Sunday, December 9, 2012


I've been a bit obsessed lately with this simply-designed cake style. I first noticed it through cakes done by one of my favorite cake designers, Three Little Blackbirds cakes, which is based in Colorado. You can see her stunning creations on her website, here. You will want to hang out on her site awhile, I think. I always have a hard time looking away from her wonderful cakes!

If you click onto her blog, you will see a tutorial on covering cakes with ganache for a style she calls "simply ganache." It looks simple, but it actually takes a lot of time and practice to get the ganache that smooth and perfect. I encourage you to take a look at her tutorial, though, because she gives some really good tips and shows a great technique for covering cakes this way.

Here is my version. I was really pleased with how it turned out!

It's not perfect. You can see some little bumps and non-smooth spots on the top. Like I said, this takes practice! I do love how "simple" it is in that it's not over-decorated or fussy. I also really love the discipline of learning a technique like this. When you can learn to do something like this really well, it becomes the foundation for many, many other things in cake decorating. This is the literal foundation for smooth fondant, for example.

A few tiny gumpaste flowers and a butterfly adorn the top.

This next one is my favorite example. A couple of weeks ago, my sister had a milestone birthday and I made this cake for her. I used the simple ganache technique and I love, love, love the final result! She loves cake and decorating, too, so I was very happy to be able to give this one to her. (And to help her eat it!)

Notice the cake plate, too. It is my favorite of all that I own (and I own a lot now!). I tell you, a cake stand is the perfect compliment to a cake!

Here are a couple more pics of that cake. Try to ignore the messy kitchen background!

Did you notice the bow, too? I'm getting better! Thanks to Rebecca and a magazine tutorial!

On the top are a few fondant flowers. Simple. Beautiful. The perfect surround for the one candle.

For those of you who want to try this, here are some tips and instruction. First, make sure your cake is level and trimmed so that it is also even on the sides. This will make it much easier to cover evenly. You want the sides of the cake itself to be 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch smaller than the edge of the cardboard round underneath the cake.

After you stack the cake, fill in any gaps between the layers with ganache by piping it into the space and smoothing it out with an offset spatula. Then do a quick crumbcoat over the entire cake. This will keep the crumbs from destroying the final coat. Don't worry about getting this entirely smooth, but don't just glop it on either.

Once the crumb coat has set (this doesn't take long at all), apply your final coat, first to the top and then to the sides, using an offset spatula. Smooth it first with your offset spatula, then with a straight-edged bench scraper. Fill in any gaps or holes with a little ganache, then smooth it all down again. Keep repeating until it is mostly smooth.

For the top, you can use the upside-down method as demonstrated by the Three Little Blackbirds tutorial. Or you can smooth it with an offset spatula. I used the upside-down method for my sister's cake and the spatula method with the other cake, shown at the beginning of this blog post. I'm trying to practice the spatula method because it is a skill I really want to learn. It's a little more challenging, but if I can master it, I think it will make the overall process quicker and easier.

Refrigerate for about half an hour to let the ganache completely set. Then use heated metal tools (the bench scraper and the offset spatula) to completely smooth the ganache. Again, the Three Little Blackbirds tutorial will show you exactly how to do this using hot water to warm the tools. Make sure you wipe your tools often on a paper towel.

There is definitely a lot of back and forth and repetition with this technique, but the result is well worth it and the more you do it, the faster it will get.

One of these days, I will put a tutorial of my own together for you all!

Thanks for stopping by!

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