Friday, June 8, 2012

A Ruffle Cake and A Lesson Learned

 
Today was my daughter's last day of 1st grade...and her teacher's birthday!   Her teacher has been incredible this year!  Very in tune to the kiddos, open with the parents and especially sweet to my princess!  It was a special day that called for a cake!!  

However, this cake almost didn't come to be.  A few days ago we had my son's birthday and I made him his construction cake, in two days I'm making 4 dozen special cupcakes for a sweet friend's baby shower, and my husband is in his last week of school...so, it's a little crazy around here!  I needed this cake to be easy, quick and yet stylish for my daughter's teacher.  I also knew I couldn't use fondant because I just didn't have the time to cover and decorate a cake (I still take way too long doing fondant cakes!).  SO, buttercream ruffles it was!

Funny side story...when my husband saw these pictures he said, "Hey, it looks like a whole bunch of  fig newtons stacked on top of each other!"  LOL!  Nice honey! ;)  But, then, it does! :)

Anyhoo, moving on!  :)

There are lots of pics of these cakes out and about now.  It's not a new technique and you can see THIS video for a simple how-to.  One thing that really helped me keep things straight was to go around the cake with a ruler and make a vertical line in the crumb coat every inch so I had guides when moving back and forth with the petal icing tip.  I also found that if I sat eye level with the cake I could watch the ruffles and know when to keep moving the icing tip up so the ruffles wouldn't squish too much.  Oh, and one more tip...if you get your cake with the crumb coat nice and cold, then you can put the fat tip of the icing tip right on the cake and slide it up the side of the cake as you move back and forth creating the ruffles.

 For the top I did a back and forth motion to make a large flower looking design.  I started from the outside and worked my way in.
 Here's where you can see my "lesson learned"!  In the pic above, if you zoom in/click on it you can see some streaking in the buttercream.  I used my Swiss-meringue buttercream recipe for the cake and began adding Wilton gel colors to try and get this purple-periwinkle color (what I believed was her favorite color).  This was the first time I'd colored buttercream for the outside of a cake.  What was unexpected was as the buttercream sat (inside the piping bag or inside the mixing bowl) the color started separating.  It was THEN I remembered reading something on Cake Central a few years ago about when you color a meringue based buttercream, it's highly recommended to use candy colors.  The reason is because the color attaches to sugar crystals and when you make a meringue based buttercream, you are dissolving the sugar crystals into a syrup so there aren't any sugar crystals.  And, because it's water based, it doesn't emulsify well with all the butter in it.  So, when you want to color meringue based buttercreams, use candy colors to be sure you won't get streaking!- otherwise you risk having to throw out a big batch of buttercream.  In order to "save" this one, I let the frosting firm up in the fridge, then took a slightly damp brush and brushed in some of the streaking so it wasn't so obvious...although, it didn't fix it all the way...but enough!  It's the thought that counts right?! :)

 
 I don't see too many of these cakes with flowers on them, but that's what I wanted to do.  I decided to make a magnolia fantasy flower with my ruffle flower center.  I LOVE modeling chocolate!  I made this flower 2 hours before I put it on the cake and took it over to the school.  I cut out the petals and shaped them in my egg carton then set it in the fridge.  After about 15 min, I took them out, and formed them into the flower shape using melted chocolate to attach the petals to each other.  I then put it back in the fridge for a half hour to set up...and voila, a flower!  Same thing with the center.  It's black modeling chocolate.  You can use THIS post for the how to.  Of course for this center, I used little circle cutters so the ending flower would be small.  To speed up the hardening of it, put it in the fridge.  Go with modeling chocolate whenever possible - no waiting for gumpaste to dry!!  

LOVE it!

I guess that's it for now! :)  Thanks for looking!



38 comments:

  1. I love ruffle cakes they look so elegant

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  2. BELLO Jessica, love the colors!

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  3. Jessica your cakes are wonderful. Your workmanship is perfect. I just started making cakes so I love your site. Thanks for the tip about colouring Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I just started using it and I love it.
    Deb from Canada

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  4. My daughter wants a ruffle cake for her birthday next month. Thanks for the tips, especially about marking on the crumb coat. I would have never thought of that.

