A few weeks ago, my sister emailed me a link to the picture below as she was beginning to plan for my niece's Baptism. She wanted to know if I could pull it off. At first, I just laughed. Because really...who am I to try and pull off a Martha Stewart cake?!
But then I started to think about the challenge. I love to bake, and I'm usually responsible for making/decorating family birthday cakes. I have just never tried anything quite like this. Bent on pulling it off, I set out to try a practice cake. I didn't necessarily want to follow her cake recipe, just the icing technique. So I chose to do Paula Deen's pink lemonade cake, and the swiss meringue buttercream from Martha Stewart. I had never made this particular icing before, but assumed from the picture that the consistency was what I needed to make such fluffy ruffles.
Results from round 1:
Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a big pain in my ass. The texture and taste were wonderful (not as sweet as traditional buttercream), and had a smooth, almost unnoticeable texture to it. But....directions said to keep it room temperature, so I did. And the result was droopy ruffles.
The cake was also too tart. I used 6 single packets of Crystal Light pink lemonade, and it was way too much. Back to the drawing board. For round 2, I decided to reduce the pink lemonade mix to just 4 packets, and go with a traditional buttercream. I found a recipe from Sweet Savory Life that had enough comments to convince me that it's the best buttercream ever. And they are right. This recipe is perfect!! I had also done some research on making flowers with fondant/gum paste. I thought the cake was a little boring, and wanted a way to dress it up a bit. The tutorial below helped immensely. She has a ton of other videos that I found really helpful as well.
Results from round 2:
I couldn't have been happier with the way the cake turned out. The buttercream helped keep the ruffles more defined (though I still had some temperature issues- you want to keep the icing cool enough to still be a tad firm.) I loved my flowers! All 3 were from my first attempt at making them. I used various sized round cutters, and a toothpick to frill the ends. You can't see it, but I also used the toothpick to make more realistic indentions on the flowers, too. Two of them have fondant ball centers, and one has some of the silver nonpareils.
The best part was that my niece adored her cake. All those hours of work were totally worth it when she kept saying "Georgia's pink cake". She could hardly wait to eat it.
Overall, it was a very special day for this very special girl. She was surrounded by friends and family who love her like crazy, and promise to support her as she grows.