Strawberry. It almost always comes down to strawberry. B‘s cake was transgendered, since it was a pink cake with blue frosting. (There’s my big mouth again – he remembered me calling it that.) After that was decided, however, I had a chance to take a basic cake baking/decorating class online via Craftsy. At the time it was free, so I thought why not? And it was presented by Wilton, so double score!
I also bought the Wilton Cake Leveler tool, but didn’t end up needing it. I didn’t want to repeat the Leaning Tower of Minecraft from LS‘s birthday, though I still love the way that cake turned out.
You know what else makes a difference? Wilton Cake Release. I was doing great with butter, but the Cake Release was awesome… and so easy to use: just squeeze and spread. Easy-peasy!
Wow. I’m starting to sound like a commercial. Sorry about that.
On to the strawberry part! It’s easy-peasy and uses whole fruit rather than preserves.
- 16 oz frozen, sliced strawberries, in sugar, thawed
- 1/3 C granulated sugar
- 1/2 a lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Drain strawberries, reserving liquid. Add enough water to strawberry liquid to equal 1 1/4 C. Set strawberries aside.
- In a large saucepan, stir together liquid, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch until combined.
- Heat mixture to a boil and allow to thicken.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
- Once cool, stir in strawberries. Store in fridge, covered, until ready to use/serve.
When adding filling to the cake, you want a frosting bumper. What that means is, when adding a layer, you pipe a line of frosting around the edge of the cake, preferably the same color as your outer frosting, then spread your filling inside that icing bumper. It keeps things where you want them, without color or filling bleeding out. I learned that in the class, too!
Q decided she wanted a Hello Kitty® cake, so, as it was her decision, I obliged. I thought it was going to be more difficult that it ended up being, seeing as I didn’t have a template, but I went with it, as I tend to do when I’m trying something new.
I used a Wilton® Icing Smoother and a Turntable Plus in an attempt at flat icing… as you can see, I’m still learning, but pleased with the results! I used this basic Buttercream Icing recipe, though the exact recipe I used was slightly larger in volume, calling for 3/4 C vegetable shortening, 3/4 C butter and 6 C confectioner’s sugar. (Another tip from the class: if you want a pure white icing, substitute 3/4 C shortening for the butter.)
When I asked what color she wanted the cake, I got lucky that she wanted pink, since I already had Electric Pink from my Zombie Cake. So, after dying the icing the lighter pink color (one large drop/6 C frosting) and frosting the cake, I took the leftovers and added another large drop of color to create the contrast.
Using the Wilton #32 Open Star tip for adding the borders. It helps to count and apply equal pressure for each star so the look is uniform (again, the class). At one point, I lost sight of the edge of the top of the cake, so some of my stars drooped, but still… look at it! A turntable (or lazy Susan) will help here, too… along with an extra pair of willing hands to turn it for you.
Ah yes. The Hello Kitty portion of this adventure. Like I said, I didn’t have a physical template, so I had to go off Google images, then free-hand the character onto the rolled fondant. I use Duff’s brand of fondant, which I found at Walmart. Here it looks yellowish, but, in the other picture, you can tell it’s white.
I started with the head, since the fondant and the head were both white. I free-hand drew the shape of the head lightly into the fondant, using a bamboo skewer (and a fondant roller to smooth out my mistakes), then cut the final shape out with a paring knife.
With the leftover fondant, I separated it into two parts, adding 2 large drops of the Electric Pink to one and 2 large drops of Super Black to the other. I then free-handed the bow, using the same skewer to not only shape it, but also dipped the tip into the black to ‘paint’ on the contrast. Also with the pink I shaped the nose.
With the black, I shaped the whiskers and eyes by rolling the fondant between my hands and fingers. After placing the face shape onto the cake, I added the bow, eyes, nose, and whiskers. If you do it that way, just remember to be gentle. You want the fondant to adhere together, but don’t want it to sink into the cake. I didn’t learn that in the class – that’s all trial and error.
So, that’s it. We found that these particular recipes were too sweet, with the exception of the strawberry filling, so I will get to work tweaking it. Other than that, another cake success!
Click on the links to get the recipes and have fun! If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them, but I am, by zero stretch of the imagination, an expert on cake decorating.