Pink Ruffle Cake

Pink Ombre Cake

I have been wanting do this design for quite some time. I had the perfect opportunity when I hosted a small party celebrating life as a girl! It would also be a great design for a wedding or baby shower.

Supplies Needed
Your favorite white cake recipe
5 small bowls
6 inch cake pans
6 inch cardboard cake circle
1 batch of buttercream (a batch to me is a recipe based on 2 lbs of powdered sugar)
1 lb of white fondant (this is probably a bit more than you need but better safe than sorry)
Pink food coloring – I used the Wilton Rose color because it’s more of a hot pink than a baby pink
Pasta roller – optional but extremely helpful
Paint Brush
Ball Tool – used for making gumpaste flowers
Thin piece of foam – used for making gumpaste flowers

Detailed Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cake batter following the instructions. Evenly portion out the batter into the 5 bowls. Set one bowl aside. To the first bowl add a very small amount of the rose food coloring. Be very careful. My first attempt ended up being the brightest layer. A little coloring goes a long way. Gradually add a bit more coloring to each additional bowl until you have graduated colors across the 5 bowls. If you need to lighten a color, add some of the base batter to that color, just be sure you always have enough base color for the last layer of cake.

Prepare pans with pan grease  or grease and flour your pans. Since I only have two 6 inch round cake pans, I could only bake 2 colors at a time.  Pour each color into a separate pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Remember that you’re making 5 layers out of a recipe that is generally going to make 2 layers of cake. This means the layers will be thin and cook quicker than usual. These layers took 15-20 minutes each to bake.  Cool the cakes as usual. Once the layers are cool, you want to level them so they’re approximately the same height. 

Place a small amount of buttercream on a 6 inch cake board and place the brightest layer face done. Add a thin layer of buttercream on top of that layer and then place the next brightest layer on top of that. Repeat this from brightest to lightest until all 5 layers are stacked. Next time I would also trim the bottom of each layer to remove that slight brown coloring between them. Frost the cake as you normally would. You want the sides to be reasonably straight but the cake doesn’t have to be super smooth since it will be covered in fondant. The top is buttercream only,  so after the buttercream crusts, I placed a Viva paper towel on top and smoothed with a fondant smooth. You can smooth over the paper towel with your hand if you don’t have a fondant smoother.

Once the cake is frosted, you can begin making your fondant strips. Measure the circumferencerete of your cake so you know how long to make each strip. For a 6 inch cake, my strips are a little over 19 inches long. Take white fondant and portion it out into small amounts. I wasn’t very exact with this. I took a chunk of white fondant, rolled it out so that I could run it through my pasta roller. I used the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid and I ran the strips through to number 4 . This is p thin. Using the ball tool from the Wilton flower kit and a thin piece of foam, I ruffled the edges of each strip. Because I was using straight fondant and rolling the strip so thin, the fondant strips were very flimsy. I found it worked better if I let them set up for a bit. So I would make and ruffle 3 strips at a time before attaching them to the cake.  For each strip, add  a tiny bit of Rose food coloring and ran it through the pasta roller. You want the color progression on the outside to mimic that on the inside of the cake.

To attach a ruffle, dust it lightly with cornstarch and then gently roll it up. This keeps it from stretching as you apply it to the side of the cake. For the first ruffle, I applied a thin bead of buttercream just below the top edge of the cake. Choose the back of the cake, and gently press the beginning of the ruffle into the buttercream. Slowly unroll the ruffle, pressing gently to adhere to the buttercream. Once you make it all the way around, you may need to trim the end. Kitchen shears are great for this.  For the next ruffle, roll it up and then take a paint brush (used for caking only) and paint a small amount of water along the bottom edge of the strip currently attached to the cake. Again starting at the back, gently unroll the ruffle, pressing it to the base of the previous fondant ruffle. You want your ruffles pretty close together so I made sure the new ruffle was just barely below the first ruffle. It will seem too close, until you frill it back. To frill the ruffle back, gently run the small end of the ball tool between the two ruffles, gently forcing the top of the new ruffle outward. Keep applying ruffles using an increasing amount of pink color in the fondant. When you apply the final ruffle, you may need to use a pizza cutter to clean up the bottom edge. Just run it flush along the bottom edge. After all of the ruffles are applied, your cake is ready for a topper. This cake is so light and airy, I wanted a topper that would compliment the feel, so I decided on a Whimsical Peony. Whimsical meaning my knock-off version:)  It is definitely not a realistic peony but it has a similar look and feel. Keep an eye out for an upcoming tutorial on How to Make a Whimsical Peony.

This cake was the perfect compliment to the Pink and White table theme.

