A few weeks ago, I found a picture of a cake on Pinterest that I absolutely loved. It was a 2-tiered cake decorated with purple buttercream that was piped in an ombre pattern. I knew it was an ambitious project, but my name is MSA Be Inspired, so I decided that I was going to rise to the challenge. It took me 5 hours to bake the cake, to make several batches of buttercream, and to pipe all the decorations. I was working at breakneck speed because I wanted to finish the cake and also photograph it before sunset, because I love shooting my pictures in natural lighting. But as I completed my cake, I realised that it looked awful!!! I became even more upset because I knew that I had wasted 5 hours of my limited time, I had wasted money, and I would also miss my blog post deadline that week. So, I had a proper meltdown!!!!! I think I had gotten slightly high from inhaling copious amounts of icing sugar as I beat my buttercream, which explains why I ate a good chunk of that 2-tiered cake before throwing it all in the bin in a fit of rage. I’m laughing as I type this because the scene was so ridiculous! But it really wasn’t just about the cake…it was a combination of a number of things: a build-up of frustration after months of working hard with very little results, feeling stressed, trying to keep it all together, dealing with the COVID lock down, etc, etc. I decided to take some time out and after a few days I regained perspective and recovered from my cake-meltdown-icing sugar-high.
I realised that I needed to be more patient with myself as I learned this new skill of cake decoration. The cakes on Pinterest are often created by professionals who have years upon years of practice, so with only a few days of practice I could not hope to create the masterpiece that I had fallen in love with. Since I’m not a quitter I decided to try again. But this time I simplified the type of cake I wanted to create, I gave myself lots of time to create it and that meant including time to fail; and as a result, I was much calmer and I produced a cake that I’m proud of. I’m not ‘there’ yet, but with every cake I decorate I shall build more skill, more experience, and who knows, I may just become a master. I hope that this cake inspires you to get baking and I hope you are inspired to keep on developing your creative skills no matter how many ‘failures’ you encounter along the way. Happy Easter!
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YOU WILL NEED:
- Cake – I baked a 6 inch and an 8 inch cake. I’m currently in love with this Biscoff cake recipe (click here) which is enough to make 2 tiers.
- Buttercream – you need enough buttercream to cover each cake tier with 2 layers. So I made a triple batch of this Classic Vanilla Butter cream recipe (click here).
- Cake boards – a 6inch and a 10 inch https://amzn.to/3uc3imu
- Cake scraper https://amzn.to/3uc3imu
- Cake leveller https://amzn.to/3wgslqg
- Icing Spatula https://amzn.to/3dpUpi6
- Rotating Cake Stand https://amzn.to/3cF2PTU
- Gold icing in a squeezy tube (I like Dr Oetker’s decorating icing https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/307143453)
- Food colouring https://amzn.to/2QTMylv
- 4 Kebab sticks or 4 Bubble tea straws
- Fake flowers
Step 1: Use a cake leveller to cut each cake tier into 2 (using a cake leveller ensures that the finished cake is not lopsided). For the bottom tier, put a small amount of buttercream on the 10 inch cake board first before putting the first layer of cake on top of it. This stops the cake from slipping as you ice it. Then put some buttercream onto the first layer of cake before putting the second layer on top of it. Then for the top tier, use a 6 inch cake board and repeat the same process.
Step 2: Use an icing spatula to cover the top and bottom tiers of your cake with icing. This is called the ‘crumb coat’ because it fills in any cracks and stops any crumbs from getting to the final layer of the icing (click here for a tutorial on how to ice a cake). Then place both tiers of the cake into the fridge for at least 15 minutes so that the buttercream hardens.
Step 3: Push one kebab stick or bubble tea straw into the bottom tier of your cake until you hit the cake board. Cut off the kebab stick or bubble tea straw at the top level of your cake (you may need to pull it out slightly to cut it). Do this for all 4 sticks or straws and then arrange them in a ring-like pattern in the centre of your cake. This provides support for the top layer of your cake; without it the bottom layer would cave inwards.
Step 4: Divide the remaining icing into 2 bowls and use food colouring to create the colours you want. I chose a teal and pink colour scheme since it’s Easter.
Step 5: Using spatulas or just your fingers, position your top cake tier onto the bottom tier. Then to fill in any gaps between the two layers, use Dr Oetker’s Gold Decorating Icing to pipe a thin line.
Step 6: Trim the stems of the fake flowers and push them into the sides of your cake. Then eat the cake! ….But if you’re feeling generous share it with some friends :-).
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