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  5. So very pretty! LOVE the mini vintage flower inside the magnolia and the color is well, perfect! Thanks for the lesson learned. I had no idea. : )

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  6. Thank you sooo much for the tip. I love your blog. And, I've never seen the ruffle cake as pretty as this one :)

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  7. As usual, just when I think I'm ready to throw in the oven mitts-you post something beautiful & inspiring again! So to the mixer I go!! BTW-just curious how much frosting it took to create this "lesson learned"? "Never enough" seems to be a regular lesson I fail to learn.
    Thanks Jessica!

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  8. BirdBaker: That's a great question! This was a 6" cake and I had about 2 cups of frosting left over. I used Swiss-Meringue Buttercream with 8oz egg whites, 15 oz of sugar, 20 oz butter, 8 oz cream cheese and 3 tbsp vanilla. I used that batch to crumb coat the cake and do all the ruffles, with 2 cups left over. This batch would have been enough to have filled it too. I had another buttercream I used for the inside, but the recipe above would have been just enough to fill it, crumb coat it and ruffled it! :)

    Thanks for all the sweet words everyone! :)

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  9. This is a very beautiful cake! I have to try to decorate a cake like this some day...

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  10. The streaking may be true for Swiss Meringue, but it also happens to me in my regular buttercream. I think it happens when the frosting gets too warm. I've noticed that after I've been piping on frosting for a little while, if my frosting gets warm, it starts separating. I put it in the fridge, then massage it once it's firmed up again.

    I love this cake...wonder if my husband would want it for Father's Day?...LOL

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  11. This is beautiful!!! Thanks for the cake decorating tips. :)

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  12. Oh, i wrote a lot and am not sure if i did post it successfully :( sorry if this is a duplicate

    I love the color of the cake and the design of it. It is very nice as always... as i was reading the comments i've noticed that you are using cream cheese in your Swiss- meringue buttercream. would you please tell me when do you add the cream cheese? I use the recipe you suggested and am very happy with it, but it taste very buttery and if cream cheese can give a better taste i would use it

    BTW, i backed the Hot air balloon cake from your blog post and it turned out to be a nice one :) i will leave the link at the end that you can see the pictures of it. It would be mean a lot to me to hear your comments regarding it.
    And i do have couple of questions about fondant: every time i cover my cakes with it, the fondant get supper shinny that you can tell i glazed the cake with syrup! why? i put a nice crumb coat on cake first and the let it get frozen completely, then cover it with fondant and in less than a minute it gets shinny.... and is there any tip for that rolling method or it is just the matter of practice? I tried it 5,6 times and never could get the top edge nice and clean

    here is the link
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.360975147269454.98776.352424481457854&type=3

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  13. "Me": I usually whip the cream cheese in a separate bowl then add it at the end when I add the vanilla. I then let it mix until combined.

    If you're using buttercream for your crumb coat, I would not put it in the freezer until the cake is frozen. When you take it out and bring it to room temp so quickly it will get shiny and sticky really fast due to condensation. I would only put it in the fridge long enough for the crumb coat to firm up...and that's it. That way you have a lot more time to work with the fondant before it starts to condensate which then you need to not touch it until it stops being sticky.

    If you're using ganache, then I would let the ganache firm up overnight, then cover it with fondant...you'll have tons of time to work with it because there's no condensation issues!! That's why I LOVE it! :)

    Hope that helps! :)

    VERY sweet shower!! LOVE the cake and the colors of the entire thing! Nice work! :)

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  14. LOVE the tip about coloring the SMB; I've had that problem and couldn't figure out why. I was SO frustrated I was about to give up on my beloved SMB recipe.

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  15. Hi Jessica! Do you have a good buttercream recipe to use on a cupcakes for outdoor party in hot weather? Thank you.

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  16. Fernanda: I don't really. Although you could use my marshmallow buttercream recipe under most commonly asked questions and try subbing the butter out for vegetable shortening...like Sweetex. It has a much higher melting point than butter. Then use vanilla coffee creamer instead of cream because it's non-dairy.

