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5 Impressive Cake Frosting Techniques + Tutorials

Petal Frosting by La Receta de la Felicidad

These days, happy bakers everywhere are upping the ante with beautiful frosting techniques. Not only do we want to enjoy our slice of cake, we want it to look good too. Not sure how to accomplish that? Here are 5 impressive techniques, including tutorials, to inspire you.

1. Smooth Frosting  Let’s start with the basics. Nothing says modern like the clean lines of this perfectly frosted cake. Check out How to Frost a Cake by Whisk Kid.

2. Textured Frosting  Want a more relaxed and traditional-looking topping? How to Frost a Cake by The Paula Deen Test Kitchen will show you.

3. Ribbon Frosting  This classic design is always impressive. The Sew*er, The Caker, The Copy-Cat Maker shows you the Ribbon Frosting Technique with lots of step-by-step photos.

4. Petal Frosting  This is one of my personal favorites. Such a stunning visual created with such easy steps. Check out My Cake School’s Pretty Petal Effect or Bird on a Cake’s Petal Tutorial. The pink cake shown here is the Ombre Petal Cake by Java Cupcake.

5. Rosette Frosting  A timelessly romantic design.  Girl. Inspired has a great tutorial called Tips for Making a Swirled Rose Cake. I am baker also has a well-done Rose Cake Tutorial, and provides a Rose Cake Video Tutorial as well.

Happy frosting!

 

 


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37

I turned 37 yesterday. Wow. Doesn’t that number seem really big? It certainly gave me pause, but it doesn’t feel as dramatic as I thought it was going to.

Last night we dropped off the kids and had dinner at a local Korean restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. Not as good as our favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed my bibimbap. Afterward, we had just enough time to pick up a mini chocolate cake to celebrate with the kids before bedtime. My daughter loves to sing “Happy Birthday” and to blow out candles, so we got her a mini-cupcake with sprinkles, too.

And right now? I’m sipping some organic rooibos africana. I tried it at a christmastime tea in Colorado with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-laws. I only brought back a small packet and was sad to run out. Luckily a local tea shop carries it, and David stopped to get me some. I’ve been partial to South African rooibos before, but this particular blend with cornflowers, blue mallow and vanilla is so deliciously warm and comforting. And it is caffeine free – good for late nights. 😉

Ever since going to Vietnam, I like to drink tea in the asian “milk tea” style, with sweetened condensed milk. It sounds weird, but its really good. Rich and creamy and lightly sweet. If you are usually a coffee drinker and don’t particularly care for tea, I think this one will change your mind.

 


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Rustic Raspberry Butter Cake

It’s that time of year again for these red beauties. The sad thing is that Chloe no longer likes them. Last year was so much fun – she’d pick and eat as many as her little hands could reach. This year she’ll help pick, but that is about it. At least she still likes blueberries.

For a Fourth of July bbq at a neighbor’s house I made what I call a rustic raspberry butter cake. Simple, buttery goodness, and a great way to use up any in season fruit (I’ve used rhubarb and strawberries, too).

Rustic Raspberry Butter Cake

1 stick salted butter, softened
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on fruit) + extra for sprinkling on top
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt
1 cup raspberries

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy – about 3-5 minutes. Beat the eggs together lightly and add in slowly. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and then add it in as well. Pour mixture into a lightly-oiled baking pan and dot with fruit. Finish with a dusting of sugar and just a light sprinkling of sea salt on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden.


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A bit disappointing


Remember my blog goals? Well, for the month of January I was supposed to try a new recipe and you may be wondering why I never wrote about it. The truth is, it turned out a bit disappointing. I was hoping I’d have time to try another recipe before the end of the month, but I didn’t. So, let me tell you about that flourless chocolate cake I made following a recipe from the Art & Soul of Baking:

The idea of this cake intrigued me, as it only called for four ingredients: chocolate, eggs, sugar and butter. It was easy to whip up, and right out of the oven it was delicious – warm with a light and crispy outer crust and soft chocolately center. David and I kept nibbling at the side of the pan while we were making dinner. But by the time we each had a slice for dessert, the crust had softened, the cake had deflated, and it was just kind of… meh. I’m not sure why. Did the moisture from boiling the pasta we had for dinner seep into it and ruin the texture? That’s my best guess. Also, despite being in a generously buttered, non-stick spring-form pan, the cake stuck. It was not pretty, so there went the presentation, too.

