CHRISTMAS CAKE: My First Attempt at Cake Decorating!

Okay, so today I attempted my first cake.  And by cake I mean cake decorating.  I created a double layered chocolate cake (using the most amazing chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried. Ever) with red buttercream icing.  I Also created a giant bow made of fondant (my first time ever using it!) and polka dotted the whole cake with white fondant polka-dots.

So, without further a-do, here is the finish product!

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THE CAKE

This is literally, the best chocolate cake I have ever tried. It is amazing and super moist. It practically melts in you mouth!

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All you need:

  • 1 package of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Mix all ingredients together, and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.  Bake according to the instructions on the cake mix package.  I filled a 13 x 9 inch pan with the mix and baked for 35 minutes at 350 F.  Because I was creating a double layer chocolate cake, I repeated this, and created two 13 x 9 inch cakes.

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BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

For the buttercream recipe, I used a recipe from Little Delights in Life, however I used a lot more cream and 3 cups of icing sugar instead of 4.  I coloured it with Christmas red gel food colouring from Wilton.  I found this colouring had a bit of a “dye taste” to it, and gave the buttercream somewhat of an after taste, so I may shop around for another brand next time I use this amount of colouring.

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FONDANT

Since this was my first time using Fondant, I did struggle a little initially, but I learned quickly. I found the fondant I dyed became a lot dryer than when I was using the plain white, so while the green was sitting I kept it in a bowl with a wet towel on top to keep it moist.  For the bow straps, I cute two long strips of white fondant, about a ruler length in thickness.  I made sure one strap was at least 18 inches long (13 inches across, 2.5 inches high on each side), and the other at least 14 inches long (9 inches across, 2.5 inches high on each side).  With the white fondant sheet I rolled out I used a small circle fondant cutter to cut small circles to make the polka dots for the red buttercream.  The bow was a little tricky, but I used the tutorial from The Little Delights in Life, which made things a little simpler.  The tutorial for the bow loops can be found here, and the tutorial on how to assemble the loops can be found here.

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ICING THE CAKE

I’ll be honest, I did very little of the icing! My baking partner today, Kirsten, is a baker by trade (and by that I mean she is very talented and took baking in school), did most of the icing. I did some of the crumb coat and some of the top red layer, but she cleaned everything up, smoothed it, and made the wonderful square edges you see in the pictures. The next cake I do will pretty well all be fondant based, but i really wanted to try a buttercream coat for my first cake.  Thankfully i had her expertise for this part! The hardest part of icing the cake was the fact that the cake was so unbelievably moist! I’m assuming because of the pudding component in the cake batter?  Like I said, best. cake. ever. But it was very difficult to smooth the icing initially, there were A LOT of crumbs in the crumb layer.  I don’t think it will be a huge deal if the icing layer is fondant, but butterceam makes it tricky so if I do another buttercream based cake i will most likely omit the pudding and sour cream mix and stick to the packaging directions.

Step one: place some buttercream in the centre of a prepared cake board (cardboard wrapped in tinfoil and tapped in place)

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Step two: once the cake is secure, but a layer of buttercream on the top, and place the second cake on top.  Ensure the cakes have been cut and shaved so that both layers for a perfect square.

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Step three: prepare the crumb coat

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Step four: Ensure all sides are smoothed and corners are squared.  Refrigerate.

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Step five: prepare the second layer of frosting (the important layer!).  Smooth out as much as possible, making corners and lines as straight and level as possible.

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Step six: Lay bow straps on the cake. Place buttercream underneath it; it can act as a glue for your cake.  Place a blob of buttercream in the centre of where the bow straps cross so that the bow loops can be placed.

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Step seven: Place the bow loops in the buttercream blob, arranging as necessary to fill in all holes (p.s. I think if I were to redo it I would make the blob white buttercream instead of the red)

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Step eight: using buttercream as you glue, place the white circle fondant cutouts on the cake to form the polka dot pattern.  To place them on mess free, I put some of the red buttercream into a ziploc bag, pushed in to a corner, and then cut a small hole in that corner and piped tiny blobs of icing onto the cake.  I then placed the polka dots on the tiny blobs.

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And there you have it! My first cake decorating experience!

2 thoughts on “CHRISTMAS CAKE: My First Attempt at Cake Decorating!

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