So I have a couple graduation cakes coming up in June. Both are cake for 100, both are for people at work, both want white and chocolate cake with buttercream, and both want a split between cake and cupcakes. (And both happen to have the school mascot of bulldogs!) They also happen to be back to back weekends. So I was feeling a little anxious about the task. I bake because it calms me, I like it, and it gives me the (very little) creative outlet I need. So i decided I just needed to practice.
Turns out this was a good thing for multiple reasons.
- I needed to get some glitches out of my buttercream
- The girls at work were glad to look at something to help them decide on what they want and taste the cake.
- I wanted to practice stacking with the bubble tea straws.
- I wanted to practice a couple of the decorating ideas I wanted to use.
- I would be traveling downtown with the cake during rush hour.
I had baked the cakes ahead of time. The top tier was chocolate and the bottom was white. So all I had to do was build. I took my cakes out of the freezer, filled and stacked them. They are easier to work with when cold. This brought up my first issue. I like to use a crusting buttercream meaning the when the buttercream sets, it has a crust that can be touched without messing up the icing. The thickness of the buttercream started crusting on me quick when hitting the cold cake. It made it very difficult to work with and started frustrating me. In my moment of stubbornness, I didn’t just stop and fix it, I just kept going. Not really a good answer. So I had a hard time getting smooth sides and when I did my scallops, the icing did not smear smoothly…it had rough spots. Boooooo.
I finished the scallops since I had already started. But I knew it would absolutely not work with the scrolling work. And since I am still practicing all these techniques to get better, I figured my icing shouldn’t be working against me. So I added a little milk, whipped it back up, and got it thinner and smoother. This helped on the scrolling. After adding in the detail, I realized I could have gone even a little thinner, but I was pretty happy with it given my earlier frustration.
Once I did the scallops on one cake and scrolling the second, I stacked them and added a border and some flowers. Flowers are something I want to get better at but I need to just sit down with a batch of buttercream on a rainy day and just practice…not do it in conjunction with a cake.
In the end, the cake turned out pretty well. I can see lots of mistakes, but that is what practice is for. And all that really mattered is that all my co-workers said it tasted delicious.