To make matters worse, to accompany the cake, I tried making a creme anglais. I followed the directions perfectly, and when it reached the required 175 degrees I pulled it off the heat. I turned around to add more ice cubes to the already prepared water bath and when I picked up the saucepan it was too late – I had pulled it off the heat, but not far enough and so part of it overcooked. Sigh. So, there you have it, a disappointing start to the recipe portion of my goals, since even the photos didn’t come out very good. *shrugs*

Thankfully, there’s always next time. 🙂


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Party!

As you can see from the photos, Chloe’s first birthday party was quite an occasion! The partygoers included Chloe’s friends Lorenzo and Ava. Besides the toys, the toddlers enjoyed a baby snack bar of peach and strawberry yogurt melts (to match the orange and pink theme, naturellement!), apple puffs, and animal crackers, and for the adults we had a gourmet cheese plate including my new favorite bucheron. We also hung crepe paper streamers in a doorway which I thought would only survive a few minutes, but instead actually stayed intact the entire time. Maybe the rip-and-destroy technique is more for the two-to-three year-olds? It was a lot of fun watching them plow through and laugh, and having the paper fluttering out behind.

Chloe’s cupcakes were tahitian vanilla bean with cream cheese frosting and meringue toppers. I even tried spelling out her name with some success. Despite my fears, she didn’t get sick from eating/playing with her cupcake, although it probably helped that most of it fell to the floor after a short time. And, thanks to the ‘net, we also took advantage of this free birthday hat download (see top photo) and a tutorial on how to make-your-own scratch-its so we could give out party prizes/favors (who thought that adding dish soap to metallic paint could be so fun?!).

I keep going around in my head how Chloe won’t have a single memory of this important event. But, of course, David and I will. Perhaps someday she will look back at photos of her childhood and see how much fun she had. But most of all, I’ll just want her to know how much she means to us, and that she is wholly and truly loved.


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The Most Amazing Buttermilk Chocolate Cake *Update*

I made this buttermilk chocolate cake again this past week. A perfectly wet and dreary week called for a little bit of baking to cheer the place up. Although, not wanting too much of a good thing, I decided to halve the recipe this time and used a 9×13 glass pan at 330 degrees instead. Then I sliced it in half and squared the edges for a double-layer cake. The ganache frosting got poured directly over the top with just a little smoothing at the end. Nothing too fussy, just simple, chocolatey goodness.

Here are the two layers after cooling and squaring the edges:

Here are the slices that were removed and ready to nibble:

The final cake, after dripping the chocolate ganache frosting down the sides and smoothing the top:

The very first slice – dark, gorgeous, and utterly delicious!


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Date Night

David and I went on our first “date” since Chloe was born last night. I thought it was going to be weird, going somewhere without the baby.  Instead it felt fine, especially knowing that Chloe was having fun, safe at home with Grandma Sandy. We had dinner at Lovely Hula Hands and then went for dessert at Papa Haydn.

Getting dessert at Papa Haydn is one of my very favorite things to do in Portland. They have an entire menu of only desserts, and it is always so hard to narrow it down to one. I finally decided on the Autumn Meringue (swiss meringues layered with chocolate mousse and pot de creme, wrapped in ribbons of chocolate) and David chose the Boccone Dolce, which was basically the white version of mine (swiss meringues drizzled with semi-sweet chocolate, layered with fresh fruit and chantilly cream) and we didn’t even consult each other. Paired with two Illy lattes, it was a little slice of heaven.


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Recipes I'm loving… too much


Easy Apple Crisp (see below for recipe)

Okay, truly, this week I vow to try and start eating healthier and to stop gaining so much weight. Although I’m not technically “overweight” (yet often feel that way), I have definitely gained on the higher end of the recommended amount. And I certainly do not want to birth a ginormous baby. You know what I’m saying? I just want to plateau on all this weight from here on out. (Special thanks to everyone who left a comment on this post. I’ve heard that breastfeeding helps to melt off those post-partum pounds, but at this point, I’m nervous about relying on something I’ve never done before 🙂 )

That said, I’ve realized a big part of my problem is an abundance of ripe, luscious summer fruit, particularly berries, apples, and peaches. So of course I was making all kinds of delectable goodies. Just for fun, here are three recipes that we’ve really been loving:

Blueberry Lemon Sour Cream Cake. This was by far the best tasting cake I’ve made all year. I used the Sour Cream Lemon Cake recipe, but added slightly less white sugar and a cup of blueberries. Then I followed the directions for the lemon butter glaze. Every bite was divine, and we were seriously sad when it was all gone.

