All posts by Chelsweets

I work in finance during day, and like to think of myself as a baker by night! Follow me here at Chelsweets.com, on instagram @chelsweets, and on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/c/ChelsweetsBakery ) to see my creations :D You can also

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Striped Christmas Cake

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we can finally begin baking for Christmas!!!! While I do love baking for Halloween, Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year to bake! I decided to kick off this season of holiday baking with a very festive striped Christmas cake. The inside of this cake is just as fun (if not more fun) than the outside of the cake!

I am by no means a piping expert, but everyone has to start somewhere, and the only way to get better at something is to practice ūüôā The recipe and tutorial are included below:

1 batch my favorite vanilla layer cake (4, 7″ cake rounds) Рdivided into three parts, one colored red, one colored green, and one part left uncolored

1.5 batches my classic American buttercream

Additional Supplies:

  • Christmas sprinkles
  • red and green gel food coloring
  • Wilton 1M tip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare cake batter. Line and grease 4 7 inch pans. Spoon batter into the center of each cake pan, layering each color on top of the previous batter. If your layers get off center, simply tilt the pans to recenter the pattern.

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Bake 4, 7 inch layers for about 38 minutes. Once removed from the oven, carefully run a small offset spatula around the perimeter of the pan, to separate the layers. Let these cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes (accelerates the cooling process). Once cool to the touch, trim the browned edges from the sides of the cake using a serrated knife. If desired, you can also trim the tops of the cake! The layers bake relatively flat, but some people find it easier to stack and frost layers when they’re perfectly level.

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While the layers bake and cool, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Stack and frost layers. Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes.

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Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second, thicker layer of frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Color the remaining frosting green and red, and place into piping bags with various tips. These tips are (from left to right) a Wilton 12, a Wilton 5, an Ateco 4, an Ateco 48.

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Use a bench scraper to make slight vertical indents along the sides of the cake. Use these lines as a guide and pipe stripes up the side of the cake. Begin by adding stripes around the entire cake with one frosting tip, then fill in with the other tips and frosting color.

MVI_1560_Moment (2) Carefully level the tops of the stripes using a sharp knife. Place remaining frosting into a piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe swirls around the top of the cake. Add sprinkles (these are from Neon Yolk Shop) around the base of the cake and inside the buttercream swirls.

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Like I promised earlier, the inside of the cake is just as fun as the outside!

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Banana Monster Smash Cake

I’ve made some smash cakes in the past, but wanted to make a slightly larger smash cake this time! This cake is made with 7 inch cake rounds, and really would be great for a child’s birthday at any age! Or for any adults who enjoy monsters ūüėõ This cake is make with a moist banana cake layer, and frosted with a cream cheese buttercream.

Banana Cake Batter

1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (240ml) mashed bananas (3 medium sized bananas)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups (650 grams)¬†unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese frosting (230g), room temperature
  • 16 cups (1814 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (36 grams) salt
  • 2¬†Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp (8 grams) vanilla
  • Blue and orange colored gel food coloring

Additional Decorations:

  • black and white fondant
  • grass tip (I used a wilton 233)
  • 2 pieces of dried spaghetti or 2 tooth pics (to secure the monster horns)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line and grease 3 7 inch pans, and 1 6 inch pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 2 minutes, until the butter becomes lighter in color and is fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add the oil, vanilla  and buttermilk. Add in the mashed bananas and on a low speed, until just incorporated. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add into the wet ingredients in 3 phases. Divide batter evenly between two bowls, and color one blue with gel food coloring. Alternate spoons of white and blue batter into the pans, then swirl the colors together using an offset spatula or butter knife. You can see a full tutorial on how to make swirled cake layers here.

Bake layers for about 26 minutes. Once removed from the oven, carefully run a small offset spatula around the perimeter of the pan, to separate the layers. Let these cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes (accelerates the cooling process).

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Color 1/2 the frosting a deep shade of blue, color 1/4 a light shade of blue, and 1/4  orange. Place into piping bags with a 1.5 cm opening (I simply cut the tips of the bags).

Stack and frost layers. Pipe rings on top of each cake layer, starting at the perimeter of the cake layer, working your way into the center. Be sure to follow the same color pattern (blue, light blue, orange), but alternate which color you start frosting with each layer.

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Place the 6 inch cake layer on top of the 7 in layers. Use a serrated knife to trim the edges of the 6 inch layer, to created a dome shaped top. Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes. Place remaining blue and orange frosting into two piping bags with a grass tip.

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While the crumb coat chills, make the fondant facial features. You can get creative here and make however many eyes you want (I went with two, but have done one and three in the past). Make a mouth and horns, and insert either toothpicks or dry pieces of spaghetti into the horns. Set aside on parchment paper.

