Tag Archives: american buttercream

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Cake

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National grilled cheese day is April 12th, and it only seemed fitting that I make a grilled cheese sandwich CAKE! I had to test out a few different techniques in the process, but believe I’ve found the easiest way to do it! I made mine with two, 8 inch square cake layers, and filled them with a yellowish-orange buttercream! I added some triangles of modeling chocolate to look like melting cheese around the edge of the cake, and I caramelized some sugar on the top of the cake to make it look toasted. The recipes I used can be found below.

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • yellow and orange gel food coloring

Modeling Chocolate:

  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • yellow and orange gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and two 8″ square 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 butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. The edges need to be fairly brown, so that they look similar to the crust of bread! Allow the layers 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.

As the cake layers bake and cool, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, 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 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). Mix in a few drops of yellow gel food coloring, and one or two drops of orange gel food coloring. I wanted my frosting to be the same color as slices of cheddar cheese, but if you want your frosting to be more yellow, you can omit the orange.

To make the modeling chocolate, place white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat at 50% power for thirty second intervals, slowly stirring between each interval. Repeat until fully melted. Let chocolate cool to about 90 degrees, or until it isn’t warm to the touch when you test with your finger. Gently stir in the corn syrup with a spatula. The mixture will seize up quickly. Once the mixture has firmed up, let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow it cool. Then begin to knead the mixture with flexible bowl scraper, until smooth and glossy. Wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, and place in a Ziploc bag. Allow to rest overnight at room temperature. The following day, cut out triangles to be the overhanging cheese for the edges of the cake.

To assembly the cake, trim the tops of the cake layers, and place one layer on cake board. Add buttercream, and spread evenly.

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Add modeling chocolate triangles around the perimeter of the cake. Spread a thin layer of sugar on top of the second cake layer, and broil until browned and caramelized.

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Let layer cool for about 15 minutes in the fridge, then place on top of cake. Cut diagonally for the full, grilled cheese effect 🙂

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April Showers Themed Cake

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My friend Taryn (also know as @missladyfinger) and I joined forces again to create an April showers cake and nail art look. We were inspired by all the rain we’ve been getting in New York lately, and wanted that to be the inspiration of this collab! Taryn painted an amazing rainy design on our nails, and I made a cake with blue swirled layers, blue ganache rain drops, and buttercream flowers. The full recipe can be found below, and the full tutorial can be seen here.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • blue gel food coloring

Blue Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and purple gel food coloring

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” 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 oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between three bowls. Leave one white, and color one light blue (2 drops blue gel food coloring), and one a royal blue (6-8 drops blue gel food coloring). Add batter to pans 1/2 a cup at a time, alternating colors. Once all batter has been used, draga  knife through the batter to create a swirled batter. Bake for 35 minutes, 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.

As the cake layers bake, prepare the white chocolate ganache and frosting! The full recipe and instructions can be found here. Be sure to color it with a couple drops of blue gel food coloring.

To make the frosting, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, 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 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). Add 1/3 cup of frosting into eight different bowls. Color each bowl the following shades: blue, violet, yellow, orange, red, and three ombre shades of green. Place frosting into pipe bags, cut with a 1 cm opening. Set aside another cup of uncolored frosting, and add to a piping bag with a 1.5 cm opening. Color the remaining frosting light blue with gel food coloring.

NOTE: When 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!

To assemble the cake, stack cake layers and apply an even layer of light blue buttercream between each layer. Once stacked, apply a thin crumb coat to the cake, and chill the cake in the freezer for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to firm up. Then apply a thicker, second layer of buttercream, and smooth with a cake bench. Using the shades of green frosting, make vertical lines between 1-3 inches all around the cake, angling some slightly to both sides. This will be the grass, so you want it to look as random and organic as possible. Next, using the remaining colored buttercream, pipe small circles along the top of the grass line to create the flowers. Add some yellow into the center of some of the flowers to give them more depth.

Place in the freezer again for 15 minutes. This step is CRUCIAL, as the cake must be chilled before adding the blue ganache drips.

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Once thoroughly chilled, slowly add the blue ganache drips onto the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to add drips to a cake here. Place in the freezer for another 10 minutes to help the drips set.

