Pink cake with yellow roses. Since the many months I started baking as a hobby, I’ve always wanted for the longest time to enroll in some kind of cake decorating course where I could learn the proper techniques in frosting and decorating a cake. Imagine my excitement just around a few weeks ago, in early August when I found out our local craft store was offering a Wilton decorating course. It cost only $25 for four two-hour sessions every Saturday morning. Pretty reasonable rate considering all the time you get, plus the instruction was excellent.
We started out with around six people in the class, but as the weeks went by, the number dwindled down to four, then three. It might have been the homework we had to do, like coming to class prepared with a cake and frostings you have to prepare in advance, but I was determined to finish all four sessions. Learning first hand from a teacher was a lot better than reading through a guidebook which is how I decorated a couple of flower cakes last year — just by following a Wilton how-to booklet.
I did learn a lot from the course and would highly recommend anyone interested in baking, to check out their local craft store for any Wilton courses. I’ll definitely try and apply the tips I learned to future cakes, and I’ve listed a few important ones.
I used a basic yellow cake recipe and buttercream frosting, and filled the cake with chocolate frosting.
One of my early attempts in flower cakes baked last year, photo courtesy of my Blackberry.
Another flower cake made last year, photo again taken with my Blackberry.
Always start with a good cake recipe, no amount of frosting can mask a dry cake.
Use baking strips to prevent cakes from doming.
If you do get a slight dome, level the cake layers with a cake leveler.
Use a soft, creamy frosting consistency for filling and covering cakes.
Use medium consistency for borders and leaves.
Use stiff consistency for piping roses.
Using a flower nail, turn it clockwise as you pipe each petal and all the while holding the piping bag facing your shoulder. This may sound like a useless tip, but the angle of the bag does matter and will affect the way your rose will turn out.
adapted from Sky High by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
- 3 cups cake flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of three 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment rounds and grease.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter until smooth, then gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.
- Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
- Add 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat alternating with the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, ending with the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter among the three pans.
- Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake layers cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
- Turn out cakes onto a wire rack and remove the paper from the bottoms.
- Cool completely before filling and frosting.
- 2 cups (4 sticks) butter at room temperature
- 14 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons powdered egg whites (optional)
- One 2 pound bag powdered sugar
- With a flat blade, cream the butter until smooth and creamy
- On low speed, add the milk a teaspoon at a time followed by the vanilla. Beat well until fully incorporated
- Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients gradually and mix well
- Beat on medium speed for 1 -2 minutes
- If the icing is too stiff add a teaspoon of milk, if it is too soft add some more powdered sugar
- Tint as desired with gel-based food color
- Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days and in the refrigerator for up to a week
Chocolate Fudge Frosting (for the filling)
- 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- dash salt
- Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk milk in a pot and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add confectioners sugar all at once. Whisk until smooth and cool to lukewarm.
- Beat butter until creamy. Add salt, vanilla then gradually add the sugar mixture. Beat until smooth.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and shiny.