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Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, pipe on the second layer of frosting to look like fur! I added orange fur spots first, then the fondant facial features. I filled in the remaining open space with blue frosting fur.

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Wrap the frosting bags with paper towels or a thin towel to help limit the amount of heat your hands transfer to the frosting. Once all the fur is on, add the horns. Then cut in to see the swirled layers and fun striped frosting patter!

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I really enjoyed making this little monster! If you want to use natural food coloring, you can try using India Tree food coloring (you can buy online or at whole foods). It’s not as vibrant as the Americolor gel food coloring I used here, but it does add color in a natural way.

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The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

I get asked a lot about my cream cheese frosting recipe, and I’m finally sharing it! A lot of cream cheese frosting recipes taste great, but don’t hold their shape.¬† This can be super frustrating when you’re trying to get super smooth sides on a cake, or pipe some fun designs onto a cupcake!! That’s what makes this frosting recipe so fantastic;¬†it has the tang of a cream cheese frosting, but is sturdy like my classic american buttercream! It’s great for piping on cupcakes, and smoothing on cakes. The recipe and tutorial are included below:

When using this recipe to frost my¬†favorite vanilla layer cake recipe¬†(which is amazing and bakes flat!!), which can be used to make¬†four 7 inch or 8 inch cake layers, I¬†usually make 1.5 ‚Äď 2 batches,¬†depending on how I‚Äôm decorating the cake.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 3 sticks or 1.5 cups (325 grams)¬†unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese frosting (115g), room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 1¬†Tbsp. (15 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (4 grams) vanilla

Instructions:

Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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NOTE: If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Around the holidays I’m always inspired by all the beautiful pies I see on social media! While I am by no means a pie expert, these cupcakes help satisfy my pumpkin pie aspirations, through a different medium. They’re made with a pumpkin cupcake batter, filled with a no-bake pumpkin pie filling, and frosted with a buttercream “crust.” The recipe and a quick tutorial are included below:

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • 1‚Öď cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ‚Öď tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¬ĺ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¬Ĺ cup granulated sugar
  • ¬Ĺ cup light brown sugar
  • ¬Ĺ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Pumpkin Pie Filling: 

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams)¬†unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 2¬†Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • yellow and brown food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add a squirt of orange gel food coloring, and stir until the batter is evenly colored.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the pumpkin pie filling. Pour one cup of cold heavy cream into a medium sized bowl, and whisk in 1 package of vanilla pudding mix. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then add in 1 cup of pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon. Mix until fully incorporated. Add a small squirt of orange gel food coloring if desired, to achieve a more vibrant shade of orange. Chill in the fridge.

Next, make the “pie crust” frosting! Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.¬† Add in a tiny bit of brown and yellow food coloring, to achieve a tan shade that resembles a pie crust. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once the cupcakes are baked and fully cooled, use a small knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes. I cut out a large portion of the cupcake, so that I could fit in a lot of the pumpkin pie filling, but this is a matter of preference.

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Fill the centers with the chilled pumpkin pie mixture, the smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Place half of the frosting in a piping bag with a wilton 103 tip, and the rest into a bag with a small round opening.

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Pipe a variety of lattice designs and crusts onto the cupcakes. Below are the designs I made!

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You can pipe your favorite pie decorations, and also can modify this recipe to make different pie flavored cupcakes ūüôā

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Thanksgiving Turkey Cake

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week!!!! Since I am a pie novice, of course I wanted to make a cake to celebrate T-Day. I was inspired by the turkey cake Baked by Dan made on one of his Food Network livestreams. This cute little turkey cake is made with colorful swirled pumpkin cake layers, and is covered in milk chocolate ganache. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “pumpkin, and chocolate??” Trust me on this one, it’s a surprisingly delicious combination. The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Pumpkin Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (183 grams) ‚Äď about 5 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin for this)
  • yellow, orange, and red food coloring

Milk Chocolate Ganache:

  • 23 oz. (652 grams) milk chocolate chips (I use Hershey’s)
  • 1 cup + 1 tsp (230 grams) heavy cream

Additional Decorations:

  • red, orange and yellow fondant (I use the Satin Ice brand – I think it tastes best of all the premade fondant!)
  • 1 set of jumbo eye sprinkles, or eyes made with black and white fondant
  • piping bag
  • kitchen scale (for ganache)

Instructions:

The milk chocolate ganache needs a few hours to firm up before you can you cover the cake, so I like to make it in advance (usually the night before)! Note that if you want to use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, you will need to use more cream (weight ratio of dark chocolate to heavy cream is 2:1, milk chocolate is 3:1)

To make the ganache,  place chocolate chips or chopped chocolate into a bowl. In a separate bowl, heat heavy cream at a medium heat until it just begins to bubble (watch very carefully, heavy cream can bubble over in the blink of an eye!!). Pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for about 2 minutes without touching it, then stir until fully incorporated. If there are still lumps of chocolate, heat the bowl for 15 seconds and then stir again; continue until no lumps remain. Once the mixture is nice and smooth, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit overnight.