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The last step is to pipe on a cloud boarder using the remaining white frosting bag, using a swirling motion. Then it’s time to slice the cake and reveal those beautifully swirled layers 🙂

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Pink Bubble Gum Inspired Cake

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This week I made a pink, bubble gum inspired cake!!  Don’t worry, it isn’t bubble gum flavored, just decorated in a bubble gum-inspired fashion.  This cake was for Cosmopolitan, and the full video of it can be seen here. It was inspired by the amazing bubble gum cupcakes made by The Scran Line.

I used my go to vanilla cake batter and american buttercream recipe, and topped it with pink gelatin bubbles. The full recipe and tutorial on how to make gelatin bubbles can be found here.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • pink gel food coloring

American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • pink gel food coloring

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” 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 oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds. Evenly divide that batter between two bowls, and color one bowl light pink, and one bowl hot pink with gel good coloring.

Pour batter into each  of the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, 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. To speed up this process you can also pop your cake layers into the freezer until fully cooled.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, 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 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). Color a half a cup of frosting light pink, and another half cup hot pink with gel food coloring. Set aside.

To assemble the cake, stack cake layers and smooth an even layer of buttercream on top of each layer. Alternate the bright pink and light pink layers. Apply a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat), and place in freezer to chill for 5 minutes.

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Once fully chilled and firm to the touch, apply a second layer of buttercream, then smear bits of the pink frosting randomly around the cake. Smooth with a bench scraper, making long slow motions. Remove excess frosting from scraper as you smooth.

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Spread pink and white sprinkles around the base of the cake. I used sprinkles from the Neon Yolk Shop. I then added the gelatin bubbles in a semi-circle on the top of the cake, and added some additional sprinkles and edible glitters around the bubbles 🙂

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Pastel Mermaid Tail Cake

Mermaids are definitely a big cake trend right now, and Cosmopolitan asked me to make a mermaid cake. The full video of this cake can be seen here. While there are a lot of different ways to make a mermaid cake, I think a mermaid tail is the most playful! Conveniently, it’s also the easiest!! My version of this cake was seven layers tall, but you could definitely scale this down to fewer layers. I used my go to vanilla cake batter and american buttercream recipe, listed below:

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Decorations:

  • light turquoise fondant
  • light blue fondant
  • light purple fondant
  • edible glitter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” 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 oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds. Evenly divide that batter between three bowls, and color one light blue, one a light purple, and leave one uncolored (white).

Alternate cake batters (my color order blue, purple, white), and fill one 8 inch cake pan, two 7 inch cake pans, two 6 inch cake pans, and 2 four inch cake pans. I filled my cake pans about 1 inch full of batter. If you don’t have cake pans in those sizes, you can always make extra batter, and trim more cake away to get to the desired shape. For example, you could bake four 6 inch cake layers for the top of the cake, and trim away the top more.

Bake cake layers for 25-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. My 4 inch cake pans baked in about 25 minutes, and my 6 inch and 7 inch cake layers baked in about 32 minutes., and my 8 inch cake layer baked for about 35 minutes. Allow cake layers 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.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, 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 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). You can see a full tutorial on how to make this frosting here.

Assemble the cake layers largest to smallest, to build a cylindrical pyramid. Apply a thin layer of frosting between each layer with an offset spatula. Once all the cake layers are stacked, insert a tall wooden dowel into the cake layers. Place cake in freezer for about 5 minutes, to allow the cake to firm. Using a serrated knife, trim cake layers into the shape of a tail.

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Apply a crumb coat of white frosting, and then chill the cake in the freezer for another five minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, color the remaining frosting a light shade of turquoise. Apply a second layer of frosting, and smooth with a flexible smoother (bowl scraper or acetate sheet).

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Using turquoise fondant mixed with tylose powder, shape a large mermaid flipper. Insert wooden skewers into the tail to attach it to the cake. For the scales of the tail, use a 1.5 inch circle cookie cutter, and cut out several circles from all three colors of fondant. Once the tail is firm, insert it on top of the cake.

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Cover the cake in the circle scales, alternating all three colors, and working from top to bottom. Sprinkle edible gold dust onto the tail for an extra flourish of fun.I also used some leftover blue and white frosting to make waves around the base of the tail.

This cake requires a bit of work, but it’s totally worth it! It’s perfect for any mermaid fanatic, a kid’s birthday party, or if you just love pastels 🙂

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Zeek the Zebra Cake

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By popular demand, the next addition to my animal cake series is a Zebra! I used vanilla and black chocolate cake bases to make striped cake layers, vanilla buttercream, and some fondant to create the stripes and facial features!! The full video tutorial can be seen here. The recipe and instructions can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 10 drops black gel food coloring

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • pink fondant
  • black fondant
  • white fondant
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and three 7″ round pans.

