Cake decorating for people who don’t have the time, energy, or patience to decorate cakes. That’s what were doing here on The Spatularette today. Even though I sometimes do things like this week’s ombre cake, patience and fine detail are really really not my friends. I live next to a cake shop and am constantly amazed by the beautiful works of art displayed in their front window. And all it takes is a few clicks around the blogosphere to realize I have less creative talent in my whole being than many people have in the tips of their very delicate fingers. True story.
Maria and Cal’s wedding is tomorrow (tomorrow!!) so I’ll be driving down the shore today for the rehearsal dinner and day-before-the-big-day-festivities. Let’s rewind a few weeks though to the day that my coworkers and I threw them a small office bridal shower. A couple of the girls organized most of it (and I can’t believe they managed to pull off the surprise!) but I was in charge of the cake.
So that brings us here. To a mini wedding cake that, believe me when I say this, was decorated in just 20 minutes. The secret? Fresh flowers! Let nature do most of the work, and your not-so-nimble hands do very little of it. I started with the Enhance A Cake Mix recipe that I posted earlier this week and my favorite whipped frosting. It really was as simple as frosting each layer and covering the whole thing in fresh flowers. Never has a $4 bouquet been worth so much!
Let’s see how I did this…
- 1 Box white cake mix (and the ingredients called for on the back)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs (3 sticks plus 2 Tbs) butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs heavy cream
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- Small bouquet of flowers
- 9 inch round baking pan
- 6 inch round baking pan
- 4 inch round baking pan (or springform pan)
Grease and flour a 9 inch round baking pan, a 6 inch round baking pan, and a 4 inch round baking pan. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. I mentioned it earlier this week, but making layer cakes is not the time to skip one of these steps. You want to be extra certain that your cakes will slide right out of the pan.
Follow the directions to make the Enhance A Cake Mix Batter that we talked about earlier this week. Divide the batter between each of the prepared pans, filling them to approximately the same depth. Bake the cakes for approximate the following times. You’ll need to keep an eye on them though to make sure they aren’t overdone. When they start to become golden on top, check them with a toothpick tester and continue baking until it comes out clean.
- 4 inch cake: 15-18 minutes
- 6 inch cake: 20-22 minutes
- 9 inch cake: 22-25 minutes
Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, gently run a knife around the edges, and invert the cakes onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
For the frosting, make a batch of my favorite whipped buttercream found in this <link> post, or make a 4 cup batch of your favorite white frosting.
To assemble the cake, lay the 9 inch layer on a serving plate, and use an angled spatula to generously spread it with your desired frosting. When the layer is completely covered, top it with the 6 inch layer. Frost the middle layer completely, then add the 4 inch layer on top. Once again, use the angled spatula to frost the top layer. I’m typically pretty messy as I work, then once the whole cake is covered, I try to go back and clean up the layers as best I can. In this case though, its fine if frosting is still a little wonky because we’re going to cover most of it with flowers.
To decorate the cake, use kitchen shears to disassemble a bouquet of flowers. Strategically place the flowers over as much of the cake surface as you can, using any left over frosting as “glue”. I topped the whole thing with a big bunch of carnations, then distributed flowers and buds around the layers. Use a hardy flower when making the cake ahead of time and be sure to refrigerate it until an hour or two before serving. I made my cake a day ahead and the flowers still looked great for the bridal shower. Just remember that they aren’t edible, so pull them off the slices before serving to guests!
My friends Maria and Cal!!