This weekend I’m already making two commissioned cakes, but I made some time for a small cake project just for fun.
I’ve decided to bake and decorate a few small cakes (6″ diameter) to work on some decorating skills before I sell a cake in any of these styles. For this cake, I did double-duty by using two different chocolate cake batters for the layers (to compare the recipes for a chocolate cake I’m making late this week), and I also took the opportunity to test out a watercolor drip cake.
The four cake layers are from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Two are a black devil’s food cake, and the other two are a dark devil’s food cake. The ingredients are fairly similar, but the black devil’s food cake is made with the creaming method (starting by bearing the butter and sugar, then adding eggs, then alternating dry and wet), while the dark devil’s food cake starts with the dry ingredients then adds butter, wet ingredients, and egg. I tend to like the creaming method better, but decided I’d give both a try and let my taste buds decide.
I’m going to bring this cake with me to Easter dinner with my parents, so I chose an Easter theme with my colours: pale pink, pale yellow, pale green, and pale purple. After crumb coating the cake, I first covered it in a layer of white buttercream and smoothed out the sides and top. Then I put blobs of the four colours at random heights and intervals around the cake, and filled any gaps with white (this prevents any pits from appearing when the colours are smoothed).
The watercolour effect going as smoothly as it did was assisted by two things: the rotating cake stand my boyfriend’s mom gave me for Christmas, and the dough scraper my boyfriend gave me for Christmas. This made it as easy as placing the dough scraper upright against the side of the cake, and rotating the cake stand to smear out the icing colours. I decided to rotate in both directions (alternating after each full revolution) to keep the colours all relatively in the same place.
While the buttercream set, I melted some white chocolate. Technically, I’d intended to make a white chocolate ganache, but since this cake was a bit spur-of-the-moment, I didn’t have any cream on hand.
I placed some of the white chocolate in a Ziploc bag then spread the rest on top of the cake. Retaining some in a Ziploc bag let me choose how big my drips were and how many were running down the cake. If you just push the chocolate to the edges, it can make thicker drops, rather than the individual ones I did here. I made most of my drips fairly thin and short so the watercolor pattern would show through.
For the decoration on top, I wanted it to look colourful and a little random, so I loaded up all my colours of icing (white, yellow, pink, green, purple, and a tiny bit of the watercolour blend that I’d smoothed off the cake) into piping bags with different sizes and styles of round and star tips. I chose my favorite side of the cake to be my ‘front’ and made a semi-circle of stars and dots facing this point.
I finished it off with a few white chocolate shards, some with sprinkles to add a little extra colour to this cake.
And how about those four chocolate layers inside? Beautiful!
Now all that’s left is to wait until tonight so I can sit down with my family and dig in! Happy Easter everyone!