Monday, August 29, 2011
Hello all! I hope you all had a good weekend! I was busy baking and decorating yesterday. Big surprise, huh?
I tried something new - caramel swiss meringue buttercream. So tasty! The recipe is at the end of this post if you guys want to try it out yourselves. But for those, like me, who lack will power when it comes to sweets, be warned! This stuff is addicting!
I also used a couple of new decorating techniques for this one. The sides of the cake, or "pulled dots" as I am calling them, is something I've been seeing on cakes on CakeCentral. (If you're not familiar with that website, check it out for great advice and inspiration! You can find my profile here.)
Here is another look at it.
To create this look yourself, simply pipe large dots in a row on your cake. If you want the "lines" to go up, or diagonally up like mine, pipe around the bottom first. Most of the cakes that have this type of piping have the lines going horizontally around the cake, and that is beautiful. To do it that way, pipe your dots in a vertical line first. Use a tip #12 or just the opening of a piping bag. I just used a disposable piping bag and cut it so that the opening was approximately 1/2 inch wide. After you have one row piped, take a small off-set spatula and gently swipe the dot, pulling the icing to one side. Your spatula should hit the dot about in the middle. After you swipe your first row, add the second row, a little bit into the "tail" of the first row. Continue until the whole cake is filled! Super easy and fast!
The ruffles on my cake are made from fondant with tylose mixed in. The tylose is a powder that makes the fondant more like gumpaste, so you can roll it a little thinner and so that it will dry a little faster. To make my ruffles, I cut circles from my thinly-rolled fondant. I used a scalloped-edge cutter in three different sizes, the largest of which was about 2 inches. Keep the circles under plastic wrap so they don't dry out. Taking one at a time, thin the edges by rolling the end of a toothpick over them. This will ruffle the edges slightly. Fold and gather the circle together until you get the ruffled look you want. It's not an exact science, which is part of what makes it pretty. Each circle will look a bit different once you are finished with it. Place the bottom into the cake, starting at the lowest point, then stack up your ruffles from there.
You could use these techniques in so many ways! Show me what you come up with!
Oh, and this is a side-note, but don't you just love my new little silver cake stand? I found this at HomeGoods and it makes me smile every time I look at it!
Now, as promised, the recipe for Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This recipe is from Martha Stewart and is so yummy!
Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (8.5 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (12 ounces)
4 large egg whites (4 ounces)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Stop stirring and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Continue to boil, gently swirling the pan occasionally to color evenly, until the mixture is very dark amber. Remove from the heat; add the cream in a steady stream (mixture will spatter and it helps if the cream is warmed first), stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth and combined. Let cool.
Cream butter until pale and fluffy. Heat 1/2 cup sugar and the egg whites over a double boiler until they are 160 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you can tell when the whites are to the proper temperature because the sugar will have dissolved completely and the eggs will be foamy. Keep the eggs moving to avoid cooking them. Place the eggs immediately into the bowl of a clean and grease-free stand mixer with a whisk attachment (you could also use a hand-held mixer). Whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the butter, and mix on low until smooth and creamy. Your buttercream may look curdled at first and the eggs will deflate. This is okay! Just keep mixing on low and it will come together! Once it has come together and is smooth and creamy, add the vanilla.
With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the caramel; beat on low for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to beat until the caramel is fully incorporated.