Begin by making the vanilla cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Set aside.

Next prepare the chocolate cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and add in instant espresso. Whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Add in gel food coloring, and mix until batter is evenly colored.

Add alternative scoops of batter into the center of each pan, until you have several alternating rings of chocolate and vanilla cake batter, and you have used all the batter.

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Bake for 30 minutes, 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. To accelerate this process, I frequently place my cake layers in the freezer.

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While the layers bake,  make the fondant cake decorations. Roll out pink fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out an oval shape for the snout using black fondant, and add two small pink circle for the nostrils. Use pink fondant to also make the mouth. With black fondant, cut out two small circles for the eyes, and a circle for the mane. I trimmed out triangles from the circle to make it resemble a tuft of hair. For the ears, cut out 2 white fondant squares, that are 1.5 in. x 1.5 inches. Pull two of the corners diagonally into the center of the square, and seal the together with a bit of water (I used a lightly wet small paint brush). I also added small pink circle of fondant to be the inner ear. Cut off excess fondant on the bottom, and insert two toothpicks into each ear. For the stripes, use remaining black fondant to cut out thin stripes, 1 cm wide. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. 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).

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To assemble the cake, stack and frost cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. The crumb coat is crucial on this cake, as we have a dark cake base (producing black crumbs) and white frosting!! Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. Secure fondant stripes to the cake using buttercream, and gently press fondant facial features onto the top of the cake. The last step is to insert the ears into the edge of the cake using the attached toothpicks. Then it’s time to cut in and see the fun pattern inside each cake layer!!

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Pete the Puppy Cake

As I wind down my animal cake series, I knew I needed to make a puppy! To mix things up, I decided to make Pete with maple cake layers, and a maple buttercream. I also used some fondant accents to create his face, and a touch of cocoa to shade some of his fur. The recipe can be found below:

Maple Cake Batter:

  • 3.25 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. maple extract (optional)

Maple Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp. maple extract

Decorations:

  • pink fondant
  • white fondant
  • black fondant
  • grass piping tip
  • small paint brush
  • cocoa powder
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8″ 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 butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, 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.

While the layers bake,  make the fondant cake decorations. I used just a touch of pink fondant to make a small tongue, and shaped an oval out of black fondant for the nose. I also used some circle cookie cutters for Pete’s eyes. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. 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 assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with yellow buttercream, and apply a thin crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set.  Make a small mound in the center of the cake for the puppy’s snout, and add two oblong mounts onto opposite sides of the cake for the puppies ears .

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Place remaining frosting into a piping bag with a grass tip, and pipe “fur” onto the entire cake. Add fondant accents (eyes, nose, and tongue onto the cake. Place cake into the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the buttercream to firm. I also added a bit of cocoa to the tips of the ears and the snout using a small, clean paint brush.

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Easy Buttercream Panda Cake

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My last addition to my animal cake series is a panda! I wanted to do something black and white, and decided to make vanilla cake layers, filling with vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganache, and sprinkles. I used some fondant accents to make her face, and colored some chocolate buttercream black to make the limbs and tail! The recipes can be found below, and the full YouTube Tutorial can be seen here.

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ganache (optional for filling – equal parts chocolate and heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (optional for filling)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • white fondant
  • black fondant
  • 1 Oreo
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 6″ 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 butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, 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. Once fully cooled, place layers in freezer (frozen layers are much easier to frost!)

While the layers bake, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. 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).

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Next, make the fondant accents for the face. Roll out the white fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out two avocado shaped pieces for the around the panda’s eyes, then cut out four circles (2 white, and 2 slightly smaller black) for the panda’s eyes. For the ears, twist open the Oreo and remove the filling. Use two fondant circles to be the inner part of the ears, and secure them to the Oreo using a small dab of buttercream.

For the limbs and tail, take 1 cup of the prepared vanilla buttercream and add 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and a teaspoon of heavy cream. Add in a few squirts of black gel food coloring, and mix until combined. Place into a piping bag, cut to have a 1 inch opening. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

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To assemble the cake, remove cake layers from freezer. Frost each cake layer with buttercream, adding ganache and sprinkles on top of the buttercream. Repeat with all cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. Secure fondant accents to the top of the cake using buttercream, and pipe on arms, feet, and tail.

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