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I’ve tried before to make a creamy egg-based vanilla, but it was time consuming, frustrating and didn’t turn out well. Now I mostly just stick to making simple fruit sorbets. This recipe, however, didn’t call for any eggs or cooking, just creams, peppermint extract, chopped or mini-chocolate chips, and a can of sweetened condensed milk (I LOVE this stuff. I can eat it straight out of the can with a spoon). This recipe made more than my cuisinart ice cream maker could handle, so I’ll be halving it next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time.

Easy Fruit Crisp (see below). This is my tried and true recipe for any fruit we happen to have. It is quick, easy, and uncomplicated (no fancy crust to worry about). I’ve had success using both fresh and frozen mixed berries, fresh apples, blueberries, and peaches. With really juicy/wet fruit like peaches, it is a good idea to stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour, so you don’t end up with soup. It also doesn’t matter how much fruit you use, except that the ratio of topping to filling changes. David and I love extra topping, so I usually double that part of the recipe.

Filling:
Up to 5 cups of fresh or frozen fruit
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar

Topping:

1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1) Thaw fruit, if frozen, and then place in a baking dish. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to taste (optional).

2) For crisp topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts (optional). Sprinkle topping over filling.

3) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and
topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream or light cream. Serves 6.


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The most AMAZING buttermilk chocolate cake EVER

buttermilk chocolate cake

Okay, I am not kidding here, but I just made the most AMAZING buttermilk chocolate cake EVER! And truly, it was not hard at all. I originally saw the recipe in Marcy’s copy of February’s Portland Monthly magazine, and thought I should write it down, but I forgot. Then, while David was waiting that extra hour for me to finish with my dentist appointment, he came across it again and thoughtfully asked the receptionist to photocopy it for me. (Such a sweetheart!)

Since we were having a friend over for dinner, I thought I’d use that as an excuse to try out this new recipe. And it was… magic! Moist, rich, chocolaty, not too sweet and with just the right amount of depth and complexity. And did I mention beautiful? Gorgeously dark with a semi-matte, creamy ganache frosting. I’m never going to buy chocolate container frosting ever again. Now I know the secret – and so do you!

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

Once you pour the hot coffee into the batter, don’t be alarmed by its thinness.
“It’s definitely the thinnest cake batter I’ve ever worked with,” [Portland Baker
Melissa] McKinney says. As for the frosting, there’s no need to use fancy chocolate,
she says. “I just use semi-sweet chocolate chips and it comes out perfect.”

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)*
1 1/3 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed, extra-strong hot coffee*
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. Place flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low to combine. Keeping the mixer on low , add oil, buttermilk, then eggs one at a time. Add hot coffee in a thin stream, pouring down the side of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix until batter is smooth. Divide into pans and back until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least 20 minutes.

3. To make the chocolate ganache frosting, create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a boil. Place chocolate chips and cream in a stainless steel mixing bowl (I used glass) and set on top of simmering water, Allow mixture to melt–do not stir right away, When chocolate has melted, stir it with a whisk. Allow to cool at room temperature.

4. Remove cakes from pans. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Trim the top with a serrated knife to make it even (although I didn’t find this necessary). Place a scoop of ganache in the middle and smooth it out to the edges using a palette knife or spatula. Trim the top off the other layer and place the untrimmed side down on the top of the frosted layer, pressing gently. Spoon more ganache on the top and smooth it around the sides, adding more ganache as needed to cover. If you need to apply a second coat of ganache, put the cake in the refridgerator for no more than 15 minutes to set before adding a second coat (although I found myself with a surplus of frosting). Makes a single 9-inch layer cake.

My notes: For the cocoa powder I used Droste cocoa from Holland, which is like gold around here, but I really wanted to make it extra special. I also didn’t bother to sift it. For the chocolate frosting I used Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. And instead of the extra strong coffee, I pulled four extra long shots of espresso, enough to make the full 1 1/2 cups.

Postscript: In response to a comment below, I thought I’d add this paragraph from the article for those interested:

So what gives this recipe such staying power? It’s the oil, says McKinney. “Oil makes a moister cake, and allows it to last a week, whereas a layer cake made with butter becomes dry the next day.”  Plus, the hot coffee elevates the cocoa’s depth and complexity. The cake is versatile as well: The batter can be stored in the fridge for several days; stout can be used in place of coffee, it can even be made vegan (McKinney suggests using egg replacement and vanilla soy milk.) And the layers can be filled with whipped cream and fresh berries instead of ganache.

*Update* See this post on halving the recipe, with updated shape and photos!

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*UPDATE* to AMAZING Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

5 Impressive Cake Frosting Techniques + Tutorials

 

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