The fondant accents also need to be made in advance, so they can dry. Roll out colored fondant to be 1/4 of an inch thick, and cut out feather shaped pieces (mine looked like giant tear drops) that are about 4 inches long. Use circle cutters to make cartoon fondant eyes, and shape a beak, two turkey feet, and a gobble. Set aside to dry.

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Next, prepare the pumpkin cake layers. Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Grease and line four 7‚Ä≥ round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and pumpkin puree, and mix at a low speed until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Divide batter between three bowls, coloring them yellow, orange, and red with gel food coloring. Add spoonfuls of batter into the pans, then tap them on the counter to flatten the batter. Swirl together using a butter knife (full tutorial on how to make swirled layers here).

Bake for 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

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To assemble the cake, cover cake layers with a generous layer of ganache, and stack vertically. Add a thick, even layer of ganache around the cake using an offset spatula. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

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Place remaining ganache into a piping back, and pipe wings half way up the sides of the cake. Next, add on the facial features to the front of the cake. Secure the feathers to the back of the cake, using additional tabs of ganache. Once the entire back fan of feathers is in place, trim remaining feathers and gently insert into the top of the cake neat the other feathers. I found the cutting a slit into the top of the cake with a small knife made this process much easier.

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As fun as this cake is to build, it’s even more fun to cut into!! The swirled layers contrast beautifully against the chocolate ganache, and the pumpkin / chocolate flavor combo is a real crowd pleaser. It’s perfect for kids, and the adults don’t seem to mind it either ūüôā

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Apple Pie Layer Cake

In the spirit of Fall, I wanted to make some pies! That was, until I remembered that I’m terrified of pie crust, and thought better of it! Instead, I wound up making this Apple Pie Layer Cake. It’s made with a cinnamon spice layer cake, cinnamon buttercream, and an apple pie filling. It’s basically a pie and cake all wrapped up in four layers of deliciousness, without the fuss of ice cold butter and a pastry cutter.

For the decoration of this cake, I was inspired by Milk and Water Baking Co! Their beautiful and vibrant frosting techniques have taken over Instagram by storm, and I couldn’t resist trying it out on this cake! The full recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Cinnamon Spice Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) ‚Äď about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Apple Pie Filling: 

  • 1/2 cup of water (120ml)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (25g)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp water (30ml)
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced apples, peeled and cored (about 1 1/2 large apples – I used granny smith) (200g)

Cinnamon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups (about 650 grams)¬†unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups (1,360 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (6 grams) salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4¬†Tbsp. (60 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • optional: fall colored gel food coloring (I used yellow, orange, red, and brown)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Grease and line four 8‚Ä≥ round pans with parchment rounds.

Being by making the cinnamon spice cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans.¬†Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).¬†Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Remove the layers from the pans, wrap in saran wrap, and place in the freezer. It’s ok if they’re still warm, this will help lock in the moisture, making delicious, moist layers!

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the apple pie filling.¬†Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp of cinnamon into a large sauce pan, and bring to a boil at a medium high heat. Mix together the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of water, and 3 Tbsp of cornstarch to create a slurry (to thicken the filling). Add this slurry to the sauce pan, and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens (should happen pretty quickly). Add the diced apples, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 5 minutes, until the apples are partially tender (you don’t want them to get too soft, and turn to mush!!) remove from heat and set aside to cool fully.

Next, prepare the cinnamon buttercream. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once all the components are prepared, it’s time to assemble the cake! Secure the first cake layer to the cake board with a small dab of buttercream. Pipe a thick ring of buttercream around the perimeter of the layer. Fill the center with about 1/2 cup of the apple pie filling. repeat with remaining layers. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the outside of the cake (crumb coat), and smooth with a bench scraper. chill for about 10 minutes in the fridge (or 5 in the freezer), until the crumb coat is firm to the touch.

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To create the Milk and Water Baking Co look, color the remaining frosting fall colors (orange, yellow, red, brown), and blend together in piping bags with various piping tips.

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Pipe colorful bursts of frosting around the cake, until the entire cake is covered. I combined some of the colors into piping bags, and tried to spread out the colors to give it a somewhat uniform look.

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I added some rosettes and squiggles using a wilton 1M, and some ruffles and cherry blossom flowers using a petal tip.

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Once the cake is fully covered, it’s time to enjoy!! This cake not only looks like Fall, it tastes like it too ūüôā

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