I made this cake for my friend’s adorable little boy, James, on his Christening. On the day of his baptism, he also turned 1 (hence the cupcake). It was really fun to make a “boy” cake. I knew when I started this cake that I wanted something that was subtle and reflected the purpose of the day. Also since he was 1, I really didn’t want it to be too “baby”. I decided on the angled top tier to highlight the cross and wanted to do an argyle pattern on the bottom. It’s not quite a true argyle because once the diamonds were placed, I was afraid the hash marks would take away from the cake. FYI, I’m a total sucker for a harlequin pattern so expect to see it time and again 😉
6 inch and 8 inch strawberry cake with strawberry butter cream filling.
Double batch of buttercream (using 4 lbs of powdered sugar)
Support system of choice ( I use SPS – single plate system for tiered cakes)
Long knife or cake leveler
14 inch cake drum and ribbon
1/2 lb blue fondant (it may take less but I prefer to have too much)
Tylose powder or Gumtex powder
Diamond Impression Mat
Viva Paper towels
Diamond Cutters (I use Ateco)
Cross cookie cutter
Wilton Sugar Pearls, White
Clay Extruder (optional)
Level and fill the 8 inch cake on it’s own cake board. I prefer to keep my cakes larger plastic cake boards to make them easier to manage (see Disney Cars Cake tutorial for details). Cover and let settle. While the larger cake is resting, it is time to make the angled top for the smaller tier. I have a wonderful cake lever called an Agbay that makes this process much easier but you can do this with a knife. Using the Agbay, I adjusted the cake leveler to the degree of angle I wanted. The leveler is wide so I was able to move the cake left or right to adjust the impact on the top tier. If you look at the angle you can see it’s not severe if I just took the top piece off. The trick is to take the top piece and flip it over to make the high side of the angle even higher. This gives a more dramatic cake and you don’t waste any cake.
Place the other 6 inch layer on a cake board face down. Apply icing dam and fill. Place the tall angled cake on top of that layer. If you crumb coat, crumb coat the cake, cover it and let it rest. Resting cakes helps prevent the bulge where the filling is located. Cakes should rest several hours or over night. While your cakes are resting there are several things you can do. Cover your cake board in a food safe covering. I use wrapping paper then cover that in FDA clear wrap you can find at craft stores. This is a great time to make buttercream and color your fondant.
Once the cakes have rested, I started on the bottom tier. Ice the cake in white buttercream and smooth.
Ice the cake smooth with buttercream. As you can see in the picture my buttercream is not perfect but the bottom tier is busy enough to hide most of the flaws. Take a small amount of blue fondant and and a pinch of tylose or gumtex and knead it into the fondant. Let the fondant sit (covered) for a few minutes while you get out your rolling pin and cutters. Roll out the blue fondant fairly thin, I prefer this to be as thin as possible because I think it makes for a prettier final product. A pasta roller is perfect for this but I didn’t pull mine out for this cake. I also prefer to roll these out on cornstarch because that drier back makes them easier to move around. Cut out several diamonds at a time. Using a small paint brush, paint the back of the diamonds with water (for dark colors I prefer piping gel because you don’t risk the color running). Attach the diamonds in an argly patter. It is difficult to get the back to line up just right so just “fake” it a bit when you get to the back. In this case I wish I had started with the top diamonds and then added the bottom ones. The border hides enough that I think it would have been prettier to have a little more blue on the top of the bottom tier.
Once the bottom tier is complete, frost the top angled tier. You can see here that my frosting is almost smooth but still has lots of spatula marks. Take a Viva brand paper towel (yes it has to be Viva and it has to be pattern free), holding the paper towel to the side of the cake, run your fondant smoother firmly over the paper towel. This will smooth out any rough edges. Depending your buttercream recipe, you want to do this when the frosting is crusted but not crunchy. If the paper towel sticks, the frosting is not crusted. If you see hair line cracks then the frosting is too crusted. I don’t get the hair line cracks now that I have switched to hi-ratio shortening.
Once smooth, apply the diamond impression mat to the front of the cake and rock the mat to the left and the right. Do not press on the very end of either side. (This will create a line where you stopped). Be very careful to hold the mat in place to keep the lines clean. Remove the mat and line up the edge of the impression with the mat on the left hand side and rock around. Move to the opposite side and repeat until you meet in the back. Again it will not be perfect, that is why we work around to the back from both the left and the right side. Apply sugar pearls at the intersection of each quilt. Long tweezers (for caking only) work great for this. Generally the pearls stick on their own but you can add a dab of water or piping gel if the frosting is completely crusted. Next roll out a thin, long piece of fondant to make the top border. Using the rick rack wheels on your ribbon cutter, cut out the top border. Attach with a bit of water painted on the back. Roll out a thin piece of fondant and using the cross cookie cutter, cut one cross. Let it sit for a several minutes to harden, so it is easier to apply to the cake.
Now that the top and bottom tier are almost finished, assemble your support system. Using SPS, I attached 4 pillars to a 6 inch plate and inserted it into the bottom tier. I chilled the top tier for 15 minutes in the freezer to make it easier to apply to the top of the cake. Place a dab of buttercream on the SPS plate, and place the top tier onto the plate. Once that is complete, make a border. I used the square disk on my clay extruder to make the off white fondant border but you can roll a snake, uselarge pearls or do a buttercream border. Apply the border to the top and bottom tier and you are done. The cupcake was a jumbo strawberry cupcake with buttercream frosting and blue sugar sprinkles that was James’ smash cake. Boy did he have fun smashing it up.