Barcode Cake

My husband’s company hosted a 25th year anniversary party and they asked me to do the cake. I was super excited and they gave me free artistic control over the design. I was able to experiment with a lot of new techniques and ideas. The supply list for this baby would be way to long so I’m just going to focus on some of the highlights on this cake.

Stats:
4 tiers – top and bottom tiers were classic white cake and middle tiers were chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream filling
Frosted in buttercream with fondant decorations
Tier sizes – 6 inch round, 9 inch round, 12 inch round and 14 inch square
Feeds approximately 150 people

The Topper:

Many fondant decorations can be made in advance including the topper. The topper is black fondant with tylose powder added for stability. I printed off the font and size of the numbers on my computer. I placed the computer paper under a sheet of wax paper. Using my clay extruder with the largest round disc, I made a long fondant snake. (You could roll these by hand but I like the consistency of the extruder).  I rolled the ends thinner than the rest of the snake. Using the print out as my guide, I formed each of the numbers. While the fondant was still soft, I inserted 3.5 inch skewers into the numbers so I could insert them into the cake once they were dried. As always, make 2 of everything to plan for breakage.  As long as you make 2 you won’t break anything:)

Curlie Qs  were also made in advance, out of fondant with a bit of tylose powder. Using my fabulous fetticini attachment for my Kitchenaid, I was able to roll out pieces of orange and yellow fondant about 1/4 inch thick and run them through the pasta attachment. This created many strips of fondant. I then wrapped them around a 1.5 inch diameter wooden dowel. You can wrap the dowel in press n seal wrap and then dust it with cornstarch before wrapping the fondant around a dowel. Use a dab of shortening on the ends to keep it on the dowel while it dries. Let the curlie qs dry on the dowel for 24 hours. Carefully remove them from the dowel and let them finish drying for another day or so. 
Quick tip – If you don’t have a ton of time to dry your fondant decorations, place them on a lined cookie sheet in the oven. Be sure the oven is  OFF but turn the oven light on. The oven light produces a small amount of heat that will dry the decorations faster.  

 Honeycomb:
The honeycomb was a bit of an experiment for me. I knew I wanted it to be edible but I was having a hard time coming up with how to create the honeycomb effect. I kept looking for impression mats, chocolate molds anything that would work. Then while I was wandering around my favorite cake supply store, I saw a candy mold that would make hexagon jewels. Turn the mold over and the back is a perfect honeycomb. Now for the fun part… playing with molten sugar. You can use real sugar or isomalt to create sugar art, however I wanted something easily accessible and tasty so I decided to use butterscotch. I melted several pieces of butterscotch in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. WARNING – when working with sugar be very careful not to burn yourself or the sugar. Always melt sugar in very small increments of time.    I sprayed the back of the mold with a light coating of non-stick spay, then gently poured the sugar onto the back of the candy mold. Let it set up for about 10 minutes then it just pops right off the mold. I sprayed a sheet of wax paper with non-stick spray and placed the honeycomb pieces on the wax paper in a bakery box. You can use a variety of hard candies with this method, Jolly Ranchers, Butterscotch , life savors. Be sure your molds are for working with hot sugar. Many molds don’t tolerate the high heat.

Logos and Barcodes:
The logos are all hand cut fondant. Like the topper, I printed off each logo the size I wanted them to be. Then I cut out each letter or logo. Roll out a piece of fondant and let it air dry for an hour or so. Then using a very sharp knife (or exact knife dedicated to caking only), cut the letters out of fondant and set them on parchment or wax paper to dry. The QR codes (small square barcodes) are edible images placed on fondant plaques. These QR codes were scannable and included messages including the names of the business units (Wasp Barcode, System Id and Barcode Trading Post)  as well as Happy Anniversary.

Wasps on Wires:
One of the business units logo is the wasp so I decided to do little wasps flying around the cake. Using tinted fondant I cut thick circles, decreasing in size,  out of alternating yellow and orange fondant. The heads are just shaped into a fat triangle. Using gum-glue (gum-tex powdered dissolved in water) I glued the bodies and heads together. After the glue had dried, using the smallest circle disc on my clay extruder, I extruded very thin black snakes. Placing a small amount of water along the seam of each body segment, I wrapped the black snack. I left the wasps to dry for a few hours or up to a day. Eyes are edible candy eyes by Wilton also attached with gum glue. The only non-edible part of wasps is the antenae and the legs, and of course the wires they’re flying on. The antenae and legs are made from black flower stamens. I cut them to size and dipped them in the gum glue before inserting them into the wasp. Fondant this thick takes a while to dry. Using the cake wires by Duff, I shapped the cake wires into spirals and inserted them into the bottom of the wasps and inserted them into a piece of styrofoam. While the wasps continued drying, I made sheets of clear gelatin. There are gelatin specific texture sheets that you paint melted gelatin on and once the gelatin dries you can cut it into any shape you want. I cut out gelatin wings and mounted them on tiny pieces of fondant. Once the wings had attached to the fondant, use the gum glue to attach the wings directly to the wasps. Always remember it’s not safe to put wires directly into the cake so you can use coffee stirs or plastic lollipop sticks to keep the wires from coming in direct contact with the cake.