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  17. Thank you Jessica :)

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  18. We truly enjoy looking at your cakes! You are definitely creative:-)

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  19. Wow!this cake is gorgeous mate. love it! May i know what tip did you use on top of the cake? thank you.x

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  20. Thanks Sil! I used the same tip as the sides, just held it differently...by accident! :) It was the Wilton 104 petal tip.

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  21. How did you get the flower to stay on the side of the cake? Did you use a wire, or did it just stay there?

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  22. Anonymous: I spooned out a little circle of frosting so the cake was showing underneath, then piped a big dollop of melted chocolate onto the cake and put the flower on top and held it until the chocolate dried. It was very firm! :)

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    1. Thank you. Great tip!!

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  23. Love this one.. but which time do you use to make it look like this? I would love to try it myself.

    Thanks.

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    1. I think you're asking how much time it took me? If so, it took me about 30 min. to go all the way around...give or take 5 min.! :)

      Blessings!

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  24. I had just made this cake over the weekend and they were nothing like yours. My Swiss Meringue Buttercream turned out too sloppy and the ruffles were not firm like yours. I will need to attempt another Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Great job there! I'm sure the teacher must be delighted to receive this gorgeous cake!

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  25. Great cake, love it! But my question is; how do you get this cake of your turntable, on to you're cakestand, and of again and in a box without damaging the ruffles. Usually you can place your hand at the side of the cake for support and place it in the box....If I made this cake I would mess it up for shore! ;-)
    Thanks.

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    1. I actually created the ruffles right on the cake stand so I wouldn't have to move it. If you need to transfer it, then I would chill it really good so it's hard...then, the buttercream won't move on you or make much of an impression. You can also try to use some larger skewers and poke one into each side where the folds are to lift the cake and place it somewhere else...thereby not having to touch it. I hope that helps!

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  26. What perfect ruffles!!
    Can these be done with butter cream frosting as well??

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    1. Thanks! It is buttercream frosting...swiss-meringue buttercream in fact! :) :)

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  27. Your cakes are truly amazing and so neat. I love your ruffle ake and thank you for the tip about SMB, I only tried it once or twice and had that problem and now realise it was due to the colour. You rock.

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  28. Hi Jessica!

    Beautiful cake! Can you give me some more instruction on how to make the flower from buttercream at the top? What do you mean by back and forth motion?
    I will be making the ruffles from American buttercream. Any tips on storage and application?

    Thanks so much!

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  29. Hi Jessica! I've experienced the same issue with coloring my swiss meringue buttercream and had no idea why it was acting so funny. This makes so much sense!!! I've never heard of candy colors, can you direct me to where I can buy them please? Thank you so much! Oh and one more question, Would you ever recommend applying large fondant ruffles directly on to a buttercream cake? I'm not too familiar with fondant and though I can do the ruffles in fondant, I'd rather stick to what I know as far as covering the outside of the cake and just doing buttercream. Is it possible? Thank you!!

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    1. You can find the candy colors on Global Sugar Art and online chocolate companies. Also, you might try adding a good cup of powdered sugar into the SMBC at the end before you color it. The gel colors need sugar crystals and adding only a cup gives you sugar crystals but not enough to give you the mouth feel that it's in there. Try that first before investing in candy colors! :)

      Not sure how "big" the fondant ruffles are...but they should stick/stay fine on buttercream. And, when you go to attach the next one, you can add a little sugar water to the fondant and then they'll all stick to each other giving you some great stability. So, I'd go for it...unless there's something really big/heavy about the ruffles.

      Blessings!

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  30. Jessica, PLEASE do a video tutorial on this cake! I watched the woman at the link you included, and no offense to her, but it's not even in the same ballpark as yours! Hers was what I envision happening with mine should I try it: squishy and flat! Yours was So even, with firm ruffles.

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  31. Can you explain how you transport your cakes? I am brand new to cake decorating, and my best friend asked me to make 12 8" cakes for her wedding in a few months (excuse me while I scream in fear). Most of my anxiety revolves around transportation.

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    1. Wow!!! That's a lot of work! I would get boxes for each one and use non-slip mats on the bottom of the cakes. Chill the cakes well before delivery and they'll be more stable. Have fun!!

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