Yay! This is my 100th post! I am one of those people who often has the best intentions with ambitious projects, but has trouble following through. Though my blogging has slowed down recently, I chalk it up to life being busy, not my lack of commitment. This blog has changed the way I feel about cooking and baking. I am not content to make the same meals every week anymore, if I can’t blog about it, I don’t want to make it! But for those days when I do want to make something tried and true, I have created this great resource to quickly look through and say “Oh yeah, that was really good!” I also love being a part of the food blogging community. There are so many great food blogs out there and I have learned so much from many of them. Since cake decorating has become my new “hobby” of sorts, I think it is fitting that my 100th post is about a cake, thank you for reading!
I didn’t have any occasion to make a cake for and I have been wanting to try this frosting recipe from Baking Bites for a while. I also have been wanting to practice some cake decorating techniques, so I decided to just go ahead and make a cake. I ended up giving it to my friend who has become my, self-termed, “guinea pig.” Thanks Melissa!
I loved how the frosting came out, the taste is so much richer than the standard buttercream I typically use. I also love how smoothly it iced the cake. The only problem I had, was that it was a very humid day when I decided to decorate this cake, so I had to keep stopping to refrigerate the cake, but the taste of the frosting made up for any difficulty I had decorating it. Oh, and if you haven’t checked out Baking Bites yet, head over there right now! Nicole has a wealth of information on her blog, from recipes to product reviews and I especially love her weekly “Bites from other Blogs.”
Real Vanilla Bean Buttercream
- 1 lb (2 cups) unsalted butter, soft and cut into one inch pieces
- 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp vanilla extract)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place egg whites, with cream of tartar and 1/4 cup sugar nearby.
Heat 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. When sugar reaches 230F on a candy thermometer, turn mixer on medium high. When egg whites are frothy, add cream of tartar. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar. When egg whites begin to form soft peaks, turn the mixer down to medium low and begin to drizzle in the boiling sugar mixture (which should be at approximately 245-250F, firm ball stage).
When all of the hot sugar is added, turn the mixer up to medium high and beat until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. Add the butter one lump at a time and continue beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy, approximately 12-20 minutes. It will look rather like ricotta cheese for a while – just keep beating!
Once it is smooth, scrape vanilla bean and mix in the vanilla specks (or use 1-2 tsp vanilla extract).
Keep at room temperature – do not refrigerate before it has been spread on a cake or cupcakes.
Makes enough to frost one 2 layer, 8, 9 or 10 inch cake.
I wanted to practice scroll work and making a fondant loop bow on this cake. This is an 8-inch cake and I realize the bow is little big for the scale of the cake, but I think it would look beautiful on the top of a tiered cake. I love how the scroll work came out. I used the Wilton Press Pattern set to get the basic outline down, then embellished the scroll work from there.
Fondant Loop Bow (from Wilton Ready-To-Use Rolled Fondant box)
To make loops: Roll out fondant 1/8-inch thick. Cut strips 1-inch wide by 6-inches long. Brush ends with clear vanilla.
Fold strip over to form a loop, aligning ends. Pinch ends slightly to secure. Stand loops upright on side to dry.
To make bow: Attach bottom layer of loops with dots of icing, positioning in a circle, horizontally on top of cake. Pipe a ball of icing in center to attach middle and top layer loops.
Attach middle layer of loops, overlapping bottom layer. Attach top layer of loops, positioning upright and overlapping middle layer.