‘Wilton Colour Mist in Gold’ from the happiest place on earth- Milly’s Kitchen. It’s a beautiful shimmery gold mist and would look amazing on fondant or even just a smaller cake/ cupcake. It’s an amazing product but doesn’t quite give you that solid gold colour that Pinterest so beautifully parades in front me every god. damn. day! Anyway, I spread the mist into/ around the buttercream a bit trying to give it that rustic, semi watercolour look, which kind of worked.
Step Four – Chocolate Ganache Drip/ Drizzle Attempts
Round One – Ganache too thin.. Not a lot else to say about this one except put it down to impatience.. again! (*rolls eyes at self*)
Round Two – Ganache too thick. I put the above (too thin ganache) in the freezer. FREEZER come on Lauren! So of course, it went too hard/ thick. Next time I will go for the fridge and be more patient. I was just too excited!
Step Five – Melt Down. Now at this point, it was about 11 pm and I had walked away from the cake, told the cake off, sobbed/ begged at the cake asking for it to look nice. But every time I looked at it all I could picture was a little Winnie The Pooh sitting on top of it. Which is not the theme I was going for.. at all! The Baby Sprinkle was at 10.30 the next morning. So to bed, it was.
Step Six – Marble. I left the cake covered overnight and woke up the next day with the inspiration to marble. And marble I did. I actually believe this is a great technique for getting the perfect marble / rustic look with your buttercream. I found it really easy to distribute the chocolate ganache evenly over the cake (well to my liking). Unfortunately, I was in such a rush to get the cake finished I don’t have a photo of my processes so you will just have to read my descriptions on how to get yourself out of this mess.
- Using a palette knife, start by scraping off some of the chocolate ganache or buttercream (whatever you have too much of on your cake). Put it in a bowl in case you need it for later.
- With a palette knife, holding it horizontal to the cake turn the turntable away from you. (If you don’t have a turntable get one, get one, get one – they make decorating a lot easier, mine is a Wilton one and it’s great). Hold the palette knife with light pressure on the cake and turn the turntable allowing the buttercream to spread with the chocolate ganache and create a marble effect. You can continue doing this until you are happy with the marble look. If you are wanting to go for a more rustic ‘naked’ look then I would suggest putting more pressure on the cake with your palette knife. Be careful not to go too far as it will be harder to get buttercream back on. This process may take a while but if you do it too fast you might end up with no frosting at all on the cake.
- Finally, to get a smooth even buttercream all over the cake take a ‘bench scraper’ and smooth the whole cake in the same motion you did with the palette knife. A bench scraper is basically a piece of plastic that is about 3 – 4 inches wide and roughly 5 – 6 inches long. This is about the height of the cake so it gives you the ability to evenly smooth out the whole width of the cake without missing too much.
Step Seven – Rosettes. To give the cake a more finished look and hide those messy bottom edges. Pipe some rosettes around the base of the cake. When piping the buttercream out of the piping tip, create the size of the star you want. To make the star bigger push hard on the piping bag and for a bit longer, to make it smaller, push bag lighter and more quickly. Then move the piping tip towards your rosette, to push the rosette in a bit and hold it in place and lift tip away. This way you won’t have extra pointy rosettes. To do my rosettes I used Wilton Star tip # 1B. But you can use anything you like, some tips I like to use are other star shapes or circles.
Step Eight – Glitter. It’s time to throw on some glitter (literally). Take your glitter or shimmer or sprinkles and pick up a bunch with your thumb and index finger in a pinching motion. Turn to your cake and FLICK the glitter at it. Then take another pinch of glitter and throw it at the cake. I know, sounds odd but it really does work, you’ve gotta try it. I did this with shimmer, glitter and these tiny gold crystal sprinkle like things. Like scattering beautiful gold fairy dust all over the cake. It also adds to the rustic look I was going for.
Step Nine – Flowers. I am very lucky, I have grown up with my mother being a florist, so access to beautiful flowers is never difficult. The bonus for this particular cake is that Mum arranged the flowers on the cake for me, and I could not have been more grateful. I think the best way to ensure you get the arrangement you want is to practise on a round plate first. Imagine the plate is the top of the cake and arrange the flowers like you would on the cake. Then simply move flower by flower from the plate to the cake. I know a lot of people use wire and things to poke into the cake, but I just make sure I cut most of the stem off the flower and the buttercream helps it to stay stuck.
Step Ten – Eat it. In the end, I’m very satisfied with how it turned out and quite proud of myself for not giving up (or throwing the cake in the bin). I’d like to say a huge thank you to my boyfriend who got me through such a frustrating night and reminded me not to give up and that I’m doing better than I think I am. Also to my beautiful mother who came over at 8 am to help me give this cake the rustic marble/ vintage look it was so desperately needing! Oh, and she arranged the flowers on top because I was too anxious/ she’s a florist/ she’s amazing!
If you have any tips on how I could have made this cake better or even questions on how I did some things, I’d absolutely LOVE to hear them.
Thanks for existing!
L 🙂 xo