Saturday, January 26, 2013

brave cake with swirl/tie-dye frosting

I have a favorite new way of frosting a cake with colored frosting, and I've been dying to post about it! I first saw it on Sweeatpolita's site, and I think it is brilliant. (Especially for someone who went to Berkeley and sleepaway camp and has a lifelong, though suppressed, love for tie-dye.) Rosie calls it a "swirl" cake, and I think it goes well with all the ombre cakes out there now. Essentially, you spackle on different colors of frosting rings around the sides of the cake, and then use an offset spatula to smooth them, which subtly blends the colors together. Like so:


And here's how it looks on the side of the cake itself. This is two shades of blue, one of which is also on the top of the small layer, plus white, plus three shades of green. Subtle, but I love how it looks!


Now, to tell you what this cake is actually all about... it's a Brave cake! A preschool friend of Boy-o's just turned 6, and she wanted a Brave cake. Her mom wanted to buy the cake toppers (phew! didn't have to sculpt Merida and a horse out of fondant) and I decided to put them on a green cake to look like the hills of Scotland, with a blue sky.

I built a tree out of fondant.

With a zillion tiny leaves of fondant.

Aren't they cute?

I purposely kept the frosting a little rough to give it a hilly texture and to prevent the colors from getting too integrated. Use your imagination: close your eyes and think of Scotland. It's refreshing not to have to get the frosting perfectly smooth, and I think I could have made it even more textured.

The cake was chocolate inside, and I kept the filling frosting white because I think it looks a little garish to open up a cake and find it filled with green or turquoise frosting. I pressed drinking straws down through the base layer, underneath where the top layer was going to sit, then snipped them off just above the height of the cake. This makes a nice support for the top layer to sit on without sinking into/squishing the bottom layer. It was such a hot day that some of the frosting did stick when we removed the top layer, so I know I made the straws a little too short, but I am always afraid if I make the straws too tall, the top layer will slide off. To hide where the layers join together, I just spackled on a little more green frosting and smoothed it out.

The birthday girl loved the cake, as did a friend of hers... I ended up making a second one for a different birthday girl a few weeks later! Happy 6th birthday, E, and thanks for giving me a chance to try out this new way of frosting!

Print chocolate cake recipe.
Print vanilla frosting recipe.

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