It was a really fun cake to do with all the little details.

Fun with CakePops

 

My friend Karen gave me this great book Cake Pops by Bakerella.  I saved the tops of my leveled cakes and some left over buttercream and we decided to have a play date and make cake pops. This was very “ad hoc”…meaning we just used what we had handy for decorations. It was great:)

Supplies:
Cake – any flavor
Frosting – any flavor (store bought is fine)
Candy Melts or dipping chocolate
Lollipop Sticks
Styrofoam to hold finish pops
Various sprinkles and sugars for designs

I had read a lot about cake balls and cake pops on the internet. The most common problem seemed to be using too much frosting. So although the official instructions call for quite a bit of frosting per cake, we just mushed up the cake and added a few tablespoons of frosting until the consistency would hold a ball. The first few cake balls we made, we just grabbed a hunk and rolled them up. But then I grabbed my handy cookie scoop and that gave us more even proportions for the cake balls. We rolled several in advance and chilled them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Do not freeze them too long or the chocolate will crack…trust us…we learned from experience:)

Melt the candy melts in a microwave in a deep narrow container on 1/2 power. I used a 2 cup measuring cup. This was a nice amount of chocolate to work with and easy for us to move in and out of the microwave. It is easy to burn chocolate so always melt it in small increments on medium heat.  The book says “you may need to add shortening to thin out the chocolate”. Using candy melts, it was absolutely necessary to add shortening to get the coating consistency just right. I added 2 heaping tablespoons to the one bag of candy melts and that worked well.

You have the choice of making cake balls (not on a stick) or cake pops which are on a stick. The rules are basically the same but if you do cake balls you need to place the ball in the chocolate using a dipping fork or a regular plastic fork with the middle tines removed. This lets you remove the ball without damaging the chocolate on bottom. Place the cake balls on parchment or wax paper to set up.

For cake pops, you dip the end of the stick in the melted chocolate and then press gently into the naked ball of cake. Let it set up a bit and then you should be able to pick up the stick and the cake ball will be attached. Too much frosting and the ball will pull away. If they are not chilled enough you can have the same problem but generally for us it was a frosting issue.

Dip the cake pop into the chocolate and swirl gently until the entire ball is covered in chocolate. Lift the pop out at an angle and let the extra chocolate fall back into the container. You want to make sure the chocolate is thick enough to coat but thin enough to cover..so it’s a bit of learning curve until you get the chocolate just right. Once the cake pop is covered place the stick into a piece of styrofoam to let it setup.

Various decorating ideas:


 

 

 

Karen did one of my favorite design which was a swirl pattern. She dipped the pop into white candy melts, then using a toothpick applied dots of red. Using the toothpick she created patterns with the colors directly on the pop.
Sprinkles – I have a pretty big assortment of sprinkles and dragees. Rolling the cakepops in sprinkles got a solid covering. If you just took a pinch of sprinkles and literally sprinkled them on top of the cake pop you got a much more open pattern The dragees gave a fun modern effect of spots. Place each dragee separately to get a nice even placement.

For shine I had both pearl dust and a luster spray so we decided to do a side by side comparison. 

The left is dusted with luster dust and the right is sprayed with Pearl Sheen

The only design we did directly from the book was the cupcake pop which we loved. I can’t wait to try other designs  for her book. To make the cupcake press the bottom of the ball into a small round or flower shaped cutter to create the base of the cupcake. Dip the bottom of the cupcake in one color and lay it face down (non chocolate side down) and insert the lollipop stick.

Once the chocolate has set, use the stick to dip the top of the cupcake in a another color.  Apply designs and sprinkles at will. We used red gobstoppers as our cherries but you can use whatever red candies you have handy.

We were shocked at how many cake pops you can get out of a small amount of cake so be prepared to be dipping for a while!

Also my friend Ari posted a great thread on making the apple cake pops
http://letsgetcaking.blogspot.com/2009/08/chocolate-apple-cake-pops.html. They came out super cute. 

Happy Caking!

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